Artwork by Michael Brennand-Wood featured in the Whitworth’s Tactile Textile collection
Michael Brennand-Wood in his studio. Photograph by Phil Sayer
In preparation for the opening of the Clore Studio at the Whitworth Art Gallery this year, the Whitworth’s learning team are investigating how different artists in the collection use their studio spaces.
Michael Brennand-Wood is an internationally acclaimed textile artist whose work has been exhibited across the globe and features both in the Whitworth’s collection and our Tactile Textile educational resource. Brennand-Wood is known for his original use of traditional textile techniques and motifs, for example using floral embroidery processes to produce three dimensional mixed media pieces.
Below Michael answers some questions about how he uses his studio, focusing in particular on the impact that physical space has on his art works.
1. How often do you use your studio? And how long have you been based there?
It depends on my schedule but on average 5-6 days a week. I do try to be there, most days and if not, I work in my studio at home. The studio I rent, I’ve had since 1994.
2. How do you organise your studio? Are you methodical in the layout of your materials and equipment, or is practicality necessary in a creative space?
The problem with studios is storing either materials or finished artwork. I have a storage facility to house completed works in. I have a working studio area that enables a long view to see semi-completed work on a wall. Materials are stored in plastic boxes in order, paint and fabric in cupboards.
3. Does your studio influence your practice? Or vice versa?
I’ve always found that residencies affect the work more through physical working space than locality. A good studio definitely imparts a positive vibe! It’s my creative home a private place to do whatever I please.
4. Is your studio somewhere you go to feel inspired? Or are you inspired elsewhere and use your studio to respond to the inspiration?
Yes the studios inspiring, I am someone who believes in the importance of thinking through making, it’s therefore important I’m around the building blocks of creativity. Other places obviously inspire but the studio funnels and synthesises those experiences into a creative reality.
5. Is your studio a place where you are experimental with your work? Or is your work in the studio where you produce a finalised idea?
I’m very experimental; I don’t much care for signature pieces. I’m an explorer of visual territories, it’s important for me to put myself at a creative risk. The studio is therefore the laboratory where things happen and ideas are processed.
6. Do you share your studio with anyone else, and does this influence your work there?
No and I wouldn’t.
7. Is your studio a reflective and intimate space? Or a social and productive space?
The studio is a productive, reflective and working, intimate space. It’s only ever social when a friend or client visits.
8. Is your perception of your work the same in the confines of the studio as it is outside it?
No work changes in relation to space, exhibition venues impart their own influences as to how a work is approached. Work outside the studio can appear very different, as you remove the real time continuum. Works can be shown alongside pieces that were made early or later. Unexpected relationships occur and you can find, new connections and starting points.