The tradition of bobbin lace making and Rauma maritime culture are at the centre of a community public artwork. A team consisting of architect Glenn Messersmith and sculptor Suzanne Morlock , the current artists-in-residence at RaumArs, and local teacher and lace maker Tarmo Thorström in collaboration with Rauma Street Mission (Rauman Seudun Katulähetys) VALO metal workshop apprentices for providing skills in welding and concrete work. This collaborative public artwork Flight of Fancy is respecting the past, looking to the future.
Inspired by the rich history of lace making in Rauma, the team's proposal combines the tradition of lace making with the transformation of scale and materials to create a fanciful new form. An interpretive way of viewing a traditional technique through a contemporary art lens.
Before arrival in Rauma from the Wyoming U.S.A., Messersmith and Morlock had contacts with Thorström and upon that they set about doing research, in local museums, and through conversations with local people. They learned more about the traditions and commerce, which led Rauma to the present day. Explorations of tools and materials relating to the maritime culture of this place were particularly
interesting, and of course they examined lots of lace.
Morlock made some drawings distilling the elements of these antique utilitarian artifacts. A trip to a local recycling facility helped to create the narrative for this work of art. Messersmith explored knotting techniques that will be incorporated into the finished work and Thorström, with his vast knowledge of lace, developed the patterning that would communicate this contemporary twist. The final work was bobbined lace from aluminium wire. The team agreed on a form and concept that respects the past but looks to the future for both Rauma and the lace making craft.
At the same time while making the public sculpture they created two other works from newspaper in collaboration with Rauma Street Mission VALO Workshop and Rauma Freinet School pupils. The art works have been donated to the Youth House (Nuorisotakuutalo) and to House of Hope (Toivon talo).
During four Wednesday evenings at the Osteria da Filippo Morlock and Messersmith showed art movies of the artists that have inspired them – Alexander Calder, Andy Coldsworthy and Robert Rauschenberg – and told about their own art.
Projekt is supported by Finnish Culture Foundation and ja Erik Rosenlew Foundation. Morlock and Messersmith are supported at RaumArs by Dancers Workshop, (Jackson, WY), Finlandia Foundation National (Pasadena CA), Finlandia Foundation Seattle Chapter ja American-Scandinavian Foundation (New York, NY).
The project produced by RaumArs A-i-R has been enabled by several sponsors and collaborating companies: Eurajoen Romu Oy for generously donating the recycled materials used in the construction of the sculpture, and with Rauma Town Wihertoimi (gardening and park department) for providing the installation site and oversight of the process as well as Rauman Betoni Oy, Erkko Näppi Oy, Monentoimentalo, Rauma Works Oy, Tapani Kuusisto / Rauman KTK Oy, Insinööritoimisto Rakenne-Rauma Oy and Viitama Rauno Tmi. The ropes: VG-Shipping, Finnpilot, Rauma Marine Constructions Oy and Rauman Merihistoriallinen seura (Rauma Sea History Association). Thanks to: Logistikas Oy and Kukukari Oy.
Suzanne Morlock is a multidisciplinary artist who exhibits internationally and maintains an active schedule dividing venues between experimental and traditional settings. Her work has been in group and solo exhibitions throughout the American West and the world beyond, including France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, and Turkey.
Glenn Messersmith has a long time technical collaborator with Morlock. Trained as an architect, Messersmith conducted an independent architectural practice in California before moving to rural Wyoming. In Wyoming he selectively designed residential and commercial buildings before working 14 years for Grand Teton National Park in capacities spanning architecture and engineering. Messersmith and Morlock live in Jackson Hole Wyoming.
Tarmo Thorström is a teacher and a lace artist who has been developing lace works with new materials and different scales for exhibitions and events. His works are a balance between craft and fine art. Thorström aim to visualize old lace making tradition with a contemporary twist.