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/caf√© 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


jay anderson said...

Brilliant article and loved the way graphic design has fused with 3D work and time pieces!

Shirley-Anne Murdoch said...

Thanks Jay. Interesting that you can see 'graphic design' in there, but I guess compositional form, and in particularly the visual balance striven for in two dimensional design works is equally applied here in these three dimensional pieces.