Dear reader, you’re already well acquainted with our admiration for the mysterious Mister Finch. Tucked away in his studio, the Leeds-based artist turns mythical fantasies into real-life sculptures that always wow.
Who better to team up with to celebrate the opening of our Leeds store? To mark the occasion, Mister Finch is debuting a brand-new exhibition, Familiars.
Familiars delves into the busy life of a Thimble Witch and the many helping hands she creates to lighten the load. In the words of Mister Finch himself:
- Mister Finch
A Thimble Witch is a witch that sews or uses stitching or weaving in their work. They are incredibly busy and need help with things. This help comes in the form of a ‘familiar’—a helper from the natural world. Thimble Witches make and sew their own familiar and this is then brought to life.
Join us as we disappear into the wonderful world of Mister Finch, natter about the ideas that fuel his unique craft, and take a peek behind the doors of his studio.
Tell us a little bit about the story behind ‘Familiars’…
This idea has been simmering away for a while now when I had worked out how to make my own display boxes I knew that I wanted to make these pieces.
I love the idea of a person or in this case a witch getting help from a strange creature—the idea of them helping out with everything from spells to housework.
What about your technique? We imagine it’s intricate and very precise…
This varies but generally the process begins with making a pattern. This sounds like a throwaway comment but it can take ages working the shapes out on card, then making it up in rough fabric and going back and to making corrections. Sometimes this works out quickly which is very satisfying but often I end up making 10-15 versions until I end up with a finished pattern.
I then sew this up and embellish it with stitch work or other fabrics or found objects.
You’re often described as secretive and hidden away. Is this just work wise or are you like this as a person?
Work wise I’m very shy, but those who know me would probably say I talk too much!
Your career is pretty unique. How do you describe what you do to strangers?
I usually say I make fabric sculptures of animals and plants. It kind of depends on who I’m talking to.
You seem very prolific work wise, do you have any of your own ‘familiars’?
No. I have some help with admin but other than that I do everything. I’m so used to it now that I think I would struggle to let anybody in.
I love to work alone. There are times when it would be nice to have some help…but honestly I just love being by myself and working into the night. And I don’t mind working long days because I love what I do. It’s not like work at all.
Mister Finch’s ‘Familiars’ will be showing at Anthropologie Leeds from 20th October – 15th January.