A River artist who uses circles of aluminium from drinks cans to make flexible art has impressed her tutor with photographs of the work taken at the Memorial.
Beverley Williams used the Spitfire replica and the Stuka sculpture at the Memorial as backdrops for her large sheets of linked aluminium circles, draping the material over parts of the aircraft when she visited this summer.
She explained that her work, for a module called “Working from Artefacts” as part of her distance learning Fine Art Textiles degree with the Open College of the Arts (OCA), had been inspired by her late father-in-law’s service in the Royal Air Force during the second world war.
The former accountant explained: “Robert Williams (Bob) was born in North Wales in 1920. During WW2 he served in the RAF in North Africa and Italy. He was an aircraftman, and we think he would have serviced Bristol Beaufighters.
“His war medals were still in the same cardboard box that was used to post the medals to him. They were still in the original wrappings and the medal ribbons were also in the box, having never seen the light of day.
“My research started by looking at Bristol Beaufighters, but I became distracted by the Spitfires flying over Kent, so I soon turned to those. I was also aware that aluminium was used in some components on Spitfires and aware of the Spitfire Fund and the appeal for households to donate their aluminium cooking pans.” Beverley decided to work with aluminium for her final project, using old drinks cans and stitching them together with fine copper wire. She added: “My degree is not about producing a finished item, article or sculpture, but it’s about trying something new, and not many textile artists use aluminium.
“My project has come full circle as Bob worked in the aluminium factory in Dolgarrog, North Wales, for a few years at the end of the 1950s.”
Beverley’s visit to the replica aircraft at Capel-le-Ferne was part of her research to see if aluminium could be draped like fabric and to explore the way in which light reflected from the metal. Having now submitted her work to her tutor, including photographs taken during her visit, Beverley said it had been well received. She now needs to hold an exhibition as part of her last module, beginning after Christmas, and is hoping to display her work in The Wing. Watch this space!