HAND ME DOWNS
Image: 'Little Terra and Eeffa'. Hand Me Downs series. Annie Montgomerie. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Initially studying stone carving at Weymouth College, then specialising in silversmithing and jewellery at Plymouth College of Art, it was only whilst working as an art technician, that Annie Montgomerie began working with clay and model making. Now an internationally renowned textile and mixed-media artist, a new show of her work has recently opened at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (5 November 2022-26 February 2023). Focusing on both the joy and the agony of childhood, Hand Me Downs features her signature anthropomorphic creatures, conveying magnified, childlike emotions.
Montgomerie creates expressive cats, lambs, foxes, and dogs. They often appear sad or lost— a representation of her own feelings of inadequacy as a child.
Image: 'Peeka'. Hand Me Downs series. Annie Montgomerie. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
A skilled mould maker, Montgomerie finds inspiration in vintage photographs, old school class photographs, animal photography, vintage textiles, and flea markets. Preferring to work in 3D, sculpting with clay is often her way of sketching ideas to begin the creative process. Starting with the face, she forms the expression and personality with layers of muslin and glue to create a hard outer shell.
Image: 'Locka and Eztree'. Hand Me Downs series. Annie Montgomerie. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The bodies are made from vintage finds, usually from the 1970s and 1980s, adding a sense of nostalgia to each piece. Then each one is covered in layer upon layer of retro fabric, strategically placed to suggest the directionality of fur or skin, and to achieve her ‘loved-to-death’, threadbare aesthetic.
Image: 'Blip'. Hand Me Downs series. Annie Montgomerie. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Montgomerie has shown her anthropomorphic creatures worldwide, gaining a legion of fans. Solo exhibitions include Fitting In, Beinart Gallery, Victoria, Australia (2022); Home Time, The Copro Gallery, Santa Monica, USA (2019); and Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop, London, UK (2018). Group exhibition and projects include the LA Art Show (2021), and a window display at Paul & Joe, Paris, France (2019). With over 30 unique pieces, however, Hand Me Downs is Montgomerie’s largest exhibition to date.
Image: 'Pitch'. Hand Me Downs series. Annie Montgomerie. Courtesy of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
There is also now a book dedicated to her work: The Art of Annie Montgomerie: Flocked and Socked (SCB Distributed Publishers, 2021)