Photographer Jess Bonham and set designer Gemma Tickle are possessed of a shared passion for the exploration of form and texture – the driving force behind their behind their latest project, Pulling Forms, which sees individual snippets of fabrics (of varying patterns and textures) pulled through a slit in a piece of coloured paper. Each sheet serves as a plinth to its woven counterpart, which in turn resembles a surreal, free-form sculpture. Pleated, flesh-coloured material protrudes from off-white watercolour paper like a mollusk departing its shell, while blue chiffon blossoms out of green card to otherworldly effect.“Our intention was to maintain a sense of integrity in forms that are created spontaneously, without analysis and fuss,” explains Bonham. “We were fascinated by the textural qualities of grain and stitch when shot through a macro lens.”
Bonham began experimenting with photography while studying illustration. “When I started shooting still life it felt like something had really clicked into place,” she says, “like I had found a way of bringing illustration into play with photography.” In contrast, Tickle began her foray into design as a child, “making high-heeled shoes out of toilet roles, gravel and Sellotape” (which, she admits, was not her most successful creative feat) before setting off to art school. The pair met while sharing a studio space, where they discovered their mutual interest in the elevation of everyday objects through bold juxtapositions and intricate, yet visceral positioning – qualities perfectly exemplified in Pulling Forms. “The project is really about instinct,” explains Tickle of the pair’s beguiling new creations, which in their delicate simplicity make for ideal Monday morning viewing.