Q&A with Angela Wright
The Campaign for Wool has been lucky enough to have worked with installation artist Angela Wright on several projects over the last few years. This week we grabbed 15 minutes with Angela to get her take on wool, her latest installation ’40 Days’ at Southwark Cathedral and what 2014 holds for her.
1, Please tell us a little about yourself and how your day-to-day life involves wool.
I am an installation artist making large scale works in Churches, galleries and public places. Over the past four years I have made several installations with wool and was commissioned to participate in the ‘Wool Modern’ exhibition which took me to Sydney, Shanghai and Seoul. I first used wool in All Hallows church in the city of London, I was attracted by the beautiful ceiling which reminded me of Aran jumpers and this lead me to ask Martin Curtis of Curtis Wool Direct if he would be able to give me a large quantity of wool; he agreed and hence my wool journey began.
2, Since you’ve been involved with wool, how have you seen the wool industry change?
During the time I have been involved with the ‘Wool Modern’ exhibition, I have become much more aware of the importance of wool and its many uses, not just in clothing and carpets but other areas such as building insulation. I think the campaign and the publicity surrounding it has woken us all up to the fact that if we don’t use wool we will lose it forever.
3, How do you source your wool?
Martin Curtis of Curtis Wool Direct has supplied all the wool for my installations, including wool from 40 countries which I used for the ‘Wool Modern’ exhibitions. The blending and spinning of this latter wool was a huge challenge because of all the different breeds of sheep around the world, however it was meaningful and appropriate for the international exhibitions.
4, What does the Campaign for Wool mean to you?
I think the CFW has brought a lot of things into focus for a lot of people. I feel that wool with its special qualities spans our lives from birth to old age. The CFW has made me aware that wool is a very valuable resource.
5, What does 2014 hold for you?
Several years ago I made an installation in Borough Market in close proximity to Southwark Cathedral. I remember thinking I would like to make a work in that huge building. 2014 opened with something quite special – I had previously contacted the Dean of the Cathedral and was invited to make a wool installation for Lent – this work is now installed against the altar screen. I am planning new projects with new materials but this will probably not be the last outing for the wool.
6, How does using woollen cloth differ from other man-made materials?
Through using wool in my work I have seen how resilient it is. It has been crated for months between exhibitions yet when the crate is opened it is as springy and as fresh as ever, it doesn’t crease or get flattened as would many synthetic yarns.
7, Tell us a little about your inspiration for your installation “40 days” currently on show at Southwark Cathedral.
I wanted to make a work that would relate to the East window above the stone altar screen. I imagined a flow of wool falling from it over the screen, concealing the central gold figures; spilling over the altar steps and forming a pool on the sanctuary paving. The work is part of the contemplative journey of Lent, however the wool evokes many associations both religious and secular. Its warmth, softness, colour and texture compliments the stone decoration and architecture of the Cathedral and it richly responds to the changing light through the many windows.
8, The wool used in “40 Days” was given by Martin Curtis who is a CFW partner, how did this connection come about?
The connection with Martin Curtis goes back to All Hallow’s church in the City, where I made my first installation with the wool he gave me. Subsequently Martin donated the 40 countries wool for the world-touring ‘Wool Modern’ exhibition.
Find out more about Angela and her work on her website http://www.angelawright.co.uk/
Images by Dave Carr-Smith or Julian Wright