Working with organic materials and combining traditional techniques with modern tools, Fflur Owen creates sculptural forms that have a unique beauty.
My haptic sculptures represent many things to different eyes. I wish my pieces to be an indulgence for the senses, and re-create the feeling of discovering a new object or texture, taking the viewer back to a memory, time or place.
By fusing the flexibility of leather with hand-contoured clay or carved felled wood, I’ve created specimens that evoke my own memories. In the absence of any template, my ideas take shape in the coordinated activities of eyes, ears, hands, and tools. The work is fluid and instinctive; one piece often leads to the next, ensuring a strong visual connection between the Specimens. The relationship between the ambiguous forms is also significant, and the Specimens are often arranged in small groups. I find it fascinating how the sense of a piece can alter depending on its positioning and/or groupings.
Working with organic materials, combining traditional cordwainers techniques with modern day tools and materials, I build forms and patterns that embody an alien beauty. Within the making process, I respond, develop and adapt my techniques depending on the shape or form. One individual hand sculpted piece may comprise of thousands of leather pieces meticulously placed to form complex textured patterns. This repetitive process is slow and meditative taking weeks to complete a single piece.
The versatility of leather is enticing and every hide is unique. I’m forever experimenting to discover what I can meticulously craft in my own personal way, creating sculptural specimens I wish existed.
Choosing and finding the right materials is crucial. Knowing how to form, and work comfortably has taken years of development and mastering unique techniques. A wooden form determines the shape of the final piece; I source felled Welsh hard wood from Snowdonia to form the base of most of my sculptures. I also endeavour to carve the felled wood within the surroundings it grew, forming the shape, and letting the wood, the landscape and the environment support in creating the final outcome.
I source traditionally tanned leather from an Italian tannery that ensures the best quality leather; it is a by-product of the meat industry. The tannery is a member of a consortium of tanners whom ensure the water going back into the eco system in Tuscany is thoroughly clean and pure having gone through the tanning process.
"The versatility of leather is enticing. Every hide is unique, I am forever experimenting to discover what I can meticulously craft in my own personal way, creating specimens I wish existed...”
I study the mesmerising textures within the natural world and capture this beauty in my work. My current body of work focuses on primitive sculptural specimens – objects and textures in reference to my childhood memories.
Living so near to both sea and mountains in North Wales, the rich variety in the landscape, nature and wildlife fascinated me.
These memories have nurtured my creativity and are a part of my subconscious; my Specimens are informed by this childhood context. Often I’m overwhelmed by the power and majestic beauty of the natural world- my work in contrast focuses on small elements, controlled and restricted.
I concentrate on making what I loved discovered as a child, and I hope the viewed feels a similar joy when discovering my Specimens too.
I imagine my works as live objects; and document every piece and number them as a scientist would, these works are my sculptural specimens.
Brought up in rural North Wales, Fflur has always been inspired by nature. From an early age, she has been creating and developing her hand-making skills. She has over 10 years of training in traditional leather working techniques.
She discovered a love for leather whilst creating her final collection on her first degree in Fashion Design.
Wanting to develop her techniques further she went on to do the MA Accessories course at the Royal College of Art specialising in Leather. In 2015 Fflur gained a Leather Sellers Scholarship Award to set up her studio at Cockpit Arts, and she secured the scholarship for the following two years. Whilst at Cockpit Arts Fflur also won second place in the Jill Humphrey Springboard Prize 2017. With the support of the prize and scholarships she has continued to develop her leatherwork skills and innovative techniques, pushing leather to its creative limits with her artistic practice.
Fflur works as a Specialist Accessories and 3D Technician at the London College of Fashion.