To see Lauren Scott’s work is like disappearing into a real-life version of Wind in the Willows where the animals take on a life of their own. They have so much character and personality you just wish that they could talk. How much much fun would it be to give them their own dialogue! And, in fact, if Lauren’s dreams come true, that might one day happen!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Come and meet the young Irish-born artist and find out why she is already making a name for herself with her quirky wilderness creatures …
Tell us about yourself and how have you ended up where you are today.
I studied a BA Honours in Fine and Applied Art at the University of Ulster, Belfast and graduated with First Class Honours in 2012. I specialised in textile art where I was taught all the traditional textile skills. Although this art form is usually translated through 2D ideas I struggled to do this. I began to use this craft base and translate them in a modern way – three-dimensionally with a series of hare sculptures.
You say on your website that you like collecting recycled materials – tell me about this and how you have incorporated them into your works.
I enjoy using good quality offcuts of linen, cotton and wool in the patchwork element of my creatures. I collect many of my materials. I beachcomb, collect horsehair from the stables I once worked at to embellish and create texture in my handmade felts. I source many of my materials from charity shops – anything from vintage velvet skirts to velvet curtains can be cut up and used in my sculptures. I like recycled materials due to the strong environmental message the work promotes. I like the idea of using materials that many see as worthless waste and creating something beautiful from them. They also lend themselves well to the distressed, well-lived appearance and style I work in.
Tell me about the creative process. Where do your ideas come from and how do you bring them to life?
My ideas come from watching the comic value of our local wildlife. I began making hares and have now branched out into a wide array of creatures. Often I start with the animal I want to make and after drawing and sketching quickly from images I begin to build. Often one item of clothing or an object could spark an idea for a piece -maybe a bow tie, a brooch or even a piece of furniture. I create a rough shape and then begin to treat my fabrics. I add lots of texture with handmade felts. Each piece is hand-stitched so it is an arduous process. It takes time to capture the character. All of a sudden I will add a nose or an eye and the piece will just ‘pop’; the animal sort of springs to life.
You appear to love animals – especially Irish wildlife. Tell me more about this: Why this focus?
I adore animals particularly those that have great comic value. I think you have to in order to make these creatures. I watch animals very closely, particularly my own pets and the many horses I worked with as a trail leader in a stable yard. I like to depict animals that are often ostracised by humans – foxes, badgers etc. I also like to play with scale, taking the smallest animals and playing with scale, making them much larger is also fun.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m just back from my first tradeshow in Dublin. I’m creating work to be sent to America and the south of Ireland as a result of this. I am also working on a large commission piece and will be teaching my textile class again soon. I also work through a series of small commission pieces so I’m a busy girl!!
What or who inspires you?
What would be your dream project/commission?
One of my dreams is to see my animals as characters in a film or television series through stop-motion animation. I would love to see them used as visual merchandising for high-end stores such as Harrods or Brown Thomas. I also want to write my own storybook with my creatures forming the imagery. Lots of avenues I can explore.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a real outdoorsy girl so when I have spare time I love horse riding, surfing, walking and I also love film so cinema is a fave. As long as I don’t have needle and thread in hand I feel I have spare time!
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment?
Yes, the odd time I’m sitting in my open studio working away making my sculptures and thinking how lucky I am that I’ve been able to continue doing something I love so much. I have won four awards for my work and feel very lucky then too. Before I do an exhibition or show it feels there is an impossible mountain to climb. Once I am over it it’s always the best feeling. It’s hard work but I have established a lot in little over a year of business.
You can say that again, Lauren! Great to hear what goes on behind-the-scenes in your creative life!