The RGI Graduate Award is awarded to emerging artists at the GSA Degree show, in recognition of outstanding work. The three recipients, Charlotte Hayes, Megan Squire and Charlotte Elizabeth, are all recent graduates from The Glasgow School of Art (GSA). The winners, from the School of Fine Arts, were selected by the RGI artist judging panel which consisted of Thyme James, Sean Ellcombe and the RGI President Adrian Wiszniewski RSA, Hon FRIAS, HRSW. We interviewed (socially distanced) each of the artists about what winning the award has meant to them, how they are coping with lockdown life and about the upcoming exhibition. The RGI Graduate Award Exhibition has been rescheduled for June 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.* Today, we talk to Charlotte Hayes. About the Artist Charlotte Hayes Excavating alternative histories with silk, air drying clay and polymorph, my work occupies territories between fictional narratives, scientific discoveries and skilful crafting. I create sculptures which come to exist through the surveyal of museum-objects and characters from folk stories. The combination between recognisable and unidentifiable imagery creates a sense of familiarity, while still being ‘other’. Taking the form of sculpture and installation my artworks adapt existing narratives which explore ritualistic behaviours and objects. Rendering alternative histories which blur fiction and myth, I divert from subjects that deem inaccessible to the masses. Storytelling through the objects I make is a crucial element to my work. Using hands-on materials such as fabrics, ceramics and beads is the foundation to my practice, rooting in a fundamental notion of craft. How did the RGI Prize help with your practice? The RGI prize and exhibition have given me an incentive to make more during a never-ending lockdown! It’s exciting to have a great space to place in new work in. Connecting with Charlotte and Megan has been fab as they both had a similar graduating experience to me. I have also been able to rent a studio space at Torrisdale Studios with the prize money from RGI helping me to expand my practice. What do you hope to achieve with the RGI Exhibition? I’m very excited to have an exhibition which people can interact with physically and not through a screen. I am planning to make sculptures which stand freely in the gallery space. The big window at the front of the RGI gallery invites people to look inside. It offers an opportunity for a glimpse into the exhibition on the way home. I am definitively considering the perspective of passers-by when curating the show. What do they have planned since graduating? Since Graduation I have been collaborating with my friend Lotte Schaeff, who is based in London. We met during our art foundation at Leeds College of Art. Making work with Lotte has energised both of our practices. We are both keen crafters and the objects we fabricate together are animated and lively. The works shown in the photos below were produced from our collaboration. How have you been making/producing work during a global pandemic? I have been lucky to find a studio around the corner from my house. It has been invaluable for my practice. Adapting my work to an online format has been a challenge. I have discovered the power a work’s title can have in guiding the notion of narrative in relation to the objects I make. Histories are central to my practice. At the beginning of lockdown, I felt like I was failing because I wasn’t making all the time. My view on what it means to make a fully finished artwork has changed. I have learnt to enjoy making with my hands, with materials that interest me. Now, I appreciate tasks which are unintentionally creative, like fixing an old coat or painting my bedroom walls. Works by the Artist: ‘Skin’ by Charlotte Hayes. ‘Rat King’ by Charlotte Hayes. ‘Hogman’ by Charlotte Hayes. ‘Lucky Pots’ by Charlotte Hayes. Mixed media. ‘Skin’ by Charlotte Hayes.