Subject specific vocabulary

The following subject specific vocabulary provides definitions of key terms used in AQA’s GCSE Art and Design specification.

Abstract art

Art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality, but instead uses shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect.

Abstract expressionism

A development of abstract art which originated in New York in the 1940s and 1950s aimed at subjective emotional expression with particular emphasis on the spontaneous creative act.


Automatic exposure.

Aerial perspective

The perception of depth or distance caused by atmospheric haze affecting the colour of light reaching the lens.


Abbreviation for “Autofocus”.


A propellant using compressed air to spray a liquid, such as paint, and ink.


The adjustment of arrangement or position in lines of a text or an image – for example, left, right, centered.

Ambient light

Already existing light surrounding a subject – available light.

American Kitsch

Characterised by its script fonts, informal shapes, and cartoon-like illustrations. From this style arose the popularity of caricatures and advertisements of the 1950s.

Analytical cubism

The name given to the early phase of cubism, from about 1908–12. The subject was viewed from multiple viewpoints and recreated in fragmented and overlapping shapes.


Belonging to the very distant past and no longer in existence.

Angle of view

Also known as the “Field of view,” it is the width of the view produced by a lens. Wide-angle lenses have a wider angle of view than telephoto lenses.


Generating movement by displaying a series of images using frames.


The hole behind the lens, through which light passes to strike the image sensor or the film.

Aperture priority (also called Aperture Value or AV)

A setting on the camera that allows it to automatically determine the correct shutter speed.


The technique where one fabric is layered or applied on-top of another and secured in place by hand or machine stitching.


A technique in etching to create tonal areas.

Area of study

Each title contains a number of ‘areas of study’. Students are required to select one or more to work in when developing their portfolio submissions. These include for example drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, illustration, typography, ceramics, jewellery and body adornment, installation and the moving image. For Art, craft and design, students are required to work in areas of study from two or more titles.

Art, Craft and Design

The term ‘Art and Design’ has now changed to ‘Art, craft and design’ to encompass a broad course associated with two or more of the endorsed titles. It should take into account the specific qualities and practices of art-based study (such as personal work that conveys an experience or responds to an idea, theme or issue); craft-based study (such as practical work involving making activities) and design-based study (such as working within the requirements or constraints of a brief or starting point).


A rigid framework, often wood or steel, used to support a sculpture or other large work while it is being made.

Art deco

Decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterised by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colours, used most notably in household objects and in architecture.

Art nouveau

A style of decorative art, architecture, and design prominent in Western Europe and the USA from about 1890 until the First World War and characterised by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.


Art that is made by assembling disparate elements which are often scavenged by the artist, or sometimes bought specially.


This is when graphics and/or text are not identical on both sides of a central line.


Occurs when a camera is set to automatically bracket exposures for a series of images when you press the shutter release one time.


Facility on a camera to focus automatically on an object.


Avant-garde ​ideas, ​styles, and ​methods are very ​original or ​modern in ​comparison to the ​period in which they ​happen.


Lighting from behind the subject.

Bas relief

Sculpture in which figures project only slightly from a background, as on a coin. Also known as low relief sculpture.


The application of hot wax onto cloth to create a pattern or design. When dye is applied the waxed area resists the colour. Once dry, successive applications of wax and dye can be applied in layers to create intricate patterns. The process can often be found on textiles from Indonesia and India.


A liquid medium that is mixed with a pigment or colour concentrate to form a dye. Often used in the screen printing processes.

Biscuit ware

Refers to pottery that has been fired but not yet glazed.


A series of bits that forms a structure representing a graphic image. The colour of each pixel is individually defined.


Describes the action of one colour running into another. Most applicable to watercolour where a second or third colour can be dropped onto an already applied wash while wet.

Bleeding (textiles)

The blending or merging together of different colours when applied to a wet fabric. The escape of dye from under a stencil into an unexpected area during screen printing.

Block print

Fabric that has been hand printed using carved wooden printing blocks.


Refers to prepared clay. Usually mixtures of clays with different characteristics.

Body colour

Refers to the use of opaque pigment in watercolour. It is often called gouache.

Body type

The typeface used in the main text of a printed matter.


A paper backed glue fibre which when heated with an iron will adhere to fabric. It can be used to hold layered fabrics in place prior to stitching.


The decorative design or edge of a surface, line, or area that forms its outer boundary.


