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Noovo Editions

Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
Noovo seeks not only to be an aesthetic arbiter but also a cultural mediator at the juncture between Fashion, Photography & Jewellery.
A platform to show the highest level of creativity from around the world

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Interviews -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

 
-----.INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDER FIELDEN
 


photo: © Jorn van der Veen




Since the turn of the new millennium (2003) Alexander Fielden has been crafting shoes. Throughout these years, he has designed and fabricated many unique pairs of commissioned shoes and numerous individual pieces of art.

He presented his first collection on Tranoï Homme January 2010: Shoes, gloves, bags belts and some jewelry. Now, the time has come to pool all of his handcrafting experiences into creating his newest collection of shoes and accessories.

The interwoven fabric throughout this, and his forth coming collections, are based on a illusive figure known as "The Wanderer”. This alter ego is an intrepid world traveler, fascinated by the minds of others, met on his numerous journeys through the folds of time. "The Wanderer" is a strong believer in embracing life’s irregularities and incorporating these imperfections in daily life behavior. By travelling through time he neither resides in the past, present or the future. The inspiration that comes from redefining time is reflected in this collection and through Alexander’s incisive translations of these eternal wanderings.

To be able to grasp these adventures, Alexander has built a dedicated team of like-minded people who have the capability to bring these magnificent stories to life.

His first collection; A/W 2010, manifested as a compilation of shoes, bags, gloves and belts. The shapes you will find in this collection are all about irregularity. These imperfect shapes come to life in the various leathers that have been chosen. They are rough, thick and hard, showing tick bites, scars and burn marks. Even the rough edges of the leather skins have been used in their designs.

Hand cut skins are a unique design feature in every product from "The Wanderer" collection. This ‘cut-sketching’ is a highly concentrated way of designing directly onto the skins with a sharp cutting blade. The idea is to stay as close as possible to the sketch, which is the authentic idea of any design. By allowing irregularities within this small scale production, every piece from this collection is unique, and special for no two products are the same.

Seekers of "The Wanderer" collection are open minded travelers, forging their own paths through life and it’s authenticities, open to worldly imperfections thrown up to them through the threads of time.


 Is there any specific reason for you to chose shoemaker?
Well, I can say that the shoecrafting gave me purpose as a designer. It gave focus and concentration within the vast world of design. That was my big lesson during my Art study in Utrecht around 2000. I found out that I wasn’t the type that could design everything. I drowned in the endless possibilities and failed miserably as a student. But when I felt the click with shoedesign and crafting them by hand I could keep my focus and see endless possibilities within in one craftmanship. Now I couldn’t drown anymore and  started drawing and crafting shoes like crazy and all these ideas came and kept coming, my head was finally free. My mind wasn’t overloaded anymore with the endlessness the world and life provides and I found my harbour. Now, many years later I run a studio that creates much more then only shoes, but it started out by focussing on one thing and deepening out untill I could taste it. I still work this way but now in several directions; Shoes, leather, leathergoods,  interieur, art, film and  teaching art students. Actually I presented my new work, last januari during fashion week Paris, without showing any shoes… for now. They will come again.

What role does your work play in your life?
Were to start…? It’s the neccessity of my being. To travel from the first spark of an idea, a vision, a thought and shape it to a form, an object or a product  captured in tuchable materials is for me a very exciting transformation. I am a day dreamer and I can wander off pretty easy during the day, so for me its very necessary to transform ideas, the daydreams if you will, in to solid earthly material. That’s the way to keep my balance in life.

How is a normal working day for Alexander Fielden?
The day starts with two boys jumping on our bed and waking me, my wife and our jungest third son… When ‘my little army of me’ is of to school I cycle everyday to the otherside of town crossing the centre of my old friend Utrecht. If it’s a production day I go straight to the studio and start the cutting, stitching and shaping. If it’s a day of creating new stuff I might go slow threw town first. At the moment the centre of this city is rebuild drasticly and is one big ascivationpitt. Every day I see the city change bit by bit, how buildings ar torn down and new ones arise. I love things in progress, because  I can still be surpriced, I don’t know the end result and keeps me wandering. New ideas spark from that.
In the studio I check the mail with coffee on the side.

