Phil’s Found Folk

As part of the Jerwood Space’s After Hours show, which contributor Nick Asbury wrote about on the blog on Monday, Phil Carter’s Found Folk series is proving to be a highlight. So here are a few more pictures of his wooden creations, along with some further details on how he makes them

As part of the Jerwood Space’s After Hours show, which contributor Nick Asbury wrote about on the blog on Monday, Phil Carter’s Found Folk series is proving to be a highlight. So here are a few more pictures of his wooden creations, along with some further details on how he makes them…

In the tradition of making art from found objects, the look of Carter’s Found Folk is governed by chance encounters with pieces of driftwood. Though not made from card and string, they reminded me of the toy animals created by the late Alan Fletcher for his grandson Tobias.

(Designer Mike Dempsey tells the story of their creation on his blog – the toys were apparently made to entertain the youngster while on holiday, but returned home with Fletcher senior).

Carter says that he imposes one condition on the making of his Folk – that the material he uses to create a particular figure must come from a single source, be it from a holiday destination, or from his journey to work along the Thames to the offices of Carter Wong where he is creative director.

“You’d be amazed how colourful and vibrant the driftwood is in Malta, Spain and the Greek islands compared to what I gather almost daily on my bike commute along the Thames towpath near Chiswick/Mortlake!” he says.

“I usually start with what I call a ‘choice piece’ and then the figure emerges from that. I have left a number of them unpainted, especially the Mediterranean-sourced pieces, but have turned to painting some when I feel it ‘unites’ the elements.”

More recently Carter says he has taken to “torching” some of the finished pieces “to a blackened lustre finished off with black boot polish, which gives a great finish and again brings the pieces together as one”.

Sadly, a few rather enthusiastic torchings has meant he’s lost a couple of Folk along the way, but, he says, “like our normal day practice, I think it’s good to push as far as possible with anything. As I’d never made these [pieces] to be exhibited, it was a real thrill to see them as a group, especially on the grey wall backdrop and feedback has been brilliant. Who knows, I might yet give up graphic design for a new career!”

After Hours is on until June 23 at the Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN. More at jerwoodvisualarts.org/jerwood-encounter. Nick Asbury’s piece on the exhibition is here.

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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