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Life-size Crochetdermy® animal sculptures at the Horniman

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 16:15

An installation of beautifully crafted life-size crochet animal sculptures is to go on display at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London this autumn.

Created by UK based Crochetdermy® artist Shauna Richardson, EVOLUTION of The Artist and The Exhibited Works can be seen alongside the taxidermy specimens and displays in the Horniman’s historic Natural History Gallery from Saturday 29 September 2018.

Inspired and informed by natural history collections such as the Horniman’s, Shauna uses the traditional craft of crochet to sculpt contemporary life-like animals in wool, using a technique she calls Crochetdermy® - a term she invented to describe her process of using just one simple crochet stitch, worked in different directions to highlight anatomy, to create animal ‘skin’ directly onto a rigid form.

Part natural history, part anthropology, EVOLUTION of The Artist and The Exhibited Works features family trees, graphs, diagrams and realistic life-size Crochetdermy® animals. Trophy Heads of animals including a bear, lioness and wild boar look down at visitors from the walls, while monkeys and an ‘Evolution’ graphics panel chart the development of Shauna’s work and life as an artist from inherited traits, skills learned and adaptation to environment.

Shauna Richardson says: ‘I grew up visiting natural history museums. Within the stillness I found a rich source of wonder and imagining and the link between these visits and my work is plain to see.

‘Once an endangered craft in this country, crochet has seen a revival and the future looks positive. 

‘Within natural history collections we find all too many species now tragically extinct but without this visual reminder, perhaps people would forget about conservation. I feel it is important not to give up hope on our ability to improve the natural world.'

Jo Hatton, Keeper of Natural History at the Horniman says: ‘Shauna is interested in objects, collecting them, making them and the art of display. She is also concerned about the relationship between people and nature, and our impact on the planet. EVOLUTION of The Artist and The Exhibited Works connects the two in a thoughtful, yet playful way, asking questions about the art, role and use of taxidermy over time, from the display of hunting trophies in private collections to their scientific and educational role in natural history museum displays. For this installation, Shauna takes inspiration from the evolution displays in our historic natural history gallery, reflecting on their style and mode of display to make connections between the process of evolution and the factors and influences that have played a role in the development of her own artistic work and practice.’

EVOLUTION of The Artist and The Exhibited Works can be seen in the Horniman’s Natural History Gallery from Saturday 29 September 2018. Entry to the Gallery is free.

The Horniman is grateful to Roseberys Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers for their generous support of this display.