Paula Swinnen; Twisted Branches and Sneaking Snails
One of the best things about working at Guinevere is the fact that we are constantly surrounded by a large selection of ever-changing eclectic and beautiful objects –predominantly antique but also some contemporary pieces.
Some of my favourite items in the showroom are by the contemporary artist Paula Swinnen, whose work is inspired by natural forms of flora and fauna. Not only are the objects functional, they are also works of art; engaging, quirky and unique.
Paula Swinnen discovered her passion for the arts at the early age of fourteen, which led to her studies at the Fine Arts Academy in Brussels. Twenty years later, Paula’s interest and experience has developed and she is now a highly successful self-taught sculptor. Using the ancient lost-wax technique,
which enables the artist to capture exquisite detail. Paula has mastered every stage of working with bronze, from the casting to creating the patina.
Although working in a field largely dominated by men, due to the huge physical effort involved, Paula has become a prominent figure, creating truly expressive and personal works. Paula is a great friend of ours and we have been lucky enough to represent her since 2011.
It’s always exciting when a new piece of Paula’s comes into the showroom from Brussels. Each piece always has a new element or special twist, which displays the artist’s constantly developing personal style. What piece of furniture will she create and which animals will she choose to incorporate into them? A snail creeping up a banister perhaps, or a lizard or dragonfly perched on a branch of a candelabra?
Last week I was delighted to find a new ‘Vignes’ center table placed in the showroom. We had a similar design in a coffe table a few years ago, but the scale and intricacy of this piece is spellbinding. The legs of the table and the branches that spring from it are moulded as gnarled vines, patinated in a light brown finish. A great deal of attention is paid to the vine leaves, each one being individually shaped, adding a real sense of life and movement to the piece. Delicate curling shoots and bunches of ripe grapes also issue from the main branches. The leaves, shoots and grapes are finished in polished bronze, with a lovely warm gold tone complementing with the brown branches.
When you look closely, you can spy two snails creeping along the branches. A freestanding polished bronze bird stands poised on top of the glass table top, with a crown on its head, surveying its kingdom, watching us work and looking out for potential buyers and a new home!