It has been on my mind for a long time to start a section on the blog to introduce you to all the inspiring women I know or have met over the last few years. Last year as part of a series I was working on where I captured images of artists in their studios, I had the pleasure to photograph the very talented artist Ayelet Lalor who is best known for her work as a sculptor.
I had yet to share the behind the scenes images I captured of Ayelet in her studio creating a piece of art for the ‘Waterland Exhibition‘ but when I heard that Ayelet was recently diagnosed with double-hit lymphoma and had undergone two courses of chemotherapy I really wanted to share these images of Ayelet, in action, creating her wonderful & vibrant work. I got in touch with her to see if she would be interested & whether she would physically be up to taking part in an interview for the blog to give you an insight in the artist behind the work and see what makes her tick – thankfully she was! Thank you so much Ayelet for giving us a glimpse into your world!
Ayelet Lalor – Artist
I also came to hear about a wonderful campaign in her honour called ‘Lymph Chic’, which a group of her friends have started to enable her to build a sunroom in her garden where she’ll be able to recuperate and paint in a clean & healthy environment surrounded by light, air & greenery. It would also serve as a studio in which to work and make an income, when she has recovered. 13 of her family and friends recently ran the mini marathon in support of the campaign wearing ‘Lymph Chic’ t-shirts designed by Ayelet. Another friend ran the 10k Cooley Coast run last month. So far they have raised €8,600 of the €15,000 target they need to build the sunroom! Pretty amazing isn’t it? The Lymph Chic campaign is at ayeletlalor.com/donate. To see more of Ayelet’s work you can visit ayeletlalor.com
Tell us a little bit about your background – what did you study? Did you always want to be a sculptor?
I grew up in an artistic community, with creative parents, my dad is an artist and my mother was interested in an alternative ‘grow your own’ lifestyle. I originally just wanted to go to art college with no concept of what I wanted to do, except art of some kind. At one point I thought I wanted to do fashion, and would make very detailed dolls clothes, but a pattern cutting course while in secondary school put me off that idea. I found it really tedious and not at all exciting. After school I went to Grennan Mills Craft School where we worked with all types of media such as metalwork, ceramics, printed textiles, and screen printing. I found that all my work was really intricate and detailed. From there I went on to NCAD and after first year decided to specialise in ceramics and went on to do a degree in ceramics as I found that I could create those intricate designs using clay.
As a child I drew and drew and drew! I pretty much drew my whole childhood away. I also painted and did etchings with my dad. My dad recently found a batch of sketchbooks that I had as a child & teenager probably from around the age of 9-14. I read a lot of Judy Bloom and books about girls in boarding school as a child so there’s also an element of ‘poor little rich girl’ in a lot of drawings. All through my teens I made money from creating things. Things like printed t-shirts & tie dye leggings which I used to sell at craft fairs and markets. I was always very fascinated with how things were packaged.
I’ve always been interested in the human form. All my drawings as a child and teenager were of females – women interacting & socialising and there was always a sense of glamour to my drawings. I was a frustrated Goth teenager and found it difficult to express myself and drawing and creating things was a way out for me.
It differs depending on whether it’s my own work or a commission. With a commission I’m working with a client who will give me a set of guidelines to work within. There are a lot of discussions with the client and a lot of back & forth with ideas to come up with something which we are both happy with.
For non-commissioned work – the idea will more often than not start as a rough sketch or a line drawing and I’ll just start to create something from this. I always have a notebook with me and I’m constantly jotting down ideas. I approach my work with an open mind and if it works out great and if it doesn’t I’ll just keep changing and tweaking it until it does.
What would your dream project be?
I recently saw a program on Grayson Perry where he created an amazing ‘Gaudiesque’ piece of architecture called ‘A House for Essex’ in conjunction with FAT Architecture. It was created as a thank you to all the women in his life. He was responsible for all the design, both interior and exterior. I would love to work on a large-scale project like that and have a team to support me and have control over all the different design elements.
What other local artists, designers or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
The person that springs to mind instantly is Caroline Quinn of Dirty Fabulous – a wonderful vintage clothing store on Wicklow Street. She is just so creative. She’s constantly on a mad little creative whirl and coming up with new ideas and projects. She’s currently designing wonderful head pieces. She really inspires me!
Where do you turn to for inspiration?
I have lots of books of other sculptors and painters and I turn to those frequently for inspiration. When I want to work out how to do something I turn to YouTube.
What has been the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t be worried about what people think of your work. Do the work and put it out there. You need to be able to distance yourself from your work otherwise the whole process is just too raw and emotional.
I won the 2011 ‘Large Work of Distinction’ in Sculpture In Context at the National Botanic Gardens – one of the largest outdoor sculpture exhibits in Ireland. It was one of the first big sculptural pieces of concrete that I had put out there and to have this recognised gave me a huge sense of achievement.
Yes – it’s a dirty environment, so working there would go against everything the doctors are trying to do in helping me to get better. I have started to paint though which is a much cleaner process. It’s something I’ve always done on & off but I’ve never really given myself the time & space to dedicate myself properly to it. I’m currently working from my hospital room on a series of watercolour self-portraits wearing different headscarves, a lot of which have been given to me by friends.