Friday, 26 June 2009

Introducing... Simon Lloyd

This week meet Simon Lloyd, who recently showed his exhibition Gleaning Potential in Gallery 1 here at Craft Victoria. We hope you managed to catch this marvellous show consisting of familiar objects re-made with not-so-familiar materials (paper spoons anyone?), a block of pitch attached to the ceiling which unfortunately fell victim to gravity and of course, the wonderful replica of Simon's studio.

To view more images of Simon's exhibition, click here. You also must have a look at the animation Anika (CV web genius) put together of Simon during the installation of Pitch Drop - amazing!

Could you tell us a bit about how the premise for Gleaning Potential developed and evolved into its form during your exhibition in Gallery 1 (1 May – 13 June 2009)?
Gleaning Potential evolved as a response, an investigation into the primal ideas that inform my design practice. The objects that l value most are straight forward functional tools, the spade, a cooking pan, a hammer. Here the qualities of numbers of materials are united in a team effort to optimise functional needs. We know about these materials: wood, iron, stone, leather, glass and many more, they are ancient. The hammers wooden shaft made from resilient Ash fine grained, strong and durable supporting the heavier forged iron head. In the end it becomes a dialogue about materials and their behavioural potential. So in a way the collection of fragments made from a range of materials becomes a logical step. Each of these fragments becomes a miniature model, whose material qualities and form might become expanded to provide some basis for a functional object. It’s also about comprehending an object and in so doing being able to relate to that object. This all sounds really basic but l feel it’s very important. Today so much of making, the manufacturing process of the objects we utilise happens in isolation. We need to work hard to fill in the gaps, to re acquaint ourselves with the concepts, with the ways by which these materials are manipulated to produce what we use. I feel it’s important to give clues about such processes within the finished designed object reminding the user as to what has taken place, to fill in the gaps. Within the exhibition space at Craft Victoria l placed finished work along side the gleaned fragments that in some way provided material and functional pathways to guide my design thinking.

Gleaning Potential is about exploring, finding and examining objects. Do you view it as a never-ending, infinite project or otherwise?
We all glean, it becomes in a way part of our human nature. The very act of looking becomes an act of gleaning. From such information we make sense of our environment, we gather knowledge, information we may later apply. My gleaning practice of physically collecting objects has been of great value, however it may not be sustainable. Rather the gleaning takes on new forms, new imperatives that drive my inquiries. This period of inquiry has generated many ideas. Thoughts about skills/non skills, the ‘home made’, producing a solution to a problem within the confines of available materials/resources. The failure of plastics as a stand-in for more durable materials with substance. The ways by which materials may be united in specific design projects. I am drawn here to the idea of a ceramic jug with a wooden handle.

By re-casting ordinary objects into other materials, what are you hoping to uncover/achieve?
The idea of shifting the form of one material to another is an intriguing idea. So much modelling within design schools today employs blue foam, and yet this material also has its say in any solution. Clay offers new thoughts as does wire or card. Each outcome is determined by the medium and our physical response to that material. As part of Gleaning Potential I explored paper as a modelling medium. Later I transposed the paper outcome to plastic and then again to ceramic. In this way I can in some way draw together some elements, some experience of all three materials.

What has been your best find ever?
Of the many hundreds of Gleaned fragments l have collected one favourite comes to mind. This small mass is of charred news print, from some glossy magazine. Composed of some thirty layers the images are still clear in orange and blue grey but reversed out. So delicate that it might be blown away and yet durable enough to become a future concept. That’s the wonder of the spectrum of matter that is on offer out in our environment.

…and the most obscure?
One can never pre determine the type of fragments that may be found, rather one should be prepared to recognise and accept such fragments at any time they may present.

Do you have a pattern or routine for gleaning?
In the same way we become interested in a particular form we realise that form is every where. Claus Oldenburg began sculpting Ray guns in the late 1960’s. After a while he realised that it wasn’t necessary to make them he could simply pick them up from the sidewalk.

If you could do anything in the world tomorrow, what would you do? And last but not least, one thing you can't live without?
Finally you ask the questions, if l could do anything in the world tomorrow what would l do, and to name one thing l can’t live without? These become difficult questions. One becomes the amplification of my present experience although l have always wanted to experience the Scandinavian mid summers day. The second will be understood when it’s missing l guess.

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