As part of a local project in partnership with the Old Sorting Office "OSO" Art centre, based on Barnes Green. I had designed A4 sheets of how to make fairy furniture, so decided from there, that my next garden installation should be a fairy garden. I found a company called the Willow Farm in Yorkshire that grows Willow, so ordered two hundred rods, which at the time seemed a lot, but when you are weaving with it, it doesn't.
I made my order on line, and five days later it arrived on my doorstep. If I am honest, I am not good with maths, so could not visualise what I had ordered. The Willow came in a wrapped pack, it was smaller than I thought, but for the project in mind, it was the perfect size.
I had been impatient and tried to weave with it straight away, but it was a bit brittle. I soaked in the bath for two days, which made the willow soft and easy to use.
The first object I made was the fairy bed, but because I was initially impatient, the will snapped, it was difficult to work with, but as I waited, once it soaked, it became easier to work with.
The next stage was making the fairy chair, which I found it far much easier to work with soaked willow. Now chair and bed was completed, now to make a fairy table.
It was a pleasure to work on the table, though it took quite a while, being in the front garden, lots of people stopped to chat, and I explained that was willow, and it should grow. Lots of families asking lots of questions, which I was happy to answer.
Next step was the fairy dome, which brought back memories of making dome structures in Pennant Valley in Wales, but this was on a smaller scale.
A week later the garden had taken shape and had come alive. People were visiting it every day to watch the process. It me realize that it isn't often the public get to see the process of an installation and what is involved, the hours of work and the patience, even in the rain. I did have a shell with fruit on the fairies table, but it got stolen. It is sad really, but I can't do anything and refuse to police it, as it changes the concept of it, anyway I just need to keep it organic. In time by Spring if all goes well the Willow should start sprouting and grow leaves, which I hope they as this will really change the experience of the garden. I think this is the last installation for a while, as I cant deal with things being stolen. It is sad who ever is stealing from the garden is really stealing from themselves.
In 2020 I exhibited at Cafe Godard gallery, which has a small gallery, where I also performed in collaboration with Kosaka Mayu the owner. I have been performing with Kosaka for about seven years, where we have done many collaborations in Tokyo. Kosaka has been putting on mail art exhibitions for many years, which I think they started back in the seventies. I took part in my first mail art exhibition in 2014 in Tokyo and also in 2018 in Sweden.
The Mail art, is open to whatever the artist wants to create and then its sent to the destination, in this case, the art was sent to Japan. For my cards I used paper card, then cut small A6 cardboard and glued them on. The art itself is is a splash of colour, but also it is the act of stamping and posting, the action of sending art through a postal system, leaving it to go on its own journey, they could get lost or damaged. I always love taking part in these exhibitions as it gives me a lot of freedom to have a lot of fun. I received the instruction to create ten card and then post them. I will be exhibiting with another artist, who is Japanese, but because of Covid she is for the time being stuck in the UK.
See below the invitation:
I’m planning an exhibition with Daijo ,at the Cafe GODARD gallery.
Mr.Spike,please join the exihibition.
I’m in England いまイギリスにいます。
‥‥British post card Exhibithon‥‥ ‥‥英国のポストカード展‥‥
Paintings:Daijo ,Spike Mclarity
Send a picture of the size of the postcard.
Please send about 10 cards by mail.
Cafe GODARD gallery
Each piece is filled with colour and is unique
Using acrylic and then varnished the final dried piece
The next step once the mail art is dried and varnished is a trip to the post off and the iconic red post box
Spike Mclarrity is a duration based conceptual performance artist.