For millennia, artists have been drawn to nature, from prehistoric cave paintings of wild animals to the present day, where some of the finest practitioners will be converging at PAD in Berkeley Square to display their new work. Among them is the Irish artist Sasha Sykes, who preserves delicate blooms and plant fronds to create unique pieces of furniture or decorative pieces. Based in rural County Carlow, she often forages her flowers and foliage from the local area, then carefully dries the stems before encasing them in many layers of transparent resin, to keep them as vivid as when they were first picked. ‘I like to explore the cycle of life and decay, and the dichotomy of fragility and preservation,’ she says. ‘I’m particularly motivated by mankind’s relationship with our surroundings, and expressing that interaction is central to my practice.’
For the French designer Marlène Huissoud, interest in the outdoors stemmed from a postgraduate project at Central Saint Martins, when she became fascinated with materials that were produced by insects, such as the British honeybee. Some of her recent sculptural pieces are made from moulds of silkworm cocoons – the emergent worms are usually killed during the textile production process, but Huissoud wanted to allow them to transform into butterflies.
Elisabeth Delacarte, the founder of Galerie Avant-Scène, has curated works informed by organic matter, which can be viewed at her stand. Among the pieces on show is a bronze table of lotus leaves by Franck Evennou, an agate-topped console by Mark Brazier-Jones that evokes the form of molecules and a set of thistle-shaped candlesticks by Hubert Le Gall. ‘The natural world is part of my gallery’s DNA,’ says Delacarte, who has spent over 30 years supporting and celebrating artisan makers. ‘It’s an inexhaustible source of inspiration.’ PAD London (www.pad-fairs.com) runs from 1 to 7 October.
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF PETER PETROU, © DONAL MOLONEY, GETTY IMAGES, EZRA PETRONIO, PHILIPPE FRAGNIÈRE/COURTESY OF SUZANNE SYZ, COURTESY OF SYZ ART JEWELS ■