At the end of October the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye, will be returning to Mall Galleries. We spoke to Harriet Mead PSWLA, President of the Society, about her commission pieces for a dairy farm in East Sussex.

The owners of a organic dairy farm in East Sussex decided to commemorate their employee, Dave, who had suddenly died of cancer, by commissioning a memorial artwork.

The group chose Harriet Mead PSWLA, an artist who specialises in creating sculptures of wildlife from steel and found objects, and gave her an open brief to craft a memorial piece to remember Dave by. Visiting the dairy farm allowed Harriet to gain further insight into the employees’ vision. They requested a sculpture based on the hobby that Dave loved – fishing – and, after receiving a budget to work with, Harriet soon built upon this idea that would result in her latest commission piece, Fishscape.

Harriet Mead PSWLA, Fishscape - The distinctive S shape where the ribbons of metal are attached to forms the base of the sculpture

Harriet doesn’t draw her ideas first; she prefers to jump right in and find her materials that she recycles from old tools. As well as metals sourced elsewhere, the artist incorporated the old tools that she had found on the farm to reflect the landscape the sculpture would reside in. A miniature of an Archimedes’ Screw, a piece of farming equipment used regularly in fodder feeding systems, is visible twirling through the body of the pike.

Sculptures of the 5 species of fish that were in the final sculpture

By this visual combination of agricultural labour and art, Harriet gave the farm a sentimental memorial to commemorate the life of a well-loved employee in the place he worked. It also generated a buzz on social media, leading to fishermen from both the UK and America inquiring where they could buy such a piece, which is only available through commission.

Harriet Mead PSWLA, Fishscape (Detail) Visible Archimedes’ Screw through the body of the pike

An artwork commission is a personalised experience that is different for everyone, at Mall Galleries we employ Commission Consultants to guide you through the process of commissioning an artwork from choosing an artist to choosing an artwork that is suitable for your home or business.

If you would like to find out more information regarding commissioning an artwork or book a private consultation, click here.

By Jess Baxter

All photos by Jody Lawrence.