Art to rock your world: Postgraduates display weird and wonderful works

Art theorist Elena Dolcini
Art theorist Elena Dolcini
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FROM a rocking chair for snuggling pensioners to an environmentally-friendly skateboard made from grass, the weird and wonderful designs of Edinburgh students are to go on display.

The annual Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Degree Show features the work of more than 50 graduating artists working in a range of disciplines, including contemporary art, architecture, jewellery, interior design, costume, animation and illustration.

The tandem rocking chair by Gieun Loon

The tandem rocking chair by Gieun Loon

Among the creations this year is an anti-consumerist board game, a bedtime toy that uses light, touch, sound and scents to help insomnia sufferers, and work inspired by Glasgow indie band Belle and Sebastian.

One of the main talking points will be Barry Liston’s Grasshopper skateboard. Around 95 per cent of skateboards made in America are made from maple wood and in 2008 boards overtook furniture as the main contributor to deforestation of maple trees. However, Barry’s board is made from renewable materials such as bamboo and hemp – both classified as types of grass.

He says his decks are also five per cent stronger, ten per cent lighter and nine per cent more flexible than standard maple decks.

The 27-year-old, who spent around ten months on his creation, said: “I have a background in mechanical testing and I also have a degree in furniture design and manufacture, so I wanted to transfer that to my project. I don’t skateboard – I used to a few years ago but I broke my leg after falling off ten years ago!”

The Grasshopper skateboard

The Grasshopper skateboard

Previous shows have launched the careers of Turner Prize and Bafta winners. For this year’s show, designer Gieun Loon created a rocking chair for two people, designed to encourage older couples to be physically closer.

The idea is that the “playful act of rocking on the lounger will take the users back to their youth, promoting fun and intimacy”.

Art theorist Elena Dolcini curated a series of works inspired by the Belle and Sebastian album, If You’re Feeling Sinister. The student asked several visual artists, musicians and writers to interpret different songs from the album in their own medium. Jeweller Heather Woof’s creations of heat-coloured titanium and other metals have already been selected for exhibitions around the UK, including the Barbican and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The Masters of Contemporary Art show is in Room C19 of the College’s main building on Lauriston Place. All other exhibitions are in Evolution House at Westport. The postgraduate degree show is free and runs from 10am to 5pm until August 26.

laura.cummings@edinburghnews.com