Q&A with Stacey Beaumont
Q&A with sculptor and mosaic artist Stacey Beaumont
Exhibiting in the Studio Gallery at The Castle until the 8th of November
When did you start working in slate and glass and why did these mediums attract you?
My mother was passionate about garden design and I used to help out with landscape work in my teens. I was fascinated by the natural beauty and durability of slate, and the many ways in which it could be used. We had a glass sculpture in our garden and I loved the way light coming through the glass changed according to the time of day or season. When I moved into sculptural work it seemed natural use these mediums because the slate provides a long-lasting beautiful structure for glass, and light through glass transforms a static installation into something that is responsive and dynamic within its environment.
How does Cornwall influence your work?
If I’m not working, then I’m usually walking and our moors, shores and stunning natural environment provide all the inspiration I could ask for. A lot of my work is abstract, deriving from things I’ve seen like rock formations on the coast and the play of light over the land or sea. Also, I mostly work with Delabole slate – it’s not only Cornish but in my experience, the best in the world – so it’s fair to say that Cornwall is often quite literally an intrinsic part of my work!
Do you work with any other materials?
Making slate sculpture is creatively intense, as well as very mucky, heavy work so I like to mix it up. I design and make stained glass panels in the traditional way with lead, solder and cement. Sometimes these are for windows, or sometimes my friend Steve prepares reclaimed wood into which we set brightly coloured panels as these make great garden features.
Have you always been an artist and if not, what was it that drew you this kind of work?
I’ve always had a creative streak and a diverse career writing features for newspapers, marketing and public relations. Alongside this, I’ve always kept my hand in at artwork, whether it was collage or mixed media creations that I dipped in and out of when time allowed. As I got more space to play with, the larger work just seemed to flow naturally from those beginnings.
What are you hoping people will feel when they see or touch your work?
Most of my work is abstract but based on the natural environment, and I hope that strikes a chord or rekindles a memory. I put a lot of time into making the slate sculptures and garden tables really tactile and everyone seems to love touching them – I find it really satisfying that my work can please more than one sense and be something that people want to interact with.
What is the hardest part about being a sculptor?
It’s intense! A lot of thought goes into the design to achieve the effect I want, as well as into the armature to support the design – the sculptures are very durable, so they need to look good and weather well for many years to come. It’s also very mucky work with lots of dusty cutting, sanding and cementing and the weight of the pieces make it a tough job physically. I like to console myself with the idea that it’s keeping me fit!
How do you visualise the finished article and go looking for the materials or do you find the materials and then visualise the finished article?
I have a terrible memory for a lot of things, but the natural environment seems to leave an emotional imprint on my mind – I try to visualise that feeling and capture it in a tangible way through my sculptures. Sometimes this means that I’ll need a certain item to make the sculpture, although I’m a real magpie and I pick up stones, metals, fossils, sea-glass or other shore finds that appeal to me. I’ll use them in pieces that suit them, although a really good find might inspire a work of its own.
What is it you feel as you are working? Is it like a meditation or do you think constructively as you create?
There’s always a constructive thinking phase in any medium I work in, although each have phases which are more relaxing. I can lose myself for hours when leading up a stained glass window, setting out mosaics or adding features and detailed work to sculptures.
Do you prefer working on mosaics or sculptures?
I love sculptural work but it’s a hard slog and I welcome the physical and mental break that making mosaics provides. I think both complement each other but if I had to choose, sculpture would be the clear winner.
Where do you exhibit your work?
I exhibit in galleries and at large festivals that celebrate arts and crafts, like the Exeter Craft Festival.
How do people contact you if they want to purchase your mosaics and cultures? Do you have a website or social media channel they could follow?
My work is available on my website at www.staceybeaumont.com or people can follow me on Instagram at Stacey Beaumont Sculpture or under Kudos Mosaics on Facebook.
What is the once piece of advice you would give new artists working in this field?
Love what you do! I think that probably applies to most art forms but with the sort of sculptures I make, you need a strong creative drive to carry you through the hard physical side of making your vision a reality.