Brighton-based paper artist Lisa Lloyd pushes her work in new directions with Flux, a fish-themed sculpture created with the help and craftsmanship of printers at Barnard and Westwood. We caught up with her to learn how it was made.
Three-dimensional paper artist Lisa Lloyd takes inspiration from the natural world when creating her beautiful paper sculptures. Previously, her work has been featured on the BBC, Countryfile and The Morning Show, while her latest piece, Flux, is set to appear at the upcoming Start Art fair.
Depicting two glittering fish circling one another, Flux is a dazzling piece that impresses thanks to its powerful composition, intricate construction, and innovative foil printing techniques. Designed to represent conflicting emotions, the gold and silver fish started with a visit to the commercial printers Barnard and Westwood.
“I had an amazing tour around their workshop; it was incredible seeing the master craftspeople at work,” Lisa tells Creative Boom. “Company director Alasdair Abrines and I had an amazing chat about all the different processes, the effects and details they can achieve, and he kindly suggested that we could collaborate.
“We chatted about what we could create and finally landed on making fish. I have always wanted to try to make some fish, and we felt that combining iridescent paper and foil block printing would really bring them to life. In particular, the scales.”
Indeed, Lisa had been thinking about how to embellish her work with patterns, textures and gilding for some time. So, the partnership with Barnard and Westwood seemed like a perfect fit. “I didn’t know anything about the techniques available, and by chance, I found Barnard and Westwood while doing some research online,” Lisa explains.
“I was excited when I saw that they still use old machines and produced incredible work with an amazing eye for detail, so I got in touch with them.”
As for the piece’s title, Flux refers to the glittering, capricious nature of the fish scales, which in turn reflect fluctuating emotional states. “When I saw the fish in my mind, I could see them as light and dark,” Lisa reveals. “One with fleshy skin tones and one with kind of ‘oil slick’ dark colours. I wanted to capture the two sides of the emotions in my day-to-day life: the flux between hope and fear, vulnerability and strength, calmness and frustration.
“The constant flow of emotions in my body is like a dance or music. I wanted to capture that feeling. To create a sculpture that communicates that, like the fish are dancing together, flowing under the water. The gold and silver patterns enhance the complexity of the emotions and the depth of the feelings.”
When choosing to work with paper, Lisa says that she is drawn to it due to its tactile quality. “It has a mind of its own, so I love handling and manipulating it to create the shapes I want. It’s really meditative; it requires loads of concentration, but I also have to zone out at the same time, especially when I’m sticking thousands of bits of paper. I think there are at least 5,000 pieces on the fish.”
But even with the help of the craftsman at Barnard and Westwood, creating Flux was not without its challenges. “The biggest challenge was that I hadn’t made fish before, and also that I haven’t worked with printed material before either,” says Lisa.
“I needed to make a prototype in order to work out the structural aspect of the fish, but also the sizes and shapes of the patterns and pieces that needed to be printed and then die cut.
“I made the prototype and then took it apart to reverse engineer it. The final fish are both made entirely from paper, the internal skeletal structure is made from card and then is covered with a tissue paper skin and textures.”
All the hard work paid off, though, as the finished piece looks stunning. If you want to see it in person, head to the Saatchi Gallery between 11 and 15 October, as it will be on display as part of the Start Art fair.
Want to see more of Flux and watch it being made? Head on over to Lisa’s site for a behind-the-scenes video.