Back to Normal?
We have been locked out! our Instagram is no longer accessible due to 'technical' difficulties and social media delights!
Here we are with our website and blog. Welcome to our Autumn blog!
This part has been written by Sharon and her perspective of the collaborative project so far...September 2021
There has been a sculpture sat on my workbench for the best part of 12 months and I have no idea how to respond to it. I have artists block?
There is a structure, intricate and complex and wooden. The timber is recycled lengths of 2x1" scavenged from a roof. Its edges are deliberately torn and rough, unrefined and raw. The structure measures 5ft in height and has a satisfying rhythm to it, with its measured vertical and horizontal timber lengths. The structure seems to encase or explore the space in between; the positive, giving way to the negative. It's a beautiful thing. I love it.
Now how to respond. How to enhance. How to add to it or interact with the piece? I feel stumped!
The timber is unrefined and raw. The clay sculptures I make speak this same language in terms of clay and glaze application... they are both physically rough to the touch and are allowed to speak; purposely unrefined. The warm wooden timber construct has been allowed to speak and it needs to have the space to be heard in its own right.
I feel the need for a quieter, more 'calming' material and have been toying with the idea of wrapping the whole structure in plastic/ cotton or other non resistant material (recycled of course).
I ask Wayne for help.
We chat, toying with the idea of the abstraction of the figure; orbs? circles? disks? organic shape? kinetic?
So far we have been using the cast bust as the ceramic part of our work... but perhaps this project is moving into the unknown with the introduction of porcelain and pure form? I am familiar with porcelain and it doesn't like to be hand built!
Does this structure need a figure? How can the figurative element be introduced to this collaborative structure? How can pure form speak figurative without it being a representational academic one?
I make sketches, writing down thoughts and working things over in my head. I make experimental miniatures, producing wheel thrown structures and polystyrene balls stabbed with wire. I buy Kenthal wire and order some more porcelain. I dip cotton rags into porcelain slip. I make small energetic and still works in clay, allowing myself playtime without pressure. I enjoy the process.
Wayne buys me a 'Frozen 2' kids ball to make a plaster mould from....
A movement into the abstract as a figurative artist is utterly frightening!
We had a wonderful opportunity to reach out to small groups of young carers with thanks to the University of Wolverhampton at Telford Campus and the Family Carers Resilience Workers.
We wanted to know how people were coping with their own lockdown experience. We became very aware that even though as artists , we welcomed the quiet and chose to work alone and in isolation. Whilst this was our choice, for many others it certainly was not. We reached out to members of our community; teacher friends and those who we knew working in community groups for help. Suddenly everything was on a screen!
We witnessed children's playgrounds had been locked, swings taken away and children were not aloud out. The elderly were isolated and people lost the social aspect of their lives. Home schooling, working from home and extreme limited social interaction was evident within our community.
We wanted to hear about how people were using their time at home and especially of young people's experiences of what it was like for them to be in lockdown in the UK during the covid pandemic. We wanted to know if they were being creative; especially within the arts.
For us , the use of materials such as clay, wood, metals and other art materials acts as a way to help process emotion and feeling; a physical process.
We took part in a small series of zoom meetings which was fantastic! There were makers of all kinds! Lego, rockets, dolls houses made from cardboard, drawings, prints and all sorts of wonderful creations were being explored.
We witnessed the importance of touch, creativity, imagination and play which was taking part in all of these households. it was wonderful to see, especially as these young people had extra responsibilities of taking care of a member of their family.
A truly inspirational short time had and a fabulous time chatting to young carers; sharing experience of how art materials can make us happy and allow our feelings to be explored. Young carers, your art is brilliant ! We were amazed by your Lego skills, colouring in, salt dough snails and stone paintings!
(and only age 5, 8 and 11!)
I was playing on a field with my partner, daughter and my scruffy stinky dog for our allocated 1 hour of exercise and I witnessed a child of about 9 or 10 angrily smashing an old shopping trolley against the playground bars where the swings should have been.
The swings had been removed by the council and this kid was so angry… venting out his frustration’ repeatedly slamming this shopping trolley against the metal, steel bars; making such a clanging noise!
His dad ( we didn’t know it at the time) came screeching around the corner in his car, flung the doors open and ran down to the little boy, all the time shouting, yelling and tearing strips off the boy. He looked like an angry bull dog, puffing himself up… all angry and shouty… and barky
My partner and I were shocked. We had witnessed so much rage escalate so quickly on what was such a lovely spring/ summers day.
This volatile outburst made me think about how people vented their frustrations and let off steam. Gyms, Leisure facilities, schools, parks, work places ,shopping centers… my own pottery… everywhere apart from the outdoors had all been closed.
I wanted to reach out to others about how we use physical materials to communicate with… in a non verbal way and explore the ways we communicate and make connections.
I am Sharon Griffin and I am working on a collaborative project with Wayne Chisnall
This is our ‘Unlockdown’ project.
Unlockdown is a new body of sculptural work, which in essence is a fusion of both our practice.