Aug 26, 2011

Harriet Hammel, soft sculptures

The Rev! Mother and soft bike, in Harriet's garage
1. Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the 2011 E17 Art Trail. Did you respond to this year’s theme “On Your Marks”? What impact do you think the Olympics will have on E17?
This year I've made a site-specific installation for St Saviours Church porch. It's a full size soft sculpture woman priest, dressed in biker gear, dismounting from the Softuki motorbike.
The inspiration for this stems from St Saviours having undergone immense changes this year, when the clergy, all but one of the PCC (parochial church council), most of the choir and a large amount of people, left the C of E to become members of the Ordinariate of Walthamstow (a sort of Roman Catholic offshoot). We who remain are building up membership again, and one of the first decisions of the new PCC was to cease to be affiliated with the Forward in Faith movement which, basically, does not agree with the ordination of women.
The Softuki is back by popular demand, and the correct way to address a woman priest is 'Reverend Mother', so I've called her 'Rev! Mother', as in the revving of engines!
I don't think the Olympics will impact that much on E17 though 'on your marks!' is an appropriate term for the church, as we embark on a new era.  

2. What challenges (if any) did you face in realising this work?
Making the large piece involved a lot of sewing by hand, and now I have strained the tendon in my right thumb - a condition known as 'trigger finger', which might need a minor op to put right. And as she gave us a fright every time we entered the room, I've had to put her in the garage!

3. What do you like about E17 and why? Is there anything you would change about the area?
I like the fabric and haberdashery shops and stalls down the High Street, the proximity of the Lea Valley and Epping Forest, whilst also being so near to Central London on the Victoria Line. I like the Rose and Crown pub too. We could do with a Cinema in Hoe Street.

4. Who and/or what inspires you? 
My inspiration comes from having a show or a commission to work towards, and the E17 Art Trail got me going again in 2006, when I took part for the first time.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
My advice to aspiring artists would be, don't try and make a living out of it! 

See Harriet's work at St Saviours Church, Markhouse Road, Saturday 10 - Sunday 11 September. You can also click here to read an interview with her from the 2009 Trail.

No comments: