Of Form and Texture

A new exhibition starts this Saturday entitled ‘Of Form and Texture’ at Sidcot Arts Centre, in which some of my work will be on show as part of a selected group:  Diane Burnell, Sara Parsons, Debbie Lamb and Laura Howarth are also taking part.  My Lichen piece – made originally for the Abundance commission (Garden of Eden) – has now been re-installed as part of the exhibition.  It took nearly 2 days to install (thanks to the help of friend Nigel Evans), but is now up and ready for the Launch event on Saturday.  It’s interesting to see how it changes – a re-invention each time I install.

Lichen - re-installed at Sidcot Arts Centre

3 of my sculptures have been on show outside the entrance of Sidcot Arts Centre since February, the first set of work for their new Outdoor Sculpture Programme.  One of these featured pieces is Giant Nest – also created originally for the Abundance commission (Garden of Eden).  

Giant Nest on exhibition at Sidcot Arts Centre

 

Below are details of the exhibition – please come along!

Sidcot '14 poster

 

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Installation

Saturday was the big day for me to install the main bulk of my work at Esotera.  I am eternally grateful to Nick Weaver and Nigel Evans for their invaluable help carting, transporting and installing my work – the 3 of us driving in convoy with full loads meant that I didn’t have to do several trips the same day.   I was installing from 8.30am-7pm, aided by some lovely refreshments courtesy of Shirley and Andrew Harvey.  Thanks also to Jason Nosworthy, who helped with the landscaping side of things.  Apart from the grass not growing quite enough to enclose the site for my main installation at Esotera (a set of silver birch trees), I am really pleased with the site – its dappled light and colours give it a magical quality, which just happens to play and harmonise with my work.  Until the work was installed (partly) on Saturday, I had no clear idea of these effects.

I still have a serpent and giant nest to finish, so won’t linger.   I plan to add a fuller write up about the final installations after completion later this week, when a photographer will visit the site  to take better pics.  Then it’s the opening/talk/workshop/private view on Saturday…   Good luck everyone!

Truck fullInstallation in progressInstalling the Garden of EdenInstalling the Garden of Eden Site for main installation Garden of Eden - detail Garden of Eden - detail

Heat is on

It’s been wonderful working out in the garden in the heat and sunshine.  I’ve been able to spread out my collected materials and see how it might all come together.  Plasma cutting got a little too hot but it’s a nifty new tool for ‘drawing’ ragged edges for the effect I want.

Fiona plasma cutting Lichen-inspired - work in progress

Even more inspired to get on with my final piece after going to a talk by Piet Oudolf in Bruton this week (Kitty Hillier was also there).  His world re-knowned natural garden designs, using grasses as an integral feature, are an inspiration to the owners at Esotera.  Tall reeds and grasses around their large pond will be echoed by the textures and  vertical sense of movement in my giant ‘fallen’ nest.

Progress

Not there yet, but here are a few photos of my progress over the past few weeks.  I think the correct term is ‘hoarder’… my garden’s been taken over and going a bit wild, but the good news is I have enough scrap steel now!  I would still love to acquire some more copper – especially in sheet or bowl form – if anybody can help?   Will soon be embarking on using my new plasma cutter, which should make the job much easier.  There’s still lots to do.  The real art will be to bring it all together successfully…

Pile of scrap steelWorking out the scale for EsoteraScrap steel ready for cutting Ready for cuttingBeautiful rustGrowing collection of lichenTriffid/lichen

Crossovers

Pieces are steadily coming together.  The aim is to create a mass of giant growing forms, inspired by lichen, linked to the Eden concept and utilising found objects.  It involves hours of weaving, wrapping and forming, using soft and hard materials together, which is relatively new for me and occasionally  I wonder if I’ll ever get it finished.  Anyway, it’s becoming a daily activity and no matter what else the day holds, I try to spend a few hours on the Abundance work.  I’m hooked on what I’m making, and what I would really like is to have no other interruptions but life isn’t that simple..

Earlier this week we went to Esotera again to measure the installation area and confirm a few details with Zoe.  A landscape designer friend, Jason, came along to help work out where the grass might be allowed to grow a little, in order to create more of an enclosure for the work.  Owners Andrew and Shirley have been very accommodating with this.

Lichen with birch trees beyond Planning the long grass boundaries

Lichen sketch Giant lichen form in progress

On reading the other Abundance artist posts, I like the idea that there seems to be several crossovers in our work; connections which somehow tie the Trail together.

Scrap

I’ve been gathering scrap materials from pockets of Somerset to use in my work at Esotera.  Dragging rusty barrels from woodland walks, corrugated steel fences no longer required for guinea fowl and rummaging through skips and scrapyards to add to my collection of materials, in line with the ethos at Esotera of utilising found and recycled items.

Steel barrel Scrap steel

They don’t look much like artwork yet, but planning to transform them into something with more form and colour in the coming months, together with other mixed media such as wire, copper, twine, wool, netting…  Looking for yellow netting and copper (sheet, piping and wire) at the moment, if anyone has these spare to donate?

Revisiting Esotera

Today was a perfect day to revisit Esotera.  My first visit with Zoe was on a grim winter’s day.  But today blazing sunshine had brought out new flowers from bulbs, ferns were unravelling, ducks, chickens, fish and a very sociable cat ‘Gengis’ were all glorifying our brilliant 1st of May.

Ferns unravelling Free roaming chickens Gengis Fish loving the sunshine

As I wandered around, I could understand why Esotera gets so many visitors who stay for hours.  The owners and garden envelop you into their world – a place at peace with itself, whilst buzzing with the magic of life and I found it hard to leave!  Undecided about the exact location of my installation, with several possibilities, I took plenty of photos and absorbed the ambience.   It helped to confirm my ideas for the project, and 3 hours later I left, armed with a load of reclaimed materials for my work there, generously donated by the owners Shirley and Andrew.

Esotera Esotera Materials from Esotera

The work begins!