Alexandra Harley is a London-based sculptor whose abstract wood sculptures are lively carved constructions with a rich variety of textures. She has recently started working in stone.
Alexandra trained at St Martins School of Art and Wimbledon School of Art. She has had two solo exhibitions, and has participated in numerous exhibitions, including Andy Goldsworthy and Alexandra Harley at the Gables Yard Gallery in Norfolk and Bankside Browsers at London's Tate Gallery. Alexandra’s work was last seen in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2012 and her entry (above) for EWAA 2012 (East-West Art Award 2012) has been selected as one of the finalists which will be exhibited at La Galleria in London in October. (Personally, I think one of the the coolest things about Alexandra is that she has been hugged by Archbishop Desmond Tutu - read about it on her website!)
Alexandra Harley runs several courses in the sculpture department at City Lit: read about her teaching here. She also writes a blog about A Sculptor's Life.
In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
Be in the studio with enough flasks of tea to feel under no pressure to stop
Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
I admire a lot of different people, not just one artist. I feel an affinity with all the un-named unsung workers who created wonderful church carvings for example and those women who expressed their creativity in needlework, African mask makers and whoever made the Venus of Willendorf. I am always knocked out by other people’s creativity and ability to make things.
What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Be assertive! I didn’t apply for exhibitions as I felt I wasn’t ‘ready’. I realise now that the time for being ready is always right now and to apply and learn from both the acceptances and the rejections.
If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
I used to find myself not being able to maintain the momentum of a thought process between studio visits, so now I always leave the studio with a boring job to come back to, cut that log in half, drill that hole or take the clamps off a glued piece - actually that last bit is quite exciting!. By the time I have got half way through my job then my mind is back on track. When I am needing some space and /or thinking time then I take the dog for a walk, it clears my head. Betsy my last dog was a very attentive observer and would watch my sculpture with me.
And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
I suspect it would be nothing romantic and as I am always putting my foot in it, probably a steel toe capped boot or a wellie. In which case I want bright green, one of those compass things in a bright colourful sole and warm insoles for the winter.