getting started / word netting / artefacts / studio practice


Getting started at this residency at Tonbridge School that will last for almost a year, I am taking stock of my new surroundings; gathering the resources that will inform this next body of work, and allowing the place to seep into and shape what is occurring in the studio.

I work intuitively, which means that when I begin a project I do not know what the final outcome will be. This makes attentiveness very important to my studio practice: absorbing, noticing, deliberating, responding.

I am a sculptor and installation artist. I use an array of materials to make installations that function as alternate realities, from orange peel to fabric stained with rust. You can see examples of my previous work on my website.

The main source of inspiration for the work I will make at Tonbridge is drawn from archaeology. This is a new focus that I have arrived at organically as a result of two residencies last year, one in Vermont, USA and one in Barcelona.

I am compelled by artefacts, I see them as time travellers in our midst. At present I have a collection of artefacts in my studio, loaned to me by Sevenoaks Museum and the Surrey History Centre. These objects are both the starting point for the project that I am working on with the Art Society this term, and inspiration for my own work.

I find that writing, rather than drawing, are how ideas begin to take shape for me in the studio. Lately I have been constructing a ‘word netting’ in the initial stages of a project, to crystallise my thoughts and to allow for new meanings to emerge through the accidental arrangement of words.

This is my current word netting:

word netting 3.jpg

As for the actual making in the studio - a wall piece and a free standing fence sculpture are beginning to emerge. The wall piece began as a tarpaulin, cut into a shape that references architecture; an archway or window with a curtain draped across it stained with bands of rust. I am hoping that these bands will allude to strata, a cross section of earth. I am fascinated by the way that this image (of archaeological strata) becomes an embodiment of the passage of time, and I wonder how expectations or assumptions about reality might be subverted by (mis)using it. Curtains too represent increments of time, in the way that they are moved according to day and night, but on a much smaller, everyday scale. Bringing the intimate, or daily into conversation with the monumental or sublime is an idea that appeals to me greatly.

Caroline Bugby