Sunday, 22 July 2012

The power of The Scallop, Nest magazine and everything in between

Detail of Hurgle Lenz

I’ve been very busy in the studio lately; busy thinking and busy creating. As an artist thinking time is vital; it is one of the most important elements of the creative process. 
I have read articles about creative thinking but in my experience the only thing required to be creative is periods (long or short) where you can let your imagination run wild and just see what comes out. 
Sometimes other things in my life can take over my thoughts and at those times having playful and fun thoughts can be nigh on impossible. 
BUT being an artist is what I’m about so whenever my mind has a chance to it is thinking about possibilities.

I have just completed a new being. She / he is called Hurgle Lenz and is a close relation of Mi Wawa.
Mi Wawa, Hurgle Lenz and a third new Frillip Moolog being (who will also be large in size) together comprise my commission for Wirksworth Festival.
When I put my proposal forward to the Wirksworth Festival Committee back in April. I felt that it was completely and absolutely right that these three beings should have the opportunity to inhabit the ancient and atmospheric space of Wirksworth’s St Mary’s Church this September. I am delighted that the committee agreed with me!

As I don’t want to spoil the surprise I won’t reveal all of Hurgle Lenz just yet but see above photo for a tiny peek.....So now let's talk about Scallops!

I’ve always loved stripes and when I was a little girl learning to knit I felt that there was nothing more satisfying than changing colours of knitting yarn and getting onto my next stripe. Then back in my teenage years I realised that my perfect job I would allow me to wear dangly earrings and stripey jumpers on a daily basis. Many of the Frillip Moolog beings have stripes in them (Colin is one such example) and these stripes can take on interesting contours. Bettina is made up of segments with feathered seam definition and in Madeleine I let the contours and stripes continue right through to Madeleine’s ‘hair’.

Back in March 2011, I had the opportunity to read a few issues of the intriguing and quite idiosyncratic Nest magazine (now sadly defunct) and was captivated by the issue dedicated solely to The Scallop.

Joseph Holtzman, whose baby Nest was, really understood how as humans we love to handle objects and if you ever get the opportunity to read an issue of Nest you will understand just what I mean. Don’t be surprised if there is a hole drilled right through the centre of the pages or, as in the Scallop issue, the magazine’s edges are actually scalloped themselves. 
It gives a whole new take to the act of flicking through a magazine. (I still flick from back to front... not your logical and linear magazine reader).

....."In its seven years, Nest won two National Magazine Awards and gained a loyal following in creative circles, less for the interiors it featured than for the risky ways it featured them...
...It's more about the pathologies of interior design than its perfect execution...
...The photographer Nan Goldin, the fashion designers Todd Oldham and Karl Lagerfeld, the novelists Michael Cunningham and Dennis Cooper and the artist Richard Tuttle helped Mr. Holtzman prove his point. Mr.Tuttle said that Mr. Holtzman, with his almost baroque approach to graphic design, ''channeled the collective unconscious, to give us the pleasure of ornament before we even knew we wanted it.''
New York Times (article by Fred A. Bernstein).

I was already working on Mi Wawa when I experienced the Scallop issue of Nest and it was exciting to realise that the curvaceous sculpted stripes that I was working with were forming scallops.

Back in 2010 writer Anneka French had asked me if there was a special name for the padded tubes that I liked to work with. Anneka wrote the exhibition text for one of my solo shows, Inventions of the Mind and more recently her essay, Lurking with Intent: A short essay on the sculptural practice of Kirsty E. Smith which was published in the ‘Waiting’ edition of Conjunction magazine.

This illustration leapt from the pages of Nest. I feel excited that my current Frillip Moolog beings are an evolution of the Scallop: they are part of history! 

Suddenly it was obvious that I have held a passion for The Scallop for a long long time. I have quite a collection of scallop photos in my own library of images; here’s a small selection.

A favourite holiday photo from years ago

This vase has sat on my studio window sill for a couple of years now

Vases designed by Constance Spry for Fulham Potteryware. This display was photographed at Quindry, Lillie Road, London SW6 7LL

You've got to just love this ceramic butter dish in the form of a WW2 Anderson air raid shelter!

A Photoshopped sketch for Bristle, one of my early Frillip Moolog beings.

The curvaceous form of a Paul paraffin heater

Cute squidgy and spongy paint rollers.... and together they form some lovely scallops.

Grayson Perry strikes again!  Check out these scallops with their own scalloped edges! 

Mi Wawa, Hurgle Lenz and the being that I am currently working on all have a central element of a vintage cooling element from a dairy farm milk tank. This common element unites these larger sculptures as a small body of work, but perhaps more importantly in each of these beings I have experimented further with making sculpted curvaceous forms. I have moved the scallop on from its status as a mere decorative edging and developed it into a tool to construct sculptural forms (or as I prefer to call them Frillip Moolog beings).

Forthcoming Show 
Wirksworth Festival 8th- 23rd September 2012
Commissioned Frillip Moolog beings will inhabit St Mary’s Church Wirksworth.