I peel back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material itself and build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting. I use the vessel form and surface pattern to explore time, the layers and fissures between creation and decay and the erosion of nature. –Eleanor Lakelin
Eleanor is fascinated by wood as a living, breathing substance with its own history of growth and struggle centuries beyond our own. She sculpts her distinctive forms using a traditional woodworking lathe and centuries-old chisels and gouges alongside modern techniques and tools. She is particularly inspired by the organic mayhem and creative possibilities of burred wood. This proliferation of cells, formed over decades or even centuries as a reaction to stress or as a healing mechanism is a rare, mysterious and beautiful act of nature.
The twisted configuration of the grain and the frequent bark inclusions and voids are challenging to work and the forms difficult to hollow but the removal of the bark reveals a secret, ethereal landscape, unseen by anyone before. Parts of the form are sculpted smooth and others left raw and untouched. Heavy, forceful hollowing gives way to sandblasting and fine and dextrous work cleaning up every fissure and contour. Pieces are bleached and scorched and tirelessly hand-worked to different lustres and an alabaster-like smoothness. They become objects that invite touch and objects that touch us, reminding us of our elemental and emotional bond with wood and our relationship to the Earth.
Brought up in a rural village in Wales, Eleanor Lakelin now lives and works in London. Having originally worked in education in Europe and West Africa, Eleanor retrained as a cabinet-maker in 1995. For the last twenty years she has dedicated herself to working in wood and honed her skills through a series of masterclasses. Since 2011 she has concentrated her practice on making sculptural forms and vessels and has exhibited widely in the UK. Recent exhibitions include Art Monte-carlo, Nature Lab at Design Basel and a collection of work showcased at the British House in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the Olympic Games 2016.