Amanda Bloom is about to start her fourth year as a Fellow with Digswell Arts, based at the Fenners Studios in Letchworth Garden City.
1) How would you describe your current practice (e.g.materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
I work with textiles and mixed media. Texture and colour are really important to me and I am always on the look out for new materials or mediums that can be used and manipulated in my work. My approach is very organic, the material influencing the directions I take.
2) What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?
Over the last two years my family have had some major health issues and this has influenced my recent work. My current piece is called ‘The Surgeons Knife’ and it is about the fracture to life when unseen cells mutate, under threat from our own bodies. I have been creating soft sculptures from fabric and stitch, which are punctured by meat hooks, and which hang like pieces of meat, cut open and stitched back together, repaired and altered. This piece will be featuring in two exhibitions over the next couple of months. Firstly in an exhibition called ‘Looking Deeper’ with four other fellows (Debbie Bent, Christine Harrison, Louise Lahive and Susie Coussens) taking place at Courtyard Arts on May 17th–June 11th. I am also delighted that it has been selected by the international Prism Textiles Group to be included in their exhibition at Hoxton Arches entitled ‘Fracture’ from 1st–12th June.
3) What are your plans for the coming year?
I feel like I have probably got the ‘fracture’ out of my system, so I will probably return to my earlier work, which focused on maps and cartography. Still working in two and three dimensions. I never really know until I start working exactly what direction I will take!
4) What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
Mostly what influences me and how I make something, especially with my earlier map influenced work. With this current piece ‘The Surgeons Knife’ I think people are generally rather unsure what to make of it and what to ask. It is not ‘pleasant’ so it will be interesting to see if I get any questions!
5) What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
My mother was a very talented artist and my father was a businessman who also collected art, so I was always surrounded by art and creativity. I was always torn between being creative like my mother, or following in my father’s footsteps. Maybe that’s why my studio is very messy but I tend to be very organized in my general life!
6) Which artist do you most admire and why?
I have always liked the work of Rebecca Horn and Cathy de Monchaux and was delighted when somebody likened my current sculptures to de Monchaux’s work – that was the biggest compliment I could have received.
7) How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
It has given me a belief in myself as an artist, that I certainly didn’t have before I started this journey. It has given me a wonderful community of friends and colleagues and one that I will be very sad to leave at the end of my fellowship.