Signed Tyson Fury by Sue Verity
BHP Collectibles is working alongside the marvellous wire sculpture artist – Rachel Akers. Her talent with wire sculpture and what she can turn it into is outstanding.
She says she can make anything out of wire and loves the challenges her clients give her; from football players, horses, ballerinas, and singers, the possibilities are endless. All Akers needs is a brief, and she is away!
Everything Akers makes is one-of-a-kind, all hand-made and unique to the client. Whatever the brief, the final product is always a completely original artwork.
Akers gets inspired by combining nature with architecture, which is why she loves working in Birmingham.
Using wire to make nature transforms the industrial aspects of the medium and brings forward the unruliness of nature. When making a tree, every branch is placed and twisted differently. So it never looks the same as another.
The time it takes for Akers to make each piece varies massively.
“I’ve made a big 6-foot free-form tree titled ‘Blossom in the wind’ that took 104 hours to create. Some of the smaller trees, which I do in a 12-inch frame, take about 10-15 hours to complete depending on how many gemstones I’ve incorporated into it.”
Creating nature out of wire isn’t Acker’s only talent! She has been asked to make people and animals on multiple occasions. One noteworthy piece was created and given as a gift to a musician.
“I was sent pictures of her playing and created a wire version of her and her cello. The sculpture was wearing the same outfit and had the same hairstyle. The whole piece was all unique to that person.”
Aker’s first-ever exhibition was in America when in university. She exhibited a jazz band consisting of 3 musicians, all constructed via chicken wire. Only one has survived after all these years and now has taken residence in her mum’s garden!
Blossom in the Wind
I talked to Akers about where she would like to venture with her wire sculptures. She replied that she has been inspired by her recent trip to Africa, and is working on diversifying her work. She is moving forward to incorporate the beautiful landscapes and trees she saw there, with plans to create a cheetah snoozing under a tree and a leopard hanging off the branches.
“I want to start making different things as well as trees. I recently made a saxophone. It’s just a case of someone saying to me, can you do this, and I will most likely say yes. It could be anything, anything at all!”
Although all of Aker’s work looks insanely hard to create, one of the most difficult pieces Akers has sculpted was based on the Warrington Golden Gates.
“The brief was to make three golden gate sculptures for a care home, so the idea was that these sculptures would jog the memories of the people living there. I had to work out how to replicate the golden gates using my technique. It looked awesome in the end but was very complicated to create. I made one of the swirls for it and was like “yeah that looks about the right size”, and somehow they all fit perfectly. My mum was like “how did you do that?!” I didn’t know what to tell her because I didn’t know. I had just made it.”
Warrington Golden Gate
I wanted to know what Akers favourite wire sculpture has been throughout her career. Instantly a piece called ‘Forrest Floor’ sprung to mind!
“My favourite piece is probably my first-ever commission. I was wearing a necklace to a gorgeous restaurant, that I adore – Harborne kitchen – when one night, I was there for a meal. I was wearing a necklace, made from copper, with an individually wrapped gemstone. The owner came over and said, “can you make something like that but massive?” I just asked “how big?” and he showed me the space.
I had no clue what I was doing, I had never made anything on that scale and I just said yes! And then to myself… how the hell am I going to do this?! It was an organic piece to create in the end though. I wrapped about 65 – 70 different stones with the client’s colour specifications in mind and used copper accents throughout the piece. It ended up being called ‘Forrest floor’. It came out as a crazy, winding, organic sculpture. The commission was made in 2018 and is still there to this day.”
I always end my interviews by asking the artist I’m talking to tell our readers what it is about art that they wish more people knew.
Here’s what Rachel had to say:
“Art is very subjective, not everyone is going to love what you do, some people will look at it and go yeah that’s alright, and you might think omg do you know how many hours that took?? But they don’t care, it’s very much in the eye of the beholder. So someone else will look at it and go I LOVE that. Art is worth trying because you could find something that you love.”