Quay Arts is delighted to be working with new tutor India Allin who will be running a ‘Sculptural Pasterwork‘ Course starting on 17th February. We asked India a few questions to introduce herself and her beautiful work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you became an artist/maker ?
I was born & raised in Hertfordshire, and moved to London to study prop making at a drama school in 2014. I’ve always enjoyed a range of arts & crafts based hobbies, but have always leaned heavier towards 3D work and prop making was a fantastic entry point to making creative work actually pay the bills. I transitioned from prop making to decorative arts a few years ago when I took a job making bespoke artworks and finishes for luxury interior design projects. This is where I discovered relief sculpture as an art form and really got to practice and develop my skills working on sculptural plasterwork pieces. I fell in love with the craft and the aesthetic of the finished pieces, and haven’t stopped practising since. I’ve now founded my own decorative arts studio, Studio Delma, where I make bespoke & ready-to-hang sculptural plaster artworks and specialist paint finishes for interiors, as well as offering creative workshops & private art tuition.
Why move back to the Island what does it offer?
I’m very new to the Island, having only moved here in August 2023. I’ve been visiting for most of my life as I have family here, and it’s always been a place very close to my heart. I felt it was my time to leave London, and there was no other place that I felt such a connection with, and that I felt could offer me what I was searching for; Somewhere with a real sense of community, a tight knit place with a strong artistic presence, and plenty of open spaces & nature to explore and be inspired by. It’s not been long but I absolutely love living here and everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming and encouraging.
Who/what are your artistic influences?
I take inspiration from nature, as most artists will say. It is an endless supply of ideas, from colours, textures, shapes, and feelings, to composition. I’m always taking photos of the textures in the cliffs on a beach, or the bark of a tree, or the shape of a particularly interesting leaf! I’ll scroll back through when I’m planning out a new piece and pick out bits that I want to recreate or reinterpret in my own way. I also love looking through books of old wildlife and botanical illustrations, and I’m always finding myself drawn to sculpting birds.
What can participants expect from your ‘Sculptural Plasterwork’ course?
The course is a chance to turn your hand to a really exciting craft, something that has been around for many many centuries but still isn’t widely popularised. People may feel intimidated to start as a beginner because it’s often very intricate work, but it’s actually very easy to pick up, and once you understand the process and have a feel for the tools and materials it has endless possibilities and is a very affordable art form to practice. It’s very satisfying & therapeutic for some, planning your artwork, building up the plaster into a 3D form, then carefully carving and sanding away until the shapes and depths match your vision, adding intricate details to bring it to life. Participants on the course will finish with their own artwork, but will also have all the knowledge they need to go home and experiment with sculptural plasterwork independently. It’s something a little bit different; not many people are familiar with sculptural plasterwork in this sense, but the effect of the artwork is a really striking conversation piece.
Best creative advice you’ve been given?
It’s not strictly creative advice, but knowing that there will always someone you perceive to be “better than you” at what you are doing, accepting that fact, and not letting it discourage or discount the significance of your own work. It’s easy, particularly when learning a new skill, to want to give up when your work isn’t coming out how you want it to and people around you seem to be churning it out easily and more beautifully. Creativity should be a place of fun, exploration & personal development, not for competing with others or tearing yourself down. Doing something perfectly is overrated, and frankly impossible.
What are your creative ambitions for 2024?
Artistically, this year I want to push myself out of my comfort zone by experimenting with different styles and subject matter. I find it all to easy to find something that works for me and just stick with it. I also want to connect with other artists on the Island to plan events that will help contribute to the thriving arts scene, run more workshops throughout the year, and I’m looking forward to exhibiting my work on the Isle of Wight.
* EXHIBITION: India will be having an exhibition of her work on the Café Wall at Quay Arts from the 20th January to the 19th February*