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BEHIND OUR dream catcher windows

michelle mckinney

For the relaunch of our iconic Dream Catcher collection Annoushka teams up with artist Michelle McKinney to create a nature-inspired frenzy in the windows of our flagship boutiques. Whilst utilising symbols found in nature that have a timeless constancy, the methods and media used by Michelle are innovative applications of contemporary industrial materials subtly handled so that even the closest scrutiny give almost no imitation of their origins.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I am a maker at heart I love to create and see my innermost thoughts and ideas come to life through my art. To create something from nothing and make an artwork that engages and moves the viewer is what I strive for. I work full time in my garden studio, often accompanied by my Cocker Spaniel Sonny and surrounded by nature - my constant source of inspiration.


YOUR ARTWORK OFTEN FEATURES NATURE IN SOME FORM, WHAT IS IT THAT DRAWS YOU TO THE NATURAL WORLD?

Nature has always been my greatest source of inspiration. In my garden studio I am constantly inspired by the natural world around me. The fragility and yet resilience of nature. The constant cycle of the seasons and that quiet voice whispering its consent for the leaves to fall, flowers to bloom and birds to migrate year after year after year. My work is bedded in the clear space between opposites; movement captured in stillness; the fragility and ephemerality of nature captured in the strength and permanence of industrial man made materials.


YOU COME FROM A JEWELLERY BACKGROUND, HOW DOES THAT INFLUENCE YOUR WORK NOW?

Although I enjoyed the materials and techniques of designing and making jewellery I wanted to explore my ideas on a larger scale. Quite often now I still work in jewel like proportions but by creating hundreds of small elements that come together to create a much larger piece. Working in woven metal mesh allows me still to use a lot of the skills I learnt as a jeweller, for example the forming and colouring of metal, but I can take my ideas in any direction now, which is exciting!

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE DESIGN FOR THE ANNOUSHKA DREAM CATCHER WINDOWS?

My design for the Dream Catcher window was inspired by the beautiful jewellery in the collection itself— in particular the drop earrings. I wanted to capture the delicacy of the jewels and bring them to life with the movement of the birds as they fly in amongst the blossom branches. The white paper sculptures shown within the shop display cabinets brings us back to the natural world. The colour white is an inherently positive colour. It is associated with purity, light, spirituality, protection, softness, and perfection. The exact words which I associate with Annoushka’s stunning new collection.


WHAT IS IT ABOUT ANNOUSHKA’S DESIGNS THAT COMPLIMENT YOUR WORK?

Annoushka’s designs like my art are heavily influenced by the natural world. The jewels have an exquisite delicacy in their detail and yet at the same time they are a very strong visual statement. This combination of delicacy and strength is also present within my own work.


ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL TECHNIQUES OR MATERIALS THAT YOU USED IN THE WINDOWS?

The installation I created for the Dream Catcher window is created in woven metal mesh a material I have been working with now for 20 years. It is an industrial material created mainly for scientific filters. For me the beautiful translucency and delicate nature of the woven metal suits my way of working perfectly. The material allows me to have a lightness of touch but at the same time create work that has a very strong visual presence. As you interact with the window installation and walk around it the changes in light and shadow moving through the piece really bring it to life.


WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

Nature in all its forms is my greatest and most constant source of inspiration and more recently I have become interested also in the human form . I am always looking to move my work forward and so my inspiration is always growing and changing.


WHAT DOES JEWELLERY MEAN TO YOU?

Jewellery has played a large part in my life as I trained as a jewellery designer and from a very young age that was all I wanted to do! For me jewellery is a symbol of a moment in time. I can look at my collection of jewellery and remember exactly the moment in time I received each piece be it as a gift or a purchase or something that I have made for myself. Jewellery tells a story of the life of the person wearing it and I like that very much.

WHICH PIECE OF JEWELLERY DO YOU NEVER TAKE OFF?

My wedding ring of course! I remember designing it all those years ago and it never gets taken off!


IF YOU WERE A CHARM WHAT WOULD YOU BE?

It would have to be a Butterfly. The very first artwork I made in woven metal 20 years ago now was Butterfly themed— it represented a new start for me creatively and personally. I think for many people the butterfly is such a strong symbol of positivity and hope – it certainly is for me.


WE HEAR THAT YOU ARE DOING A SOLO SHOW AT ANTHROPOLOGIE NEXT SPRING, WHAT OTHER PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE?

I am mainly focusing on my solo exhibition next year and looking forward to developing more of a figurative element within my work. I am going to put aside some time to explore new ideas and concepts and see where they take me on my artistic journey.

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