Teresa Martin – Tortoise Psychosis

We asked Teresa a bit about herself and her solo show from 12th April in the Little Big Art Exhibition at Shoreham Art Gallery. Here’s what Teresa had to tell us:

Tell us what your solo show is about?
Tortoises. I will be exhibiting some eccentric sculptures exploring the forms, textures and antics of these retiring and occasionally rampant reptiles. As we creep gradually out of isolation, tortoises are coming round from their own hibernation. Alongside the feline distractions on the path to ‘Martin Sculpture Garden Workshops’, the tortoises in the garden take some management through the summer months. Entering into their environment does often affect our subject matter. This selection of works will show another side of my creative thinking, some introspective and humorous. A video tour will also be available for those who cannot manage the stairs for this short exhibition at the gallery.

If I visited your show what would you hope I got from the experience?
Hopefully, visitors will be intrigued and appreciate the chance to finally see art works in the flesh again and study the Psychosis of the Tortoise. We have shared, at times, in their innate desire to hide, to bury our heads in the straw till the Covid virus passes by….

How do you refer to yourself – as an artist, creative or something else?
I am a sculptor, though I started making long before I knew what sculpture was. When I got to college It was a relief to find a tutor who recognised that I thought in 3 D much better than I spoke or wrote. Being a sculptor gave that attribute an official title and me a purpose.

What do you create?
I create forms by manipulating materials, inventing tools to make textures, and twisting the techniques of the casting process to arrive at new structures for the environment.

What is personal to you about what you create?
Making a sculpture is a bit like giving birth, but you have more control over the what, where and when of your resulting progeny!

Did you ever work in a different creative medium?
I began with wooden bricks, Lego and Plasticine, making mazes for woodlice, and the cat often had one made out of the sofa cushions.

I did most of my sculpture at Uni in wood: willow branches dragged out of the streams around Winchester. I made a change in material when the carving was causing too much arthritic pain in my hands. I was a bit sad too when the wooden sculptures lost the wonderful natural resin smells over time and I missed the busy-ness of the creepy crawlies therein when the wood was hammered so much.

Do you find inspiration from the world around you?
I like the analogy of making organic forms that echo my wooden structures, but using rather more permanent materials so that the insects and animals continue to live in them in the garden and the sculptures can exist as punctuation points in the landscape for human exploration too.

Which part of our creative process do you enjoy the most and why?
I like the way new forms transform your environment. It can take a while to get to know them. There is a level of anticipation on waking and remembering the creative efforts of the day before. Are they still communicating what you anticipated?

Who else do you share your passion with?
My daughter and I have many very happy hours making and displaying works in beautiful gardens around the South of England.

What is your greatest joy when creating?
I like the transfer of creative energy into a new form. Some works take more than 18 months to complete, absorbing huge amount of sustained faith and concentration. When they finally go on show, the public reaction replenishes your spirit again.

What is your greatest fear about your creativity?
Embarking on a sculpture can be a huge gamble. You are investing huge amounts of your time, often expensive materials. You have to have courage in your discoveries in previous works and take a leap. I can’t really see much point in doing something if you are not learning from it yourself.

What do you do for leisure?
I love to read and escape with other forms of Art, visiting the theatre. Any activity that aids my observation of the world around me. I don’t feel the need to travel far afield, getting plenty of inspiration from the creepy crawlies, and creatures living alongside me. The microscopic world is even more fantastic than the panoramic to me.

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