Enter the world of Mister Finch and get ready to be dazzled by his textile creations. Using recycled materials, like velvet curtains from old hotels or a vintage wedding dress, the artist transforms this cloth into overgrown mushrooms, insects and birds. Fascinated by their life cycles and extraordinary behavior, he pays homage to these creatures by creating this one-of-a-kind art. In Mister Finch's world, rabbits and deer wear mysterious black masks, swans are adorned with stunning crowns, and moths and butterflies have extraordinarily beautiful wings.
As he states, “Scraps of thread, fabric and paper are stitched and pulled into fairytale creatures looking for new owners and worlds to inhabit. Finch works alone and makes everything himself by hand in a studio full of books, glass jars and naughty cats.”
You'd be surprised to find out that this Yorkshire-based artist has no formal training in art, apart from a short art course he took many years ago. Everything he knows about sewing he's learned himself. We got in touch with Mister Finch to ask him some questions about his creative process. Before we get into that, join the 212,000 others who have followed Mister Finch on Facebook to not only keep up with his work, but to also see all the fascinating pieces of art he finds on the Internet. It's a treasure trove, a hidden store of delightful things for the eyes.
How did you first get into creating animals and insects with cloth?
I've always been able to sew and after years of making jewellery I wanted to create larger forms, especially insects and spiders. It wasn't a gradual transition. I was very tried of making jewellery and was frustrated by having to rely on so many others to get my work seen, photo shoot models, etc. I did meet some wonderful people in the fashion scene but also some of the worst, it wasn't for me. And so, I stopped dead making the jewellery and dug out my sewing machine and just worked and worked and worked. Ive never looked back.
What have you learned most about the process?
The main thing I have learned is that it suits me perfectly. Looking back at all the things I wanted to create and ideas I have had for years have come out now in my work. It seemed I was always looking for the right medium to express myself in and I feel that I have found it. There is so much to constantly learn, new stitches, dyeing techniques so much. It's always evolving and it's a really vibrant community.
Can you tell us about your latest show?
I was commissioned by The Millennium Gallery in Sheffield to create a piece for their exhibition titled The Illustrated Aviary. I created a huge fictional bird in response to viewing all of the bird skins which they have in their archives. As wonderful and vibrant as they were, it's was very sad and so I made Penelope which is nearly 6 feet and is a cross between a kingfisher and a hummingbird.
She hangs from the ceiling complete with over-sized identification tag.
Who are some artists you'd love to collaborate with?
As I adore working alone and making everything myself I don't have any urges to work with others. I know that may sound very unfriendly but it's just how I am. I love working alone and under my own steam and now that I'm able to it's heaven. I'm headstrong and definite. Having said that, I would like to be involved in a short film….maybe… at some point.
This past November, Mister Finch came out with a new book that brings together his gorgeous collection of creatures inspired by nature and folklore. Called Mister Finch: Living in a Fairytale World, you'll not only get to see his favorite pieces, you'll also get a peek inside his amazing artist studio.
Finally, as mentioned above, Mister Finch is exhibiting his latest creation, a humongous, six foot bird called Penelope at the The Illustrated Aviary exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, UK from now through June 14, 2015. If you're in the area, make sure to check it out.