Isolated Moments – Hidden Worlds

The next in our Isolated Moments series, aiming to keep spirits buoyed and creativity alive during COVID-19 social distancing and quarantining measures, comes from artist and educator Fiona Campbell. With a focus on concerns about human over-consumption and exploitation of nature, Fiona creates sculptural installations using mainly reclaimed and discarded materials.

During lockdown, rather than work in the studio I’ve been gardening and making art in tandem – both meditative and feeding off each other. Inspired by hidden worlds that often get overlooked, I’ve been fascinated by the entanglement of upturned turf, roots, worms and shoots.

In this workshop you can create your own hidden world sculpture using discarded materials that may be to hand.

You will need as much of the following as you are able to find:

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Long-nosed pliers and wire cutters are optional, but help with cutting and twisting wire
  • Twine, string
  • Sticks, stems, dried roots
  • Any scrap components such as metal rods, old nails, straws or old bed springs
  • Wire stripped from old unwanted cables
  • Chicken wire
  • Old paper such as newspaper, tissue paper or shredded copy paper
  • Wallpaper paste, PVA glue or flour
  • Mod roc (optional, if you have it)

If you are able to go outside safely try looking for the hidden worlds in the undergrowth. When you find something interesting or inspiring try sketching it or commit it to memory. Alternatively you may wish to imagine a hidden world or look for other images online.

You can also use this as an opportunity to gather more found and recycled materials.

Next, try translating your drawing or memory into a 3-dimensional sculpture. I use linear materials and objects such as sticks and old nails to stand in for line.

Start off with an armature around which the rest of the sculpture is built. This could be using chicken wire or using your found objects. Try weaving twine or string through the linear materials to give your sculpture the strength to stand on its own.

Next, add some bulk and surface layers. Try using mod roc with water or scraps of paper with glue. If you have no glue you can make a sticky paste from a mixture of flour and water. Experiment with different amounts of each. Allow some time for this to dry.

Place your finished sculpture somewhere where you can notice your hidden world more easily.

Fiona Campbell

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