Monday, 14 May 2012

Sketchbook Peeks - Fiona Wilson

This week on Sketchbook Peeks I'm featuring the art of Fiona Wilson, an artist I discovered last year on a trip to collect some work from The Bowery in Leeds. The next exhibition was already up by the time I arrived and I noticed a display of very beautiful wooden blocks with printed images of birds and houses on them. I bought one and then looked around on the internet for the person who had made them. I found Fiona and knew that I just had to buy some more of her wooden blocks. I dont' know if you remember but I blogged about it a while ago, for pics click here and more here when I met Fiona at The Arts Market last November

Before we start, tell us a little about yourself/how did you get into art/craft/design career and how it all started and where you are now

I started rather late, as I never thought I was very good at art at school, so my formal education in art and design began in my 30s. Having studied a Business Studies Degree when I first left school and worked in sales and marketing for ten years I realised my heart wasn’t in it. So I left with no job to go to, but an idea that I would like to try something more creative. As a child I had always enjoyed making things, (supposedly I demanded a go on the sewing machine when I was 3, insisting my Mum could do the pedal and I would move the fabric around), and so I enrolled on an Access to Art Course at Huddersfield Technical College in 2005 and spent a fabulous year drawing, doing ceramics and textiles. I was fortunate that I had great tutors, who encouraged me to consider going back to University to study. I chose Contemporary Surface Design with Textiles at Bradford School of Art, where I specialised in Print and Embroidery. After that I carried on with an MA at Manchester Metropolitan University which I just completed last year. I have been really lucky and won a few prizes and free stands at shows and exhibitions since graduating, and have also taught in universities. I have a great studio space at Radiant Works in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, originally set up by Dionne Swift and Martin Smith, who have both been extremely supportive and helpful to me over the last few years. I try to get to the studio as much as possible when I am not teaching, as its such a lovely place to be.

How long have you been using sketchbooks?
Since I did my Access course in 2005, and have continued with them in some shape or form since.

How often do you sketch?
I tend to have times when I do lots of drawing, particularly at the beginning of a new project and then gaps in between, usually when I am starting to sample things through print or stitch and making final pieces. It would be great to say I draw every day but sometimes I am just not in the right place to draw and other times my hand won’t move fast enough to get everything down on paper.

How do you feel about the prospect of starting a new sketchbook?
Happy! I have a few drawing techniques that help me warm up and get me over that fear of the white page people talk about. I love continuous line drawing and drawing without looking at the page, the results are always a surprise.

When/where do you get your inspiration for your sketchbook pages?
All over the place, depends on the project I am working on really. I do enjoy spending time in museums and looking at odd artefacts. I am a big hoarder and collect objects that interest me which often find their way into my drawings.

How would you describe your creative process?
I like to read around the subject I am working on, as well as draw from relevant objects or places. Drawing is a major part of any project for me as it’s how I arrive at designs and colour. Then I move onto sampling and experimenting with materials. It’s a long and involved process before I get to something that I consider finished.

Have your sketchbooks evolved over the years and if so, how? I tend to work in two at the same time now, a larger one for drawing and a smaller one I can carry around in case I see something I need to capture or have any light bulb moments that I need to remember.

What is your favourite medium to work with?
I particularly like inks, whether its ink pens or bottles of it and drawing with dyes, anything with colour in it. I like to mix up my inky pages with collage, some of which can become quite 3D, piecing and placing things helps me with my design process.

Do you have a favourite sketchbook?
Not really, there are some pages in them that I feel are more successful than others.

If you had to pick one favourite page which would it be and why?
I am always drawn back to look at this image as I like the colour. She is an old Victorian wooden doll which only has one arm and one leg, I drew her repeatedly as part of a drawing project for my degree.

If you would like to find out more about Fiona and her work please visit her website or her blog, where you can find out what she is up to and where you can find her work if you want to buy some for yourself.


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