INVITED EXTERNAL ARTIST / MAKER
Based in Glasgow, Chloe Harrison set up Studio Gnu in 2009 when she began making ‘taxidermy’ trophy animal heads. Constructed by hand, these are beautifully sculpted and made using traditional techniques, harris tweed and hand embroidery. Chloe has received awards from Scottish Arts Council, The Cultural Enterprise Office and in 2011 showed her ‘menagerie of creatures’ at Collect.
SF: What do you make?
Studio Gnu is a whole new species in the world of interior products. With traditional craft and stitching techniques at the core of its creations every piece is constructed by hand using locally sourced or recycled materials wherever possible. With a firm belief that no animal need suffer for its art Studio Gnu’s products are inspired to create all the character and personality of those in the wild without harming a single hair on their very fine heads. The trophy series is the first release in this range , offering an alternative way to celebrate these fine beasts using sculpted forms, harris tweed and embroidery details. Starting closer to home with the more familiar Scottish wildlife this range will expand to showcase a whole menagerie of creatures from the extinct to the rare, a small nudge to the human conscience and a celebration of natures diversity.
SF: Where do you make?
I had previously worked from home but my very first Stag commission lead me to my studio as they offered me the use of their garage to work in, it has been a fantastic space to use as a studio and allowed me to keep my overheads down while I concentrated on launching my trophy mounts.
SF: Why do you make where you do & How long have you worked here?
I have been working from my Studio for year now which is great as the scale and weight of my work means it would be too difficult to work from home, having a space dedicated to work is really important so that home feels less like the office! I am waiting for other studios as it would be good to be part of a more commercial space with other artist/makers around although I would probably need to be less messy.
SF: What inspires you?
Everything inspires me, obviously I am obsessed with animals and David Attenburgh programmes but I am constantly intrigued by how things are made and the fantastic increasing range of products that are being crafted. I love rooting through old 60′s/ 70′s sewing and knitting books and seeing how everything would be made for the home from table mats to lampshades.
SF: What is on the horizon for you locally?
In the summer I have been asked to submit one if my Stags for the Anniversary of Harris Tweed exhibition, I can’t wait to see everything that will be included in the show.
SF: What is on the horizon for you nationally / internationally?
I have a Stag going to the British Design and Innovation exhibition at The V&A which starts on the 8th of March, further plans are afoot but I have still to confirm what else I am doing this year. I have just finished my first show with Anthropologie on Kings Road in London, it is the first time I have released a full range of my Trophy mounts for sale, I tend to concentrate on producing commissions rather than doing several shows as they are very labour intensive to produce it can take time for me to produce ones for me to keep for display!
SF: What advice would you give to an up-and-coming maker?
I got a huge amount of help and support from The Cultural Enterprise and their Starter for Six programme, I think it is important when you are starting out to meet others that are going through a similar process, or have already been through it as it is inspiring and can give you a fresh viewpoint on what you are trying to achieve.
SF: What’s currently playing on your studio ipod / cd player / tape deck / record player?
I don’t tend to listen to albums but my favourite music is early Rhythm and Blues, songs playing at the moment are Lavern Baker Love me right, Luther Ingram Oh Baby Don’t you Weep , The Coasters Love Potion number Nine, Nappy Brown Well,well,well Baby La .
I could go on……I love searching for songs!
SF: Tell us something not many people know about you
I am obsessed with Northern Soul Dancing, still can’t do it but maybe one day !
You can also watch a Video of Chloe talking about her work at Collect 2011.
All images (c) Chloe Harrison