Artist Kate Hipkiss creates intricate sculptures using found materials such as old maps and books.
One of 18 Oxfordshire-based creatives featured in our exhibition Flow, Kate’s paper works inspire everyday creativity in us all. Here, she speaks to Co-Curator Maria Robertson about her intriguing practice.
“I make things in order to think ideas through”.
Maria: How do you get into a creative flow?
Kate: When I think about it, I have two different types of creative flow. New ideas often come from time away from work, walking or on the allotment, when I’m thinking about something else and my mind can wander.
My other creative flow is when I’m making and I’m completely absorbed in what I’m doing and I can lose hours once I begin. Having a sharp scalpel and a good cutting board are a big part of this as poor-quality tools interrupt the flow of work. Working with old maps has been challenging as I encounter varying qualities of paper some of which tear very easily.
I love seeing ideas develop but I don’t work in sketchbooks, I make things in order to think ideas through. It is like thinking in 3 dimensions, and working things through that way.
“Lockdown changed my work from being inward looking and personal to more outward looking and I began thinking about how we relate to each other, and how we relate to our environment”.
Maria: How has lockdown impacted on your creative activity?
Kate: Lockdown changed my work from being inward looking and personal to more outward looking and I began thinking about how we relate to each other, and how we relate to our environment.
I had started a piece of work at the beginning of lockdown, which is a partner piece to Breathless. It was initially an exploration of early human migration across the globe, and consists of 10 globes of different sizes, one inside the other which sit inside the atlas. After lockdown the meaning of this work very quickly changed into a reflection upon our need as human beings to push outwards; to grow and multiply, and how we now find ourselves in a position where we can’t do those things.
I wanted to make a less structured piece following on from this and that is where Breathless came from. I wanted to bring the maps out of the atlas in a way that might make us question how they would ever get back to how they were. There is order within the chaos but it will never be the same.
“There is order within the chaos but it will never be the same”.
Maria: What is your background?
Kate: I have been a paper artist for 10 years, and my work has developed over this time. Initially I worked with architectural subjects, and this developed to more abstract work before I began my MFA. The MFA has helped to ground my work in art theory and has helped to develop meaning and context.
“It is great to be exhibiting with such an interesting group of artists”.
Maria: How do you feel about being in this exhibition?
Kate: It’s lovely to be involved with MAO and Glass Tank, and especially since our MFA final show was cancelled. Because of that this will be the first time I have exhibited a piece from this new body of work, and I will be interested to hear feedback from the exhibition. It is great to be exhibiting with such an interesting group of artists.