In August I travelled to Liencres, a small town outside of Santander in Spain. The purpose of this journey was to attend a week-long model-making workshop. As an architecture student entering my fourth year, I desperately wanted to improve my model-making skills. While my abilities and confidence in model-making have improved over the last few years, I haven’t experimented a great deal with different materials. The workshop, ‘Model-Making in the Digital Age’, set up and run by a group of three architects and artists would allow me the opportunity to learn the best techniques and processes for modelling with a range of materials.
Before leaving for the workshop I was quite nervous, I am a real homebody and while I’m not particularly shy I don’t push outside of my comfort zone very often. Plenty of worries swam around my mind – what if I couldn’t keep up? What if they were all world-class model-makers and laughed at my less talented efforts? What if no-one wanted to speak to me? It felt like starting university again, and it was silly. As with starting high school and university, arriving at the workshop I quickly realised everybody else was in the exact same boat with the exact same nerves. A few hours in, everyone was chatting away and sharing our international lunch (each student brought a food or snack from their home country; I brought Irn-Bru and shortbread and they went down a treat). When in the workshop everyone came from different model-making backgrounds and varying level of expertise: nobody laughed. Instead we were all able to help each other, offering our knowledge where we had it or asking questions when unsure. This formed a nice community over the week, we met for meals in the evening and took turns at giving crash-courses in our native languages.
What I learned during the seven days of the workshop is priceless; I got the chance to test out and use so many materials and techniques I hadn’t tried and improve on a few I was familiar with. This included; woodwork, silicon moulds, epoxy resin casting, jesmonite casting, plaster casting, aluminium casting, making clay moulds and ceramic tiles, screen printing, hard-ground engraving prints, embossing, etching on zinc and press printing – it was a busy week! The tutors; Nuertos, Armor and Daniel were all extremely helpful, they explained and demonstrated each technique and process in such a simple way and were always happy to answer questions. Their passion and skills were very evident, and this made the week such a fun experience. I’m very happy with the results of this workshop it has built my confidence in model-making and I am extremely excited to apply everything I’ve learned to my course work in fourth year and beyond. Receiving the Santander Award was a incredible help for me, the award covered my workshop fee, accommodation for the week and flights to and from Spain. I am incredibly thankful for the award as the workshop was an invaluable experience for me, both academically and personally.