Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Shirley-Anne Murdoch of Shymerge

Shirley-Anne & Shymerge are based in Scotland,UK

Q. How did you decide to become a maker?
It just happened. Wendy Walker and myself had already produced a collection of mixed media artworks together as Shymerge. We were in the midst of producing a new body of work on the theme of ‘Tempus Fugit’ for a solo show at the 3 Harbours Arts Festival when we decided to expand our media into the third dimension. It just made conceptual sense to make our assemblages fully functional clocks - we liked the idea of making art assemblage works which had a utilitarian functionality.

Connect Tiempo  (Assemblages of Time Collection)

Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?
Our canvas-based mixed media works had significant amounts of ‘found’ ephemera worked into them already. We were both diligent hoarders and collectors of what we considered ‘true’ junk. We raided not just junk yards- but the skips and bins of junk yards- fascinated with materials regarded as having absolutely no value or being at the end of their life cycle. We combed urban streets and nature spots equally. Only the quartz digital clock mechanisms, paints and glues are bought in the production of our works. Rusty metals, environmentally-worn woods and used paper and textiles are currently the main components of our assemblages - but it will always depend on what we find, the forms we are working towards and the workability of the materials- so we’re open to choosing any material that has the feasibility of usage!

'Tray of Infinity' (Tempus Fugit Collection)

Q. Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
Mass consumerism and the market appetite for low cost, low quality copycat craft has put the original designer-maker in a very precarious position. As creatives we are increasingly producing for a very reduced but discerning market which looks to well-made, original and unique products. The ease of using the internet has opened up the global market for us - but virtual galleries still have limits in showing three-dimensional works effectively enough. There’s many challenges out there, but this only forces us to develop further in what we produce and how this can reach expanding markets. There’s a very positive move to ‘cross-over’ works, with design, art and craft all being re-defined as they break out of their respective pigeon-holes – I find this the exciting part of the potential future.

Leaning Tower (Assemblages of Time Collection)

Q. How do you sell your work?
We’re just at the beginning of looking at the commercial viability of our works. We’ve tended to specifically produce bodies of work and sell them through solo shows at the 3 Harbours Arts Festival (annually in May/June) and individual works through our website. We’ve just completed a new set of twelve works currently on show at Howden Park Centre - a great new gallery/theatre/cafĂ© space in Livingston, West Lothian. Smaller galleries In our localised areas of The Lothians and in Norfolk are starting to show interest- particularly in smaller collections of three/four pieces, and we’re just about to launch a Facebook group page to increase interest.

Justice (Assemblages of Time Collection)

Q. What is your working style?
Each individual work has it’s own form and scale. All works are initially constructed using ‘found’ ephemera, which are then layered, painted and built on using typographic or image narrative to convey unique messages. All works go through a variety of phases- passing from one to the other until both of us are completely happy that it has been completed. I tend to take care of sculptural form, composition and narratives, with Wendy concentrating on colour, texture and additions for the finalisation of visual balance.

Q. Three words of advice for an aspiring Craft maker...

Q. What inspires you?

Temple of Fire (Assemblages of Time Collection)

Q. Who is your favourite artist/maker?  (click name for more detail)

Q. You walk into your bathroom and see a crocodile in the bath tub .... what would you do?
Wake up in a cold sweat.

Fuji Temple  (Assemblages of Time)

Assemblages of Time can be seen at Howden Park Centre, West Lothian, Scotland

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Welcome to the New Online Resource for the World of Crafts

Well, here it is! I have finally done it after talking about it for so long. Awhile back I wished that there was an online place that one could visit to find out about makers - the story behind their passion and the lives that they lead.

There is an incredible world of very talented people who work away in various studio spaces and kitchen tables, making little and sometimes not so little creations. The hand made, the hand crafted, the skilled artisan- whatever you call them, they have been and will always be a valuable element in the fabric of society.

So who are these people, how do they make a living, why did they choose this path and what insights can they share? Hopefully this site will answer some of these questions.

So bear with us whilst it gets off the ground and bookmark this page, follow us and stay tuned because the world of the designer, maker, crafty shaper is about to be opened.

Tash Goswami