We’re very excited to announce that Lydia Smith, our current Artist-in-Residence at RMS for Girls, will be publishing a fortnightly creative column on our website and via our regular parents communications. Read the first column below to find out more about her work with us at RMS and what this regular column will cover moving forward.

Firstly, welcome back; here’s to 2024. I wish you a year of opportunity, growth, health and happiness!

Let me introduce myself properly for those who may not know me: I’m Lydia Smith, the current Artist-in-Residence at RMS. Click here to rewind to a fab interview from last term and learn more about me!

I have been working on-site since September last year. My job is to create four large-scale sculptures for the grounds of RMS, representing the values and mission statement of the school. This all began with Mrs Nichols, the Head of the Art department.

Photo by Phoebe Wingrove.

She has previously (and continues to) employed me to come in and work with the A-Level students to create sculptures. I’m so impressed by the students I work with; they listen intently and pick up skills quickly. We have created Anatomically correct clay portraits and abstract intuitive ‘Henry Moore-Like’ sculptures.

My own artwork gets compared to Henry Moore’s regularly. I see this as a huge compliment, but I’m proud to say that the student’s works also represent ‘Lydia Smith-like’ attributes. My Artwork can be seen on my website: www.lydiasmith.gallery. Any questions are warmly welcomed!

Photos: Some of the work Lydia has been doing with RMS students in various lessons and workshops.

After a teaching session, Mrs Nichols and I imagined what it would be like if we could create large-scale sculptures and get the students involved. At first, it was two artists using their imagination to develop boundless project possibilities. Then, using my material knowledge and artistic background, combined with Mrs Nichols’s knowledge of the students and the school, together we assembled the perfect pitch to show Headteacher, Mr Carson. All three of us were eager to get started!

My workshop was situated behind the Performing Arts Center (Alex House), which meant that whilst I was working I could hear the stunning sounds of the student’s music lessons taking place.

This reaffirmed to me that RMS prioritises creativity and imagination for its students

Imagination is absolutely critical to the quality of our lives. Imagination gives us the opportunity to envision new possibilities – it is an essential launch pad for making our hopes come true. – Dr van der Kolk

I recently discovered this quote. It has become one of my favourites because it shows that having the skills to think creatively flows into every aspect and field of our lives. If we can’t imagine becoming a top Attorney, Doctor or Plummer, how are we ever supposed to get there?!

Creative learning is not solely for ‘hanging a picture on the wall’; it moulds us into more creative beings, enabling us to reach our goals regardless of our field.

The presence of the sculptures will not only remind the students of the values they share, but also inspire creative thinking through abstract forms and lines.

Creating these works and being submerged into RMS culture has been a privilege

Photos: Be More Like A Horse – By Lydia Smith,  Foreign Body – By Lydia Smith, Internal Universe – By Lydia Smith.

I will release a fortnightly creative column (subsequent release on 19th January) to give you insights into the creative process and experience of being the RMS Artist-in-Residence. This column will lay out the project’s story, building up to the grand finale – the unveiling of the sculptures at the end of March. Which, of course, you are invited to.

Until next time.

Yours sincerely,
Lydia Smith