A Japanese textile which has been created or reworked using patchwork, mending and stitching processes.


The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.


A construction or artwork using any found materials.


A designer’s brief, or creative brief, is what a client will give to a designer to help them come up with a creative solution or set of concepts.


Refers to the way paint is applied in a painting, describing texture of the paint surface applied with a brush.


The act of rubbing greenware (clay) with any smooth tool to polish it, and tighten the surface.


Unbleached cotton.

Camera angle

Same as “viewpoint”. The position of the camera in relation to the position of the subject.


Candid photographs unposed.


A term originally used to describe the preparatory drawing for a painting, mural, tapestry and stained glass, which changed its definition in the nineteenth century to humorous illustrations then again to sequences of illustrations forming a story.


A technique used by sculptors using tools such as chisels and files to cut or scrape away from a solid material such as stone or wood.


The pouring of liquid clay into plaster moulds to make wares.

Ceramic glaze

An impervious layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fused to a ceramic body through firing. Glaze can serve to colour, decorate or waterproof an item.


An Italian term which refers to the use of the dramatic contrast of light and dark in a painting.


Indian cotton fabric which has been decorated using block printing or hand painting techniques.


Decomposed feldspathic rock which is uniquely plastic so can be formed into an endless range of forms.


A picture of a subject taken with the subject close to the camera.


A method of forming pottery or sculpture from rolls of clay that are smoothed together to form the sides of a jar or pot.


Describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other materials are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.


A method of direct printing in which materials such as string, cardboard, and other found materials are stuck to card or board to enable prints can be taken.

Colour field painting

Describes the work of abstract painters working in the 1950s and 1960s who painted large areas of a more or less flat single colour.

Colour wash

A term used to describe the transparent layers of colour in a watercolour.


The use of a blunt-toothed comb to decorate the wet surface of a pot.


The art of creative services, referring to art created for commercial purposes, primarily advertising. Commercial art traditionally includes designing books, advertisements of different products, signs, posters, and other displays to promote sale or acceptance of products, services, or ideas.

Complementary colours

Red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange. These colours lie opposite each other on the colour wheel.


The term ‘Unit of Work’ has been replaced by the term ‘Component’. This reflects the change from a modular to linear structure in the specification. There are still two sections to the specification: Component 1: Portfolio; Component 2: Externally set assignment.

Composite photographs

Made by combining pictures from different sources into a single image (photomontages or montages).


The arrangement of elements within a work of art.

Computer animation

Also known also as CGI animation, refers to the creation of moving graphics (animated images) using computer technology.


An art form in which the underlying idea or concept and the process by which it is achieved are more important than any tangible product.


The term contemporary art is loosely used to refer to art of the present day and of the relatively recent past, of an innovatory or avant-garde nature.


The setting for an event, statement, or idea.


The difference in colour found between the light and dark parts of an image.

Corporate identity

The development of a logo (or group of logos) and a set of printed visual guidelines – usually in the form of a Corporate Identity Manual – as to how the organisation’s corporate identity is to be represented in publications, web sites and advertising campaigns.


The process used to secure threads, fibres or yarns to a surface using hand stitching or embroidery.


Craft is a form of making which generally produces an object that has a function.

Crazy patchwork

Randomly shaped patches of fabric stitched together and often embellished with embroidery stitches.


A tool that removes portions of an image. It is usually used in digital photography.

Cross hatching

Mark making technique using crisscrossed lines which are used to build up shadow and tone. They can be created using crisscrossed hand or machine stitches as well as 2D media.


A movement in modern art that emphasised the geometrical depiction of natural forms.


The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.


An art movement formed during the First World War in reaction to the horrors and folly of the war, in which the work produced is often satirical and nonsensical.


A method where paint is squeezed between two surfaces to create chance effects.


Art that is meant to be useful as well as beautiful, it is inclusive of different crafts such as ceramics, furniture, interior design, jewellery, and textiles.

Depth of field

The distance between the nearest and furthest point in focus in an image.

De Stijl

An art movement formed by Dutch abstract artists whose work is based on horizontal and vertical shapes and primary colours.

Der Blaue Reiter

Formed in Munich in 1909 by a group of German expressionist artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc and August Macke.

Die cut

A die that cut shapes or holes in different materials to make the design stand out.

Digital art

Refers to art made or presented using digital technology.


