As part of my time during my AA2A residency at Bucks New University I researched into the local furniture making history in and around High Wycombe.
‘Arches’ are typically curved structures spanning an opening and serving as a support for a wall or other weight. Arches generally welcome us to a building or space and form an opening. Chair arches have been used in High Wycombe on special occasions to welcome dignitaries and celebrate the town’s rich furniture making history.
I have a passion for the history and narrative behind traditional craft, industry and cultural heritage which I try to reflect in a contemporary way. Many traditional craft skills are no longer taught in schools, Higher Education or vocationally. In addition to the loss of vital making skills, there can also be a loss of Intangible Cultural Heritage and damage to local communities. In the same way that there is a ‘Red List’ of natural species at risk, there is also a ‘Red List of Endangered Crafts’. Openings and opportunities to both learn and pass on these specialist craft skills are becoming more limited. Barriers include cost of training, ageing practitioners, changes in technology and markets, supply of raw materials and tools, small business challenges and loss of allied industries.
In March 2019 a major update to the Red List of Endangered Crafts list was published. The updates list shows 4 new extinct crafts, 36 critically endangered crafts and 70 crafts listed as endangered. Basketwork furniture making, Chair caning and Chair seating are all on The Red List. Crafts such as Chair and Furniture making are currently considered ‘viable’. However, ‘currently viable’ does not mean that the craft is risk-free or without issues affecting its future sustainability/viability. (Source: www.heritagecrafts.org.uk)
Assorted small scale arch sculptures. Wood off cuts, upholstery foam, calico, cane and hessian.
A collaboration with the artist Roger Pugh on random made up words resulted in 'crandip'. Both artists created a piece of work using the word as a starting point and were shown together at Ovada, Oxford in May 2016.
Playing on materials and the idea of feast and celebration the work included cast cranberry plastic, wire, muslin and porcelain slip-cast cranberries. Roger's piece was a video installation.
A deeply personal project inspired by my brother who has been profoundly deaf since he contracted meningitis aged 9 months. He was lucky to survive. Time was spent with him and others in the deaf community, as well as scientific research into the workings of the auditory nerve. Deafness is often viewed as an invisible disability. All the objects were made from materials that actually had little or no sound carrying ability, outcomes ranged from drawings to 3d sculptures.
Installation View, approx 12ft x 4ft
Sock Hearing Aid, 5ocm x 60cm x 25cm. Socks, wadding, plastic, thread and hearing aid batteries.
Learning to lipread and speak using a speech trainer, balloon and mirror.
Shells, copper wire, telephone cable, dynamo text and thread.
'At the very same moment when the whole world is at our fingertips, it also seems completely out of our hands'
Making. Tim Ingold 2013
For millennia humans have transformed single strands of materials to construct forms for everyday use. Making and the exchange of Knowledge and skills is as important as the end result. It grants us the opportunity to form profound connections, to be an active partner in a creative process and with materials. This tacit knowledge was once passed on from generation to generation.
The Selfie stick is used here as a metaphor to explore the interrelation between the maker's hand, the materials and processes. The resulting abstract sculptures, bags, sheaths and covers serve as a connection to objects of everyday human use. Also known as the 'Wand of Narcissus, it alludes to a digital world at our fingertips, inward tendencies and self absorption. We consume more and more in images rather than through real experiences. Have we become passive mass consumers in an online world, constantly seeking connection, yet more disconnected than ever?
Exhibition at The Haven, Church Lane, Banbury, May/June 2017
Installation view, assorted sculptural forms. Weaving, twining, looping, crochet, hand and machine embroidery.
British wool, vintage knitting needle, copper wire, basket cane, mirror, sim card net and embroidery cotton
selfie stick forms and bags, handspun local Romney wool, copper wire, vintage knitting needle, Somerset bulrush, recycled hessian sacking, phone jack, silk and stainless steel yarn.
Vintage Witney woolen blanket, handspun local Romney wool, mirror, embroidery cotton, linen and paper thread.
Milk became the focus of a project after a chance conversation with a local dairy farmer who was lamenting the price he received for his milk, the costs of production and the price people then paid for milk.
This led me on a journey of research and exploration from an artist’s perspective into the amount of time, processes and materials involved, contrasted with our desire for cheap food and lack of connection to where things come from. Farm visits allowed me to draw, watch the milking, dig earth from the fields, collect straw, scrap pieces of metal, take rubbings and make plaster casts.
Unfired straw paperclay
Cast milk bottles, un-fired slip cast porcelain and local clay
cast concrete, porcelain and wire
cast concrete 4 pint milk carton, found objects and cast straw paper
slip cast porcelain milk cluster, cast found objects and plastic tape.
The Adavo collection was created as an artists group response to objects in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Each artist also produced an individual response, all were exhibited in a pop-up exhibition at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.
Ceremonial neckwear exhibited by visitors to the exhibition
Ceremonial neckwear, neon elastic and cast silicone.
The Adavo Collection
Artists books and the use of paper have been a constant throughout my study, whether just as an exploration of process or as a result of my research and the desire to record it in a different way. Some books have been created for specific briefs or events and others just because I love making things with paper.
Book of Bales Artist Book, 2015.
Concept artists book . Shown at Babe Artists Book event 2105, Arnolfini, Bristol and San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, California, ‘The Art of Labor’, July 22- Oct 14, 2018.
Handmade straw paper, baler twine, greyboard and corrugated card. 6cm x5cm x 14cm.
Book of Bales, ‘Art of Labor’ Exhibition, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, California, USA. 2018
Vintage milk bottle top concertina book
‘Book that doesn’t look like a book’, Williamson Art Gallery, Liverpool,October 2015, Artists Book exhibition.
Sugar Cube Artists Book, 6cm x 6cm x 6cm (closed). Balsa wood, card, recycled tea, coffee and sugar packaging.
'The Poppy Goddess' book sculpture, dried poppies, paper, recycled aluminium, wire, felted wool, textiles and thread.
miniature paper vessel, vintage typewriter paper and vintage handwritten recipe, 6cm x 6cm x 3cm
homage to the 1970's punk zine 'Sniffin Glue', supersize paper glue tube, paper, card, acrylic paint and stitch. 80cm x 25cm x 20cm.