Forest + Found - Abigail Booth

Forest + Found - Abigail Booth

Abigail is part of the duo Forest + Found with partner Max Bainbridge who she met at Chelsea College of Art. Although their practices are different, both use the forest and the found materials in it as their starting point.

Walks through the woods, usually around their neighbouring Epping forest, but also further afield, offer them a variety of materials and inspiration. Whilst Max collects felled trees to turn into sculptural vessels, Abi finds leaves, bark, roots, branches and stones.

Back in her garden studio in North London, Abi combines her material in the manner of an alchemist, burning it, boiling, cooking it, blending it together with pieces of calico, resulting in pieces rich in pigments, colours, tints and paint.

Then patiently she will hand sew these coloured fragments onto natural calico creating large textiles. Although her works are immersed in the tradition of quilting, embroidery, tapestry, her pieces are as much as abstract paintings, where the grandiose gesture and the brushstroke is replaced by the quiet stitch and burning.

Abi has collaborated with the fashion label Toast who have generously given her remnants of their dress patterns to use to make pieces. The work was shown at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge earlier this year.

Her “paintings” can be seen as landscapes, spatially using the fabric to tell a story of a place, a forest, conjuring its essence, its history and materiality. The strength and beauty of her pieces - although apparently simple- lie in the layering, the making and their rich inherent materiality, resulting in compelling testimonies of craftsmanship.

Abi was born in London in 1991 and studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute and Chelsea College of Art, where she graduated in 2013 as a painter and sculptor. Working across textiles, drawing and painting, her work explores the histories of piecework, pigment and cloth. Referencing simplicity in the gesture and movement of the hand, her work seeks a connection to the psychology of landscape through the reflective nature of organic colour and embodied interactions with the natural. The time-based nature of her work produces large-scale images that explore the liminal space of the constructed canvas, while challenging the relationship between the imagined and the actual through her use of a material language of painting and textile combined.

Forest + Found, was formed in early 2015 as a space for material research and cross disciplinary collaboration. Their work explores dialogues between sculpture, painting and a new found language of craft, a space for material experimentation, as well as a platform to explore their individual art practices.

Forest + Found have been comissioned to create a work for the biennial Jerwood Makers Open 2019 for combining a high level of technical skill with imagination and intellectual adventure, constituting a fresh and exciting direction in their work. The exhibition is touring around the UK.

Born in London in 1991, Abigail Booth studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute and Chelsea College of Art, where she graduated in 2013 as a painter and sculptor. Working across textiles, drawing and painting, her work explores the histories of piecework, pigment and cloth. Referencing simplicity in the gesture and movement of the hand, her work seeks a connection to the psychology of landscape through the reflective nature of organic colour and embodied interactions with the natural. The time-based nature of her work produces large-scale images that explore the liminal space of the constructed canvas, while challenging the relationship between the imagined and the actual through her use of a material language of painting and textile combined.