Monday, 6 August 2018

Luxuriating in some, much needed, Time of Reflection

Playing in my studio
So much of being an artist is experiencing, feeling and reflecting on your personal experiences. These can be experiences in the physical world or even the world inside your head. 

………...I am currently luxuriating in a, much needed, time of reflection…………..

So often people think that as creatives we simply ‘make stuff’; well that’s NEVER the case! 

I need to have space: to think; to reflect; to daydream and to NOT feel time pressure. I have always said that I work in a playful way and that I respond to materials intuitively. I prefer not to overthink and not to have to explain or justify, therefore it is often difficult to talk about my work. 

I have always admired the way that, for example, Richard Slee doesn’t write about his own work. (In fact he also never answers his emails; you have to know who he shares an office with and email them and that person then communicates the message to Richard!...... But I digress!) 

That little aside gives a small insight into the tangents that my mind can take. A good friend commented, “But without your delightfully tangential thinking (and conversational habits) you wouldn’t be Kirsty”. I decided to take this friend’s acceptance very positively. 

You can never do too much playing

I have recently been reflecting on my experience of educational institutions both as a child and also more recently while completing PGCE teacher training with Sheffield Hallam University. I have been thinking about my (variably successful) attempts to fit-in; feelings of difference and how these have actually added positively to my art practice. I think that it’s an indisputable fact that interesting artists have unique viewpoints and interpretations of the world. 

I find it so much easier to express deep personal thoughts and emotions through the materials that I use and the sculptural forms that my physical art takes. Of course I understand why some people instantly see the erotic in my work but when making I stop myself from being self-critical nor shy about showing this side of myself.

Buddy (AKA Space Kitty) 

Last week I attended a Bloc Projects artist talk presented by Florence Mytum (she too uses materials which are rich in their sensory qualities). Florence mentioned Michel Serres’ The Five Senses in which Serres makes a stand against the analytical tradition of philosophy where language dominates over phenomenological experiences. Serres disagrees with the reductive tendency of logic, which says that in the hierarchy of the senses articulation through language is at the top of the sensory pyramid and tactile qualities are at the bottom. I am in agreement with Serres generally in that I do feel that, ‘we need to return to the immediacy of the senses’, and this isn’t me just being lazy about writing about my art, rather I want people to experience it …. to experience it in the flesh; not just on a screen. 

Most people can't help themselves... even if they are in an art gallery 

In my practice I push ‘touch’ to the top of the pyramid (with form and colour being close followers). 

In fact I am very happy when observers actually struggle to articulate their own responses. I enjoy when they are lost for words because their brains have been overloaded with memories, gut reactions, emotions and memory flashbacks that an encounter with my work has triggered. 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Buggles my first outdoor sited Being - Burghley Sculpture Gardens

Celebration Event at Burghley Sculpture Gardens 16.06.18
How many excuses can I come up with for not publicising my recent Frillip Moolog activities  more loudly (or even that I haven't publicised them at all...)?

Well hello Buggles! 

Don’t answer please/ that’s a rhetorical question.

Anyway, here’s a run down....
Sept 2017- June 2018: I have been fully 'up to my armpits in alligators' in PGCE Design Technology training with Sheffield Hallam University and three placement schools in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. 

My life has been completely: Backpacks, Lesson Plans and PowerPoints. 

One recurring phrase that has popped into my mind sporadically throughout the course has been a Brian Eno quote, “When you hit 50 it’s good to give your life a bit of a shake-up”. ........The thing is..... I thought that I’d already done that in 2014 (when I actually did turn 50) .... 

But here I am -  June 2018, aged 54 and with my fresh PGCE (teaching qualification).... How ‘shook up’ (in a good way) do I feel? 

But this post isn’t about teaching… no it’s about FrillipMoolog and the art I’ve made and got out there in this past year. 

Drum roll please….. ‘Buggles’…my first ever outdoor-sited FrillipMoolog being is currently lounging (sloth-like) across a branch on a (specially selected) tree bough in Burghley Sculpture Gardens.

It started with one of those ‘out of the blue’ e mails back in June 2017 asking if I'd be interested in submitting a proposal. Then a visit to Burghley to discover that, not only is the sculpture garden absolutely fantastic, but that there are also some great artists exhibited in the permanent sculpture garden too. 

I contacted some of my friends and thanks to very positive comments from Richard Bett and Lucy Strachan I got my 'finger out' and submitted a proposal. 

I'd already earmarked a tree at Burghley and these are my first very rough sketches of how my sci-fi 'sloth' might look

However, I was still quite overwhelmed by my teacher training responsibilities so at this point I was still not sure if I would have the time to make a suitable FrillipMoolog being in a way that I felt comfortable with. But in true Kirsty fashion I had already identified some materials that I thought I’d like to work with and so had begun a (tentative) materials purchasing spree. 

I’d bought more than £100 worth of these faceted metallic cocktail goblets before I'd actually decided on the final design of Buggles.

I could see a lot of potential in these segmented lids especially as I've been fascinated by segments for a loooong time)

Like I’ve said before, playing with materials is a serious part of my practice. I still smile to myself when I hear myself giggle in this video that my son filmed back in Feb.

Installation happened in early April and the Otherworldy show runs until the end of October 2018. I’m really grateful to Mike Shaw for inviting me to submit a proposal and also very glad that I accepted the challenge as it proves yet again that it is worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

I’ve learnt a huge amount this year:
  • What it takes to be a professionally qualified teacher.
  • How much I enjoy working with young people.
  • How much I love being in my studio, playing with materials and making new work.
  • How much I value the support and encouragement of the people that I surround myself with (they know who they are).

The 2018 Burghley Sculpture Garden exhibition explores the surreal, strange, magical, cosmic and interplanetary. The sculptures in the show span our world and the known existence; exploring the geological, the celestial, and the extra-terrestrial.
Exhibiting Artists: Mark Beattie, Anthony Carr, Dallas Collins, Colin Furze, Andy Hazell, Kevin Hope, Conor Hurford, Darius Martisius, John McDonald, Michael Marriott, Denis O’Connor, Joanne Risley, Pete Rogers, Ben Rowe, Kirsty E Smith, Jim Unsworth
Show runs until 28.10.18