Skip to main content Go to Site Map
Metal plaques hung on string in the AUB courtyard.

Darcy Miller – Materials, park bench plaques and human connection


  • Student Journal
  • |
  • Fine Art


I’m very lucky to have grown up in a household that prioritised creativity as much as academic endeavours. This made my love for creating art second nature, and something I felt very strongly about pursuing. Over the years, I’ve experimented with many mediums such as painting, textiles, ceramics, photography, and I’m currently exploring my affinity for sculpture, specifically kinetic sculpture.

I’ve always been very material-driven. What excites me most is the possibility to manipulate a certain material to work or move in an unexpected way. With each new material, I first dissect its specific values and figure out what it is about that medium that gets the brain ticking, whether it be the colour or the way something can bend, for example. Then I start to delve into the aesthetic concepts such as shape, tone, light, and movement, and how I can explore each component to create something visually captivating.

I’ve found the technical support at AUB to be a crucial part of developing my practice. I joined the BA (Hons) Fine Art course as a painter and had never particularly entertained the idea of sculpture, and now I couldn’t imagine myself not thinking in a 3D aspect. Having a team of people with such varied practices is something I’ve taken advantage of as I’ve expanded into different departments such as metalwork.

In the last two years, I’ve found myself continuously gravitating towards metal and wire, the possibilities of pairing industrial materials with softer, more organic forms has been a driving force in my practice.

In my second year, I created a sculpture that hung from the pergola outside the Illustration department. The installation explored the ideas of legacy and memory through park bench plaques. These plaques have been an interest of mine for some time; the idea of something so personal and intimate becoming public property, dotted in a million different locations, was particularly fascinating to me. Despite all being so individual, the element that links all these stories together is that the plaques always remain positive, despite most of them being about something tragic. They are so full of love and human connection which is something I wanted to focus on.

Using a variety of metals, I created plaque-sized tiles which I chemically rusted to create earthy tones and textures that emulate the passing of time. As well as the rusted tiles, I experimented with different textures which I imprinted into the metal. I was particularly interested in more organic forms and shapes to emulate the locations of a lot of the benches. I imprinted branches, gravel and lace, which achieved the appearance of bark. Once I had my tiles together, I strung them vertically and hooked them over the pergola to create an immersive installation which moved and danced in the wind.

As of now, I’m in second year and I hope to keep growing my skillsets and venture into different departments within AUB, hopefully working towards a final major project I am particularly proud of. I’m currently preparing for an exhibition at the Bournemouth Natural Science Society where I’m working on merging electronic circuits into my practise. If all goes well, this will allow my sculptures to move independently and bring them a new lease of life.

Once I finish my degree, I hope to become a qualified teacher in fine art and work with students at college or degree level, continuing to be surrounded by, and discussing, the field that I feel so passionately about.

Check out more of Darcy's work on Instagram.

Something to think about

If you liked this post you might be interested in BA (Hons) Fine Art

Explore Categories