West London College student Mariam Eish, who studies Digital Design Level 3 at Ealing Green College, launched the Park Royal Open Workshop – POW – as part of London Craft Week on 8-14 May 2023. POW is a brand-new start-up aiming to empower people by offering hobbyists and aspiring entrepreneurs affordable and safe access to space, equipment and mentorship via an open-access workshop. Mariam not only made a speech at the grand opening, but she also unveiled the POW sign declaring the facility officially open on Friday.
Mariam began working with the ‘Absolute Beginners’ project at Park Royal back in 2020 after careers officers Louise Scully and Jemima Wiredu shared the information with our Art and Design teacher Lorna Acikalin. Absolute Beginners explores how young people can learn to make basic goods in radically sustainable ways.
You can watch the video here of Mariam unveiling the POW sign.
In April, Mariam invited her classmates Hona Saleh and Sara Dehbouzorgi to join a new Absolute Beginners project, working with Park Royal Clay extracted from the grounds of the new train station at Old Oak Common in Park Royal for the High Speed 2 (HS2) train line. Full-time students at West London College, the trio have been giving up their Saturdays to take part in the clay project, which involves making cups and plates to be presented to the project founder, HS2 on Monday 19 June between 10am and 11:30am.
Mariam says: “We work with amazing people in the project like Phil Root who is a university professor and a ceramicist; Tom James, who is an artist and Absolute Beginners director; and Ayşe Köklü, who is a lecturer in Art and Design at Goldsmiths University. They teach us the importance of sustainability in art and design.”
Hona continued: “We learn how you can use anything in creating artwork from found objects like a bucket or a piece of discarded concrete or a rusted iron pipe, just left lying on the streets of Park Royal. They also teach us that you don’t need expensive materials to make art, you can use your hands to press the clay and a cheesegrater to smooth it.”
Sara said: “We want to study interior architecture at university, so finding out how to build the kiln was really insightful for us. The construction techniques we learned will help us when we make our models for the future.
POW is an important landmark in the Park Royal Design District which is based on the Park Royal Industrial Estate. This emerging area of London is characterised by a fascinating mix of industrial-use buildings and factories, interwoven with Lebanese restaurants and artists’ studios.