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Interview with sculpturist John Binet-Fauvel

(February 06, 2009)
Interview with John Binet-Fauvel
When I first began designing jewellery, wire work figured heavily in my collections. Wire, especially copper wire, has a tremendous fluidity to it and lends itself to wonderful, expressive, creations which often cannot be repeated because the wire almost seems to create its own design. So it was with great pleasure that I came across the work of an artist, based in the Rhondda Valley, who is producing fun and intricate pieces using wire. His depictions of members of the animal kingdom, particularly sea creatures, are surprisingly accurate and have a great sense of both the comic, and a respect for, the creatures depicted.

Octopus, John Binet-Fauvel

Octopus, John Binet-Fauvel



John Binet-Fauvel produces distinctive sculptures using wire, from a studio based at his home in Llwynypia, South Wales. His interest and involvement in knitting techniques (which started with his involvement in his partner's knitting company, 'Melissa Warren') eventually lead to him creating a wide range of sculptures using wire from discarded electrical goods - turning something which has long since lost its technical usefulness into something artistic and highly original.


He is formally trained, with a Fine Art degree from Winchester School of Art.


OctopusJohn Binet-Fauvel
John is well recognised within his field, having undertaken lectures, most notably at the V&A, entitled Designed for Knitting. He has also provided a range of training courses for people interested in craft and design. Articles on John's work and inspiration have appeared in a large number of publications such as In Britain magazine and Embroidery magazine, editions 53 & 54. John also featured in a BBC programme in 1998, looking at the work of designers and artists. John Binet-Fauvel is a Founder Member of Fibre Art Wales and is currently a member of The Makers Guild in Wales.



JBF 5 Lobster

Pink PrawnJohn Binet-Fauvel
CC ... John, please tell us a little more about how you become interested in wire work?

JB-F ... I started making shell forms using yarn and packing them with wadding but to show I could create the form and it would support it own structure I started using recycled wire.


CC ... Your designs often depict creatures with a wonderful, I want to say 'comic', effect. What I mean by this is that they make me smile while still appreciating the intricacy of your work. Would you say that the animal kingdom is your principal inspiration?


JB-F ... The animal kingdom does inspire me in what I make especially sea creatures. I don't try and copy them but just catch their essence.
JBF Blue Crayfish
Blue CrayfishJohn Binet-Fauvel



CC ... The use of discarded wire from anything ranging from washing machines to transformers is inspired - what made you think of this as a material to use in your designs?

JB-F ... The wire gives structure and the knitting technique gives flexibility. Knowing a bit about electrical goods and what a good source of copper wire they are, as well as being keen on recycling and re-using, it seemed a good option.



JBT Shrimp
Shrimp, John Binet-Fauvel
CC ... The ability to transform something that was so utilitarian (and often hidden) into something of beauty and wonderment really sets your sculptures apart. Where can people see your work?


JB-F ... As a member of The Makers Guild in Wales, I have work in Craft in the Bay in Cardiff Bay and on and



CC ... My absolute favourite piece is entitled Octopus, it is amazing. It captures the animal perfectly. Not so much in terms of an anatomical study (while being extremely accurate, nonetheless), but it seems to capture the essence of the animal and the feeling of fluidity you feel it would have when moving through the water. How long did it take you to design and make this piece?
JB-F ... I have several octopii. The small one took a week to make, but I can't work for long periods on each one, so it may have been spread over a longer time. The largest one took a month, but again it was spread over a longer period. I never do any drawings I just get the ideas and then make them.
JBT Monkfish
MonkfishJohn Binet-Fauvel
CC ... Another stunning piece is entitled, Pink Prawn. I think it is not only its composition, but also the use of colour makes this so eye-catching. Is using colour in your work important?
JB-F ... Yes, in some things, but the material, coloured copper and plastic coated wire, and the process have greater importance.
JBF Starfish
StarfishJohn Binet-Fauvel


CC ... Your work strikes me as really tactile. One piece, entitled Starfish, has articulated arms and you just know how lovely it would be to run your hand over it, feeling the intricacy of the wire knitting that makes the piece so 3D. Is this part of the design?

JB-F ... The French dollies (knitting frames) I create myself are instrumental in producing the 3D shapes I want. I make them when I need a particular form. It is the technique of knitting which causes articulation.


CC ... You also design other pieces using wire work, other than sculptures, would you tell us about these?


JB-F ... All my work is sculptural but some pieces are in the form of bags, headgear and body pieces, these are sculptural rather than practical but they could be used.


CC ... Will be exhibiting your work in 2009?

JB-F ... My work is always on show in Craft in the Bay and I am currently working on a large commission for The Wetlands Centre in Newport, of approximately 15 pieces, some of which can be seen there from April onwards.


CC ... John Binet-Fauvel, thank you.


© 2009 Caregos Cyf. | Hawlfraint- All rights reserved

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