Interview |Joanne Bowles
The Artist And Maker
Joanne Bowles is an artist maker working in metal, creating unique objects and layered surfaces. Joanne is a 2015 graduate from the Jewellery and Metal MA at the Royal College of Art, where she presented her final collection The Buried Object. This project takes a simple vessel form and explores the materiality of what happens to an artefact in a subterranean landscape and the relationship between an object and the landscape.
Your latest project ‘The Buried Object’ explores how objects and forms change over time, would you say there is an appeal to something that is aged, as oppose to something new?
I am definitely drawn to objects that contain a hidden history. I think there is a level of intrigue with something aged, the materiality of it can be beautiful. Although my work is of course new and made by myself, I take inspiration from found objects and the idea of archaeology. I like to look at the point where the object merges with the natural landscape in which it has been found.
What drew you to working with metals?
I fell in love with working in metal during my BA course and went on to learn more in depth on my MA course. I find it very satisfying to be able to shape and command a material that seems so unyielding at first. There are endless possibilities working in metal but it is a challenge and I love to explore the process and materiality combined with the conceptual side of my work
How important are ‘hands on’ processes to what you do?
The making process is so important to me. I think about and develop the concept and then explore that through making and experimenting. I believe in thinking through making and I love to find new processes and ways of working in the workshop.
What role does nature play in your work?
My work explores the connection between a manmade object and the natural landscape. Nature is a key aspect in my work looking at how a surface can be altered by the natural elements. From one object becoming encrusted in layers of earth and trapped stones, to another being completely broken down and weathered through erosion or decay, this can completely change and evolve the original form.
Who do you look to for inspiration? (Designers/ artists / craftspeople)
I am inspired by the work of the late German jeweller Hermann Jünger for his amazing approach to finding beauty in the seemingly everday. The fine artist Anna Mendieta for her work with the self and the landscape and I love the work of the ceramicist Julian Stair in which he creates evocative installations around the notion of the vessel and death.
Where do you feel most inspired and creative?
I suppose for me to feel most inspired is a time when I am completely alone and I can think clearly. I go beachcombing along the Thames shoreline for inspiration in surfaces and found objects, I photograph peeling paint on lampposts or interesting surfaces on the pavement but often I get the most inspiration just at that moment when I shut my eyes and before I fall asleep, but I just have to try and remember it!
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on a lighting design project, which is something new for me and looking quite exciting. In the New Year I will be working on new designs and developing new surfaces and forms within my work.
Find out more about Joanne Bowles on her website