Can you remember a moment in your life where you watched someone transform a seemingly unpromising raw ingredient into something of sublime beauty? Can you recall that feeling of intrigue and awe at the skill and creativity involved?
All the artists I work with are are material specialists of one form or another and I marvel at the ways even the most unlikely raw ingredients are transfigured in their hands – none more so than those of mixed-media and bespoke sculptor Yasemen Hussein.
My first impression on visiting Yasemen’s studio many years ago was how masculine it felt. Welding equipment and a concrete mixer sat alongside cast slabs of concrete and lengths of copper wire. The materials and equipment looked heavy and unwieldy and yet the pieces on show were delicate, sublime creations. Yasemen talked me through some of her processes: bending and shaping metal with flame, welding copper piping, engraving concrete by hand – none of them for the faint hearted.
Surprising therefore to find Yasemen of petite frame. However she exudes barely contained, almost combustible energy and, like her materials, she is shaped and etched by experience, her character a beguiling marriage of strength and fragility, charisma and theatre which comes through in her work.
Recently this translated literally into head-pieces commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London for their exhibition “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics”.
These ‘costume’ pieces form part of a continual stream of commissions that have included wearable sculptures created for Will.i.am and Katy Perry as well as the Victoria’s Secret catwalk. The last two remaining pieces from the Shows are being offered to collectors for the first time and are illustrated below: Chrome Ruff (2009) worn by Alessandra Ambrosio and Feathers worn by Maryna Linchuck (2008). [Price on application]
“I’m inspired by mythology, the Italian renaissance and poetry,” she says. “Basically – beauty. And that could be Dolly Parton or Aubrey Beardsley.” Her work is as exuberant and fantastical as it is organic, and she works at any scale – from making intricate objects for a Tim Walker set, to creating vast and dramatic sculptures for atrium spaces.
Yasemen’s work never fails to be the conversation point in an interior. Her metal feathers, for example, juxtapose elegance and lightness with the heft of their source material and are commissioned to act as light fittings, or interior centrepieces of varying sizes. “…but nothing is ever the same twice and because of the way I work, every piece is a total original.”
Yasemen, like all the artists of material I work with, divides her time between developing new work and realising the commissions they inspire.
I am delighted to introduce three new such pieces designed for the interior. Each illustrated below is a one-off available to purchase. Each can also inspire commissions on a bespoke basis for your space or project.
Flower Cascade(40×29 ins) – each flower is cut and curled, teased and patinated by hand, forming a re-imagining of the traditional carved wood or plaster floral swag. Cascades are designed for wall mounting and are entirely adaptable to serve as an overmantle, to curl around an architectural feature or serve as a table centrepiece. They are suited to a humid environment and can be patinated in a single colour or combination of red, silver or black finish. As illustrated £5200 inc VAT.
Bird Branch (37×33 ins) – fashioned from copper tubing this design has an indefinable charm. The illustrated piece is scaled to fit a standard overmantel. The concept is entirely adaptable in orientation and size to suit any interior concept or measurement. £3,600 inc VAT.
Ostrich Feather (27x18ins) is created from copper wire in the same fashion as the V&A wig sculptures. This piece can be draped over a mantlepiece or shelf, or simply rested on a plinth or table top. Variations can be commissioned. £5,000 inc VAT (Collectors include McLaren)
Since 2010 I have been identifying and collaborating with British artists and studios, offering a distinctive resource of exclusive multi-disciplinary art to clients worldwide.
Guilded Ltd provides the assurance of a secure and professional service framework along with expertise to ensure projects are delivered on time to the highest standard, whether these be available one-offs or bespoke creations developed to commission.
I provide a single point of contact at all times, thereby providing an outstanding level of personal and dedicated service to each and every client from enquiry to installation.
All enquiries are welcome, whether into the work of an artist I represent or not. With over 25 years of experience in the art world I can signpost just the right artist to realise your interior dream.
Founder – Guilded Ltd
Guilded is synonymous with art of intriguing duality whether that be a framed painting that on closer inspection is made of thousands of precision-made paper-based fish or a framed view of the constellations that also performs as a mirror. Clients come to me in the knowledge that I gather and curate original work with an aesthetic and approach to materials they will find nowhere else.
With that in mind I would like to take this opportunity to highlight textile art which is a tradition rooted in the history of interior decoration and yet just as valid an artistic vehicle today as it ever was. For example, in medieval Europe textile houses producing tapestries or leather panels were at the heart of artistic patronage. They served not just as large scale narrative decoration but provided insulation and absorbed sound.
