London Craft Week | MTM: William Darrell

JMD: How long does each piece of work take to create? And what is the starting point? 
WD: Sculptures can take as little as a day or as long as a year if I get distracted. I have a scattered way of working, jumping from project to project. I might be near the end of something and it sparks a new idea. lots of unfinished sculptures but I follow what I find interesting in the moment. In terms of a starting point I get inspired by the functioning parts of nature such as a petal arrangement of a flower or pulsate waves of a millipedes crawl. 
JMD: What form for your notes / notebook take?
WD: I mostly sketch straight in to the cad software although this quickly becomes the real work. Because of how mechanical the work is nothing if as useful to me as a prototype. Then through a process of iterative design the sculpture takes shape. 
JMD: How do you discover and learn about new materials? 
WD: There's many different 3D printing filaments - rubber, wood fill, but my go to is PLA as its the easiest to print with. PLA comes in many different colours and qualities. For some of these pieces I've used an aluminium coloured silk PLA which looks almost CGI but in real life. 
JMD: When did you first start to explore autonomous performance art? 
WD: I started by making wearable contraptions like a mirrored wedding mask that worked like a magnifying glass to burn things with the sun. Then there was the wind turbine suit that used the wind to generate little bold of lighting. I was progressively getting more and more dangerous and so needed to change something before I fell victim to some horrible accident. Moving the work off my body allowed it to be alive in its self and lead to new areas of interest. 
JMD: Who has inspired you to work in this genre? 
WD: I like the work of Theo Jansen, a kinetic sculpture that make creatures out of plastic tubing that roam beaches in the Neverlands. Also the work of Luigi Colani a bio mimicry designer that makes the strangest looking cars and other vehicles in the pursuit of better aerodynamics. 
JMD: Is it important to keep a sense of fun in your work? If so why? 
WD: I think the fun in my work is also a tool to keep things changing play is integral to a child's induction to the world, so much learning is achieved. In my work I think if I stopped having fun the work will stagnate. Never grow up. 
JMD: Tell us about the collaboration with J&M Davidson
WD: A friend of mine is a designer and she suggested this to me, as there's a strange parallel between my flower sculptures and their Fringe Carnival Bags. I love their playful tassel tactility, it's interesting when a product becomes something else more than its intended purpose. This attitude feels very akin to the way I develop my work.