Burford-based sculptor Christopher Townsend is set to appear in next week’s episode of ‘Home Is Where The Art Is on BBC1 at 3.45pm Monday 15th April. During the programme he competes for a commission to produce a sculpture for an Oxfordshire couple wish to add interesting bespoke art to their walls.
‘I was interested in taking part in the competition as I thought it would stretch me artistically and make me look again at the process of making something bespoke for an everyday home,’ says Chris, ‘and I was thrilled to be chosen.’
‘For the filming, I first went to a terraced cottage in the centre of Chinnor along with two other artists, a textile artist and a painter, against whom I was competing for the commission. The mystery buyers had left a brief for us which was fairly broad: they asked for something uplifting that “felt like jumping in muddy puddles!” I loved that idea and it gave me lots of scope for ideas.’
‘We had a chance to nosey around the house and get a feel for the ethos, taste and interests of the people who lived there and we speculated on what they might be like in person. It was a lovely neat home with lots of art – their own, I suspected as well as other people’s - that showed an appreciation of nature. There were also lots of little touches suggesting it was a home full of love, from pairs of things illustrating a close couple to a message from other family members on a chalk board. I had a strong feeling that they were real family people and so my proposal for a piece of metal wall sculpture reflected these values.’
‘I went to the BBC studio in Manchester to put my pitch to the buyers – who weren’t quite what I was expecting! - and it was fascinating both to meet the personalities who lived in the house and hear the ideas of the other competitors which, although inspired by exactly the same environment, were very different from mine.’
‘Although I was excited about being invited to be on the programme, at the outset I thought the experience of being filmed would be pretty nerve-wracking: actually I enjoyed the whole process. I was delighted to have the chance to give interested viewers an insight into way I work and the process of commissioning an artist, showing the way metal can be formed from its raw state into meaningful sculpture that will last a life-time.’
‘I’ve always loved to demonstrate my methods and talk about the materials I use and reasons my sculptures take the forms they do, whether they are organic or figurative or something else entirely, and I’m looking forward to opening my studio as part of the Oxfordshire Artweeks festival in May (Artweeks venue 332) when I’ll be showing my sculpture from little to large alongside delicate pieces by jeweller Guen Palmer – each of her earrings, rings and pendants is like a sculpture in miniature! Then you’ll be able to see carefully-crafted metal from tiny 10mm to toweringly tall and compare Guen’s very different techniques to mine! I hope lots of people will come along.’