Most recent in the design evolution, this emerged only within the last decade and is easily recognised by its extensive use of distressed textures, unrefined edges, and a seemingly nonsensical approach to layout.


An artwork made in the form of two painted or carved panels.

Direct print

Refers to printmaking processes, such as collographs, woodcut and lino-printing where the ink is applied to the surface of the printing block before printing onto paper.


A painting technique developed in the late nineteenth century, by artists such as Seurat and Signac, using tiny dots or brush marks of primary colour to simulate the effect of light.


A technique in which images are created on a surface using lines and other marks. Drawings may also consist of areas of tone, washes and other non-linear marks.

All students must evidence drawing activity in both their Portfolio and Externally set assignment submissions. It must feature in their evidence for AO3 but could also be evidenced in AO1, AO2 and AO3.

Drawing activity should fulfil a purpose or a need, rather than demonstrate technical mastery, unless this is the student’s explicit intention. Drawing might, therefore, take many different forms as it features in the creative journey undertaken.


A printmaking process in which a design is drawn on a plate with a sharp, pointed needle-like instrument.


A colouring agent for cloth, fabric, fibre and yarn.


Red or white clay body of a porous nature.

Externally set assignment

Formerly known as ‘Externally Set Task’. For Component 2, students must select one starting point from the externally set assignment paper associated with their chosen title, evidencing coverage of all four assessment objectives. The term ‘assignment’ also gives continuity for students progressing to A-level courses.


A term used in printmaking to describe the number of copies made from the original printing plate or screen.


Any distinct part of a layout such as the logo, headline, images, or borders.


The application of stitching, trimmings, threads, braid, ribbons and beads to decorate a fabric or textile.


The creation of a raised, three dimensional area on a printed sheet.

En plein air

The French term for paintings completed out of doors.


Low firing glazes applied over high firing glaze to introduce bright colour to decoration.


To print designs by cutting the surface of a metal plate.

Environmental art

  1. Art that is large enough for viewers to enter and move about in.
  2. Art designed for display in the outdoor environment.
  3. Art that actually transforms the natural landscape.


A technique of printing in which the image is created using acid to bite lines and shapes into a metal plate that hold the ink used to print the image.


Enlarged or altered beyond normal proportions. Exaggeration could be seen in overstating the features of a subject or in overemphasising the colour or surface of an image or artefact.


Practical contact with and observation of facts or events. An event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone.


Effectively conveying thoughts or feelings. Where the process and style of creation is emphasised rather than the final product. Expression in art might be seen in bold colour, or gestural mark making.


A process by which solid bricks and hollow pipe sections can be made by forcing clay through a die of an appropriate shape.


The number that indicates the size of the aperture.


A fabric consisting of wool fibres which are densely compacted and matted together to form a textile.

Film speed

The speed with which the film or sensor reacts to light, usually measured by an ISO number.


Heating pottery or sculpture in a kiln or open fire to bring the clay to maturity.

Focal point

The main or principal point of focus.


A complete combination of characters created in a specific type, style, and size.


The technique of depicting an object or human body in a picture so as to produce an illusion of projection or extension in space.


In relation to art the term form has two meanings: it can refer to the overall form taken by the work – its physical nature; or within a work of art it can refer to the element of shape among the various elements that make up a work.

FPS/frames per second

Refers to the number of pictures that a camera is able to take in a second.


Refers to animation. A frame is a single graphic in a distribution of graphic images. The speed of an animation is judged by frames per second.


Machine stitching where the foot has been removed and the fabric is moved in a variety of directions as stitching takes place. This technique is also known as scribble stitching.


A technique of painting using water based paint onto damp or dry plaster.


The process of making rubbings through paper of objects or textures underneath.


Functional art refers to artwork that serves practical purposes. It encompasses everything from furniture and lighting, architecture, toy and game design, domestic utensil design and a wide range of decorative design.


An artistic and social movement that originated in Italy in the early twentieth century. It emphasised speed, technology, youth, and violence, and objects such as the car, the aeroplane, and the industrial city.


Often refers to different types of art work having a particular form, content, technique ie still life genre, a realistic style of painting using everyday life as subject material.


Applied to painting media, the term glazing means the laying of a transparent colour over previously laid and dried-out pigments that may be opaque or transparent.

Golden section/Mean

The use of a mathematical proportion as the basis for important parts of a composition.


