I’ve been an artist in residence at Access Space for two weeks now, responding to news topics of the day through the unusual art form of candle making. Find out more about my thoughts and processes this coming Wednesday at Access Space from 5.30pm! full details here:
I hope you can join me!
The ‘One Minute Silence’ has found unsettling prominence among our everyday lives in the wake of recent atrocities, particularly here in Britain. It is a period of silent and respectful contemplation usually in the wake of a tragic event.
As an expression of the sentiment of the one minute silence, and as a means to reveal the capacity scent has for humility and quiet observation, I bring to you the One Minute Silence candle. A fragrance that bears witness to tragedy with respect and harnesses the notions of humanity and compassion. It’s both a tool and companion for moments of meaningful silence.
Nominally relaxing, but with a view to ease the mind into respectful and meditative thought. This blend of frankincense, lavender and sandalwood affords a grounded mental capacity which allows you to engage in reflection and contemplation.
Scents of Our Time is an ongoing series of work that explores the capacity scent has for social, moral and political commentary in relation to everyday life.
I have a piece of work in the excellent Lady of Situations at Bank Street Arts. My piece is a scented narrative that describes the forest that Philomela – half woman half bird – is exiled in, and how the forest acts as a metaphor for her own journey. The candle is loaded with the heavy, oppressive fragrance of birch tar, dill weed and carrot seed, yet this gives way to a lighter, positive and joyful fragrance of rose, pine and orange revealed in the vessel. Many thanks to Shirley Harris, and Seni Seneviratne for giving me this opportunity to explore constructing narratives with scent.
You can find out more about Lady of Situations at Bank Street Arts – which runs until 12th November – here.
Exchange Place Studios – the space where I share a studio with Sharon Mossbeck – is hosting an exhibition from 29th April – 10th in parallel with Open Up Sheffield. The exhibition brings together Exchange Place artists of varying styles and disciplines, all working towards one common theme – ‘The Beast Within’
This theme opens up various means of interpretation. As such, I intend to use it as a chance to show brand new work and to use a new creative medium – the humble scented candle. I intend to use scented candles in a contemporary way – using scent to describe a narrative that speculates upon the idea that knowledge is a beast which we feed to further human endeavour.
The narrative, which takes cues from Ancient Eygpt and religious ritual, suggests that if you offer the essences of your body and mind to the beast of Knowledge they will be sacrificed for the good of human endeavour. However, the narrative also advises caution against feeding knowledge, as a collective sense of truth may compromise your own place within the world.
The narrative provides insight and metaphor for how we navigate our way through our own reality, learn from our experiences and how we sit on the axis between the realities of the wider world and our own personal battles. If you want to see – and indeed smell – the creation, why not pop down to Exchange Place Studios? There will be a Private View of the exhibition between 7-9pm on the 29th April. Do come along if you can!
Studio time today saw me explore and experiment with candles, wax and how the common roles of candles can be re-contextualised.
As with the beginning of all my creative endeavors, the source of enquiry is creative processes and tour relationship between creative action and material.
A narrative ensues that initially casts candles within the roles of contemplation and reflection – the time it takes to arrive at or develop an idea. However, upon further scrutiny, it becomes clear that should these candles be lit, the surfaces that are needed to address an idea would be lost. This highlights the struggle between thought and execution.
Behold, my first attempt at a scented candle!
Not bad eh?
But why?! I hear you ask. Well, as well as it being a notable use for fragrance oils – which I have in abundance due to my perfumery pursuits – I am seeking to initiate and develop a new strand of work, which will re-purpose church spaces in an attempt to re-align art to religion.
My work tends to offer many layers of engagement whist also seeming relativity subtle- a studio space that isn’t actually a studio space; a perfume shop that isn’t actually a perfume shop; and now a shrine that isn’t actually a shrine. These shrines will speculate upon an existence for artists that draws parallels to a religion. The aim is to explore, speculate and create alternative functions for both creative and religious practice in order to attain a furthered and relevant understanding of them both within the present. Are art galleries the Cathedrals of the present day? Or can the very working of religion inform how art and artists function within society? Or both? Or neither?! And what would all of this look like?!?! Lets find out…
2015 provided me with the time and space to cement my presence as an artist within Sheffield. I feel a confidence and strength within my convictions and no longer have any reservations in proclaiming my profession as being an artist. I also began to understand the value of rejecting opportunities should they not be appropriate. Again this probably derives from renewed confidence in my creative pursuits.
So, how will I approach 2016? well, for one I aim to extend my presence outside Sheffield and navigate my way yet deeper into the world of fragrance. It has come to my attention that attaching my practice to an area of industry outside the arts is a meaningful approach to creative practice, as it enables the exploration of alternative functions for preconceived ideas within an appropriate context. As such, I hope 2016 will see me working directly with those in the fragrance industry – collaborating to mutual benefits.
Other than the continuation of my premise of ‘perfume as portraiture’ I hope to extent my portfolio of scent based pursuits. Including the idea of ‘perfume hacking’ the development of ‘scents of our time’ and, new for 2016, I will begin exploring new uses for the scented candle, incorporating life, death, religion and how the function of candles change within different contexts.
So, that’s me for the next 12 months. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all well for 2016, whatever you end up doing 🙂