In the studio: Shane Waltener, artist
'You will make something nice if you use gold, but that's not a big challenge'
Friday 13 September 2013
Walking into Shane Waltener's studio there is a particular aroma, sweet and fruity and not unpleasant. We try to track down its source.
Is it the row of pollarded trees, waiting to be transformed? In fact, it turns out to be the rolls of jute Waltener has been using to make his large site-specific works, most recently in the grounds of Nottingham Castle where it is intricately woven through the trees.
The installation has not been without problems. "There is a clash between the pathways I am creating and the squirrel highways", says Waltener, undismayed. "Fragility is really important; it makes it precious and adds value. It is just a piece of throw-away string and so if it doesn't last it becomes even better. If they are there forever, people take them for granted."
Waltener was born in 1966 and studied in Belgium. He currently lives and works in London where he also teaches at the University of the Arts. He is clear that this studio is not the only place where he works: "When I am on a bus I think about work and the bus becomes my studio. So work happens here and elsewhere".
In the past few years the artist has workshopped with diverse organisations and individuals. A collaborative work with Entelechy Arts involved writing and drawing with people who had suffered strokes. "I became their hands. I created patterns that were then bonded onto a table, mapping out their memories. That said something about them."
His objective he says, is "to give value to what is discarded. Of course you will make something nice if you use gold, but it is not a very big challenge". In the past he has used sugar for graffiti tagging and panty nylon for his larger crocheted and knitted webs.
Recently he gave himself the conceptual task of making an artwork a day and posting it on his blog, dailymades.blogspot.com.
"I have notebooks and do basic diagrams and mostly write. I do very little sketching – the sketching is done in three dimensions, the daily-mades are really the sketches." Composed of everyday materials – paper, pencils, paper-clips, vegetables – they are often springboards to bigger works elsewhere, but they "add a rigour for the practice and give me focus."
While we sit Waltener plays with some paper, effortlessly plaiting and weaving the scrap into a complicated sculptural form. Weaving is his most recent passion, taking over from the sugar craft that preceded it. "Weaving is about rhythm and making," he says. This is art that reaches out and is inclusive by its nature.
Waltener's site-specific installations and performances are often joyful, bridging those gaps between what is considered craft and the high arts.
Shane Waltener, Panoramic Pathways (Nottingham Lace), continues as part of Make Believe, Re-Imagining History and Landscape, Nottingham Castle Museum until 29 September, nottinghamcity.gov.uk; dailymades.blogspot.com
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'