Last summer I was awarded a fellowship to go to Penland School of Craft in North Carolina where I learnt new figurative hand building and surface techniques with clay. I was given time to consider my practice and gain creative inspiration from my surroundings and the people I met. I created the first of a new collection.
A constant thread that runs through my work is creating the bizarre for my own amusement. There’s often a point during the making process that makes me laugh out loud. The laughter may be due to the piece being thoroughly ridiculous, or uncomfortably strange. Either way at this point I know that the work has found itself and a place in my world.
Over the summer of 2013 I was part of a collaborative project between Studio Manifold and Siobhan Davies Dance Studio. We were invited to take over the space by the 60|40 group. We started with an introductory exhibition Under The Influence, a collection of objects, artworks and photographs relating to the people who have influenced us, creatively and personally. My influences were my Grandma, Evelyn Todd and artist Colette Dobson.
I work in a sculpture studio for a company that makes mannequins. In a lot of ways it is the polar opposite to what I do in my own work. I spend a lot of my time removing the imperfections, the finger prints, the scars; erasing any signs of the history or personality of the model in order to create a figurative form that is acceptable for human consumption. But during this process there are moments of abjection that amuse me. The inevitable broken fingers the filling in of dimples.
This series of work breaks down the barriers between the viewer and the viewed. The work references dolls. Dolls usually represent absolute normality. Everything symmetrical, nothing out of place, an inanimate, perfect form to be loved, hugged and nurtured. The eyes of the pieces are all important; another connection between the onlooker and the subject, the glass eyes of the dolls stare back at the viewer, the mirrored eyes ensure the viewer is confronted with their own reflection.
The Sarcophagus of Lun Freud. This piece was created in response to a site-specific project for the Freud Museum, London. The museum is the house that Freud escaped to during the Second World War. Freud came to the house with everything he needed to feel comfortable and homely including his family, his housekeeper and his dog. A dog was an important member of his family. Freud thought dogs had a special sense that allowed them to judge human character.
When drinking from a vessel, we take its cleanliness for granted. The mouth is an orifice through which germs can be unknowingly consumed. ‘I once served Jeremy Kyle a drink in a bar. I considered rubbing the wart on my thumb around the rim of his glass’. The drinks vendor can carry out their secret revenge when serving the unsuspecting customer.