The art and tradition of textile hangings has been reimagined for contemporary interiors by two of Guilded’s textile artists and craftswomen: Anna Gravelle who specialises in tufted abstracts, and award-winning cartography specialist Ekta Kaul whose work is highlighted this week.
Ekta fully engages the narrative potential of textiles through cartography, her fascination for maps inspired by her childhood in India where she would spend hours drawing maps of places real or imagined.
As an adult Ekta trained in Fashion at the National Institute of Design (NID, Ahmedabad) in India, where she won the Charles Wallace and British Council scholarships to pursue her Textiles MA in the UK. She then set up her London practice in 2008, crafting exquisite bespoke handmade cartographic quilts, each imbued with sensitivity and character, as well as a minimalist, bold application of colour.
Collaborating with clients she draws out personal histories, identifying the cartographic basis for the map (from an entire country to a city or town) onto which she will embroider places of significance and bringing special memories to life in contrasting thread. Each map is unique to the owner and becomes an heirloom of personal or family history.
While Ekta specialises in creating work to commission I am pleased to offer a one-off map of the British Isles with an embroidered silk front quilted on cotton back, measuring 180cm high by 110 cm wide. The hanging is fitted with a back sleeve and is supplied with an extendable hanging pole and screws for installation. Price: £2,400 (inc VAT)
If you are interested in this work please bear in mind there is only one available.
To purchase please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Charlotte Bowater, Founder, Guilded.
There is a principle in business that you can always do more for your clients so I recently took a step back from Guilded and started to look at how I could further develop my service.
The review process highlighted that more than 75% of my clients around the world are women and an even higher percentage go on to commission a piece of art.
My business mentor was interested to understand the reason for such strong statistics. Was I deliberately marketing to women and pushing commissions? The answer was no, however, when I explained how I serve female clients in particular, all became clear.
My explanation related to my own experience. As a woman when I make a purchase for my home, myself or someone else foremost in my mind is how it will make me or the receiver FEEL. The principle applied to buying art is no different. I do not just want a pretty picture, I want art to speak to me in some way, to prompt an emotive response or transport my imagination. We all see things that catch our eye but it is those that make us feel good, that meet a spiritual or emotional need that inspire passion. This that I want for each and every client.
So my primary focus is to identify how each individual wants to feel when they see that piece in situ (not just how scale, interior decoration, lighting and other factors may affect choice). Such an idea may not have been prescient in their mind when they first approached me or when they responded to an image of a piece I am representing, but my role should be to draw it out. In so doing, I ensure that my recommendation will result in a piece that will resonate with more than the eye.
In addition, clients are well informed and are given choice. Art is ultimately subjective and if I have an aversion to being told that I should like something I know they will feel the same. Nor do I take to feeling ignorant or corralled. So I explain merits, offer professional reasoning and enable informed choices to ensure the client informs developing proposals. Other considerations come into play such as design for cost-effective shipping, or narrowing the field of choice by drawing on experience of what works and what does not, but all this is nothing if the art does not promote or transform the experience of the client.
To give an example, a client from New England got in touch to say she was looking for a piece for her bedroom. I started by drawing out key information and established that the wall on which the piece was to be mounted was of large dimension and opposite a south facing window, meaning it would receive full sun all day. I needed a material which would not fade or degrade in direct light but which could perhaps reflect and amplify ambient light. I then asked her how she wanted it to make her feel. Her response was that it needed to be restful for the evening but energizing for the start of the new day. She mentioned that she had a tendency to feeling low in winter and starting the day in overcast weather didn’t help. She also mentioned that her great restorer was time spent by the sea.
So I proposed the work of shell artist Blott Kerr-Wilson who is known for her flowing abstracts created with thousand of the same species of shell. I drew her attention to the merits of reflective silver abalones as a shell choice and showed her framing options. I spoke of the energy in Kerr-Wilson’s work. A commissioned followed and when it arrived our client sent me this message. “I cannot thank you enough. In fact I can’t take my eyes off it! I would never have thought of shells. The wave like motion of their placement soothes me to sleep and on those days when it is overcast all the light there is seems amplified and reflected into the room. I feel so happy that I go to sleep and wake up with it. Its like you’ve brought the sea to me and I want to be in there all the time!”
So, the title of this article may have taken you aback. The reality is that I and my artists derive the deepest pleasure from connecting with female clients around the world. Whether I am sourcing from within my ‘fold’ or recommending other artists it doesn’t always have to be deep. Art can be playful or sensuous, loud or humorous, impactful or blend in. Either way, the work each and every client receives from Guilded will not just be a pretty picture.