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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Anne Schwegmann-Fielding

Residency at Arts Reverie


 I have wanted to visit India for some time, after seeing numerous examples of Indian miniatures and textiles in Britain. The vibrant colours and highly decorative, detailed and jewel like quality is what appeals, particularly in the patchwork fragments of sari’s – each with their own story to tell.  I am also interested in folk and outsider art and am a long time admirer of Chandigarh’s Nek Chand and his magical rock garden.

I am interested in materials which have a history and are taken out of context as this reflects ideas in my own practice.  The core of my work lies within the transformation of everyday objects. This interest stems from an ongoing fascination, almost obsession with the disposable society we (in the west) live in and the sometimes thin line between what is valuable and what is rubbish. Nothing is repaired only replaced. Through methods of re using and recycling, my work attempts to reincarnate and place value on what we take for granted.

Whilst for me the use of such materials is a choice and comment, I am interested in looking at how many traditional crafts in India use “waste” materials out of poverty – and how this has influenced creativity.

Over 15 years I have developed a reputation as a Public Artist creating artworks for hospitals, businesses and gardens across the East of England, something I am passionate about. I now need a period of research and reflection away from my existing studio practice to experiment with new ideas, materials and methodologies. By looking at how similar uses of materials using traditional techniques have been taken and used to create contemporary work I hope to gain a deeper understanding of my own work and anticipate it will take me in new directions.

This will be an invaluable opportunity to work within an established creative environment. I look forward to sharing ideas and engaging in critical dialogue with other artists

Research context and content

 I am interested in looking at traditional methods used in contemporary ways, reflecting my own use of the ancient craft of mosaic. I use materials which have been discarded around me such as crockery, jewellery and shattered bus shelter glass. I would like to look at the equivalent in India - perhaps engaging the local community in some sense donating/finding discarded items. It could also involve factories, rubbish dumps and general street detritus.

The process of finding and combining the materials is a fundamental process in developing my ideas – which vary greatly, each aspect of my work influences another, allowing the diversity of the medium and the visual ideas to develop.

It would be a tremendous resource to work in Ahmedabad and to absorb the rich cultural heritage of the area. By setting up a network of contacts with arts professionals and gaining an understanding of the working methods of artists in India, I hope to enhance my own practice in an international context.

Whilst some smaller works may be made alongside sketches and ideas, I have no preconceived ideas of where this research may lead so ideas and outcomes will evolve during my stay. I will be sourcing materials which would allow the development of these ideas to form a new body of work on my return to Britain.

Research Methodologies

 I will set up introductions with local/regional artists/makers who use discarded materials to create their work. Again – using traditional methods to create contemporary work, with the possibility of engaging in workshops. In conjunction with this, I would visit local museums and their storerooms. Museum stores often contain numerous objects too damaged to exhibit yet too valuable to discard. I am interested in either recreating some of these objects/ fragments or using them to create new objects using local materials. Museums conjure up images of inaccessible treasures behind glass. I want to try and create some kind of play on this – creating a valuable object using everyday materials, making it accessible - The ordinary made extraordinary. 

Practice during residency/Requirements

Whilst much of my research will be sketching, photographing, note taking etc,  I would be interested in finding a space to work should my ideas need to move in that direction. I will be constantly sourcing materials and am open to how my ideas may develop - and am excited by the effects and transformation this residency will have on my work.