Exercise: Bringing art history up to date: Laura Ellen Bacon

For this final exercise the course material asks me to imagine I am writing a concise history of art and to choose a contemporary work to end it with along with why.  For me personally there is only one artist I could choose – Laura Ellen Bacon who is a Derby born and bred sculptor.

My reason for choosing Laura is that I have had the great pleasure of meeting her a few years ago and also of knowing her work due to passing some every time I visit the Royal Hospital Derby for my regular oncology checkups – this installation sculpture is called Forms that Grew in the Rain with the title coming from comments made to Laura during the 4 weeks she spent working on it in 2009.  My photograph was taken last year, 2015, on my way to my 15th anniversary check up and it is a very reassuring sight for me now as well as being one that changes each time I see it – it has decayed a little and become part of the garden space – the idea was that it was a sculpture that could be seen from different angles and views from the corridors to the wards on different floors.

So now to write a paragraph or two about someone whose work I love and admire so much:


Laura Ellen Bacon was born in 1976 in Derby and grew up nearby in Matlock on her parents fruit farm before eventually gaining her masters degree in applied art from the University of Derby in 2001.  Laura works predominantly with willow and also bare hands which are usually taped for both protection and due to the cuts caused by her chosen material. Laura’s work entails nest like forms and cocoons which curve around and cling to trees, walls or buildings – these forms intrigue the viewer and often there is a hidden room inside known only to Laura.  The forms often appear to be split and some viewers may want to peer inside because they seem to breathe and some may have the feeling that the work is nearing the end of its life.  Due to the nature of willow the work is very much site-specific and both ecologically sound and subject to decay in time but that is part of the beauty of the sculptures too – as can be seen in my photograph they blend into the landscape and become a part of it.

Inspiration for Laura is the linear work of line artists particularly those who are architecturally based in their work and this can be seen in her choice of willow to form her sculptures albeit without the geometry associated with buildings.  I should have said above that Laura works ‘predominantly’ with willow because she has also done commissions using polypropylene and also a combination of waste computer cable, fibre optic looms, LED spotlights and steel – the latter for an installation at Bloomberg, London which comprised of 7 sculptural lights.

If I am to include one personal observation is that to walk into a room that is within a room is truly remarkable – Into the Weave was that room and involved a whole room woven and sculpted purely of Flanders Red willow with windows.

Laura Ellen Bacon’s work reminds me of one quote by an unknown writer in that ‘a line begins with a dot’ – in the case of the work of Laura her lines begin with seeds!


Archant Community Media Ltd. 2016. Willow Sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon [online]. [Date Accessed:  1 November 2016].  Available from:  http://www.derbyshirelife.co.uk/people/willow_sculptor_laura_ellen_bacon_1_1570830

Bacon, L. E. 2013. Laura Ellen Bacon Forms of Intrigue and Woven Spaces. Sheffield: Northend Creative Print Solutions, Sheffield

Laura Ellen Bacon. (date unknown).  Laura Ellen Bacon sculptor [online]. [Date Accessed:  1 November 2016].  Available from:  http://lauraellenbacon.com/artist-statement-and-biography/

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