Sebastian Thomas – Project Space October 2021
We caught up with Sebastian Thomas after his very productive residency designed as part of a larger self-directed development project. He was based in the Paolozzi Project Space on our ground floor.
What did you come to ESW to work on?
The plan at ESW was to hone my skills around metal casting and fabrication (including casting iron) and under the guidance of the technical staff to build my own small blast furnace from scratch with which I could continue with some small scale bronze and ali metal casting back at my studio in Reading.
How did you find the experience of having the Project Space in combination with access to the workshops?
The combination of the project space and workshops was perfect for me. The space was adjacent to the workshop and so I had easy access to everything that I needed. As my residency was so production focused the proximity to the facilities, technical staff and other artists proved super helpful and proved to be highly productive for me.
Did you manage to work through the experimentation and making you had planned for?
I managed to achieve everything that I wanted plus more in the few weeks that I had including utilising the full spectrum of the metal workshop in the production of my furnace (plasma cutter, sheet roller and bender, MIG welder, forge, grinder), a brief introduction to some TIG welding some of my bronze and Ali casts, producing sand moulds and casting iron, cleaning up many of my iron, bronze and ali cast objects and experimentation in ceramic glazes.
How does this time fit with your overall plans this year as I know that you’ve been working in a couple of places in Scotland?
I came to ESW as part of a Develop Your Creative Practice funded residency. I was awarded the funding in order to help develop my skills around sculptural production so that I could begin to think about siting my work outdoors. My month here was the third in a row of residencies that started with Cove Park, then took me to SSW and then finally ESW.
Cove was an initial two week period of research in the landscape and wax pattern prep. SSW was a month long residency of ceramic and metal casting fabrication. My time at ESW was to continue with this fabrication and then to build my own furnace too bring back to England so that I could continue to use these new skills that I’ve learnt.
What do you have coming up now once you leave ESW and how can we follow your work?
Once back in England I will continue to work on my furnace and setting up a small backyard foundry. This will potentially include sand moulds and or ceramic shell casting techniques and use propane to fire the furnace in order to cast bronze and ali. I’m currently applying for some funding to learn further skills in TIG welding and to acquire a welder of my own so that I can work on the pieces that I cast. I will also be learning new skills in fibre glassing and ceramics. All of these new skills will then hopefully be used to to develop a whole new body of large scale sculptural pieces that will be exhibited outdoors, although where yet I’m not sure…..hopefully Scotland! You can follow this project developing on my Instagram – www.instagram.com/sebastian_thomas_art or on my website www.sebastianthomas.co.uk