Daisy Collingridge’s new body of work is focused around a textile, tactile, pastel-toned creation which she has affectionately named the ‘Squishy’.
Inspired by the animation of anatomical drawings, she employs free machine quilting and pattern cutting to explore the human form through the realm of wearable sculptures. These cushy characters are either purely sculptural or further developed into fully wearable suits, meticulously hand-sewn by using the simple technique of layering wadding and stretched jersey to create voluptuous, organic forms.
In her Platform exhibition, the artist introduces us to Burt, Hillary, Clive and Dave – each with their own character and identity.
Collingridge begins her artistic process from the headpiece, which dictates the Squishies’ characters, letting her sculptures watch her as she completes the rest of their quirky, visceral bodies. When worn, these fleshy suits become full of life, as Collingridge masterfully translates the movement of the body and the melancholic world of the characters.
Bend and Twist
When two become one
The soft skin tones further accentuate the playful take on muscular anatomy diagrams and invite touch. The curvaceous shapes of these protagonists celebrate the human form and urge the viewer to consider the body in all its potential. A prevalent theme in Collingridge’s work is human closeness, which she outlines by photographing multiple bodies at once and examining how they blend into one another. Following a year in which human connection was so drastically lacking, Collingridge’s works offer a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Daisy Collingridge in Conversation
How would you like to see people interact with your art?
Interaction can happen on many levels. So far, the most frequent interaction is on a tiny square phone screen. The experience of seeing the photography of the work is very different to meeting a living breathing one in a live situation. I love taking photos. I can control the environment. I can curate colours and textures to make the image as tangible as possible but there is something unnerving and unpredictable about watching people interact with the sculptures in real life. They are so tactile and invite touch. It is irresistible to some. Touch is one of the two most personal senses. You cannot touch without being touched. I have ideas of creating a fully interactive touchable snug-able, squidge-able world. One day.
You mention that each one of the individual Squishies are individual characters. Do you consequently behave differently when you wear each piece?
Yes. In part, you behave differently according to the physical limitations of each piece. You hold your own body and posture in a different way, which in turn changes the way the Squishy moves. But there is more than just the physicality. Each piece is imbued with a different energy and personality. There are not complicated back stories but there is an essence. I always have the most fun wearing Burt. There is this freedom about him, a refusal to hide and a liberated presence. It is interesting how small moments are magnified when you watch the characters interact.
Where do you think your work fits in dialogue with artists who came before you?
I saw Louise Bourgeois’ work at the Tate Modern when I was a kid. Obviously, I remember being awestruck by the towering ‘Maman’ spider but it was the soft towelling figurative sculptures that stuck with me. There is a feeling of simultaneously being repelled and yet being drawn in because of their softness and fragility. Her work always seems to have an uncomfortable interplay of emotions. I feel like my work sits in a similar complex conversation of opposing sensations.
About the Artist
Daisy Collingridge (b. 1990) is a London-based artist whose multi-disciplinary work is rooted in the investigation of the human form.
Her figurative sculptures are an immersive exploration of fabric, form and flesh. Driven by craft, her oeuvre sits on the verge between sculpture and performance art. Collingridge’s chosen medium is fabric because unlike marble or ceramic, it offers skin-like qualities and just like our bodies, is transient.
Collingridge graduated from Central St. Martins with a fashion design degree and has exhibited with the 62 Group, at MAC Birmingham, in 2018 and the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, in 2019. In 2019 Daisy also participated at the ‘Zeigiest’ exhibition with 108 Fine Art in Harrogate, UK. In 2020 she was selected to be part of the Sarabande Foundation Residency in London, as well as the J Hammond Projects Residency in collaboration with The Bomb Factory in London, UK.
Great Ormond Street Hospital
Since its formation in 1852, the Great Ormond Street Hospital has been dedicated to finding innovative and better ways to advance treatment for children and young people with complex illnesses so they can reach their potential. It has since become one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. Donations to the charity provide finance for medical research, acquisition of life-saving medical equipment and help support the families of children going through treatment.