The cream of the north east ‘s young artists and designers will be putting their talents on show at the opening night of the degree show titled ‘Northern Collective’ at Cleveland College of Art and Design’s (CCAD) new £11m building in Hartlepool on 1 June.

Students will be exhibiting their works from ten degree courses at an exhibition at the leading specialist art and design college, including fashion, textiles, illustration and creative film.

As final preparations get underway at the College for the private viewing on Thursday 1 June, students are also putting the final touches to their work in anticipation of the thousands of visitors expected to see the exhibition over the next nine days.

Helen Crute with the nominated Somme image from the AOP Student Award

Helen Crute, 69, from Neasham in Darlington, is a final year student on the photography degree course and has also been shortlisted for the Association of Photographers (AOP) Student Awards 2017 for her evocative work.

Her final major project – which will be featured at the degree show – was inspired by seeing the Somme Crosses in Durham Cathedral, and the landscape photographer visited The Somme as part of her research.

“Photographs prompt memory and show people and places which no longer exist; they remind us of our past or inspire joy or tears. I visited the battlefields of the Somme as part of my final year’s work, as I wanted to remind people of the sacrifices made during the First World War. Seeing the “Somme Crosses” in Durham Cathedral moved me immensely. They stood on the battlefields 100 years ago where thousands of men, on both sides, died.

“I was delighted and excited to hear that I had been nominated for an AOP Student Award, you could have knocked me down with a feather! It has been such a lot of hard work, with lots of early mornings and late nights, and endless chocolate!

“I am really looking forward to the show and I think the standard at previous shows has been fantastic. This has been the most amazing experience of my life and has opened windows to a world I didn’t know. It has inspired me and, as a (very) mature student, it has rejuvenated me.”

A selection of artwork from production design student Mel Gettings

34-year-old production design for stage and screen student, Mel Gettings, from Hartlepool, will be showcasing her talents of set design and scenic paining, with inspiration from composer and performer, Kate Bush.

Mel said: “For my final major project, I chose the 2007 composition “Lily”, from the Red Shoes album, as I was – and still am – inspired by both the spiritual and ethereal nature of the character and the lyrics.”

Concentrating on one element of a set design for a prospective video shoot, Mel’s piece is a combination of scenic painting, manufacturing and assembling props to give the effect of low-relief sculptural elements, all presented on three faces of a regular hexagon.

She continued: “I had a fantastic opportunity to work as part of the art department during the filming of ‘Hospital People’ at the University Hospital of Hartlepool. This led to many late nights both at home and at college, designing and constructing my final piece for the degree show.

“Over the last three years at CCAD, I have been very fortunate to have been able to participate in work placements for a total of 14 weeks. The placements varied from working as part of a team distressing props for ‘Beowulf’, constructing and dressing sets for ‘Scream Factory’ and culminating in two separate opportunities working with Roughcut Productions on both the pilot and the complete first series of ‘Hospital People.”

Mel added; “After three years of hard work, I am looking forward to the degree show and I must admit that I am genuinely excited. My close family and friends will be attending, including two friends who are making the journey from their home in France.”

The degree show is open to the public from 10am until 4pm on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June, 10am until 8pm Monday 5 until Friday 9 June and 10am until 4pm on Saturday 10 June.

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