The Bodhi Bears are here!

I am interested in the concept of using handmade sculptural objects to spark memories of our traditional ‘Do-It-Yourself’ heritage – advocating its reappearance in our consumer society and emphasising its value in design. As such the dichotomy between handcrafts and mass produced goods is a key area of my practice.

As an Indie Designer, my practice resides in the spaces where art and design intersect. The idea for these characters evolved from my research of designing talisman-like objects. Alongside this, the work reflects my concern with the metaphysical concept of the seven Chakras examined in the writings of psychologist Carl Jung. I explore notions of warmth and whimsicality in this work, and ways to elicit emotion and nostalgia for childhood.

With a priority on the process, these works have undertaken deep experimentation; hand-dying, pattern construction, textile printing and extensive idea development that began with explorations featured in my previous post.


a new pathway

image by vicki reisima

Having spent last semester with my eyes glued into Photoshop, it’s been a while since I got my hands grubby with making things. Here are my intentions for my new pathway in my practice. Curious? Here’s the formal brief outline…

For the purpose of this degree programme, I will be lending my artistic voice to the ancient metaphysical concept of the seven chakras. A series of mixed media sculptural characters will be deeply yet subtly infused with metaphorical symbolism and my priority will be on an intuitive and exploratory process. I trust that there will be many opportunities for serendipity and materiality to influence the outcome.

The search for unifying factors in our daily existence, the search for understanding and direction, and the inevitable pull toward consciousness brings us to a critical evaluation of our spiritual natures – Anodea Judith  (The Wheels of Life)

As spiritual subjects are so often considered impractical or inaccessible, this project attempts to raise awareness of the chakra system within a narrative context. Drawing upon storytelling and metaphysical concepts, I aim to inspire people to consider simple and playful ways to incorporate spiritual well-being into their daily lives.

The next several weeks posts will feature influential artists, methodologies, and theoretical contexts of my project. Included will be works in progress that are inviting feedback during the making process. I’m excited to see what manifests!

Before I get to work

In order to be a practicing artist I discovered very early on this month that I had certain needs to be met. I need to be authentic, to feel like I have a purpose, and to nourish my creative impulses.  So ultimately, I had to get really clear on how to meet these needs, because it is my unique voice, what I want to say in my work that will at the end of the day nourish my soul and sustain my art practice.  This was really frustrating to be so ‘in my head’ about it, when all I really felt I should be doing was to start working, like Chuck Close advises see previous post.  But now I’m graciously accepting the process that it took knowing that at least my conceptual foundations have been laid and I have a strong sense of my voice and purpose.

So, what is my voice?  I had no idea until I did an exercise that my tutor gave me, putting together 10 of my favourite artists with intentions of making connections, so that I could see what they all had in common.  I soon discovered that I am drawn to: Illustration, Mixed Media Sculpture, Digital and Traditional Mixed Media, and Printmaking of all sorts (most recently I have been fascinated with Photopolymer Etching as it satisfies the photographer and printmaker in me. See gallery below for the selection of artists that I chose in the exercise.


The common threads are works that tell a narrative, feature people or creatures or both, surreal juxtapositions, and a good dose of whimsy.  These connections didn’t surprise me, but what did surprise me was that these concepts lead me down a pathway of quite a political approach to my practice.  Which stands to reason, as I want my art to be a provocation. Using my art as a form of storytelling (another love of mine) and inviting the viewer to consider their own experience of being human, ones place of belonging in the world, and in the body, and also the choice to live consciously alongside our fellow human beings and the other creatures of the planet.

My voice resounds with :

  • humanitarianism
  • optimistism
  • animal and human consciousness
  • philosophical
  • awareness of Self
  • reflection
  • poetics

May it serve me well in the World!

Before the day is done

These sketches were a must before the clock strikes midnight. Here I was thinking I didn’t have time to complete the objectives that I set myself at the beginning of this brief – (see previous posts).

my future inspired

In the last project for the year in my Level 5 Degree program, I intend to integrate everything that I have learned into a final piece of work that will be exhibited ‘In House’ for all students, staff, friends and family to view. The key theme of this project is to connect back with the beginning of my year, reflect on learning processes, identify my directions for the future and connect with my world – on a local community scale. This is the first time I have had the opportunity to initiate, conduct and manage my own project.

Other than being given the topic of Sustainability as a parameter, I could create my own brief using any media or methodologies of my choice.  Having spent many years with needles and threads as my drawing materials, I am very comfortable with soft sculptural methods. So, my intentions this time round are to extend my skill set into hard sculptural methods, using found objects to keep in alignment with the sustainable concept and practice.

These images are examples of works by various artists, that have inspired me in the initial stages of this brief. The artists featured here, are but a selection of the browsing I have done. They stand out for me because of the handmade elements that give them all an aesthetic of either Steam Punk or Indie Craft – both being artistic sub cultures that I have a great fascination for and may be inclined towards in the future as an art practitioner.

The Final Outcome – Visionary Structures

After our entire class created their own version in response to the ‘Visionary Structures’ brief, we came together in teams of 3 to combine the constructs. When looking for commonalities between our constructs, we found explosive and destructive objects and this inspired a metaphor for violence and weaponry. We chose to base our narrative on this metaphor, except with a superhero twist, using weapons to combat ‘evil’. Our final collective outcome may not be very well suited as an architectural visionary structural design, but would make a great design concept for a sculptural work portraying a superhero character.