You’ve often said you’re a maker, not a designer, what does that mean to you? It’s an hours-in-the-day synopsis. I spend most of my time making things and while I’m doing that I’m designing. The two happen concurrently, but when I finish making something I consider it made as opposed to designed because making is such a large part of my process. Making things is a real time, solutions-based way to live your life, when you put your hand to something, you get results.
In terms of collaborating, who’s next on the list? I’ve had wonderful collaborations with William Kentridge, Charles Haupt of Bronze Age and Cameron Platter. Artists have a very different way of seeing things that I wouldn’t naturally see. I’d love to collaborate with Adriaan Hugo but we’ve never managed to get it together since the nature of our work means we’re in the same production cycles.
One piece of furniture that has forever captured your love of making? There are plenty. So many of them are historical: Gate leg tables, shaker chairs, shaker machines, all of them essential pieces of design and making. What really thrills me the most is when people make something out of nothing; or when they make things haphazardly and the way the final product looks (its form) is incidental to what it needs to do (its function). I call that incidental form.
Tell me about the newest additions to your upcoming exhibition, like the salvaged heritage steel pieces? That’s just a small aspect of it. I got all the steel from the silo, most of it was too big to reuse as sculptural objects. It comes back to incidental form, looking at it and seeing shapes which I couldn’t engineer. I’m trying to find new form, useable from those original forms.
The exhibition is an overview of everything I’m interested in making at this point in my career, of me and my studio and what we are up to at this point. It follows no theme, it’s a snapshot of our design and production right now.
What do you hope visitors to the exhibition will walk away with? An understanding of how diverse my studio’s interests are and how everything is so varying and variable, but there’s a common pattern and language around the way we make things and the way that finished pieces are presented.
- The Gregor Jenkin solo runs from 9 November 2017 to 12 February 2018, at Southern Guild Gallery, GUILD, 5B, Silo 5, V&A Waterfront.