I met Lizzie in her studio above the Bow Arts offices, and over a cup of tea we looked at and talked about the nature of her work and how the Bow Porcelain project offers an opportunity for her to explore new ideas and materials.
Lizzie’s work is largely sculptural and she experiments with using surprising combinations of urban and natural materials. She plays with our ideas of biologically and man- made forms and shapes, suggesting new visual relationships between them. Her work explores the sensation of looking at something both familair and unfamiliar and our sense of ease and unease.
In terms of where her inspiration comes from for Lizzie it is different for each piece. She absorbs information from the environment around her and works from memories of things she has seen or noticed- particularly in the urban context. Lizzie has made work based on things like the moss growing in cracks in the pavement and lichens. She is fascinated by mini natural worlds within a man made landscape.
Lizzie uses a range of materials, often textile processes on urban, hard materials, found objects, and found surfaces in her drawings. She experiments with them using techniques which are quite laborious- which means it can sometimes take a while to get through this process to work out what works for Lizzie and what the piece is trying to do.
Her main processes are craft- based for instance hand made embroidery, machine embroidery, and sculpting. Lizzie has always made textiles. She was sewing dolls clothes as a child and recently studied Fine Art Textiles at Goldsmiths. Even when she is using sculptural materials Lizzie finds herself applying textile techniques- for instance folding wax like fabric.
Lizzie is ‘driven by materials, and this leads my enquiry. I keep pushing what materials can do.’
Lizzie usually works on several pieces at once. She leaves work and comes back to it to allow her to think about it for a while. Sometimes it can be a few years between starting and resolving a piece of work and she will keep with it until her gut feeling tells her it is successful.
Lizzie’s application to take part in the Bow Porcelain project was driven by the desire to work with porcelain, which she became interested in working with following making some pieces in wax. She is looking for materials which enable her to experiment more quickly and easily with shapes and forms.Through the residency Lizzie hopes to start to understand what it is possible to do with porcelain.
Lizzie is intrigued by the idea of alchemy and the history in Britain of trying to discover what things are made from. This is something which comes into her work quite a lot- experimenting, transforming materials from one thing to another. And this is something she will continue exploring with porcelain.
It is interesting to imagine how it would have been for people at the time of the Bow Porcelain factory seeing objects brought over from the Orient, decorated in images of plant life which was not familiar. Lizzie wants to re- visit exoticism and mysticism with material, and engage people in that.