Workshop with Cally Shadbolt

Locally-based fine artist Cally Shadbolt visited the College in January to talk to us about how to write an artists’ statement, her own work and to hold a workshop with us. I’m going to focus on the activity we did and where it took me creatively! 

Cally graduated from Buckinghamshire New University in 2003 with a BA Hons 1st in Fine Art. She has had 3 solo shows and lots of group shows all over the UK and beyond. 


Samples of Cally’s work that she brought with her. Her work is primarily concerned with the horizon; and her position in relation to that. She observes that there is a spiritual element to her exploration; it is something out of reach, ephemeral.  

Two of Cally’s experiments. This led her towards her exploration of the horizon. We were asked to work out what object had been used to make these patterns, it turned out to be a frisbee with a light on it. There is something quite otherworldly and mesmerising about the trail of the light. Cally then asked us to create a shape out of cardboard. Designing the shape was the easy part, it was quite tricky to cut out of such thick card!

My shape

After we cut our shapes out we were asked to draw around them in a way that would convey their journey across the page.

This is the result after I had altered it using a word from Richard Serra’s verb list. I chose to shade where the gap made by the interior notch created a path across the page. 

Following on from this we draw our shape in a way that would create an approximate circle. I found the movement it conveys really interesting, and put it to one side to return to later. 

After using our shape as a template, we then returned to examining it in isolation. We were asked to duplicate it and then build with it. I chose not to think very carefully about how I was placing the shapes, as I have found it very freeing to ‘feel’ my way and work on instinct when constructing 3D pieces. I was left with a very interesting shape, and I think it could be something to take further in terms of exploring the shapes and negative space it creates translated into 2d. 

Working in this way helped loosen up my practice a bit; I have a tendency towards not developing my ideas, or playing with things in order to generate ideas. Cally’s workshop helped me to break out of that pattern and experiment with basic ideas and movement. 

You can see where I took the circular print here

From 23rd February Cally will be taking part in ‘Accord’ at the Old Fire Station in Oxford showcasing her response to the horizon. 



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