I really enjoy our Coffee Talk interviews, and I'm happy to announce that we have a guest blogger conducting this entry's interview. I'm handing over the reins to our fabulous Special Projects Designer, Corrie Hogg. Corrie is such a talented, multi-disciplined artist who has seen and created so much impressive art, that I'm curious as to what artists impress her. Let's find out! Heeere's Corrie!
A year or so ago, I stumbled upon an image of the most beautiful soft sculpture moth on Pinterest. It looked like it had been made with pieces of old frayed and worn upholstery fabric, found bits of string and twine, scraps of carpet, wire, and lots of love. Amazing in every way, I wished I could see more. The image had been shared and copied so many times, that it lost the original source as well as the artist’s name. Just by chance, a couple weeks ago (on some other wild goose chase on the internet), I happened upon the website of the fabulous Mister Finch! My moth maker! What a feast for the eyes! He makes so many beautiful things…mushrooms and bees and swans. The more I saw the more I loved. I gobbled up everything on his site and marveled at the beautifully crafted creatures. Each sculpture is like a character out of a story book … lots of personality and charming quirk. I had to know more! I reached out to Mister Finch and he agreed to “coffee talk” with me. Here is our conversation below. Also check out these beautiful images of his work and take a gander over to his site to see more! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Mister Finch is an artist living and working out of Leeds, England. He goes by “Mister” so “it is clear from the start that I’m a man and one that sews.”
Corrie Hogg: Tell me a little about your background. How did you get into doing what you do? Do you remember the first thing you made?
Mr. Finch: I have always made things since I was very young. I always wanted to know and learn how to make things in different mediums....paper mâché, origami, and even back then I was sewing. For years I made jewelry but it just wasn't the best fit for me and so I pretty much just stopped dead doing it and went into textiles.
I have no formal training with anything to do with textiles or sewing. I learnt everything myself as I went along. I’ve always been able to sew and just wanted to see what would happen and what I could come up with. I worked really really hard at it and devoured as much information as
I could and just put everything I had into it. Really early on it felt like things were falling into place and it was almost like this was what I had been searching for...it was the best fit. Even now when I come across a piece of fabric or something which would be perfect for my work the buzz is wonderful....I’ve not had this with any other medium.
In the early days I wanted to make insects so these are some of the first things I tried, lots of beetles and spiders.
CH: That is amazing that you are self-taught! Through all your experimentations, you found that thing that makes you tick. Not everyone can say that, it is very inspiring. Can you tell me a little about your where you find your inspiration? And, I am curious, do you make drawings of your ideas before you start to work in 3D?
MF: I'm inspired by so many things. At the moment, I'm really into swans so I'm finding out all about them; watching films and reading about their folklore. I try to stay within a fairy tale bracket in some way, as this is where I feel the most at home. I don't sketch that much, mostly any drawing that I do is to create patterns or to work out how pieces fit together and join. Every so often, I make little sketches to record fleeting ideas that come to mind at random times.
CH: Fairy tales are so interesting; often so macabre and ubiquitous across cultures. I can see how they would hold your interest. Do you have the same connection to the materials you choose to work with? Are your pieces made from discarded or found materials? What comes first? The idea? Or does the material lead to the idea?
MF: I try to use as much found and damaged fabrics as I can. I love to rescue textiles and the hunt for them is such an enjoyable part of the process.
Often, I'm inspired to make something from fabric I find. I made some ravens from an old coat a few years ago....the sheen on the coat really reminded me of the gloss of feathers. I used the entire coat for them and then I was onto the next thing. Once the coat was gone I didn't make them again for a long time. Turning an old coat into birds just seemed like the best thing...and now these birds are all over the place living different lives and adventures...I love that.
CH: It seems you form a strong attachment to the things you make, and consider them after they leave your hands. That is evident in the work, one can really see the love you put into them. If time, money or space wasn’t an issue, what would your dream project be?
MF: I would love to work on a film. Obviously, something by Tim Burton would be perfect! My work is slowly getting larger and heavier now so having more space to experiment would be a thrill....enormous moths come straight to mind....10-11 feet would be great!
CH: He is certainly one of a kind. I love what he does. I can see your creatures fitting in well in one of his films. (Internet-ers, hook a boy up!) I love the sound tracks to his films too. Do you listen to music while you work? What is your go-to?
MF: I listen to everything. Most often I listen to the 'sound of the rain' CD's and film soundtracks. I like having nature documentaries on in the back ground too.
CH: Is there something that you have made that is your favorite? Something you could never part with?
MF: The very large pieces I have made, I made for myself. So, I don't sell those. I have a large moth I named 'Oonah' which is made from carpet that I could never let go. I like having them around...most of my larger works have been a project I work on when I have a bit of spare time.
CH: Wow! I would love to see them! What’s next for you?
MF: I try to bring out new work all the time so hopefully some new creatures for Summer. I'm involved in a few projects behind the scenes… but I have to keep it a secret, which is so hard as it’s very exciting for me!