Touch is a full-body experience. Yet, in conceptualizing touch we often concentrate on engaging the hand alone, and hence create objects to touch that do not engage many of the body’s impressive and varied haptic abilities. Bonnie's sculptural Cast Hugs are created for and by the body, and are aimed at physical interaction resulting in what she calls 'grounded sensuality', a moment when a consonance of physical and emotional centredness occurs.
The artwork resides not in the sculptures themselves but in one's experience of those sculptures, so no artwork is complete until it is held. They are about finding comfort in a frightening world, offering comfort through the body’s physical interaction with low-fired stoneware forms that were made from the embrace and for the embrace. ‘Soft’, textured, and made to fit the body by using Bonnie's own and others’ bodies to cast hugs, the ceramic sculptures instinctively invite a reciprocal embrace from exhibition visitors, who describe the experience as self-reflective, comforting, and safe, a positive moment of heightened body awareness and self-intimacy.
A collaboration between Bonnie, dancer/choreographer Adèle Thompson, and the Queens College Contemporary Dance Society at Cambridge University occurred on 28 October 2009 as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge University.
The sculptures are Cast Hugs and the dancers responded to the brief of touch, the body, and the embrace, developing movement strategies to interact with the artworks and then inviting the public to do the same. With thanks to Hilary Goodall for the filming and creation of this video. View a short film of the event on YouTube here.
Bonnie's early sculptural works include 'Soft Forms', which are textured sculptures abstracted from the human figure, and other more traditional vessel forms, all also textured distinctly to engage touch.
'A Quiet Strength'