FdA Level 1 Final Piece – ‘Ackerthrop’

With the first year done and dusted, I am writing a bit more about my final piece for year one: ‘Ackerthrop’

The Brief

Unlike last year where I had to write a proposal, we were given a brief that instructed to us to work with the concept of play. In my initial explorations, I looked at concepts that were closely tied with childhood; nurseries, toys and games. My interest in Marching Bands (playing music) was the thread that lead me through into examining the playful elements of village life and from there it was a small jump into playing with the way villages are portrayed in their village signs.

My Original Ideas

I looked to the house I used to draw repeatedly with my Grandmother for inspiration and came up with some ideas for jewellery both ceramic and acrylic. I played with straws, balls and other toys.

I later converted this video into a simple flick book.



I started off by identifying various things that are visually disturbing in villages. I then created a survey that was completed by over 70 people about their feelings on modern village life. With this in hand, I set off on the bus to visit local villages and take photos of the things highlighted in the survey.

I also researched place names in England to create a name with the right meaning for my purposes. The name I came up with essentially means “nameless land” I felt it was important to anonymise the village so as not to create tension with any villages locally.


Originally, I wanted to create the sign out of wood and then paint it with black2.0. This didn’t happen because I wasn’t happy with the loss of detail resulting from using the laser cutter on wood (where it burns away rather than melting, it’s a lot more unpredictable than using acrylic) so chose to use acrylic instead.

I did not change the design from my original sketch aside from some finessing and smoothing in Illustrator. This was the first time I have used Illustrator and despite a bit of a learning curve I found it fairly easy to get to grips with. 

End Result

My final piece. Suspended from fishing wire in front of two photographs I took during my field research: one of a local village church, one of a new housing development on the outskirts of a village.

How I Feel About It

As with last year, I can see where I fell short of truly pushing myself. I find it difficult to push through ideas further than my initial vision. That isn’t to say I am displeased with the end result; it came out well on the acrylic and I am happy with how I staged it. Admittedly I should have hung it so it would look how I desired it to people other than myself and others the same height as me, so that is something to take into consideration when presenting my work in the future. 

I feel that I have expressed what I intended to; the divisions and challenges that are part of rural life that fall short of the country idyll. 

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