I watched day in the life of the artist Polly Morgan I love the physicality of her work. Morgan is able to work with the material and create something both curious and intriguing. The bodies taken from a freezer and reshaped take on a new life and have something new to say – as a viewer I find the pieces absorbing and sometimes disturbing.
Today I had a look at the work of Shauna Richardson Richardons coined the phrase crochetdermy -life sized sculptures created using crochet. If you watched any of the coverage of the olympics you may have caught a glimpse of the Lionheart project – three giant lions crocheted by hand.
What I like about both approaches is that through craft and imagination artists create engaging works which whilst held and preserved in a particular position give me cause to think and may in some small way shapes my own thinking and practice.
Taxidermy and crochetdermy – take objects or the idea of objects and prepare them for being shown. Botox – dermy involves an individual offering their living (yet dying) skin to a specialist and asking them to stuff the spaces which are unpalatable, unattractive – past their sell by date to create an illusion that that the process of death has been suspended. Botox -dermied individaul after a period of healing then go walkabout and display themselves to the wider public who can’t quite believe what they are seeing. Far from a creative act – botox-dermy is like the emperor’s new clothes – no threads to create a beautiful hand – spun individual tailored garments – rather chemicals are used to work against the human materials of skin and imperfections. Everything flattened and sometimes it seems like the very life and character of the person has been removed – a shadow is left behind.
As many of us get older we crave to hold on to memories of substance – perhaps a beautiful pattern or texture of a fabric to transport us back to a particular occasion. We know that it is possible to create a connection with a person with dementia if we take time to engage with them through the all senses – exploring perhaps through sound or touch until we find that embodied memory. If there is a continual obsession with smoothing out the signs of ageing rather than an engagement or at least a passing glance at what ageing really looks like, smells like and feels like -how will we have the resilience and creative imagination to be with those who are ageing around us -who might need our attention as they are?