Residency : Lorraine Hamilton - June, 2013


Our second artist in residence this year was Lorraine Hamilton, a recent graduate from Glasgow School of Art. Over her month long residency, she experimented with materials and texture, and roused the other artists' curiosity. 

A month is quite a short period of time, so how did you prepare for the residency?
I thought I was really well prepared. I had a plan in mind of what I was interested in doing, I wanted to get involved with the classes and get to know everybody… I thought the work would come later and would be a reflection on the experience. Then I got here and it all went out the window. It was a very different environment from what I expected, people work very independently. It’s a bit like being given a gift of a very nice studio: I’ve been given time and space and I could do anything I wanted. It’s been ideal, I finally had time to work on all these ideas that I’ve had for the last few months.


Can you tell us about these ideas, and what you worked on?
The first week I went through all the research I had bookmarked but didn’t have time to properly think about. For instance, materials I like to work with, tactility and to offer an experience to people based on that. For example hair, or sugar – I was trying to grow sugar crystals. Then I started doing a lot of drawing, which I haven’t done in a while, and they were all related to an experience of communication. Through my work with Sense Scotland, working with deaf and blind children or people who have different communication obstacles to overcome, I’ve had to find new ways of communicating. Quite often they are unsuccessful. I’m quite interested in that idea of trying and failing.


We see you are using some ‘Oasis’ and hair, both are materials that can make people a bit uncomfortable…
I love it! Same with the hair: people are really phobic about it. I’m only using cheap hair extensions and people hate touching it. I like the idea of luring people in, they come and want to touch things and then really regret it. Overwhelmingly, people are showing disgust, maybe because hair is such an intimate thing. When it comes from a stranger, it’s revolting. As for the ‘Oasis’, at first I only considered it as something to hold the hair, but I love the feeling of carving it. I find it very pleasant, though people have been coming over and really disliked the feel of it.


Your work looks like a sort of landscape, especially your drawings…
That was my initial idea. I’ve been drawing landscapes made of hair ,which I thought was very beautiful, then I set out to make a sculpture of it. None of it is anywhere near finished, I think it will change quite a lot in the next months but I’ll definitely carry the work on. It feels very indulgent to be able to experiment.


Did you get much interest from the other artists in the workshops?
Yes, it’s been really nice actually. It’s quite casual. People have been showing me their work, chatted about mine… I really enjoyed it. It’s such a nice studio environment. It felt like a real gift.


Can you tell us more about your background?
I graduated in 2011, and I’ve always been interested in sensory and tactile work, though I never really considered working for a charity or with other people before. Then I got in touch with Sense Scotland, initially for research. I enjoyed working with people so much that it changed the way I thought about my own work and my idea of communication itself. I create work that encompasses more than the standard visual and audio aspects, I have worked with materials that provide a scent, or a taste, like caramel or sugar and that bring a broader sensory experience to the viewer.


Thank you Lorraine, we are very much looking forward to seeing your finished work in January 2014 during the residency exhibition.