Steps to Self-employment

Welcome to the Creative Connections Blog, a place to find out the latest course info for the 'Steps to Self-Employment' programme at Wolverhampton Adult Education Service. Find useful links to support and information for freelance artists as well as links to Wolverhampton's cultural scene.

The image above shows a detail of a painting by Steve Edwards from our recent exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery, which also featured, Paula Kovacs, Sharon Samuel David Morrin and Ruth Watkins.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Artists taking part in the programme February - May 2011

Sarah Harvey


Originally an archaeological illustrator, Sarah gained her 2:1 BA Hons degree in Textile Design in 2006. Using skills from her degree and those from her time as an illustrator Sarah has developed a range of areas of interest.
Using traditional dip pen and ink Sarah has created a range of “Presents from the past”. Items that have been abandoned and discarded are decorated with bits and bobs from forgotten sewing tins, drawers and cupboards, are then wrapped and decorated as a “gift” from history. These are then illustrated as an archaeological “find”.
Sarah has also recently studied silver jewellery and incorporates this with crochet, glass and semi-precious stones and recycled items to make unique jewellery.

Bridget Robertson

The Mystery of Morocco

The narrow streets of Fez and Marrakech, wide enough for laden donkeys, echo with the shouts of metal workers, children and every kind of vendor. These are dark and dusty, constantly hammering with sounds but  you find beautiful doorways which  lead you into fountain courtyards.  There, Islamic tiles, carved wood, plants, fresh rose petals and the sound of water will cool you.

This group of pastels  study some of those mysterious doorways and delicate traditions of decoration,  others create the mood of the shore, also in the haunting lands of Morocco, where North Africa sweeps into the Atlantic Ocean.

My travels around Morocco and the lingering impression of its atmosphere and magic,  have inspired much of my recent work in oils , mixed media and pastel. The sense of time, reflected in ancient art, hand- crafted  objects and their dazzling settings, has remained with me.

 Edward Fazekas

The aim of Edward's work is to examine the metaphorical and emotional moments of life. His work is inspired by the mindscape and how this in itself is affected by the way that we perceive the world around us. This work ranges from cartoons and animations to watercolours, paintings and life drawings. The art is therefore accessible and engaging to a wide audience.
As an Artist/Animator living in Wolverhampton, and also working within education, Edward has been involved in numerous projects over the last decade in the Black Country area. Work has included the creation of a stop motion animation DVD with
Students with learning disabilities attending the Jane Lane Special School in Walsall, and more recently, a project at Base 25 youth provision in Wolverhampton, producing a DVD with young people to promote anti bullying for homophobia in schools in the area. The artist also currently teaches animation at North West Wolverhampton Academy, using animation techniques to engage students of all ages.
The artist holds a BA (HONS) Degree in Animation from Wolverhampton University, and is keen for his art work to submerge back into the local community. The flexibility of his business is demonstrated in the wider work of tattoo design, and logo design for local businesses.

Cleone Abbs

Cleone’s paintings are the experimental re-workings of her direct response to nature and to her imaginative inner worlds. She aims to capture the mystery, vitality and the rich diversity of both. She wants the view to emotionally connect with the painting and to share in the life and energy of the creative process.
Part of the excitement of painting lies in discovery, solving design problems, playing with materials, modifying, simplifying and constantly reworking the surface in a spontaneous and vital manner, aiming towards an expressionist quality. She does not interpret too literally nor wishes to have too precise or too clear a vision of the finished work. It is the painting process itself which holds her main interest.
The mysteries of colour are a continual sources of study and delight to her and she feels this to be of major importance towards giving expression, depth and life to her paintings.

Dawn Jones

Dawn Jones is a Midland based artist who specialises in detailed paintings and drawings, that aim to capture the beauty of nature.
She also takes inspiration from the urban landscape and the diverse society around her which is evident in her earlier works.
As a young child she would take herself off into her own secret world, sketching images of wildlife and the countryside.
Her influences vary from Shepherd, Constable, Monet and Turner through to Tiffany, Dali and Escher to name a few.
This year Dawn's recent painting 'Winter Wonder' has been published in the 'Love From Me' project book, containing artwork and photography by artists from across the world, in aid of a cancer charity.
Keen to help charities close to her heart, later this year Dawn is donating further artworks to the 'Faces Of Africa' charity exhibition, taking place in Ireland, which supports various African based charities, and the 'Trees For Life' charity exhibition, being held in Edinburgh, its aim being to help replenish the Caledonian forests. .
Working in a variety of mediums Dawn currently exhibits selected works twice a year locally and has completed a number of commissions including wildlife studies, pet portraits, portraits and landscapes. For further information please visit or email

Rupert Smithson

Rupert is an abstract artist who works from Eagleworks Studios in Wolverhampton.

Rupert has rejected the more traditional approach such as landscape, portraiture and even the use of paint brushes and has concentrated on the medium itself using acrylic, oil and house-hold paint in order to convey a sense of depth within a two-dimensional format. The paintings owe their evolution and existence to the surrounding elements (traffic, people, sounds, change of weather etc) and are intended to make the viewer consider, ‘what is art?’

Thought provoking and contemplative.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Creative Connections - Survival skills for artists

'Michael Jackson' painting by Bashir Chamberlain - course showcase 2010

Paintings and Wallhangings by Sarah James - Course Showcase 2010

Wolverhampton Adult Education Service offers a unique
programme for artists who are considering self-employment.

Creative Connections aims to equip artists with the essential skills to help them make a living. During the course you will be encouraged to explore ways of working as an artist and hone the following skills:
  • Confidence in talking about your work and approaching and negotiating with organisations
  • Compiling a relevant CV and artist's statement
  • Understanding pricing, invoicing and tax
  • Identifying promotional tools including social networking
  • Seeking opportunities
  • How to capitalise on local knowledge and resources 
  • All this is done in a friendly and supportive environment where you can meet like- minded people.
The next 15 week course starts in September 2012  on Tuesdays from 1-3pm at Bilston Craft Gallery.
Who can take part?
It is suitable for artists working in a variety of disciplines. This has included painting, photography, textiles, jewellery, glass, ceramics, illustration and many more.
Participants are normally graduates in their art form or artists with considerable experience of their discipline area.
What does the course involve?
The sessions will incorporate seminars with group discussion, individual tasks and visiting speakers. During the daytime programme visits will be incorporated where relevant. Towards the end of each course there’s an opportunity to participate in a showcase exhibition to take place in Wolverhampton city centre.
Over the last decade the course has supported many artists making their first steps into self -employment or arts related employment, for example; selling work through craft fairs and exhibitions, working in schools, arts and health, gallery education work, arts development, public art commissions and community arts.
Artists who complete the course successfully, benefit from increased confidence and direction and a ‘Toolkit’ to assist them in the development of their career.
I’m interested, how can I find out more?
Enrolment is taking place now, for further information call the Adult Education Service on 01902 558180. You can also follow our Twitter account at @creativewton for useful tips and opportunities for artists.
The course costs £99, if you are in receipt of JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) or Work related ESA (Employment Support Allowance) you will be exempt from fees. Those on other benefits may receive some support on a discretionary basis.

Comments from previous learners;
“The group discussions and assignments are all designed to increase knowledge and develop a range of skills that are rarely taught at university or art college. “

“I still keep work diaries and use time-lines, tools I learned on the course. I gained in self-confidence, met like-minded people and have sold some work.”
“I found the course really useful because it made me focus on how I want to use my creative skills to find work”

Sculptures by Marja Bonada -