Insole Inspires

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Will Valentine sitting on his bench in front of the Mansion

Insole Court has inspired many artists, from it’s Gothic Mansion, to the sprawling gardens. Will Valentine has created a beautiful bench as part of his final project for his degree. His exploration of heritage sites has included considering new and unique ways of displaying an archive creatively and the creation of functional interactive experiences to increase engagement within these spaces. Here's a little bit from Will about how the bench came about:

Why did you choose Insole Court?

Upon Visiting Insole Court for the first time, it felt unique to other heritage experiences I have had in the past. As a site tucked away within Llandaff I was taken back by not just how lovely the space itself was, but their approach to presenting the history of it too. It was not covered with text heavy information boards with everything placed behind glass boxes and ropes stopping you from entering here or there. The room which epitomised this for me and inspired me to choose Insole Court was the reading room, where you are encouraged to take a book from the shelf and sit and read. The creation of interactive experiences within heritage spaces is a part of my ongoing research and practice, exploring how the implementation of creative tasks can be used to offer an alternative creatively driven form of learning. With Insole Court being a relatively new public heritage site, It felt like a great place to focus my work and propose this project to them. As an Illustrator I hope to continue collaborating with Insole Court as well as expand my presence to other local heritage sites.

What was the process of creating the designs?

The designs for this project were inspired from researching the history of the house, understanding how it has both aesthetically changed in time as well as its function. Upon my visit I photographed the space using these as reference for the illustrations I completed digitally. Following this I used a laser cutter to engrave into wooden sleepers a friend had kindly helped me prepare. With this taking about 3 hours to fully engrave. This process of laser cutting has extended into the creation of relief print blocks, which through the use of a traditional press I have produced the prints I am selling within the shop. A creative focus which developed through this project is how we may combine contemporary and traditional methods, utilising contemporary technologies alongside the use of traditional mediums.

Will has very kindly given this bench to Insole court and it is currently in the Mansion Foyer, for everyone to enjoy. make sure you head on down to have a look to see the intricate designs, Will would love you to take rubbings from the designs so you can take your own bit of Insole Court home with you. Please also visit our Gift Shop where we are selling several of his prints.

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