Sunday, 28 September 2014

Found Object Workshops

On Saturday 27th September I ran a day of drop-in workshops at The Herbert for anyone who wanted to take part. It was a great day of creative play using found oject photographs as the stimulus. The idea was to consider the objects more; to add worth and value to these discarded things; to allow them to spark creativity and imagination; to have fun.

There were 5 different activities people could take part in, here are some example pictures of what was produced:

1) Using a found object as a starting point for a drawing or picture. 

2) Creating a display case and showing objects inside.

3) Producing Found Object Top Trumps.

4) Making a story board narrative involving the objects.

5) Found object equations - considering the subjective value of an item.

It was a lot of fun and some really inventive work was produced. What struck me was the lack of fear that children have when they set out to create something. So often adults can be paralysed with a sense of worry or fear about messing up a drawing or not knowing how to start. And yet the children who took part weren't phased by drawing a dragon or whatever; they just went for it - and usually they turned out brilliantly. It's a good thing to learn from.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Voluntary Poetry

David Hurt, one of the many excellent and very necessary volunteers at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum who have been looking after Shed - Collect - Shed, has written a number of poems inspired by the exhibition. Here's a couple:

The Artefacts Story (inspired by Shed-Collect-Shed: Coventry's Lost and Found)

With colour,
Waiting to inspire,
Passionately crafted
Into art.
Connecting their world
To ours,
Shedding their secrets.
Secrets once whispered
From beneath foliage,
By the roadside and
Teetering drains.
Their new refuge,
Gives them hope.

Trodden Rainbow Putty (inspired by the video projection piece "...and then I found..." (2014).

Flecked with spectrum rays,
Pulped by rushing feet,
Once a child's sculpture
Dropped in sudden fleet.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The collection continues...

Although the intensity of the collecting for Shed - Collect - Shed has reduced I'm still scanning the streets for the treasures it can yield. Here are my latest finds from the last weeks:

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Going Round in Circles

When I first met Joanna Rucklidge 15 years ago I was inspired by her vision to collect and display bread tags - something that once seemed so 'nothingy' which I'd never given much notice to. Yet from that day on the humble bread tag took on a very different relevance and significance in my consciousness. Joanna continues to challege me to see the beauty and worth in things that even I can easily overlook and discard. For Shed - Collect - Shed she presents Going Round in Circles (2014) a set of 9 works including screen prints of objects such as rubber bands (previously pictured) and cup lids, and circular assemblages of plastic or metal bottle lids as if they were a set of rare antiquities. By so doing Joanna invests power and value into the most commonplace of the found object world. This is very much part of her ongoing fascination with environmental issues, waste and the disposable culture that we inhabit.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Martin Green's Work in Progress

Martin Green has been busy working each Sunday at the Coventry Centre for Contemporary Art (or 'shed' to its friends), currently based on the First Floor of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. It's a great opportunity to see him working and dealing with his particular flavour of Coventry found objects. He will next be in on Sunday 21st September and Sundays throughout October (2014).

Monday, 8 September 2014

(Super, Un)natural history

Further areas of The Herbert's natural history collection was deliberately referenced in my work. I wanted to mimic some of the ways they displayed or catalogued their items. For My Found Knotted Crisp Packet Collection (2014) I used a fairly traditional looking green felt as a backdrop to pin the different packets onto as if they were a collection of butterflies or the like. The shape of the tied packets, their thin wrapper 'wings' and the bright colours evoked these creatures in my mind. 

Trophies (2014) (a found heron's head and a broken battery operated bat, each framed in gold spray-painted polystyrene packaging) recall the taxidermy found within the museum as well as the sorts of displays of creatures / heads that might be assossiated with this practice. There is a play on what was once considered a hunting trophy and my seeking out of found objects on the streets.

Mini Beasts (2014) similarly emulates the the sort of displays of insects and animals that could be found in the Herbert Museum. Real animals have been replaced by man-made versions found on the street. Within this array there are items that resemble life-forms although originally bore no reference to them- for instance a tag from perhaps some sort of garden packaging now looks like a flattened one-armed frog, and plastic remnants from something that was screwed in or drilled out appear more like a pair of octopii.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Boxers & Collections

I wanted to post a few images from the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum's collections which impacted me as I thought about the Shed - Collect - Shed exhibition and began to formulate ideas for work which would fit the show.

These first images are of boxes from the Elliott Collection. Elliott was a dentist from Tanworth-in-Arden collecting shells during the late 1800s. 3900 shells and his notebooks were donated to the museum in 1975. His 'African Collection' is particularly interesting where he stored his shells in boxes constructed partly from playing cards and partly from order cards from the Royal Mail Steam Ship 'African'. I love the creativity shown through how he used to store his treasured finds. Elliott also used many makeshift storage containers - pill boxes, match boxes and even denture boxes! 

Some of my work in the show and Martin Green's City Box sculptures deliberately dialogue with this collection.

A Stand-In Triumph (detail) (2014) - Lorsen Camps (assorted found objects in found Standard Triumph match boxes).

City Box Sculpture #3, Lopsided Travel (2014) - Martin Green (box made from the covers of the History of Boxing and World of Meaning, cigarette packet foil, one worn heel and one found suitcase wheel, 30 found wheel weights, collection / catalogue reference number).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Stickers R Us!

The house is overrun with stickers! These make up the Found Object Sticker Packs produced to coincide with the Shed - Collect - Shed exhibition and will be on sale from the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum shop very soon (or directly through me - just get in touch). There will be 50 Limited Edition packs of the complete 50 designs (£20), and also sold individually (£1 each).  The clear vinyl stickers feature photographs of found objects from my collection, a number of which feature in the Shed - Collect - Shed exhibition.