With her fabric manipulations and her stunning, living textile sculptures in pastel colors, British artist Daisy Collingridge explores the human body, turning it into something weird but joyful, unpredictable, and ironically fascinating to stare at — like that feeling you get in a Natural History Museum.
Let’s have a chat with her!
Hello Daisy and welcome to Visual Satiation!
Let’s start by introducing yourself: can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hello! Thanks for having me.
I am an artist based in the UK. I did a degree in fashion design so my main medium is fabric and stitch combined with performance and movement. I also really like tea.
How’s your quarantine going? Are your squishy friends helping you keep busy these days?
I have a strange split life. I abruptly moved out of a London Art residency when Covid 19 took hold, so two of them are with me: Hillary and Burt. I am considering making them a new family member which will definitely keep me busy.
This lockdown has made me realise I am quite used to working alone and not going out much! It is a bit of a shock to the system to have all the plans and momentum stop, kind of dampened my mojo at the start. But perspective is key, I am in a fortunate position compared to a lot of people and if you just take the time to reflect and slow down, that can be really valuable too.
What about your background shaped the person and the artist you are today?
My work is a product of my childhood. I grew up in a family of doctors, nurses and scientists. The human body has always been a subject of fascination for me.
I remember Mum taking me to see Body World, by Gunther von Hagens. It showed the human (and other animals) in all their biological, anatomical glory preserved by plastination. Combine these scientific dinner table conversations with a mum who can turn her hand to all the crafts: she can crochet, silk paint, dye, toy-make, quilt, embroider and I am pretty sure she has done upholstery too.
This combination of practicality and creativity seems to have irresistibly steered my work to what is.
Gunther von Hagens
What triggers your creativity, and what kind of themes do you find yourself returning to in your art?
I get excited about fabric. If I’m feeling stuck, I’ll just allow myself to experiment with fabric manipulations. That usually sparks something. I also love movement.
I am no dancer, but dancing around can also get the juices flowing. The body, the body in motion, the flesh, the skin. These are all themes that reappear in my work.
What is the process behind your fleshy bodysuits, and how long does it usually take you to finish one?
I am a believer in craftmanship.
They are made with a needle and thread. The underlying base is machine stitched but the majority of it is hand sewn. They take a long time to make. I have never timed it, but maybe 8-10 weeks. The fabrics are all hand dyed (I love this bit as it like painting, you can mix any colour, though I am never quite sure what I am going to get at the end…).
The process is slow; form is built up from the base, individually stitching each section, which is a layer of shaped wadding and jersey. For me, making is very impulsive. I learn as I go.
What are the names of your voluminous, puffy creatures? How were they born, and how do people react to them?
Most people love them which is great because I do, but there are people that are repelled by them as well. They can be quite jarring to look at, but I suppose I have spent such a long time with them. They are very familiar to me.
Burt and Clive
What was your reaction when you found out that Björk wanted to wear one of your creations?
I thought it was a scam at first… that’s how much I believed it!
But after some googling I accepted it was real. I was lucky enough to meet her twice. She is such an incredible artistic force it took some doing for me to remain calm and professional.
I made her a big yellow quilted dress for her Vulnicura tour.
Björk “Vulnicura Tour”, Lyon 2015
In your opinion, who are the artists that are also pushing the boundaries of this art form?
Oo tricky. It is hard the categorise this art-form. I do love following the antics of Saeborg (Saeko). She works with latex and creates jarring performances with wearable pieces.
Who are your all-time favorite fashion icons?
See above! Björk is totally an icon.
Besides being a terrific designer, what other passions characterize you?
I am an illustrator. I have greetings Card Company, it’s a very different vibe, more commercial. I think having two very different practises helps keep things fresh. If I’m not making or drawing, then I like to explore the countryside on my bike.
What are your phobias & manias?
Mania… I really love shaping rice into little rounded blobs like in a restaurant. It’s like building sandcastles, but with rice.
Phobias, I love all animals; I get upset if I accidentally stand on an insect. But I cannot stand slugs. They freak me out.
What’s the most amazing fact about animals you know?
It’s not really a fact, more an introduction… to the Okapi.
It looks like a fantasy animal made from a cross between a zebra and giraffe. But it’s actually real (the only living relative to the giraffe). It has a really long prehensile tongue, black and white striped legs and is about the size of a horse.
What’s the place you’re not allowed to go to lately that you’re missing the most?
My family home. My sister has just had a baby and it’s killing me that I can’t meet the tiny squashy new person.
Recommend our dear readers stuck at home a movie you love.
Kill Bill. Classic.
Lastly, let’s give you just few minutes to draw a caricature of yourself and see how it goes! Ready? Go!
Thank you very much for being with us, Daisy!
We wish you all the best!
Keep up the good work & stay healthy.