The art of COPING with artist Laura Collins
Laura Collins is a young emerging artist who creates bold, colourful and grandiose crochet soft sculptures. In the recent years, Collins has mainly focused on using crochet as a medium, and has created some grandiose versions of everyday objects in order to highlight in a bold and candid way, some of the vices some people may use in their daily lives just to cope day to day.
“Soft drugs” is the name of Laura’s latest art work.
A series of soft sculptures made out of yarn, depicting off the counter medicine in a grand scale.
The sculptures highlight the struggles of coping with mental health illness, but also underlines the social stigma associated to mental health illness and essentially open up a positive dialogue. Previously awarded for her quirky aesthetic; Laura Collin’s Fine Art Degree Show in June 2017 was a significant moment and the start of Laura’s career as an artist. Laura showcased ‘COPING’ 2017 ‘COPING SERIES’ 2017
Laura Collins says:
“THE IDEA HOW THESE LIFELESS OBJECTS CAN BE USED TO HELP SOME PEOPLE WITH COPING AND TO LEAD NORMAL EVERYDAY LIFE”
COPING 2017 & COPING SERIES 2017 were especially produced for Laura’s Fine Art Degree Show in June 2017. Soft sculpture series are larger versions of lifeless objects, that some people may use as momentary escapism or to cope day to day. COPING 2017 is a grandiose patchwork style sign of the word ‘coping’ reveals the obvious feelings & thoughts that come to mind when feeling overwhelmed.
Laura was also inspired by Tracey Emin’s neon signs for this particular art work.
A problem shared is a problem halved
COPING 2017 sign was made up of colourful bits of crochet pieces donated by other women from Laura’s community. ‘COPING 2017’ sign was a truly collaborative piece in the making. Bringing together people that share same love crochet and threading a strong support network for those who find crocheting therapeutic.
Collins went straight from graduation show, to exhibiting at Affordable Art Fair in Bristol 2017 and Battersea London 2018, after attracting the attention of Affordable Art Fair Director Sam Gare.
Sam Gare, AAF Director, June 2018 said:
“We visited the UWE Bristol Degree Show and selected six graduate artists across a range of disciplines including photography, sculpture, installation and painting.”
“Coping Series” is a series of oversized objects that would usually be stashed in some drawer, bag or find its way in the crevice of someone’s pocket. ‘Coping items’ that would more often than usual, only to see light when the impulse to survive is threatened by whirlwind of angsts or hopelessness. Collins’ soft sculpture series beautifully portrays the extent of some coping mechanisms with a lot of honesty and humour, that some people may rely on to ease and feel some sort of escapism or control. The soft sculptures are an honest account of some the daily coping struggles, associated with mental health illness.
‘Soft Drugs’ reminds us of Damien Hirst's medicine cabinets display. 'Soft Drugs' is also closely linked to the concept of 'COPING Series'.”
Crochet as well as knitting, are traditional practices that can also be very versatile & contemporary if you approach it in new ways . In art history, the practice of crochet started to be recognized in the 70s & 80s by artists like Louise Bourgeois, Faith Wilding and Rosemarie Trockel contributed to reviving the history of the craft as ‘womens work’ rather than being seen as repressive domestic duty.
The compulsion to create is human way of expression and for Artist Laura Collins, her first compulsion was to Crochet and communicate the importance of coping tools.
Pioneer Edward Adamson, was the first Artist to push art within the medical field and was an advocate for art as therapy. He believed art was a very powerful tool to unlock the unconscious and was employed by the NHS in 1948 as an art Director.
Nowadays, Adamson collection is scattered around but mostly accessible at the Wellcome collection London