Meet the Maker - Mark Mcleish

Posted on 13 Jul 16:38

This week on 'Meet the Maker' we talk with Mark Mcleish, discussing his early entrepreneurial endeavours and inspirations behind the 'Room For You' collection. Mark's unique sculptural artworks utilise an array of unusual materials to create mixed media, art-jewellery ojects.

Studio space Mark Mcleish for Queer exhibition Diana Porter

When did you start creating jewellery?

Interesting question, I was the child that asked Santa for those lustred bright plastic bead sets and he never listened. So I use to take wool from my mums knitting stash and make friendship bracelets with them and sell them in the playground to buy my own beads. I would have been around 7years.

I now fit very comfortably with the term art-jewellery as when studying very formal craftsmanship at Loughborough university, it was the creative, experimental, mixed media space my work flurrished.

Work in Progress Mark Mcleish Queer exhibition at Diana Porter

Who inspires you the most? 

I was deeply lucky to have incredible educators and mentors who are still apart of my life, Prof Jayne Wallace and Dr Roberta Bernabei really got what I was about this idea I now can hone as artist as collector, material led witch and art jeweller.

Everything Patti Smith has done and continues to do.

Kiki Smith, Andrew Logan, Cornelia Parker, Lisa Walker, Simon Costin and Francesca Woodman all nourish my spirit and inspire me in ways I don’t even truly understand myself.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is beyond inspiring to me.

Studio Mark Mcleish Queer exhibition Diana Porter

What does ‘Queer’ mean to you? 

Equality, permission to be, a space to vote, visibility and something to fight for and protect…

Please can you tell us a bit about your creative process?

I spend most of my time collecting, finding, material to work with, theses are found objects with some notion of provenance. This personal archived understanding for the materials set the first sage of making as artist as collector. Then as material led witch I look for the intention, the collection of spell meets Jewelleryness, here the materials become ingredients and they are actioned through making. is something concealed or broken, ignored or washed?  This is not a visual thing my work struggles with beauty most of the time but this is a low priority for me. Then the work/spell needs the body.

Mark Mcleish found object room for you for queer exhibition Diana Porter Jewellery

What’s next for your creative practice?

I will be curating a show that responds from the Hairwork archive at Bury Art Museum soon, opens 22nd July. This captures ideas of wearable, storytelling and materiality.

I will be showing with Precious Collective at Romanian Jewellery Week

I am coveting the space to dedicate time to do more drawing. That and the urge to make paper.

Finished object from Room for you mark mcleish Queer exhibition at diana porter jewellery

Finally, for fun, what would be your dream piece to make or person to make for?

This ones easy I would love to make for Singer Patrick Wolf not only am I a massive fan I think it would be a incredible challenge to story tell with a story teller. A life long dream…

The Queer Exhibition will run from 5th May until 31st July 2023
Featuring the talented works of; Carlota Mercado, Esteban Erosky, Holly Heron-Chambers,
Laik Ecola, Lukas Svyba, Mark Mcleish and Ruby Taglight,