Takako Jin

As well as woodcarving and gilding, the course covered a wide range of disciplines, from fundamentals such as drawing, modelling and casting to more specialised areas of practice like lettering and bronze casting. Each discipline has a distinct skillset, but all of them are closely related to one another and ultimately feed back into woodcarving, and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to develop all of these practices at the same time. It supported me to build a solid foundation to continue developing skills in many different directions and opened up possibilities that enabled me to work in a very versatile way.

I received some brilliant teaching from tutors who were passionate about their disciplines, and I have ended up working with quite a few of my tutors after graduating from the Art School. This is also one of the special things about the Art School; you become part of a community that includes your peers and your tutors, and you stay in that community when you complete the course and start working in the industry.
The City & Guilds of London Art School was also very supportive in other ways, and there were a number of prizes and bursaries available to students. I received the Idun Ravndal travel bursary for a study trip to Norway in the first year, and the David Ballardie travel award in the second year, which enabled me to travel to Italy to research Renaissance carving and sculpture. I also received support towards my tuition fees from the Le Cras bursary in the first year and The Sheepdrove Trust bursary in the second and third year.

What projects were you involved in while studying at the Art School?
In my first year, the Historic Carving Department collaborated with architects at Studio Weave on a project to create a new public space near Bank, on the site of a Romanesque Church that burned down in 1666. The woodcarving students each designed a set of oak benches with Romanesque style designs, and we had about 10 solid weeks of paid carving work during the summer holiday, which was a brilliant experience and we learned such a lot from working on a live commission.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee coincided with my second year, and the Historic Carving department designed and created the helm sculpture on the Royal Barge. Along with many of the students from wood and stone carving, I had the opportunity to work on some of the modelling of the sculptural elements as well as oil gilding the finished sculptures. We were all very proud to see the Barge in action at the Jubilee event looking rather splendid..

What are you up to now?
After three years as a freelance woodcarver working on a variety of commissions including a projects in carving, designing, restoration and gilding, for institutions, famous contemporary artists as well as individuals, I was offered a position at Carvers and Gilders Ltd in Battersea. This is one of the countries leading workshops specialising in 18th century giltwood furniture. I currently work there as a conservator and restorer, while continuing a freelance woodcarving and sculpture practice at my own workshop near Kennington.

Takako Jin received bursaries from Le Cras and Sheepdrove Trust. She was awarded the Idun Randal Travel Award and won the Brian Till Art History Prize and the Gilding and Decorative Surfaces Prize.  


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