I am working on an installation inspired by the wallpaper and fabric patterns of Arts and Crafts designer William Morris, especially his most famous work titled “The Strawberry Thief.” I will individually sculpt thousands of leaf, flower, fruit and bird forms, which will be connected into an interlocking three dimensional wallpaper pattern that will span over 100 square feet. The plant elements will be made of the same materials as my previous work: reclaimed wood from deconstructed homes, or ornate picture frames, rulers, decorative fruit, toys, and cooking utensils. No found object will be easily recognizable. The pieces in the center of this installation will be harmonious, but as your eye moves towards the edges and to the parts growing onto the adjacent wall and floor, the flora and fauna will become more wild and unusual in form and behavior. These elements will break from their patterned routines, craning towards the light coming from the open ceiling above. A bird might now turn its head to peer at the viewer, a provocative object held in its beak.
A monochromatic carpet will fill much of the floor space of the gallery, and it will be apparent that some of the vines coming from the main wall have been covered by this surface, similar to the black ground cloth we use to smother unruly growth on an urban plot of land. These vines have traveled beneath the surface, however, sprouting up in far corners again. Like the edges of the wall installation, these plants are slightly changed when they re-emerge. This not only is a nod to the long running themes in my own artwork, but also a nod to Morris, whose outspoken political views made him a controversial figure in his time.
One of Morris' most famous quotes is: “Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” As an homage to this concept, the components of this installation are actually wall-mounted brooches and tie-tacks. Eight pieces that extend from the wall to the floor are neckpieces.
Most of the funding levels for this project will reward Kickstarter backers with one or more brooches or necklaces from this installation. All work will be signed and numbered on the back, and then once the installation is installed in October, I'll post the images in an online flickr album and supporters can choose their piece(s) there. During the show's run, Kickstarter funders can choose which piece(s) they want, I will ask you for your top choice(s) with two backup choices. Then I will move down the list from the first supporter on down, fulfilling the earliest bidders from the top pledge tier first, and move down through the levels accordingly. I will ship them when the installation comes down in mid-November. There will be over 700 finished pieces in this installation, so there's a pretty good chance that everyone will get what they want. But if you're lurking in the shadows, you might think about getting your name on that wait list soon!
Please note that most of the work you see in this video is still unfinished. The brooch that you see coming off the wall and pinning to my sweater is an example of a finished piece. But never fear: I will update the page here with links to my blog, where I'm chronicling the creation of this complex project and will show finished pieces as they emerge. Visit my blog at www.hilarypfeifer.blogspot.com or see other projects from the past decade at my website www.hilarypfeifer.com
Thanks to the Regional Arts and Culture Council (www.racc.org) who offered a materials stipend and venue for this project. This will be my most intricate installation yet, so I will use Kickstarter funding to hire a team of professional jewelers and craftspeople to help me with the detailed construction work that this project requires.