" Keep updating your skills and invest in your business. Consider the long-term aspect of your practice because time passes very quickly".
Anne Gibbs’ artistic practice is a fusion of influences stemming from the still life painting genre, cabinets of curiosities and collage. Her work is concerned with examining the selection and arrangement of objects and exploring the use of colour in her practice. Experimenting with materials is of great interest to her, making small-scale objects in bone china occasionally displayed with mixed media components. Anne collects natural materials and man-made objects from a wide range of sources, which are then transformed, altered and restaged. These objects fuel an interest in the relationships between disharmony and ambiguity on the one hand; stillness and calm on the other.
R&J: What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently developing a new series of ceramic works with different colour combinations. Last year in the height of the pandemic I started using porcelain clay to create small, detailed pieces. I really enjoyed hand modelling something I don’t usually do. When restrictions were lifted, I spent a morning working with Lisa Krigel, a ceramicist and friend at Fireworks Clay Studio, to understand the process of staining porcelain clay as opposed to bone china casting slip, a material I always use.
I am drawing again, an activity I had forgotten how much I enjoy. I have just purchased Fabriano paper and watercolour paints to document my ceramic works as well as creating still-lifes with the objects and natural materials I have collected over the years. I am rusty but enjoying myself.
Are you an artist who prefers solitude or togetherness to thrive? Or do you need a balance of both? Have events over the past year and ongoing situation affected you? How have you remained positive?
I was at Fireworks Clay Studios for ten years, a collective of ceramic artists based in Cardiff City Centre. I moved in 2010, since then I have been working on my own. My studio has no internet access so when I am there I am very much on my own except for the radio. I am comfortable with this set up however I would normally arrange to meet with a friend/s for coffee or lunch a few times a month to have a catch up. I miss this. Catching up on zoom isn’t the same. I have tried to keep positive by continuing to be creative and physically active as much as possible. Whether it is through making or walking, cycling, listening to podcasts or attending webinars.
“I have never done a collaboration with another artist. I have often wondered what it would be like to collaborate with a jeweller/designer”.
What are you reading, listening to, watching right now/recently?
I am currently reading On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming, a biography about her parents. It’s wonderful, I would highly recommend it.
I have recently purchased new artbooks. These are:
Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas. I saw his solo exhibition in Barcelona called Black Box in 2016. The exhibition included 39 large prints and was split into five series. I was drawn to the Dioramas (1976-2012) especially the Cambrian period.
Japanese: Dress in Detail (Victoria and Albert Museum). The book reveals the intricacies of Japanese dress from the 18th century to the present. The skill and craftsmanship in the garments and accessories are exquisite. It is a visual feast.
Karl Blossfeldt: The complete published works by Hans Christian Adams. He was a German photographer, teacher, sculptor. The book is of close-up photographs of plants and natural forms. There are so many interesting images in this book. It highlights the beauty of nature.
My favourite radio station is 6music. I listen to it every day. I particularly like Mary Anne Hobbs in the mornings when I am in the studio. Her choice of music is so varied ranging from classical to heavy metal, she takes you on strange journeys. I then switch to radio 3 for the afternoon concert or sometimes World Service.
TV- I love watching Ben Fogle: New lives in the Wild and I am currently working my way through the twelve series of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, a chef, journalist and travel documentarian. As travel is out of bounds at the moment, I enjoy travelling to all parts of the world from my living room.
Do you have a favourite project or piece of work of your own, or ideas you return to?
I constantly return to making ‘islands.’ It started when I had a residency at Cove Park in 2009. I keep wanting to make single, standalone forms with additional pieces. I have made islands in plaster, small and large, combined with thread and pins. Last year during the pandemic I began making islands by pouring casting slip which had thickened and started to dry out. I was so excited with the results; it has lots of potential. The only downside the drying process is slow.
Islands, Bone china, porcelain, 2021
Are there peers or an artist who you particularly identify with or whose work you relate to? What would be your dream collaboration?
To just chose one artist would be hard. There are many artists whose works I relate to and always return to. To name just a few are Ron Nagle, Mia E Goransson, Gillian Lowndes. I have never done a collaboration with another artist. I have often wondered what it would be like to collaborate with a jeweller/designer I particularly like the work of, Iris Bodemer and Bettina Speckner both German artists.
Do you rely on a support network of friends, colleagues, for advice, feedback, exchange of ideas, cr