Alice MacLean is a Canadian artist who graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2012, where she majored in Fine Arts.
Alice is currently providing advice as the first ever Artist in Residence at the Chippendale International School of Furniture in East Lothian, near Edinburgh in Scotland. Over the last four months, Alice has created a portfolio of paintings based on her experiences of living in Scotland. She has recently exhibited at the Six Foot Gallery in Glasgow and will also be exhibiting in Edinburgh this spring.
As Artist in Residence at the Chippendale School, Alice constructively engages with the students and their learning program, adding value to their appreciation of aesthetics, color theory and design. Furniture design is a core component of the course which also covers furniture making and furniture restoration.
The students have responded enthusiastically to Alice’s lectures, appreciating the extra dimension and encouragement her instruction adds to their creativity, appreciation of design and confidence.
Alice’s series of lectures are beneficial to the students’ overall learning experience at the Chippendale School. As Artist in Residence, Alice is also available to the students to provide feedback on their work and on any issues or critiques they may request.
Alice explains that she has been “… delighted to take on this additional role over and above a regular lecture program, as I continue to develop my own body of work for exhibition. The school recognizes that, through the medium of art, I can help the students look with new perspectives at issues regarding aesthetics and finishing processes.”
During her time at the Chippendale School, Alice has gained an understanding of the school’s activities, objectives and teaching program, and she will provide a further series of lectures to enhance the students’ appreciation and understanding of the essential importance of art in their studies of the many techniques involved in furniture design and furniture making.
Her lecture series covers colour theory, designing three-dimensional objects as well as techniques of finishing. Examples from historical art will be used in addition to Alice sharing her knowledge of current practices in contemporary art.
Alice’s advice to the students supports their research and exploration of furniture in aesthetic terms and, most importantly – and in line with the School’s fundamental ethos – Alice’s work with the students encourages and nurtures their own creativity, and their confidence and success in that creativity.
The final semester of the students’ program provides them with an opportunity to focus on the design and creation of a final project. Throughout this process the students will be encouraged to consult Alice about the design and aesthetic aspects of their final ‘pieces’, which will be exhibited in June at the School’s annual exhibition.
Alice is the first to admit that her residency at the Chippendale International School of Furniture is mutually beneficial. She recognizes that “the students will have the opportunity to develop the essential artistic side of their practices and I will have the opportunity to experiment and learn about new practices and materials, all of which are covered in full detail by the School during the nine-month course.”
Having an Artist in Residence adds a new dimension to the work of the Chippendale School, adding inestimable value to the core learning program and giving students a more rounded appreciation of the essential value of art in design.
Alice is “delighted to be the school’s first Artist in Residence”, and believes that it will lead to the appointment of other artists from around the UK or internationally.
She believes that “This diversity enriches the experience of the students, of artists, and of the local community at the same time as supporting the international success of the Chippendale International School of Furniture.”
As for the future, Alice’s first ambition is to extend her stay in the UK by three months in order to allow her to continue to spend time with the students until the end of their nine-month course. “The School places huge emphasis on the importance of sharing knowledge and experience across every relevant discipline. I am hopeful of gaining a creative working visa which will allow me to continue to complete my teaching on aesthetics and design through to the end of the school year this June.”