Fool’s Gold is a new exhibition by artists Hayley Harrison and Pamela Schilderman which opened recently at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum. Open until 14 March, the exhibition explores issues of ecology and natural resources. We spoke to Pamela to find out more.

Installation view of Fool’s Gold. Photograph by Jamie Gray.

How has the exhibition come about? 
We are both members of an organisation called Matt Roberts Arts and got to know each other by attending various networking events. Hayley approached me about doing a two-person exhibition as there are crossovers between our practices. We both wanted to make new work that highlighted our ecological concerns so when Rugby Art Gallery and Museum came on board, we got support from Arts Council England and Rugby Borough Council.

Can you tell me more about the relationship between your works and Hayley’s?
We both recycle or use organic materials but in different ways; Hayley takes the urban waste materials she finds like crisp packets and turns them into sculptures that “examine our disconnection with nature”. I, on the other hand, see myself as a kind of alchemist, often recycling components from former artworks or mixing everyday and natural materials to create metamorphic reactions.

Work by Hayley Harrison in Fool’s Gold. Photograph by Jamie Gray.

What can audiences expect from the exhibition?
To be surprised, inspired and encouraged to consider our impact on nature by re-thinking the question of value. Fool’s Gold presents the viewer with two different yet complimentary thought-provoking perspectives on nature versus consumerism.

Can you say more about the importance that climate change and resources have upon your practice?
One area of my practice involves transforming everyday or waste materials into something extraordinary. It is all about perception and part of that involves inviting the viewer to question the value of materials. I bring into focus the disregarded, elevating them to the status of art. Punctum and Respiracao were made from paper punched holes, Almas from cotton wool, Allusions from polystyrene balls and Needle from toilet paper and natural pigments. Metamorphosis is present in the other cyclical area of my practice where I recycle old artworks transforming them completely into new ones. Bula Matari became the Harold Thomas Collection and has now became Crystal Clear and Wishing Well.

Work by Pamela Schilderman. Photograph by the artist.

How will the live art installation unfold and how can audiences get involved?
The idea is to take advantage of Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s glass fronted foyer and attract people who haven’t visited the gallery before to come in. We’ll be creating a coffee cup tower that will grow throughout the exhibition and working on site on certain days so people can interact with us. There will be a time-lapse film and plenty of social media coverage; we’re really hoping to get the local community behind us and the council have been very supportive. People will be able to drop-off their coffee cups and make their pledges for us to incorporate them into the tower.

Learn more about the exhibition and the programme of planned events here.

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