A type of water-soluble paint that, unlike watercolour, is opaque so the white of the paper surface does not show through.


Unfired wares.


Crushed or ground refractory material, usually fired fireclays, which reduces shrinkage or warping in clay. Sometimes added to give texture.


Refers in painting to the surface on which an image is painted.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

The name given to a facility on camera to produce an image with a very broad range of tones through a combination of different exposures.

Heat transfer paper

Digital images or text can be printed onto this type of paper using a computer. The content can be transferred to material by placing the paper onto a fabric and ironing on the reverse with a hot iron.


Historical painting was introduced in the seventeenth century to describe artwork with subject matter drawn from classical history, mythology and the Bible. In the eighteenth century it was also used to refer to more recent historical subjects.

Holistic marking

For each component, the work submitted by the student will be marked as a whole. For Component 1: Portfolio, the total submission, including the sustained project, will be assessed with reference to the four assessment objectives (AOs), with a separate mark awarded for each AO.

For Component 2: Externally set assignment, the total submission of preparatory work and work produced during the 10-hour supervised will be assessed with reference to the four assessment objectives with a separate mark awarded for each one.

In each case the four marks will be added together to arrive at a total mark. There are 24 marks available for each objective. All students will therefore be awarded two separate marks out of 96 – one mark for Component 1 and one mark for Component 2.

Horizon line

Refers to the eye level used in perspective.


One of the three primary attributes of color. A hue is a variety of color such as red, blue, green, or yellow.


A woven fabric in which the yarn is tied and dyed in a design before it is woven.

Image transfer

Transfer dyes, paints or crayons can be applied to thin paper. The image or design can then be transferred onto man-made fabric by ironing the paper with a hot iron. Downloaded or photocopied images can also be transferred to fabric by the application of specialist pastes and the application of pressure, such as by rolling the treated paper onto fabric.


The process or technique of laying on paint or pigment thickly so that it stands out from a surface.


A style of painting associated mainly with French artists of the late nineteenth century, such as Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Impressionist painting seeks to re-create the artist’s or viewer’s general impression of a scene.


To cut surface designs into ware as a form of decoration.


The dye derived from the indigo plant. One of the oldest known dyestuffs.


The setting of a pattern or alternative fabric into a pre-cut background.

Installation art

A term used to describe large scale assemblages or constructions of mixed media, often designed for a specific site or space.


Refers to printmaking processes such as etching, engraving and drypoint, where the ink is contained within the lines and shapes before printing.

Interactive media

The integration of digital media including combinations of electronic text, graphics, moving images, and sound, into a structured digital computerised environment that allows people to interact with the data for appropriate purposes.


In the art world typically signify art movements or styles. Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism,Futurism, Photorealism, Cubism, Surrealism, Minimalism, Romanticism.


Indicates film speed or the sensitivity of the sensor in digital photography sensitivity.


The initial letters for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It describes a standard form of compressing an image to reduce its memory size.


Quilted and embroidered cloth made from recycled fabrics, often found in the textiles of India and Pakistan.

Land art

Art that is made directly in the landscape, sculpting the land itself into earthworks or making structures in the landscape using natural materials such as rocks or twigs.


One of the principal types or genres of subject in Western art. It can be rural or urban.


When clay loses moisture and plasticity it becomes leather or cheese hard. It will bend without cracking, can be easily cut and joined with slip, but will retain a given shape.

Line drawing

Refers to a kind of drawing in which there are only lines and no shading.


A traditional patchwork technique where fabric strips are sewn around a central square. Light coloured strips are joined on 2 sides and dark coloured strips to the other 2 sides. The technique can often be seen on traditional American quilts.


A graphical element that is used to identify an organisation, company, corporation, or even a product or service. Logos are symbols which help to create an identity for an organisation or reinforce a product brand, so that they are memorable more easily recognised.

Low resolution

Small size images suitable only for viewing on the web.


The brightness of an area arranged by the amount of light it reflects or diffuses.


Decoration applied over mature glaze in the form of metals suspended in liquid to form a skin over the glaze. These are subsequently fired on at low temperature.

Macro lens

A lens with the ability to focus from infinity to extremely close up.


A small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished sculpture.


Use of a distinctive style in art.

Media (in art)

Refers to the materials you use to create your art. Mixed media is artwork in the making of which more than one medium has been employed.


Can refer to both to the type of art (painting, sculpture, printmaking) as well as the materials an artwork is made from.