Can you identify a stage (or stages) during the creative process you find the most gratifying? And the least gratifying?
Some gratifying moments… the spark of an idea that hits me in the stomach, then I now it’s a good one for eventually becoming realized…. fooling around with leather without thought and suddenly it becomes something…. The moment a stitched leather upper is pulled over the last and first 3dimentional shapes of a shoe emerges… The turning of a just sculpted stitched bag and be surpriced by the shapes of it… when production is on a roll and we all work in a rythem… When I feel new developed leather and ‘read’ it with my hands and eyes closed… The moment I see something, can be anything, that I cannot define, therefor not labeled and ankered in the ‘Grid’ of my brain. These few seconds I experience as a moment total freedom.

Least gratyfing moments… Production problems; material that’s not in on time, has the wrong colour/thickness/substance The long breath you need to bring a product like this to the world and earn a buck. The Love and Hate for the crazy world called Fashion.

Could you name some people you admire and/or played a part in your development as an artist?
I’ll point out just e few from many names I could call out. There are moments in life when you wake from slumber, surfesing from deep water and take the first breath of that new vision. Tom Waits was one of these who woke me up when I was around 16. I was to young to understand his poetic content, but the whole sound of it made me a different person and started to look at the world  from the heart and less from the mind. One person that wakes me up is Seth Godin. I call him the Gandhi of western civilisation, a brilliant mind and free thinking spirit that rocks the current busyness world with his clear and confronting thoughts and is one of the few that gives  new visions and solutions on all the current rocking pillars of our western civilisation, its developments from past and coming future.  I learn a lot from my sons, they mirror me, confront me with my strenghts and weaknesess and they keep reminding me that everything I can do outside of my home centred in a save, wealthy society is a privelige. 

If you had to choose just one color and one type of material to make an important pair of shoes or special piece, what would they be?
The material I most connect with is leather. Leather is the most important raw material for me to work with. In 2012 I started collaborating with a leather laboratory were I can develop my own leathers. So now I can controle the path from tanning raw hides up to the final product its made from. The leathers I use strong characteristics. The colours that I use are the ones you find in the shade, the’re non-colours. They go from deep black to dirty white. But I’m olso experementing with a more colorful pallet. The phosphorescent leather is the first step in this development.

You are consistently closing the gap between what is considered art and what is considered fashion; consequently, challenging the customers approach to shoe design and accessories, What do you think Alexander Fielden contributes to the contemporary creation scene?
It’s not something I am aware of. I just do what comes natural to me. I don’t concider myself being a fashion designer. I just love to create bodywear, for my body is my house. My work is about impowering the inner state of being, its not a vanity thing to look ‘cool’. Its more about putting on the bodywear in preparation and concentration for whats to come that day. Something like that…

You have designed and fabricated many unique pairs of commissioned shoes and numerous individual pieces of art, you move to products which are of high quality, made with skill and timeless. A piece that can be worn for many years to come, something that overlooks trends. We think you offer truly interesting and original work, an alternative to the quick-consumption culture and over-commercialization. How do you manage to live out from all this mainstream consumption?
If you mean, how do I stay separate from the mainstream consumption is, because I’m not interested by the core system of quick consumption. A lot of it is selling less quallity sauced by a strong PR system telling otherwise. But the mean thing of staying out of that world is because I’m focussed on what comes to MY mind. I’m not inspired by the general fashion world. I’m inspired by, what I find in the street, what kind of art I just saw, what music I listen to, what material I’m holding, what my mood is for that day. I try to stay on my own path and bring what ever comes from that. I’m also trying to slow down in general. I try to stand still in the middle of this busy street and look around again and not be absorbed by the rush of it.

Can you tell us something about how do you see the world right now?
I think the time we all live in at this moment is most exciting. All the great pillars of our world society are shaking. Economicly, ecologicly, religiously, politacly. The excisting world powers are crumbling and that power is shifting more to the people.

The information stream and nolege that comes threw internet is spreading and reaching out all over the world and is excecable for almost everybody and is impowering the commen man. Individualism is coming more and more, I believe this is a good thing. As long individualism doesn’t become an egoistic state of mind, as in ‘Me me me’, but a more selfcentered state of mind, as in being aware of inner power.

People are starting to think more for them selves and can create new rules other then following up the excisting ones. For exsample, there is a privat company/group that can launch ther own rakkets in the atmosphere isn’t that great? It seems impossible, because these kind of developments always belonged to NASA. Look at the music industry. More singer song writers, and bands are out there then ever before. Some of them have a large groups of fans, are giving concerts without the strangling contracts of ‘the Industry’. The Youtube documentairy called ‘Press, Pause and Play’ explanes this brilliantly. 
 
