Art All Dayer: Hattie Kongaunruan Exhibition

Our Art All Dayer is around the corner (Saturday 24th September) and as usual we will be giving one lucky artist the chance to have a free, pop-up exhibition as part of the day!

We are pleased to introduce you to the winner of the people’s choice award as voted for by our In Manchester exhibition attendees,  Hathaikan Kongaunruan! The prize of this vote is a solo exhibition at our upcoming Art All Dayer event happening this September. We’re so happy to exhibit Hattie’s work with us that we wanted to know more about her practice and the amazing pieces she’s produced!

Cotton On MCR: Please introduce yourself to the Cotton On MCR Readers:

Hattie: ‘Hey! I’m Hattie, I’m an artist, and upcycler/wombler. I create surreal sculptures by recycling unwanted furniture into whimsical creatures, reacting to their salvage from landfill. My practice playfully explores our intrinsic relationship to chairs within our everyday spaces. I avoid using new or raw materials, so all of my projects use found or second-hand materials. The biggest aim of my practice is to inspire people to similarly find joy in objects and materials that already exist in the world.’

Photo Credit: Michael Godsall

COM: How does it feel to be voted by the attendees of the In Manchester Exhibition as a favourite piece in the exhibition?

HK: ‘It feels amazing! I really didn’t expect it at all, there were so many amazing pieces in the exhibition, I felt the sculptural pieces were especially strong. Getting the email a few weeks ago I had to read it a few times to make sure I was reading it right! It’s great to get some understanding of how my work is reaching people.’

COM: What did you think about the In Manchester exhibition as a whole?

HK: ‘Honestly it was wicked – so many strong pieces, talented artists, great uses of different materials and stories being told. It was amazing to have been selected alongside so many fantastic artists, the level of work felt really high. I was also really glad to see so many pieces being created from ‘waste’ and discarded materials, seeing the exciting ways different artists were creatively approaching reuse in Greater Manchester.’

COM: Your piece Born to Run comes from a collection of your work, Chairs that Care. How did you come up with that concept?

HK: ‘Chairs that care’ is actually a new name I’ve been testing out. The project was originally called ‘A Breath of Fresh Chairs’, relating to the rebirth of the salvaged chairs within an art context – a longer, more fulfilling life than ending up in a landfill. The name came from the project’s early inspiration of botanical and natural forms. Throughout the project my focus shifted, I enjoyed exploring how to express different emotions using body language and movement, and how each static sculpture could tell a unique narrative. So I wanted the name to reflect the sculptures’ sentient personas. The name is a way of giving the chairs a voice to stand up for their right to continue existing in our world!’

Photo Credit: Michael Godsall

COM: How are these pieces made?

HK: ‘The Born to Run pieces are created using car booster seats attached to a false bottom. The legs have been taken off various stools, and cut at different angles to give the idea of movement, from striding to scuttling.’

COM: Tell us more about your other work.

HK: ‘My practice started at the University of Leeds, where I studied Art and Design and got to use a wood workshop for the first time. So I experimented with ideas of the uncanny, creating chairs that you were never sure whether you could sit on them or not, or artworks that seemed to have a life of their own. When I graduated, I lost my access to a workshop, I didn’t have money to pay for a studio and ended up making Born to Run from my bedroom with my partner. So I wanted my practice to be accessible and fun! I want people to feel as though they can make large, amusing works without spending loads of money on their projects. They can recognise elements from their everyday lives and see how (with some woodwork training) they could make something similar from their own home too.’

(I have ideas for my next project which will explore my anxiety, heightened from the lockdown and being away from friends, finding it difficult to feel comfortable with myself and reconnect again after so long. Some works will focus on pure therapeutic processes that allowed me to busy my brain from overthinking. It’s quite a serious turn but something I feel like I need to release creatively.)

Photo Credit: Michael Godsall

COM: How are you feeling about your solo exhibition at our Art All Dayer: Autumn Edition?

HK: ‘I’m really excited – it’s my first ever solo show! I’m going all out and hoping to show some new pieces in the space.’

COM: What can people expect from the exhibition?

HK: ‘A litter of bugs, sending you straight to voicemail, deleting your unread emails and generally taking over the office!’

You can find out more about Hattie’s work on her Instagram @byhathaikan, or through her website

And find out more about the Art All Dayer here.

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