Lou Baker makes public things that are normally private. She is both a maker and a facilitator. Her work provokes a range of conflicting responses; attraction, repulsion, horror and hilarity. Some aspects of her practice investigate the transformation of materials and, increasingly, some focus on social engagement. Making intellectual connections between material, process and concept, her work has a confessional element, as personal memories resonate with universal themes. Stimulating conversations with her audience through performative actions, she facilitates opportunities for the viewer to become an active participant, to find a voice. Her works are provocations – often interactive, collaborative and participatory.
She graduated with First Class Honours in Drawing and Applied Arts at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol in 2015. She was awarded The Embroiderers’ Guild Scholarship for 2015-16. She’s currently studying an MA in Fine Art at Bath Spa University.
Body cocoons, 2020
Developed in response to the Covid 19 lockdown in the UK, Body cocoons is a series of hand knitted, wearable soft sculptures. Worn by the artist, they take on her form and explore the flexible boundaries between Self and Other, form and formlessness, inside and outside; unworn, empty, they investigate private and public spheres, and suggest absence and the abject.
Wishing trees, 2020
Wishing trees is a series of 4 participatory art installations ‘planted’ outside in public spaces in Bristol, UK. On account of the ubiquitous contamination anxiety due to Covid-19, Baker couldn’t leave materials for participants to add so instead passers-by were invited to bring something to tie to the trees next time they walked that way. There has been a wonderful range of responses both physically and virtually, as many people have sent messages via social media for me to add to the installations. It’s almost as if there’s a fifth, virtual Wishing tree. It seems that it is still possible to facilitate participatory art, even during the Covid-19 lock down.
As of August 2020, the Wishing trees are still in situ. For full documentation of the first two months of the project click here.
Red is the colour of...., 2019-2020 and ongoing
Red is the colour of…. is a series of red hand knitted soft sculptures which Baker initially cdeveloped for the B-Wing exhibition in September 2019, as a response to what she perceived as the traces of emotion left behind in those spaces by the former inhabitants of Shepton Mallet Prison. The knitted pieces were installed there around the first floor of the prison wing, connected by a red thread, like Theseus’ labyrinth. The series is a work in progress and Baker has subsequently installed them at the inaugural exhibition at Bath Spa University in February 2020 as part of her MA in Fine Art.
IN.BRS.2019.39 Shadow sacks over dark pool, a collaboration with Scott Sandford, 2019
IN.BRS.2019.39 is a site responsive collaboration with Scott Sandford, installed as part of B-Wing, at Shepton Mallet Prison for two weeks in September 2019. Set in one of the semi derelict wings of a decommissioned prison, Lou Baker’s hand knitted and felted Shadow sacks are suspended with meat hooks and chains over Sandford’s dark pool, reflecting not only the soft sculptures, but also the brutalist architecture.
- MA Fine Art, part time, Bath Spa University (Sept 2019 – present)
- BA Drawing and Applied Arts, University of the West of England, Bristol, First Class Honours (2011-2015)
- ABC Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media, Bristol School of Art, Filton College, Bristol, Level 4, Distinction (2009 – 2011)
- Incendiary, Pound Arts, Corsham (July 7th – August 14th 2020)
- inaugural, Sion Hill Gallery, Bath Spa University (February 5th – 9th 2020)
- International Contemporary Stitched Art exhibition with The Society for Embroidered Work, Clerkenwell Gallery, London (November 12th -17th 2019)
- B-Wing, Shepton Prison, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, part of Somerset Art Works (September 21st – October 6th 2019)
- RWA Sculpture Open, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (March 16th – June 2nd 2019)
- Incendiary at Stroud Valleys Artspace, Stroud (February 6th – 10th 2019)
- Page 17 with The Embroiderers’ Guild at Artrix, Bromsgrove (September 5th – November 4th 2018) part of a touring show
- disquiet at Walcot Chapel, Bath with Clare Thatcher, (September 18th – 23rd 2018)
- Subversive surfaces; taboo and fragility at Trowbridge Town Hall Arts,
Trowbridge with Gina Baum (June 9th – July 14th 2018)
- Page 17 with The Embroiderers’ Guild at Harborough Museum, Market Harborough, (March 26th – June 2nd 2018) part of a touring show
- Page 17 with The Embroiderers’ Guild at The Fashion and Embroidery Show, NEC Birmingham (March 15th -18th 2018) part of a touring show
- PRILIC with Impermanence Dance Theatre at Jacobs Wells Baths, Bristol (December 8th -16th 2017)
- Page 17, with The Embroiderers’ Guild, at The Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate, (November 23rd -26th 2017) part of a touring show
- Page 17, with The Embroiderers’ Guild, at The Knitting and Stitching Show, London, (October 11th – 15th 2017), part of a touring show
- Synecdoche presents [dis]place residency at The Vestibules, College Green, Bristol (September 4th to October 2nd 2017)
- Refuge: in search of safety, Fringe Arts Bath (May 26th to June 11th 2017)
- The Memory of Space – Space of memory, Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, (November 24th -30th 2016)
- Unravelling: an exhibition of knitting and crochet art, Bow Arts’ Ice House Studios, London, (October 6th – 16th 2016)
- Bodies: a group residency by Synecdoche, The Unit, Bristol (September 1st – 29th 2016)
- Privy, The Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol (June 22nd – 29th 2016)
- The Cartesian Cut? at Fringe Arts Bath (May 27th – June 12th 2016)
- Pattern at Fringe Arts Bath (May 27th – June 12th 2016)
- The Embroiderers’ Guild Graduate Showcase, Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate International Centre, Harrogate (November 2015)
- The Embroiderers’ Guild Graduate Showcase, Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London (October 2015)
- The Degree Show, University of the West of England, Bower Ashton campus, Bristol, (June 2015)
- Synecdoche at The Christmas Steps, Christmas Steps Gallery, Bristol (December 2014)
- Synecdoche, Embassy Tea Gallery, London (July 2014)
- Unearthed, with Drawing and Applied Arts, UWE, Corinium Museum, Cirencester (June 2013)
Wishing trees, a series of 4 participatory installations in public places in Bristol – The Downs, Purdown, Horfield Common and outside my house – (March 24th 2020 and ongoing)