Lucan Willis says he is a maker at heart. It’s therefore no surprise that enrolling at The Learning Connexion was one of the best decisions he’s made.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot, especially in terms of my personal identity as an artist and what style that brings. My work definitely feels a lot more cohesive since enrolling at TLC, and I’m excited to see how I continue to build on that.”
Lucan made the decision to enrol at TLC after what he calls “an extremely flat Covid-controlled 2020”. It’s a familiar story – more and more people are reassessing their life situations in the midst of the current pandemic.
“TLC is the only place I have heard of that offers bladesmithing at a tertiary level of study,” he says. “I’ve had such an amazing time learning and creating that my previous thinking of not attending any tertiary education went out the door.”
Lucan says it is TLC’s ‘hands-on’ philosophy that he really connects with. “The thing that drew me to TLC in the first place is the hands-on practical approach to art that is practiced and encouraged. TLC doesn't force anyone into a specific direction or require a certain amount of 'art waffle' to validate your work. This is a place of true artistic freedom."
"I love creating things with my own hands and I love the way we can connect to objects through touch. It is only natural that I have found my place in the art world creating knives and jewellery, both with physical interaction at their core."
But it was the expertise and experience of knife-making tutor Dennis Berdinner that really won him over. “His wealth of knowledge, passion for hot arts and practical teaching style was what solidified that this was the right place for me to grow as an artist.”
Lucan says he’s excited about jumping headfirst into the expansive world of pattern welded steel, commonly known as Damascus. His fascination with metal also extends to jewellery making, and he sees a strong parallel between the two disciplines.
"I think the longevity of working in metal is a huge attraction to me. I love the history you get from ancient artifacts and the stories that you can get from an item or piece of art that has stood the test of time.”
“I get very drawn into tiny, fine detail work in my jewellery and I can see and feel that influence seeping into my knives via filework or my desire to work with Damascus steel.”
His enthusiasm for TLC extends to its friendly, supportive environment. “Every time I come to campus I feel like I’m entering a hidden sanctuary of positivity."
Lucan says his ultimate goal is to run a business selling his work, but for the time being, he is enjoying the process of getting there. “Most of all I want to learn as much as I can about knife-making and the aspects of jewellery that make me tick, so that my imagination is not held back by my physical ability to create."
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