eleanor bartleman

 porcelain figures, treasure-boxes and wall pieces

development of ideas

I have several themes in my work which I revisit from time to time. Outdoor scenarios which tend to be free and fluid with animals (and sometimes humans) dancing, sleeping, flying amongst trees and plants or in sky or seascapes.† Then there are indoor scenarios which are more restricted in some ways but are more decorative and detailed.† From time to time I make a random piece of work which may be sparked from something which has inspired me and I just have to try to make. Although not always successful, these are often very valuable as they can sometimes trigger new ideas and they keep my work fresh and me on my toes!

Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in†decoration and pattern. Iíve spent many a day in the V&A taking in the collections of Jacobean, Elizabethan and 18thC and costume and embroidery. And after a long time modelling animal forms and examining relationship between them, Iíve started to dress them and decorate them. I love the C18th mantuas Ė ridiculously expansive and elaborate dresses, so wide that the ladies wearing them had to walk through a doorway sideways! I have taken the stylized flower prints in Indian chintzes and Jacobean embroidery and played around with the patterns to create a surface decoration, using sprig moulds and lots of colour and lustres. Iím lavishing my animals with pearls and crowns and ruffs. Itís all a great deal of fun!

I like to keep a mysterious feel to the work, to have the viewer looking in on something strange and dreamlike. For example, looking through the undergrowth to see a group of foxes dancing round a tree, or through a window to see a horse wearing a big flowery frock. I hope the viewer will be intrigued, amused and maybe slightly unnerved too!