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Miranda Amapola Café Wall, Quay Arts Thu 17 Dec 2009 – Mon 25 Jan 2010
Drinks Reception: Thu 17 Dec 5-7pm All Welcome
This exhibition is by artist-maker, Miranda Amapola based in Gurnard, Isle of Wight.
Inspired after finding an abandoned guitar in a skip, Miranda Amapola presents an array of decorative guitars, adorned with jewels, fabrics and found objects.
Artist’s Personal Statement: All my life I have been a maker.
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of busily gathering together bits and bobs and making something with them. I thrived on the freedom of life on a farm in Norfolk and shared at an early age my parents’ passion for culture and the arts. And I have always felt that my art was a thing that just spontaneously happened to me, rather than the result of a conscious decision by me to produce something.
My early studies in Dress Design brought me to the world of fashion, advertising and publishing. But then the building of a 39ft trimaran took me in another direction, leading to a nomadic lifestyle in which I lived afloat for six years and sailed to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and the USA. It opened up an adventurous and, at times, treacherous chapter for me, enriched by the less conventional way of life on the high seas with all its challenges and long periods of solitude. When ashore I indulged myself in my inevitable pastime – hunting for treasure amongst the flotsam and jetsam.
On my return to dry land I completed the Living Art Training course in London in 1990. This was a turning point in my life as it provided an informal introduction to Art Therapy in which I became interested and which I subsequently pursued through further study at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education and by following the foundation year of a Visual Studies degree at the Norwich School of Art and Design. Having also trained at Age Exchange in London, I now run groups in Reminiscence, working with older people in residential settings.
I have juggled family life with earning a living and a love of travel. So the focus on my art work has been intermittent. But I find myself always returning to it … or it to me; and a life without making is impossible to imagine. I draw inspiration for it from the wide-ranging variety of my studies, and personal experience has taught me the enormous therapeutic value of finding an outlet for one’s creativity.
My work has always involved recycling, be it driftwood, found objects, box art, or button jewellery. Treasure lies round every corner, in the 'fertile voids' (as I call them) that are my hunting grounds: junkshops, boatyards, hedgerows, skips and even the gutter! And kind friends sometimes delight me by leaving things on my doorstep that they think I might be able to use.
I am an avid treasure hunter, a scavenger: a bit of a magpie. I love the element of surprise and my finds usually provide the spark that ignites an idea for the next body of work. They may be only the smallest thing: even just a fragment that has miraculously survived, or something that once upon a time was of significance to somebody somewhere – discarded, forgotten, lost maybe – waiting to be rediscovered and appreciated once more. Perhaps this approach to my work is a legacy from my mother whose words "make do and mend" still ring in my ears.
That is how this exhibition came about. One day I looked on in horror as a builder ran his barrowful of rubble up the scaffolding board, about to tip it out all over a beautiful little guitar that had been dumped in the skip. With his permission I leapt in and rescued it! I bore it home lovingly and waited for it to speak to me, to tell me how together we might make music again.
I accept commissions. Several musicians whose old unplayable instruments were sitting sadly gathering dust in the corner of a room or hiding in their attic have given me their guitars to decorate with their own personal treasures. I like to think I am giving them a new lease of life.