Artist of the Month: August 2013, Ann Goddard
This month Ruth catches up with Ann Goddard about working on the boundaries of fine art and craft, her use of materials and Chester's art scene.
Ruth Wilbur: What’s the art scene in Chester like?
Ann Goddard: Vibrant. I’m lucky to live within easy reach of Manchester and Liverpool with their many galleries and I regularly visit Ruthin Craft Centre in North Wales, which always shows inspirational exhibitions. There is a huge interest in textiles in the North West and it was through moving to this region that I discovered textiles as an art form.
RW: Who inspires you?
AG: Sculptors such as David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy and Richard Long, and textile artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Lewis Knauss and Sue Lawty. Discovering the work of Eva Hesse had a big influence on my own work, I feel an affinity with her interest in materials and I’ve been inspired by her modular approach to sculpture and her tenacity in going against the mainstream.
RW: You describe yourself as an artist who straddles the boundaries between fine art and making. Do you think relationship between fine art practice and craft is changing?
AG: Yes, I think the relationship between fine art and craft practice is becoming more fluid. Artists are opening up new contextual spaces and expanding the crossover between the two disciplines.
RW: Do you face challenges operating in this area?
AG: Many artists operating in the spaces between fine art and craft come from craft backgrounds and use the language of craft practice to engage with ideas, however, despite exploring similar concerns to fine art practice, their work is still regarded as too connected to materials to be accepted unreservedly by the fine art world, and often is also not traditional enough to fit easily into the traditional craft world either. The main challenge of working between disciplines is overcoming the arbitrary historical prejudices by curators and major galleries.
Ann Goddard, Ecotype, 2011
RW: Your more recent work explores environmental issues. 'Ecotype' (2011), for example combines eco-friendly and mass produced materials, can you tell us more about this juxtaposition?
AG: The development of 'Ecotype' (2011), shows the way in which the content of my work informs the choice of materials, techniques and method of construction.
'Ecotype' explores the impact of the logging industry on biodiversity. The association between logging and our consumption of paper led me to construct the piece from two types of paper: mass produced printed paper made from wood pulp and eco-friendly handmade Himalayan papers made from sustainable Lokta and Mitsumati plants. Some sections are waxed referencing protection.
In this piece threading was used as the method of construction, allowing the individual sections to naturally create an organic form, like a seed or invertebrate, alluding to life forms whose existence is endangered due to destruction of their habitat.
RW: Can you tell us about the materials and techniques you use in your work?
AG: I have always been interested in experimenting with unusual combinations of materials, often juxtaposing the hard with the soft and natural with man-made materials. During my MA I began to experiment with materials as a way of articulating ideas. Today, I use both the provenance of materials and their integral qualities to evoke associations and carry a narrative within my work. By incorporating other materials, textile elements are allowed to speak for themselves and inform the work through their own associative potential rather than by trying to represent something they are not.
RW: How do you think we can all be more environmentally aware?
AG: This is something I think about a lot. I often recycle artworks, dismantling pieces I am no longer happy with, reusing materials in new works rather than throwing things away. I also try to reuse waste materials such as cardboard packaging in my constructions. I find that most textile artists are generally fairly eco-friendly in their approach to working with very little thrown away, perhaps we all need to make more of an effort to be like this, reuse more and pay a little more attention to whether the materials we use come from sustainable sources.
RW: If you could share one piece of advice, what would it be?
AG: A friend of mine told me ‘there are no rights or wrongs in art, only possibilities’, it's a liberating thought.
Interview by Ruth Wilbur, August 2013
Ann will be exhibiting as part of textile artists '62 Group' from 21 September - 06 October 2013. Members of the 62 Group of textile artists will be working and installing work in Pinkwood as part of Somerset Art Works festival Art Weeks. More details will be announced shortly.
About Ann Goddard
Ann Goddard is an artist based in the North West of England. In 2003 she graduated with an MA in Fine Art from University College Chester, Liverpool University, having previously studied embroidery, stitched and constructed textiles and ceramics.
Ann's three dimensional mixed media constructions and small installations explore environmental issues and the landscape.
She exhibits widely and has work in several private collections in the UK and overseas.
Summer of Craft on Axisweb
This article is part of our special summer of craft coverage on Axisweb 2013. You can find more articles below from the series.
Craft Collectives: former Crafts Council director Louise Taylor to offer her insights into the recent flourishing of crafts collectives
Textile Art: some prickly facts by Jessica Hemmings
Craft and Social Change: conference report by Billie Tilley
Mella Shaw, MA Ceramics & Glass, selected by Grant Gibson for MAstars
Artist of the Month: Zachary Eastwood-Bloom (June 2013)