NewsUCA Farnham

Crafts & Design students and staff exhibit work at the OXO Tower

Students and staff from our School of Crafts & Design have been showcasing their work on London's Southbank as part of London Design Week. Located in the OXO Tower Wharf gallery, the UCA@OXO show saw final pieces of Glass, Ceramics, Jewellery, Metalwork and Textiles postgraduate and undergraduate students showcased, alongside the work of our Artists in Residence. 

Exhibiting graduates included Sheryl Vaughan, who graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) Glass in June. Her sculptural and colourful pieces titled Strike and Delta are inspired by the images created when lightning splits objects. The pieces also pay tribute to how the brain can be split apart by meningitis, which Sheryl suffered from twice in the late 1980s. When exploring lightning splits, Sheryl realised that the striking pattern was found elsewhere in nature: “when you slow lightning right down, it looks like the roots of a tree, veins in the body, tree branches without leaves and a river delta viewed from space. All these things in nature spread out because they're searching or carrying something. They all look like lightning, which look like the neurons in my brain."

Despite not being artistic at all prior to suffering from meningitis, Sheryl has been working in adult art education since and chose to explore glass after completing a qualification in ceramics. She loved every minute of her degree and plans to continue working in glass.


Sheryl Vaughan 1

Fresh from the MA show at our Farnham campus, students Tami Ishida and Natsumi Aragaki exhibited their postgraduate pieces, both inspired by their native country, Japan. Tami's MA work focused on the Japanese tea ceremony and is made up of a series of small cups created from glass cold-working techniques, whilst Natsumi's work was inspired by the 2011 tsunami. Speaking about her work Discussions through Debris, Natsumi said: "I took a broken plate from Kesennuma in East Japan, which was one of the areas most damaged by the tsunami. Each piece has meaning, and I used jewellery and metalwork techniques to create the negative space in different materials."

Sheryl Vaughan 2

UCA alumna and Artist in Residence, Naomi Symmonds, exhibited her new body of work called Division. She has spent her residency further exploring the focus of her degree project Stuck Between Iraq and a Hard Place, which was inspired by barriers in war-torn countries and her brother's death, which occurred while he was serving in the Iraq war in 2003. "My new work has started to look at the more psychological impact of war rather than being something commemorative," explained Naomi. "After a trip this year to see the Berlin Wall, I've been thinking about the struggle of the people and have been inspired by the idea of being able to see through the wall." 

Speaking about her time as an Artist in Residence, she said: "it's been amazing, I can't actually describe it. Looking back now, I realise how much I've done - I've just got stuck in. I've helped UCA students at all levels and managed to create a body of work. I've got ideas for new projects that I'm really looking forward to working on."

The UCA@OXO exhibition is on until 27 September at OXO Tower Wharf. You can find more information at