James Owens (BA Hons in Design for Publishing, NUA) holds a focus on narrative and format, looking to convey complex information through clear communication and simple ideas. Previous work involved manipulation of flat materials to push the book beyond its two dimensional format; More recent works seek to convey ideas through sculptural and physical manipulation, approaching the book as an object beyond the flat pages of tradition.
During James Owens second visit to Cyprus, he planned on extending my experience of stone carving from the initial visit, as well as experimenting with something more specific to Lempa and our surroundings. His time was balanced between exploration, carving, dye making, reading and contemplating the next couple of years. Cyprus provided the perfect environment to reflect on both his work and personal life, especially as the work he produced during both visits was significantly different to the work he produces at home.
James Owens wanted to remove the limitations of graphic design and allow for a more natural progression of ideas and outcomes. This was lead by the exploration of local areas which showed him a wealth of natural materials, presenting an interesting relationship between nature and human intervention. Lempa is a traditional place, with a strong Cypriot culture. Man-made buildings seem insignificant among the vast natural landscape. Locals live side by side with all kinds of animals, some domesticated, many wild.
Through conversations with Su Nicholls about the relationship between humans and nature, James Owens became interested in the lengths with which we are willing to go in order to 'perfect' nature. This was the inspiration behind his stone carving attempts, showing the rock in its natural form, alongside the 'perfected' piece, allows the viewer to make their own decision as to whether the time and effort that went into the carving has really added value to the piece.
Beyond this work, James Owens wanted to engage in the beauty of the surrounding areas. The perfect opportunity was found through exploration of local flowers and fruits, mapping areas of the town through the flora that could be found in certain areas. After trial and error of various plant matter, he created a series of nine natural dyes, expressing the huge variety of colours to be found in the town of Lempa.
On reflection of his time spent in Lempa, James Owens felt that he could have produced more work, although the weather and humidity of the area made it difficult to be consistently productive. He would love to explore more of the surrounding towns and cities, with future visits aimed at expanding my knowledge of the local wildlife, and experimentation of natural materials in building work.