Conversation With…Marian Savill

Where we chat with Marian Savill, mixed media artist

August 2020

Marian Savill, mixed media/ recycling artist

So… tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

Typically I would say I’m a mixed media artist because I cover so many things I suppose. Nowadays I refer to myself a as a recycled artist because my practice is centred on using pre-used or recycled materials. I’m thinking I might need a different sort of term – I’m trying to focus on making my practice more ethical, sustainable and greener. I’m vegan and I’m moving towards trying to only use vegan art materials where I can, so maybe I should be an ethical artist. 

What are the biggest challenges you face living and working in this region?

It is a cultural desert, it has to be said, but I do think it’s improving! I think one of the big problems is that people just aren’t used to engaging in the arts across the fens, we’re so rural so it is harder for people get anywhere. I think that’s why doing workshops and community stuff, I like doing that because it shows that the arts aren’t all about paintings hanging in a white walled gallery.

Why is being creative important to you?

 I always say in my art journaling workshops, “it’s not therapy, but it’s therapeutic” it’s that whole, getting your head out of regular life and doing something freeing – it’s calming, it’s fun, it takes you out of your normal life and gives you something more. It’s trying to encourage people and getting them into the mindset of random acts of creativity, again, it’s about the process.

My workshop delivery ethos is “I don’t teach anything, I’m not a teacher, I’m a sharer” because the thing with art journaling particularly is I don’t think there’s any rules, you can do anything you like, but sometimes I will take a technique along and explain the technique but I will always have a backup of “if you’d don’t want to do that, you can do it this, this this or this way”, or “you can adapt it this way”. I don’t like prescriptive art so if you go to an art workshop and you’re all doing the same thing, that’s my worst nightmare. 

What are your plans for the future? Do you have any thoughts about the arts in the future of this region?

I always want to do more art journaling workshops, just so that I can dominate the world with art journals and get everyone doing it. I’ve also started to work a bit more with textiles. I’ve become quite interested in the overconsumption of clothing, textiles, fast fashion, synthetic materials and the impact that that’s having on the environment, and work conditions as well. I’ve become quite interested in slow clothing, slow stitching and making do and mending. 

I’d really like to start making my own paints and inks and glues, even papers. Just being more sustainable. I do have ethical dilemmas. You go into a school, you’re going to be working with 60 kids and you need 60 glue sticks. I’d love to go into schools and show them how to make their own glue and paints and inks and go out and have a forage round the field and find leaves and mud and that we can be creative with and make our own paint out of. 

You’ve got to be positive and I hope that we’ll continue to build more engagement with more people of all ages and backgrounds, wherever they are across the fens as well. I really hope that just continues to build. You’ve just got to keep trying, hopefully that will never stop with MarketPlace. I hope that there is a shiny, bright, arty future for the fens and beyond.