A style that uses pared-down design elements (uncomplicated, kept purposefully simple).

Mixed media

A term used to describe artworks composed from a combination of different media or materials.


Modernism refers to the broad movement in Western arts and literature that gathered pace from around 1850. It is characterised by a deliberate rejection of the styles of the past, emphasising instead innovation and experimentation in forms, materials and techniques to create artworks that better reflected modern society.


Having only one colour. Descriptive of work in which one hue, perhaps with variations of value and intensity, predominates.

The monoprint

A form of printmaking where the image can only be made once, unlike most printmaking which allows for multiple originals.


An assembly of images that relate to each other in some way to create a single work or part of a work of art.


A substance such as salt or vinegar that combines chemically with dyestuff to fix a colour onto cloth.


A picture made up of small parts which are traditionally tiny tiles made out of terracotta, pieces of glass, ceramics or marble and usually inlayed into floors and walls.

Motion graphics

Digital footage and/or animation technology to create the illusion of motion or rotation, and are usually combined with audio for use in multimedia projects.


Paintings that are executed directly on to a wall.

Narrative art

A form of art that tells a story.

Natural dyes

Dyes derived from a plant or animal origin such as leaves, flowers, insects or shellfish.

Negative space

The space around an object rather than the object itself.

Non-examined assessment (NEA)

Art and design is defined as a 100% NEA subject. In effect this means that all students’ work for each component, is internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by a visiting moderator. Whilst NEA is a new term, there is no change, as the legacy (4200) specification was also 100% internally assessed and externally moderated; it just wasn’t defined in that way

Oil paint

Slow drying paint in which the pigment is mixed with an oil such as linseed or poppy that forms a hard coloured surface when dry.

Op art

A major development of painting in the 1960s that used geometric forms to create optical effects.


The opposite of under exposure. Happens when a sensor or film receives too much light and does not record the detail in the highlights.


Technique that involves taking a picture by moving the camera, often at a relatively slow shutter speed.


A coloured drawing medium made from a stick of compressed pigment and binder.


A textile constructed by sewing together small pieces of fabric. The design is often in a geometric composition.


A repeated decorative design. It is also the term given to a series of templates or instructions which are used to assemble a fashion or costume piece.

Personal response

Belonging to or affecting you rather than anyone else. How you feel about your artwork.


Refers to the use of a mathematical system to represent three dimensional space on the two dimensional surface of a drawing or painting.


A photographic print made by laying objects onto photographic paper and exposing it to light.


Another name for a composite image, which is made by combining pictures from different sources into a single image.


A genre of art that encompasses painting, drawing and other graphic media, in which an artist studies a photograph and then attempts to reproduce the image as realistically as possible in another medium.

Picture Plane

An imaginary flat surface that is assumed to be identical to the surface of a painting. Forms in a painting meant to be perceived in deep three-dimensional space are said to be “behind” the picture plane. The picture plane is commonly associated with the foreground of a painting.


A colouring substance made from plants, earth, or minerals and may include other synthetic elements. When mixed with binders it becomes paint, ink or crayon.


The smallest picture content that can be individually assigned a color.


The term ‘Photography: lens-based and light-based media’ has now changed to ‘Photography’. It continues to enable the production of static or moving images using traditional and/or new media practices.


Formerly known as ‘Portfolio of Work’. For Component 1, students must submit a body of work that shows explicit coverage of the four assessment objectives. This must include a sustained project evidencing the journey taken from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work produced during the course of study.

Preparatory period

From 2 January, students can have access to the Externally set assignment papers. Following discussion with their teacher, students will select one starting point from which to develop their own work. Until the time they start their supervised sessions, students can work on their preparatory studies using any appropriate means by investigating sources, developing their ideas, experimenting with media, materials and techniques, as well as recording and refining their ideas.

As soon as they start the 10-hours of supervised time, they are not permitted to continue with the preparatory work. It must be handed in and kept under secure conditions between sessions of supervised time. Students are allowed access to their preparatory work during each supervised session but this work must not be added to it once the supervised time begins.


A portfolio project might be developed from a given (teacher-led) or self-generated (student selected) starting point, stimulus or issue-based concern. It might be a design brief requiring the student to work within specific guidelines or constraints set by a client, or a problem requiring a solution. It might be a task which specifies an outcome such as an image, artefact or product. It might also be a response to a starting point from a previous Externally set assignment paper.

