Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Johnny Swing & Chatsworth House

Johnny's butterfly chairs look so perfect in this setting
Earlier this year the artist and sculptor Johnny Swing asked my husband Nick to photograph and record his two pieces at the very beautiful Chatsworth House.

Johnny is an old friend and stayed with us 2 years ago when he came over from the States to meet with the Duke & Duchess of Devonshire in regard to the commission, so the chance to go and see what had been created following that meeting was a very special opportunity.  

I have assisted Nick on shoots since the beginning of his career - I really love working with him.  It is very important to me to break the routine of daily life and do something different, work with other artists and designers and expand my creative scope.  It is also HUGE fun working with Nick.

Team Swing - Smile!
Johnny's work is like no other.  It is the literal manifestation of monetary impact on art... it is art made out of money.  Johnny is a welder, but a welder like no other.  His mad creativity bursts out of him constantly.  While he was staying with us we made a skirt out of hula hoops, a coffee pulley and endless other things - more of this in a future blog I think!  His work is spectacular.  He is primarily known for his chairs and couches made from individually welded coins.  They seem almost wavelike on the surface, a gently undulating form, but look underneath and the architectural metalwork is awesome.

Our day at Chatsworth was very special.  We instantly fell in love with it.  Me being me, I was really impressed that they have implemented a sustainable water policy too.  I can't wait to go back with our children and spend a day exploring the gardens and taking in the sheer beauty of the estate.  I will never forget the mist floating over the grounds in the distance, eerily magical but so so beautiful.  I kept expecting a dapper Mark Darcy type to come galloping out of the mist (too much Bridget Jones methinks...).
Nick and Goose investigate the gardens for shot potential
The weather was perfect, if anything the sun was a bit too bright for Nick to shoot, but he's good at what he does and balanced it out perfectly.

Johnny's two butterfly chairs live outdoors by the greenhouses.  Their huge metal bodies perfectly complementing the beautifully kept gardens and topiary of the trees.  Even the pebbles in the mosaics on the paving somehow mirrored the coins.  I loved encountering the steady flow of people coming past the chairs, their imaginations instantly ignited as they first stroked the chairs... then held onto them and gave them a tug... then sat on them... each one amazed by the fact they were sitting in a chair made of coins and that it was so comfortable on top of being so cool.

The chairs look spectacular against the architectural greenhouse
Johnny had specifically asked us to try and get a shot of the chairs against the huge greenhouse - the spikes of the structure perfectly complementing the partially hidden framework of the chairs.  My favourite shot is with the silver birch to one side of the shot - the juxtaposition of the slender fragility of the silver birch, it's quiet beauty, in contrast to bold structures of both the chairs and the greenhouse - what a shot.

Goose our dog came along with us for the day too and had a fantastic time - he snuck in to some of the shots too, looking terribly dapper in his Creature Clothes white leather heart studded collar, otherwise known as our Elvis Collar.  It was also a great opportunity to pop into the shop at Chatsworth as I used to supply them with my collars and have never had a chance to see the shop - what a fantastic shop it is.  We came away laden with a Chatsworth Rose and lots of other goodies for our mothers for Mothers Day.  Perfect!


To see a selection of Nicks shots from the day, have a look at his website.
Johnny Swing: www.johnnyswing.com

Chatsworth House: www.chatsworth.org

Nick Stevens Photography: www.picnick.co.uk

Johnny Swing's signature - the tag can be found welded underneath his pieces
Is that Mr Darcy galloping over the horizon?  Or just Goose...
The Butterfly chairs are the stars of the show
Even the ground was beautiful

The beautiful Silver Birch - nature overshadowing spectacular engineering

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