Jamie and I were introduced some years ago by a mutual friend as we both made mobiles. Jamie now works as a Deputy Head at our local comprehensive school and I develop the art projects. In 2012 we were commissioned to make four large-scale mobiles for the three floor atrium space at John Lewis in Stratford, East London and this had a significant influence on our practice. For this commission, ‘An Exaltation of Larks’, we used the skylark to celebrate the concept of migration and how Newham is one of the most diverse boroughs in the country. Since then we generally always make several pieces which form different series evolving out of a story or a theme.
Recent series include: Dovetailing which was about listening and which aimed to explore the potential for humankind to work with nature, using the crafting of musical instruments as a starting point, Breath Water Marks about the traces and patterns we leave behind us, and the Sphagnum Moss series with which we hoped to suggest the gesture of care and healing which moss makes.
We are interested in trying to articulate – using kinetic sculpture as metaphor – a language of equilibrium.
Our projects typically begin with drawn observation. The shape templates for the mobiles are created by laminating layers of veneer which is sustainably sourced from responsibly managed forests. Lamination is a low-energy process with ancient origins which binds together individual, fragile layers to create a much stronger whole. This concept of the whole being greater than the sum of parts underpins not only the form but also the content of the work in that each part of every mobile is integral to the balance of the whole.
The wooden mobiles at the centre of our practice are light and responsive to human presence. Every time anyone interacts with one or more of the mobiles there is a unique performance which can never be repeated.
We are elected members of the Royal Society of Sculptors, represented by the gallery jaggedart in London and exhibit there regularly and at art fairs, in particular COLLECT and London Art Fair, whilst also exhibiting in the north of England in a number of galleries. As well as our smaller-scale work in wood, we have completed a number of larger-scale commissions in metal for public and private organisations such as John Lewis, Olleco, and a number of hospitals (The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, West Middlesex Hospital, St. George’s Hospital and Milton Keynes Hospital). More information can be found on the commissions section of the Portfolio page. We have also created a small number of outdoor mobiles for commission and exhibition and this is an area which we are keen to develop further.
Our creative practice often involves processes of co-design with individuals and groups, particularly with those from different disciplines.
Four short videos below show a variety of work, some of which has emerged out of collaboration. The first, by Clare Dearnaley, is the trailer for the Dovetailing project. The second, by Adam Gutch, shows the maquettes for a permanent large-scale commission we did for John Lewis. The third, by Clare Dearnaley, is a study of A Murmuration of Starlings, a permanent large-scale commission for the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Healthcare Hospital. Both the John Lewis and the Northumberland sculptures were fabricated by ArtFabs. The fourth is a short film by Clare Dearnaley of a mobile, ‘Untethered’, which we made with James Wilkinson as an experiment for a smaller-scale outdoor piece.
“Beautifully-poised constructions floating in the centres of rooms, gently moving in response to soundwaves of musicians, air waves of human presence.”
“My mobiles give me such joy. I’ve hung mine in the dining area of my kitchen, and the altering light and air currents of the room reflect on the mobiles under which I sit watching them change and move.”
“The silent harmonies are endlessly compelling.”
“The exhibition was a delight for the senses. A serene experience of light, music and movement. As you walk under and around the mobiles your movement in turn creates their movement, changing the shapes and shadows as they turn and dance. Wandering under and around felt like being in the boughs of the most exquisite and delicate of trees.”
“It was an intimate, multisensory experience, where three dimensional objects made of natural materials responded to the flow of air and movement of viewers. The sculptures looked like notes or thoughts emerging from the air. I was totally fascinated by the way mobiles interacted with the people around them and couldn’t stop taking photos.”
“I have a mathematical background, and a lifelong interest in the mathematics of curves, in particular, so I found the experience of being surrounded by so many dynamic curves, of such beauty, quite overwhelming. I don’t mean I tried to analyse them in any way, I was just…. “bathed”, I suppose, in a manifestation of their complex diversity. The essence of the whole exhibition is not in isolated curves, beautiful though they may be, but in their interaction and mutual dependence – where the complexity goes through the roof.”
“I thought the mobiles seemed to be suspended in space and made me think of thoughts inside the mind.”
“The mobile seems to float and I can imagine sounds coming from it when I watch it turning.”