Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Making Art: House of Beasts

Susie MacMurray's Commission

One of the artists who has been commissioned to make a new piece of artwork for our upcoming House of Beasts exhibition at Attingham Park is Susie MacMurray. Susie works with places, materials and form to help the viewer of her art to make new connections and she has produced some amazing work. 

After her research and a couple of site visits to Attingham, Susie decided that she would like to make a sculptural piece of work using antlers. Attingham has its own herd of deer in its vast parkland and they shed their antlers each year, so Susie's idea was to collect the antlers and use them for her artwork.

The antlers will be cut up and rearranged to make the installation: Herd
Initial antler discussions were held between Meadow Arts and National Trust staff, notably Bob and Colin, followed by a national call for antlers from other Trust properties, to supplement the Attingham ones. Antlers were surprisingly hard to come by and, after many appeals and searches Susie decided that it would be most appropriate to use antlers just from Attingham's herd. 

Some of the antlers were naturally shed and picked up by the grounds staff and others were the result of a cull to manage the deer population at the property. Susie is making a sculpture that will burst out of a velvet covered door in the house at Attingham: bringing the outdoor animals of the property into the grand house itself.

 Susie MacMurray's sketch for new commission: Herd

Since Susie does not live in the area, the logistics of getting the panel cut that will sit snugly in the doorway was a little tricky. Old houses tend not to have perfect right-angles in their make-up so Meadow Arts' Louisa did some very careful measuring to make a full size paper template for it, before getting the appropriate size piece of wood cut. This way, Susie has an exact sized template to work from when she is making the piece of work.

Susie testing her idea at Attingham park

We are all really looking forward to seeing the work at Attingham. We want the installation to go as smoothly as possible and that is why it is so important to put the work in during the preparatory stages.

Susie MacMurray in the library at Attingham Park