A Brighter Summer: Our First Staycation Exploring Lighting

As we emerged from months of lockdown, Blackhorse Workshop held our first Staycation course looking towards a brighter future – an Exploration into Lighting Design. 

We invited Rachael Barker, metalworker and skilled craftsperson, to guide our group through an intensive journey of designing, prototyping and making over 6 days, producing unique lights to take home and enjoy. Was there light at the end of the tunnel? Read on to find out….

DAY 1: INDUCTIONS + INSPIRATIONS

On the first day, we ran a full day of comprehensive inductions, including Metal, Hand Tools, and Brazing.  Participants shared images of designs that inspired them, and we met lighting designer Marc Wood for an evening talk on the successes of his career.

DAY 2: RESEARCH + DEVELOPMENT

We began diving into the design process on Day 2, with exercises in idea generation, mood boards, sketching and prototyping. Each of the participants created very different and unique designs, and the scale of their ambition was matched by the tutors! We had long conversations sharing ideas about suitable materials and processes, ready to start getting our hands dirty on Day 3.

DAY 3: FINAL PROTOTYPES + MAKING BEGINS

We spent the first half of Day 3 having 1:1 conversations with each participant, helped along by Marc Wood and his assistant Riya. By lunchtime we were rearing to go, and as some participants created scale models of their final piece, others got stuck in and started practicing their new skills in metalwork.

DAY 4: MAKE, MAKE, MAKE!

We spent a full day in the Workshop making, along with our new Programme Technician Saadiqah’s support. It was an intensive day of pure making, where participants had some successes and some failures in developing their designs – with lots of fun along the way.

DAY 5: MORE MAKE!

It was crunch time now, as we reached the penultimate day of the course with plenty of new skills in welding and brazing under our belts. Our group stormed ahead and made huge progress on their designs, which was rewarded with some nice cold beers at the end of the day at our neighbours Exale Brewery.

DAY 6: FINAL COUNTDOWN

The final day came quickly and after a week using up all our physical and mental reserves, it was a big push to get to the finish line. We were thrilled to see some of our participants complete their lights, with others coming back the following week to “fly solo” and practice their skills independently to finish. Here’s what some of our participants had to say:

“I had an amazing week, it was so good to learn from Xenia, Rachael, Toby and Saadiqah!! Amazing staff, amazing workshop.” 

“There’s nowhere else I could do a course like this in lighting.”

“Amazing course!”

“I enjoyed the Blackhorse Workshop vibes most!”

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