Makers Forest + Found explore the roots of creativity
Words Julia Jarvis
Photographs Chloe Winstanley
Forest + Found have been quietly carving their own distinctive creative path over the last few years, that has seen them move from making functional, elegant homewares in natural materials to more sculptural and abstract works. For them, it’s the conversation the work provokes as much as mastery of their craft that motivates them…
Tell us a bit about yourself
We are two artists [Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge] working together under the studio name Forest + Found. We both live and work in East London and our relationship together is an important part of our common philosophy and the collaborative nature of our practice.
How did the business/studio start?
Having both studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts and shared a studio in our final year, we realised that although the work we were making was different, the conversations around the work were the same. We graduated with the need to create a space that would support our practice, and in late 2014 our studio practice, Forest + Found, was formed. Together we work independently and collaboratively producing work that is actively engaged in dialogues about visual arts and craftsmanship.
What do you specialise in making?
Working with predominantly wood, natural pigments and textiles, we produce both large sculptural and wall based works. Max creates sculptural wooden pieces, taking the natural forms of the material as a starting point for carving and working sections of wood into vessels and anthropological objects. Meanwhile Abigail constructs large abstract textile pieces that deconstruct the language of painting and drawing using earth pigments and wood tannins to produce quiet but powerful compositions on the wall. Together we specialise in building relationships between grounded objects and the more abstract aerial space in our textiles, creating installations and exhibitions that allow audiences to interact spatially and emotionally with our work.
Do you have a particular philosophy or set of values when you approach your work you can describe?
There has always been a pursuit for understanding in the materials we choose to work with and also in how we interact with the world around us. Our work has a quiet and investigative sense of purpose in the way we approach making and the discovery of the potential our materials have to generate meaning and a connection to the wider world. We choose to make work as a way to ground ourselves in our environment both physically and socially in order to connect with others.
What part of your work do you most enjoy?
The physical nature of our practice and the exhaustion and energy that comes with working and battling with a material or piece of work. We love the direct relationship you have with the natural world as well as the solitude of working in our studio. There is a constant back and forth between the city and open landscape that creates a tension in our lives that is then reflected in the work. We are never satisfied with just producing something of beauty or of material value. We are always searching for that point of tension where you and your audience can question and challenge the work or material.
Is there a particular material, person or object that has influenced your work?
We look to different artists that have a strong relationship to landscape or a particular place through the materials they chose to work with such as Barbara Hepworth, David Nash and Agnes Martin. But we also look at artists who are directly challenging their medium and the preconceptions of the materials they are working with like Robert Ryman and Robert Smithson.
Forest + Found have been selected by Jay Osgerby as one of 12 Collect Open Artists for Collect 2018