Saturday Art Club

Saturday Art & Design Club – Learning from the professionals!

One of the highlights for the young people who attend the National Saturday Art & Design Club is the opportunity to participate in a masterclass with a professional artist or designer. This year, we were delighted when the Sorrell Foundation announced that Zack Mclaughlin from Paper & Wood would be leading a workshop for the next generation of creative talent at NTU.   You only have to look at his work to understand why we were so pleased; his awe-inspiring birds are breathtakingly real.
Work by Zack Mclaughlin, a kingfisher and a barn owl

Zack Mclaughlin is a London based illustrator who is inspired by nature and creates these beautiful birds out of paper and wood (hence the company name!).  His impressive work has been featured across the globe in window displays for fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren, Paris and Anthropologie.

It takes Zack more than 70 hours to create some of his birds, this includes the time to painstakingly cut more than a thousand paper feathers by hand with a pair of scissors, before taking great care to paint all the realistic details on to each one. His Instagram account shows the breadth of his very detailed work.

Commission work for Ralph Lauren


Before the practical workshop began, Zack kindly gave a brief talk to the Saturday Art & Design Club about his portfolio and his experience of being an illustrator.  As a freelancer, Zack’s work has evolved from illustrating children’s books to creating the bird sculptures.  The inspiration for this change of direction came from experimenting when he created a model of an owl that appeared in one of his children’s books.  Since then he has created numerous sculptures that have caught the media’s attention.

Zack’s talk highlighted that working for yourself in the arts involves resilience and a lot of creative thinking to spot opportunities.  Currently, Paper & Wood sells the birds as artworks to private and commercial buyers, runs workshops on wire model making and showcases Zack’s portfolio of illustrations.  As a freelancer, Zack not only has to create artwork but also promote himself widely to his potential customers on social media as well as doing all the admin to keep the business running.  This insightful talk highlighted to Saturday Art & Design Club that being a working artist requires a lot of hard work and determination but its worth it if you love what you do.

Saturday Art & Design Club hard at work during the masterclass

To gain a greater understanding of Zack’s work, Saturday Art & Design Club participants had the opportunity to create their own birds out of wire.  Each of our budding artists were asked to bring along a selection of images to the workshop of their favourite bird.  The participants were then asked to deconstruct the shapes of their chosen bird and use these simplified shapes to create a 3D wire sculpture.  The results were fantastic!  Everyone’s bird was a different shape or size.  We’re looking forward to showcasing them at the Saturday Art & Design Club exhibitions next month.

·         National Saturday Art & Design Club exhibition, Somerset House, London is open to the public 22 June  to 26 June.

·         Nottingham Trent University, Bonington building is open to the public 27 June to 1 July.

Some of the bird sculptures created by Saturday Art & Design Club


Saturday Art & Design Club had a great time on Saturday and we like to say a HUGE thank you to Zack for taking the time to come and visit us.

For more information about Saturday Art & Design Club at NTU, please contact Sarah Barkley:
Blog Administrator. Currently ran by co-author Emilia Denis. Emilia has studied Fashion Communication and Promotion at NTU between years 2017 and 2020.

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