Plaster of Paris

Gypsum, calcium sulphate or sulphate of lime. When mixed with water, it sets hard.


Refers to the solid base or box on which a sculpture is placed.


An artwork made in the form of more than three painted or carved panels.

Pop Art

An art movement that emerged in the 1950s in response to advertising and popular culture and flourished in the 1960s in America and Britain, drawing inspiration from sources in popular and commercial culture such as advertising, Hollywood movies and pop music.


Applies to pottery which is white, translucent and high fired. True porcelain is fired at over 1300 degrees centigrade.

Post impressionism

An art movement at the end of the nineteenth century that followed on from Impressionism and included Cezanne, Gauguin and van Gogh.


Any artefact made of clay which has undergone chemical changes produced by heat over 600 degrees centigrade.

Primary colours

Any hue that, in theory, cannot be created by a mixture of any other hues. Varying combinations of the primary hues can be used to create all the other hues of the spectrum. In pigment the primaries are red, yellow, and blue.


Use of abstracted curvilinear shapes, clashing colors, hard-to-read fonts. Rarely used in today’s designs, the trippy posters of the 1960s are the most easily recognisable contribution of the Psychedelic style.


The stitching which holds the different layers of fabric or wadding in a quilt together.


A dramatic method of producing ceramic wares based on the Japanese tea ceremony.


Representing a person, location or thing in a way that is accurate and true to life.

Resist techniques

The application of hot wax, gutta, salt or starch paste to a fabric to prevent the absorption of dye.


The resolution of an image is an important factor in deciding the attainable output quality. The higher the resolution of an image, the less pixelated it will be and the curves of the image will appear smoother.


A contemporary object or style containing elements of, but not replicating, an object or style from a previous era.


A technique of printing in which each coloured ink is squeezed through a stencil held on a mesh screen.


The applying of an opaque or semi-opaque colour over an area of an oil-painting without completely obscuring the under painting.

Secondary colours

A hue created by combining two primary colours, as yellow and blue mixed together yield green. In pigment the secondary colours are orange, green, and violet.

Selected portfolio

Students are not required to submit everything that they have produced during their course of study. They should carefully select, organise and present their work to show evidence of meeting all four assessment objectives. The emphasis should be on quality not quantity. The 45-hour requirement from the current specification no longer applies.


(in Italian “to scratch”) A decorating pottery technique produced by applying layers of colour or colours to leather hard pottery and then scratching off parts of the layer(s) to create contrasting images, patterns and texture and reveal the clay colour underneath.


The technique where a fabric is folded, gathered, pleated, wrapped and bound prior to the application of dye. It is often seen in the textiles of Japan.


Small pieces of mirror glass used on fabric and often seen on textiles from India and Pakistan.


A drawing technique in which a metal stylus is used to draw on a specially prepared surface.


To make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier: In visual terms this might mean less detail, a minimal outline.

Single lens reflex (SLR)

A camera with one lens only for both viewing and picture-taking.


A work of art designed specifically for a particular location and that has an interrelationship with the location.


Clay suspended in water. Used as a potters glue. Can be coloured with oxides and used for decoration.

Soluble fabric

A specialist film or paper which can be stitched into using a sewing machine. Once stitched, the original surface can be dissolved using hot or cold water. The remaining stitchwork suggests a lace like fabric.


In both components, students are required to engage with, and make connections with sources. Sources can include such references as the work of artists, craftspeople, designers and/or makers, the built environment, the natural world, objects and/or artefacts, as well as performance, music, text, the moving image, customs, traditions and issues.


A metal oxide or combination of oxides plus flint, alumina and a fluxing compound used to colour clay bodies and glazes.


A shape or image cut out of paper or card to create a space through which dye can be applied.

Still life

One of the principal genres (subject types) of Western art – essentially, the subject matter of a still life painting or sculpture is anything that does not move or is dead.


Usually grey clay with refractory additions, fired to vitrification. Non porous so suited to oven-to-tableware. Subdued colour characteristics.

Street art

Related to graffiti art in that it is created in public locations and is usually unsanctioned, but it covers a wider range of media and is more connected with graphic design.


Style may refer to the visual appearance of a work of art that relates it to other works by artists from a particular genre, or “school”, art movement or culture (for example, an impressionist style). Style can also mean the way you have made your work (for example, an expressive style).