I hope the current economic state of mind, the ‘religion of financial gain’ will come to an end. We really need to see that growth and gain is not only difined in terms of money and wealth. I truly believe that if man kind doesn’t solve that cancer, mother natur will solve it for us in a devastating way. Nature keeps everything in balans and we are far away from it.

As a professional, what is your main obsession?
Without loosing respect for exsisting crafts and it’s history I keep redefining it, smashing it and letting go of it. The history and rules of old crafts can be narrow minded if you hold on to that to long.  Change is unevatable. Crafts are not there for nostalgia and repetition but are a state of mind during the creating process and respecting the natural rules of any material used.

Letting go of patterned made work is the obsession I have now.

What does beauty means for you?
I find it hard to define beauty, because I can be atrackted by uglyness aswell, what ever that may be. I love the pure beauty of natur. The perfection in all the detailing of a flower, but also how natur excepts the inavitable change and so the flower dies again from wer an other can rise, that cyrcle is sheer beaty to me.

What is the concept behind your aesthetic? 
I wanted to attempt to spark some of the excitement that has all but fully consumed me over recent months as I have felt my work release itself from the last ballast of the ordinary and begin to ascend onto a new dimension of design and production for myself and my eponymous footwear and leather-goods label. My enthusiasm would be wholly immodest if it weren’t for the fact that this next stage feels as natural within my studio as it does mysterious. Almost as if it is happening of its own accord.

What are the main feelings running through your last project? 
Cut Sketch
I have evolved my practice of ‘Cut Sketching’ and it has allowed me to engage directly with my materials in a sort of organic creative communion. My knife follows invisible lines between the leather’s natural edges and is further guided by my own particular instinct for shape and form. In some ways this allows me to hear the material as it whispers, -softly instructing me as to its intended use.

There is no repetition therefore no patterns.
Each Cut Sketch represents a unique dialog between artisan and material. These lines cannot be repeated in typical cookie-cutter production processes.

The first attempts of this process has manifested itself in my former collections but has now intencified deeply in my work. It is a way-of-working I had not practiced this concentrated, nor have I seen anyone else produce designs in this way. A marriage of instinctive organic knife work and a unique threedimensional sculpting process which integrates the natural edges of all individual hides used. 

The last mounths of free blade cutting gave me the freedom to let go of all patterns. The flat paper pattern has become and still is the control of all product and fashion design but it can also represent the ultimate betrayal of natural form. -Attempting, as it does, to compress all dimensional expression into something cold, flat and abstract. Trees, flowers, animals and people are all made without paper patterns. We call them natural and we call industrial products artificial.

The coming chapters of the Alexander Fielden project strives to offer a product that is as natural as the materials it is crafted from. 

There is natural consistency
The natural shapes in leather and the curves waiting in the muscle-memory of my drawing and cutting hand are forces capable of creating consistency without repetition. Every piece is a one-of-a-kind but every one expresses its own subtle variation of unchanging underlying whole. Archetypes emerge. Related form-groupings, families of texture and tone, hierarchies of size and scale. These characteristics are as reliable as the feeling of leather yielding to a blade.

Spirit
The spiritual compass of the AlexanderFielden project appears again in the figure of ‘The Wanderer’. The essence of wandering through time brings back elements from the prehistoric up to the untraveled future.

What are the three words that defines Alexander Fielden work´s?, What do you consider is your signature style? 
Heavy weighted crafting inspired by prehistoric simplisity and elements from the unknown future.

What does success mean to you?
When I can be an inspiration to others by living my passions with best intencions











More info: http://www.alexanderfielden.com



Works -
between 2003 and 2009
feat 2 feat 3
shadowslaag 2 shadowslaars 2
   
Selection of chapter 2, 2011  
glove burned black  
pupil soil hand carrier se
carrier light hermit soil
philosopher dark cover pupil boot
   
Selection of chapter 3, 2011/2012  
beggars gloving 1 rings
the pupil, glowing  
the pathfinder, glowing brawlers gloving
the scavanger, soil the scavenger, tarmack
cloak
l5.cam.bl l5.glow2

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