The Spirit of Making - meditations on creative and spiritual practice.

Ongoing series.

At the beginning of December I visited Elle Brown, a Cornish based artist who in her own words: 'Attempts to dismantle cultural and social discourses through distorting and manipulating form'. I was first introduced to Brown's work during a private viewing held by Troze gallery in Newlyn in the late summer. I was immediately drawn to her work and decided on the spot that I'd like to speak to Elle. 

During my short visit at her little studio, hidden away in Mabe, we spoke about sculpture, Buddhism and the importance of having a community that both provides support and creative feedback.


Do you consider making art a form of meditation?

I would say most definitely. In the busyness of ever day life, the moments I take to carve are a meditation practice as well as an art form. The solitude of working is energising, I carve deep into the stone carrying its historical weight with just the sounds of the chisel and the smell of the damp stone and easily fall into a state of natural flow.

When I visited your studio, you mentioned an interest in Buddhism. Is there anything particular about Buddhist thought that resonates with you as an artist?

I think being an artist you’re naturally curious, open-minded and potentially spiritual. I definitely resonate with the Buddhists journey to finding peace and spiritual harmony, I think this is something artists are also doing and a way in which the path of both art and Buddhism may meet.

You went to France this summer to assist a sculptor at the Sculpture Symposium, Les Lapidiales, Port D’envoux. What one lesson did you take away from that experience?

I learnt so much from that incredible experience but it was mostly the discovery of that world that was the true lesson. It was a euphoric feeling to discover this type of ‘job’ and realise that is truly what I wanted to do. The opportunity to create public sculptures while travelling to incredible places to do that was something that never crossed my mind. So what I really learnt was the discovery of what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go in the future. And I think that’s the best lesson one can learn from an experience like that.

What do you find the most nourishing about being part of the Quarry House Collective?

I think having your own little community, which is what we have created in Quarry House Collective, means that no matter how far you travel there is always a belonging you feel. Even though we no longer all share a studio, we still share collective beliefs and have a strong bond through our time riding out the end of university in a pandemic together. We will always continue to join together to create work inspired by the natural environment.

What is the most precious book on your bookshelf?

That would be a book that I’ve had since childhood ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ by Dr Seuss. A book I recommend to anyone of any age, it’s a beautiful poetic childrens story-book about the rollercoaster that is life.

If you were to revisit your earliest work; the place where your interest in art began; do you find themes that connect with your work today?

This is a resounding yes, the work moves through different paths but I think ultimately I never strayed too far from the foundations of my subject: the human form. There were periods of portraiture, painting the nude, using the body in photography and videography to finally abstracting all I had learnt over those phases and Develop the body of work I have now.

Who did you 'want to be' when you were a child?

I think I always wanted to be an artist or do something creative. There were points where I was inspired and changed my mind for a brief moment. I once went to watch the ballet at the royal Albert hall and being a ballerina myself at that point, I decided that was my future. I soon realised I didn’t like the reality of what that would be. So really, art has always been the goal for me.
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