Giles Watkins

2018, MA Sculpture and environmental art, Glasgow School of Art

"My sculptural practice reflects an interest in both making and materials and social spaces such as cafes, parks and community centres, all of which hold an emphasis on communal exchange, with group activities like eating, reflection, and dialogue. I have recently been thinking about the notion of ritual and object. Imagining whether it would be possible to create a social ritual connected to my findings regarding societal pressures in a digital age. My current project: tea culture, (in development since September 2016) involves the creation of various functional tea-house spaces; using historical and contemporary references surrounding tea in the UK. Through hijacking the techniques and decorative styles of the Victorian period (whilst questioning their reserved attitudes regarding mental well being) I have created a series of objects as conversation pieces, using a wide range of processes and materials. These include steam bending, traditional joinery techniques as well as a large quantity of ceramic work. The resulting objects and furniture act as ornaments or props, in a specifically created environment, to passively guide group discussion. The focus of the work has always been the social exchange itself with the objects and space being instrumental in facilitating this. I have shown the work in alternative locations, outwith the gallery space, including the Garnet-hill Multicultural centre and The Project Cafe, Glasgow. Crucially, such spaces help inform the viewers perception of the work as an interactive one instead of a detached viewer–artist relationship."
installation 1 Tea Culture s.jpg
Tea Culture
400 cm x 500 cm
Untiled Paintings s.jpg
150 cm x 180 cm each