Maker Spotlight: Meet Angela Farquharson, The Sculptor Bringing To Life The Female Form In Her Work!
Today, the First of March maker spotlight is on Angela Farquharson. Angela’s work has continued to evolve more figuratively, ultimately revolving around the depiction of the female form’s sensuality and inherent beauty. She strives to preserve the values of classical figurative sculpture, while also appreciating modern craft developments.
We recently caught up with Angela Farquharson to reminisce on how her craft career began, highlights of her journey so far, and her plans for upcoming collections.
What sparked your interest in the craft world?
I was a very creative child from an early age, more happy making something than actually playing with toys. I remember the only doll I had, and was ever interested, in was a “Cindy Doll”. I would spend hours making houses for her out of boxes, and furnishings. Mostly, I loved making her clothes.
By the time I was starting secondary school I was already making my own clothes, including some of my own school uniform. Before I had left school, I was making clothes for my family, friends and their parents, which ultimately led to my career choice of fashion designing.
How did you come to specialise in sculpting?
Having studied fashion design at Herefordshire college of art and design and working in the industry for a brief spell, I then went on to set up my own design studio. This was in the mid 80’s in my home town of Worcester and my aim was to produce elegant couture fashion using quality pure silk fabrics. After a few years struggling to make the right contacts and to promote the business, I had to give up the design studio. I then started working part-time helping my husband, Martin Duffy, who is now a sculptor himself, with his take away food business, which was followed by us opening a pizza delivery business together. Over the years, I became increasingly despondent with the business and with the path my career had taken, so in 1995, we sold the business and I took some time out to reevaluate my life. During this time, I enrolled on to some pottery classes and increasingly became inspired by the many forms and processes within the ceramic world. I decided to go back into education and studied ceramics at Wolverhampton University, where I gained a 1st Class Hons. Degree. Initially making vessels, I found my work becoming more sculptural, taking on the essence of the female form and ultimately, realising how much my previous background in fashion was influencing my work. During my studies, I also spent a lot of time making contacts and selling work at galleries. By the time I completed my degree in 2000, I was able to become a full time sculptor and have been sculpting ever since!
How does your creative process begin and unfold?
I would say that most of my ideas come from within and nowadays, I rarely put my ideas down on paper. I prefer to just get stuck into the 3D process with the idea in my mind appearing as my design sketches. For me, once I have the idea I then have to decide how to execute it, what material and method to use, sometimes experimenting along the way with new materials and processes. In many ways the working practise is an art form in itself.
What is the average timeframe for creating a piece of work?
As with most working practises, I find them to be time consuming. The process of developing the initial concept into the finished sculpture can take several months, depending on the material and process to make the sculpture. This is particularly relevant when creating a new range or once off commissions. For existing editions, if it’s not in stock, the turnaround time can be up to 12 weeks and for bronze sculpture, the process can be longer. I always do my best to get the item to the customer as soon as possible, but remember these are all individually hand made.
How does the beauty of Wales influence your work?
I have been living and working in Wales for almost 20 years now, and I love it so dearly. It’s not just the property that makes the place a home: it’s the landscape, whole environment and people that make it home. Wales has provided me with a space where I have been able to grow and develop as an artist.
Your work has been exhibited across the country and abroad. What has been a highlight of your craft career so far?
I have exhibited my sculptures in many galleries and exhibitions around the UK, including Mall Galleries and Cork Street Gallery, London. For 5 years now, my husband and I have exhibited our sculptures at the Chelsea Flower Show, where we gained new contacts as well as commissions for the future. This has certainly become a highlight as it featured both of us together and has been such enormous fun!
How would you like for the Angela Farquharson brand to develop in the next 5 years?
Having sold my work throughout the UK, Europe and as far as America, I am now ready to focus more closely to home. To not only establish myself as an artist living and working in Wales, but also exhibiting and selling in Wales too.
Has there been a certain inspiration or driving force behind your collections?
The driving force behind my work is always to be true to myself and to aspire towards perfection.
Do you have a favourite piece ever worked on?
Sometimes it’s difficult to choose a favourite piece of work, some you love more than others and for different reasons. I would say Ethereal would be my most favourite piece of sculpture to date, a one off life size outdoor figurative sculpture of an earthly, elemental quality. This has marked a new direction with the style of my sculpting. It’s great fun developing a new working method, while still retaining craftsmanship.
Can you share some insight on what to expect from your upcoming collection?
Over the last few years as my work has evolved, I seem to have spent more time working with other materials such as resin and bronze, and less time with my first love, ceramics, and making larger sculptures. It will be nice to incorporate and develop this new style, while perhaps returning to some smaller pieces using ceramic materials, including beautiful porcelain.
It’s been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you today, Angela. Finally, can you share how the First of March core values – Hiraeth, Cynefin & Hwyl – connect to you?
Living and working in Wales has proved to be inspirational, creatively and emotionally. It’s the beauty of the landscape, the people and sense of community that provide a sense of belonging: Hiraeth!