Thursday, 21 May 2020

Collaboration, Piece 1, Stage 1

A few weeks ago I was approached by the talented and prolific artist, Sharon Griffin, about collaborating on a sculptural project with her. After hearing her proposal I immediately said yes.  Before we physically started on the project we had one of those lovely, several hours long, joyfully meandering conversations about creativity and the themes that influence our work; themes such as identity, memory, growth, portals, the resonance of found materials, and the self - all the usual good stuff. It'll be interesting to see which elements of our conversation bleed into the work we produce.

First piece in collaborative art project between Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

Although not exactly an Exquisite Corpse in its truest form, the proposed project does share some of the same elements.  What we are undertaking is to produce a series of experimental sculptures whereby Sharon kicks off the creation of each new sculpture by giving me a clay bust of a relatively androgynous-looking figure, made from a plaster cast mould that she made from her original clay bust sculpture. I then alter the clay bust in some way, before handing it back to Sharon, in order for her to perform her alchemy by applying some of her glazes (created from her own recipes, using locally sourced geological ingredients - apparently the variety of geological settings in Shropshire is unmatched within the British Isles or, within such a relatively small area, probably anywhere else in the world), and then fire the piece.  She then hands the piece back to me for next stage, in which I integrate it with other manipulated materials.

First piece & working drawing in collaborative art project between Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

Here are some photos of my contribution to the early stage of the project, after Sharon handed over the first two clay busts.
I will say that at each stage of the handover, we are observing the correct and responsible levels of social distancing that these times (the time of the COVID 19 pandemic, for anyone reading this afterwards - if there is an afterwards) demand.

First two pieces in collaborative art project between Sharon Griffin and Wayne Chisnall

Although Sharon works predominantly in clay and I work in... well, pretty much anything I can get my grubby hands on, we have a lot of things in common - a love of nature and the earth, of manipulating materials, we share many similar views, we're both from the same part of Shropshire, both with similarly odd family backgrounds etc. So I'm very excited to see where our collaboration takes us. This is only the second time that I've collaborated with another artist. The other one was with a performance artist, Calum F. Kerr, and our collaborative project lasted 12 years. Calum and I have yet to exhibit the fruit of our collaboration but I'm pretty sure that the collaborative work of Sharon and myself will not have to wait that long to find a viewing public.

Sketch for next stage in collaborative art project between Sharon Griffin & Wayne Chisnall

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