Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Susie MacMurray; The Making of Icarus for Pandamonium 2012

Thanks to the brilliant artist Susie MacMurray, I was fortunate enough to get these images that show us all the different steps required to make Icarus. This magnificent garment sculpture was created for Pandamonium, an event that took place in London's Hyde Park on May 24th.

" Constructed from an expanse of bird netting with ostrich feathers twisted into it with copper wire, Icarus is part flight suit part cloak. The impetus for the work comes from the combination of two thoughts. The cautionary tale of the dangers of over reaching ourselves and flying too high, disregarding the consequences of our actions, which sits beside the metaphor of the ostrich burying it's head in the sand."
~~Susie MacMurray

Susie MacMurray lives and works in Manchester, UK. Join me now in Susie's studio, meet her team including Jinks the mini-schnauzer, and discover her spectacular artwork.

Icarus 2012
Susie MacMurray
Testing the materials (bird netting, ostrich feather & copper wire)

Constructing the harness using a flight harness buckle sourced on eBay!
Building up the shoulders with webbing to stiffen them to support the weight of the collar
8000 feathers arrive, all fitted into just 2 boxes!
 The long process of tightly wiring the individual feathers to the mesh. I didn't want Icarus to molt in transit or on the catwalk. The mesh was stretched over a convenient bar in my studio and let down gradually as the work progressed. SusieMacMurray
 Detail of the wired feathers
Icarus grew slowly over a couple of months

The stretchy mesh changed shape very easily so we used red wool markers to keep the correct spacing
The studio dog 'guarding' the work
 Joe stitching wire struts into the mesh that will support the netting collar and attaching it to the harness
Testing how the work will move
 Bill Campbell experimenting with what to use for the arm extensions and how to attach them to the wearer
The collar netting stitched in place to look like a wild loose tangle

The finished collar
Testing how Icarus would look displayed on the wall

 The finished piece waiting to be shipped
Icarus for Pandamonium 2012 in London's Hyde Park
Photo © Jim Naughten / WWF-UK

Courtesy of Susie MacMurray


  1. What Alix said! Just amazing! That represents a lot of hours doing detailed work. I love it. I created a fantastical bird opera mask for a college's opera department which covered the whole head, shoulders and part of the chest. That was a lot of hours doing detailed work, but nothing as extravagant and grand as this Icarus cloak. I love seeing the work in progress. Bravo!


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