The Table – Rowan MacGregor

How did you start out on this path? Did you always know this was what you wanted to be doing?

I have always loved drawing and making things, ever since I was a child. I remember once when I was 11 or 12 being on holiday and moulding lots of little mice out of the dripping wax from candles – I like to do things with my hands! I’m happiest when I’m making things, but I have a full-time job doing something completely unrelated and not creative. Knowing I have my wreaths and drawing and other projects to immerse myself in at home is my raison d’etre really. It keeps me inspired and motivated.

 

How has your work evolved since you first started making?

A couple of years ago I saw a photo of a Roman laurel crown made of metal. It had been excavated and had a beautiful Verdigris patina. It really inspired me and sparked a project in my mind. I remember looking very closely at hedgerow plants and wondering how I could create little metal leaves and petals and make them look as delicate and imperfect as they are in real life. What followed was an investigative process – I trawled the internet for a long time and went to a lot of hardware stores trying to find the right materials. My Dad gave me his old soldering iron and taught me how to solder – I’m a bit of a master now! Initially I made very simple replicas of those roman laurel wreaths but I’m now making much more intricate things and I time them so they are seasonal – daffodils and bluebells for Spring, hedgerow leaves and berries for Autumn, and then lots of stars for Christmas.

 

How do you approach studio time – get yourself into the right frame of mind for creating/making?   Do you work better at certain times of the day?

As I work full time, I don’t spend as much time as I would like making my wreaths. Often I have to sit and make things late into the evening when I’m tired but it can be a relaxing and meditative process. When you have many demands on your time during the day and you face email onslaught and office stress, coming home and making something with your hands can be the ultimate de-stressor. My favourite way to work though is at weekends – I get up early and turn on the radio in my studio and try to work for several hours.

 

How do you challenge yourself within your work? Do you always see yourself working in this medium?

Whenever I go for a walk, I collect leaves and berries to take home and study at my desk. It’s always a challenge figuring out how to make a new leaf or flower out of copper sheet. I would like to experiment with different metals, and I would also love to get my hands on an enamelling kiln and experiment with enamel on copper. I have lots of ideas for the future.

 

What would/has been your ideal commission?
I’ve really enjoyed working with Samantha Allen from The Shop Floor Project. I’ve created a number of collections with them and I always feel Sam understands my work well and comes up with great ideas.

We know that social media channels such as Instagram play a pivotal role now in giving a platform to artists. To what extent has it benefitted you?

All work and commissions I’ve had have come through Instagram. It’s the greatest marketing tool I have and enables makers like myself to showcase their work and get attention. I love taking photographs of my work and finding creative ways to display them. I’ve also got two very photogenic scruffy lurchers that feature quite a lot on my page, they always get attention! 

Is there a recent exhibition that you have loved so much and encouraged everyone to go see?
I did recently see Luke Jerram’s Gaia at the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol – a huge rotating earth suspended from the ceiling in a cathedral like space – it was strangely moving. I tried to take my boyfriend to see it the next day but the queue was huge – word had spread.

 

What does the future hold for you and your work? Do you have any exciting plans for 2020?
I hope that the workload at my day job calms down a bit so I have time to do more creative work at home. I hope to build upon what I’ve done, do more commissions and create new wreaths. I’m always inspired and always have new ideas to work on.

 

 

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