Interview Series: Rowan Mersh

UK-based textile sculptor Rowan Mersh first caught our eye with the astoundingly innovative dress created out of old WWF magazines, a piece that debuted at a World Wildlife Fund charity event in London earlier this year. Mersh crafted the visually robust, yet fragile sculpted dress using origami to fold and rework the WWF member’s pages with a mastery that instantly sparked our curiosity about the man behind the designs.

Rowan Mersh Untitled, 2012 © JIM NAUGHTEN


The London artist uses objects and textiles as the base for his immaculate sculptures, creating contemporary shapes and designs that have captured the attention of high-end designers and galleries across the world.

Last year, he created an interactive installation for Fendi fusing contemporary art and old-world craftsmanship with a machine that gathered real-time heart-rate data fed into an antique riveting machine, punching holes in leftover Fendi leather strips and weaving them onto a steal framework for Fendi at Harrold’s.

It’s obvious that this young creative is breaking new ground with his designs and will be an artist to watch out for, so naturally we were thrilled when he agreed to take a few minutes from busy schedule to chat with us about his inspirations and future projects.

photo courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Europe

Q & A

LF: In five words or less: how would you describe your work and what you do?

RM: An exploration of material/form.


LF: How did your project with the World Wildlife Fund come about?

RM: I have worked with Artwise Curators (a London based contemporary art curator and consultancy agency), since 2006. They approached me last year regarding producing a sculpture for WWF.

LF:  Why old WWF magazines?

RM: I was asked to consider world issues such sustainability and conservation as the inspiration for this project. My intention was to some how connect these issues with in the sculpture; The recycling/reusing of WWF literature is a reference to sustainability, and the fragility of the material itself (paper), to conservation.

LF: What are some of your creative inspirations?

RM: I have always drawn a great deal from artists such as Rebecca Horn and Olafur Eliasson who merge conceptual brilliance with visual beauty.

Contemporary Designs_Mersh

Contemporary Designs_Mersh2

LF: What is your favorite medium to use when creating?

RM: No favorites! I work with any material that interests me.

LF: What is the most abstract piece of work you have done?

RM: I created a performance piece for Fendi last year called Future By Artisan. The project was intended to challenged the tradition role of the Artisan with in the future of design. I built a machine that generated a sculpture directly from my heart rate. It was an incredible beautiful piece but did miss the mark with a few people!

Tom Swain/Photographer

Tom Swain/Photographer

Rowan Mersh's installation for Fendi (photo courtesy of Tom Swain)

LF: I know you have used your CD and vinyl collection as inspiration in Series 1. What are your most prized albums you own?

RM: The list is endless! Though my collection is digital now so there’s no chance of losing any more of it to my work!

LF: What some future projects that are you working on that we should be getting excited about?

RM: I have a few projects currently showing with Gallery Fumi (Porto Cervo, Sardinia), that will run until the end of the summer. My next big project is for Pavilion of Art and Design London (PAD), in October.

Incidere Ora_Gallery Fumi_PAD

Part of Mersh's exhibit in Gallery Fumi's Pavilion of Art & Design

LF: How fast do you live?

RM: Pretty fast, when nobody is watching!

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