One of the most fun things to make for my Sculptural Banquet at Pitzhanger Manor were the bouquets of plaster flowers. I was surprised at how sculptural they turned out to be and actually, in my view, a lot more beautiful than many a bunch of flowers in a florist's shop.
STOP PRESS ! - thanks, thanks to Susie Bubble - uber fashion blogger - for a wonderful review on Style Bubble. I had the most brilliant conversation with her at the gallery and it was so exciting to get a take on the busts from a real fashionista given my interest in extreme and sculptural fashion.
All the banquet objects are real things coated in plaster and the flowers are a mixture of cheap fake ones and real branches and seed heads I collected on a country walk.
Among the flowers are some incongruous objects - whisks, sieves and brushes - seemingly more at home in the kitchen than at a Baroque feast! But these random objects are in fact essential pieces of equipment in my studio and used on a daily basis. It seemed a nice idea to reference the fabrication of my sculpture and interestingly, a washing up brush or sieve coated in plaster becomes a beautiful abstract piece of sculpture.
The 'vases' are a mixture of discarded packaging - biscuit packets and tin cans - bottles and cheap glass vases from charity shops. To my mind the tin can is a beautiful object whether in silvery metal or thickly coated in bright white plaster - utilitarian in the extreme but simultaneously a perfect harmony of style, form and function.
It was a great deal harder to create these plaster bouquets than I had imagined! One of the problems was the extreme thinness of the 'stems' which couldn't easily support the flower heads when coated in heavy plaster. It all turned out to be a very time consuming process and I had to mix many bowls of plaster adding layer upon layer to transform the fragile paper-thin petals into sturdy pieces of sculpture.
In the photos I think the bouquets look weirdly surreal - it's hard to work out what they are or what they're made of.
I do hate franchise coffee shops like Costa Coffee - but their cups make great vases!
To make this giant vase, I went to a local cafe and asked them to save me some catering-size baked bean cans - which they kindly did. I taped 2 together and left the lid on -I love the asymmetric shape it makes plus you don't usually get half-open lids on vases so I liked the element of surprise about that too. Most of all I like the juxtaposition of manufactured, humdrum container with elegant flower forms - and it really chimes with my overall message which is: low-key is the new luxe!
It was certainly fun - if frustrating and tricky at times - making the plaster banquet and I reckon it will lead my work off in some new directions.
You can watch a film of my exhibition 'Secret Society - a Sculptural Banquet'