Joanna Bird has been commissioned for many individual installations and displays – no two alike. Her most interesting and mutually satisfying work is always with a client toward a shared aspiration or vision. This usually comes about when the client is engaged by a particular artist’s work and begins to think about how they might offer the artist’s vision and inspiration the most suitable display space.
The ‘space’ can be domestic, utility, or commercial - a kitchen or living areas, a garden, a school playground, an atrium in a corporate space, a hotel lobby – or even a yacht. The possibilities are almost limitless, and Joanna’s team can offer the kind of expert guidance that allows clients to benefit from displaying their art in a visually dynamic way.
These opportunities are equally exciting for young artists, giving them a chance to think in a bigger way, and to develop both their style and their artistic vocabulary.
Studio Ceramics at Chatsworth
It has been a particular pleasure for Joanna work with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire on the installation they commissioned from the British studio ceramicist Edmund de Waal.
The final work – now on display at Chatsworth – is the culmination of nearly two years’ discussion and decision-making. Entitled ‘A sounding line’, it reflects the connection Edmund felt with the historic porcelain in the State Rooms in the floor above his installation, which is located in the Chapel Passage.
Joanna and her team are currently working on a complete ceramic gallery for Chatsworth.
Steffen Dam – A Glass Installation Afloat
Joanna and her colleagues have provided inspiring installations for bathrooms, patios and court yards, beach houses, and – perhaps the most unusual environment of all – a yacht.
The last was a commission in glass executed by the Danish artist Steffen Dam, and took the form of a wall-mounted panel. This was an enjoyable challenge for Steffen, who had never before made such a large panel with so much free design.
It took several attempts to complete the work to meet the client’s satisfaction, and to convey the sense of movement envisioned by the artist. By pushing the boundaries of his skills, Steffen discovered new techniques which have enhanced his work.
James Rigler – Chatsworth Table
James Rigler was commissioned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire to create a ceramic table, the commission was open to his interpretation within certain size limitations. Rigler drew on his sculptural practice and previous experience with mixed media to create a table made up of five separate pieces. The final piece was created in ceramic, marble, wood, steel, gold leaf and rope.
Steffen Dam - Specimen Panel
The concept for the commission was developed through conversations and personal meetings between Steffen and the client, arranged by Joanna. The size of the window bay and the colour of the surroundings were crucial considerations, including the shades of the trees and shrubs that grow just outside. ‘We wanted it to match the surroundings as gently as possible’, Steffen explains. ‘The piece needed to look like it was meant to be there – as if it came out of the ground like one of the plants in the garden.’
Specimen Panel consists of twenty-eight conjoined clear blocks, in which coloured glass – fired, cut, and re-fired into patterns – are encased. The result resembles, without replicating, a display of botanical specimens. As Steffen says, the embedded items ‘look familiar, but like nothing you have ever seen. The specimens could be parts from the moon – or fossils from the future’.