To conform you’re working process to a particular style. To work only in a manner that has a particular identity.


A movement in art and literature that flourished in the early twentieth century. Surrealism aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from conscious rational control.

Supervised time

Following the unlimited period of preparatory work, students have 10 hours of unaided focused study under supervision.

The supervised time must be conducted under controlled conditions and in line with JCQ regulations and instructions. The first two hours must be consecutive and student work, completed in both the preparatory and supervised time, must be kept under secure conditions between sessions.

Students must have access to their preparatory work during the supervised time. Work produced during the 10-hour sessions must be the student’s own unassisted work and must be clearly labelled as such.

Sustained project

As part of the evidence submitted for Component 1: Portfolio, all students will be required to submit a complete project that shows their journey from initial engagement with a starting point, theme, task or brief to their realisation of intentions.

Synthetic cubism

The stage of cubism from about 1912 to 1914 in which Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris composed their work using collaged materials.


An ornate woven textile often used to cover walls or furniture.


Water based painting medium in which the colour pigment is mixed with egg yolk.


Shape or image cut out of paper or card to create a pattern.


Low fired unglazed red-brown ware.

Tertiary colours

Six colours positioned between the primary and secondary colours on the colour wheel.


To form cylindrical pots on a wheel.


The technique where small objects can be tied into a fabric or where a fabric is gathered and tied tightly with string or thread prior to the application of dye.


A colour is made lighter by adding white, this is called a tint.


Formerly known as ‘Endorsements’, there are now six titles available to choose from: Art, craft and design; Fine Art; Graphic Communication; Textile Design; Three-dimensional design and Photography.

Tonal drawing

Refers to the technique of drawing in which there are no lines only shading.


The lightness or darkness of something – this could be a shade, or how dark or light a colour appears.


Coloured slips squeezed from rubber or plastic containers via nozzles to decorate leatherhard pots.


An artwork made in the form of three painted or carved panels.


Finishing the feet of pots thrown on a wheel, by paring and shaving away excess thickness.


The art of arranging type – which includes letters, numbers, and symbols.

Tyvek paper

A specialist paper which can be coloured using non-oil based media and stitched onto by hand or machine. When heated, the paper will distort to create an uneven surface.


During the supervised time, students must work independently and without assistance.

Vanishing point

The point at which the receding lines in perspective appear to meet.


A kind of still life painting, popular in seventeenth century Dutch art, in which objects were included that had a symbolic meaning relating to mortality.

Video art

Uses projected video images, sometimes onto several screens as an installation, which often comment on the human condition.

Viewfinder camera

Camera with a viewfinder that is separate from the lens used in taking the picture.


Something classic or was made a long time ago.

Visual language

Within the requirements of AO4, students must evidence an understanding of their use of visual language to communicate their ideas. This might be through the personal way in which they use formal/visual elements such as line, colour, pattern, texture, space, form, shape, composition, scale and structure within their work.

In addition, students can select any appropriate visual format(s) in order to communicate their ideas and realise intentions be these functional or purely aesthetic. For example this could involve working in two- or three-dimensions or making us of a range of digital or non-digital techniques and processes.


A clay body fuses during firing to become non-porous.


An art movement formed by British artists in 1914 in response to the ideas of the modern world originally developed by the Futurists.


Ceramic artefacts, either green, biscuit or glaze fired.


The threads which run lengthwise in a woven fabric.


Application of a thin or dilute colour to a surface.


A painting technique using coloured pigment suspended in a transparent medium.


Working clay by hard to homogenise it ready for use.


The threads which run from right to left across the width of a woven fabric.

Written annotation

All students must evidence written annotation in both their Portfolio and Externally set assignment submissions. It must feature in their evidence for AO3 but could also contribute to evidence in AO1, AO2, and AO4.

Using appropriate specialist vocabulary, written annotation should supplement visual material and could support the student’s evidencing of ideas development, observations, reflections, evaluations and personal intentions. Examples of annotation will be in the accompanied guide for this requirement. Annotations can be presented in hand-written and/or digital form as appropriate.

Wood engraving

A technique of printing in which lines are cut into a woodblock with a very fine grain.


A technique of relief printing in which the image is cut into the wood along its grain.

Young British Artists (YBA)

A group of British artists who began to exhibit together in 1988 work that often used an experimental approach to materials and shock tactics.