FK chats to Simmone Spring about her Felt Anatomy label, Your Organ Grinder
Tell us about your creative label, Your Organ Grinder.
Your Organ Grinder is made in Brisbane by me, Simmone Spring. I create Anatomy and Medical Sculpture based Art pieces. My range includes brains, hearts, lungs, livers and almost every body part. I also like to make displays and use second hand Bears to make Anatomical Bears. I make my items from wool felt and fleece. Wool allows me to use a range of hand and commercially dyed colours and looks and feels wonderful. My brains are needle felted wool fleece which is also commercially and hand dyed.
What is your background and how did your creations come about?
I have a study background in Animal Biology and Ecology and also Literature and Sociology. The Animal Biology has definitely inspired me to create the anatomy, even though most of my anatomy is human. I also worked for years in retail, which I quite enjoyed. I’ve always been interested in Taxidermy and Specimens and have my own collection of jars and bones. I was very inspired by a series called “The Mummy Roadshow” which featured the P.T. Barnum curiosities that were all hand-crafted. This probably sparked up my interest in the curio. I’ve always been a maker so I started doing more serious hand-made selling a few pieces, which eventually led to make a few body parts (eyes were first), and it kind of gained a bit of a crazy momentum. Making Anatomy is now
my full time job!
You get your inspiration from museums and labs – can you tell us more?
Museums are just so inspirational for me. There is taxidermy galore! In high school Biology I was part of a small group that did a behind the scenes look at the QLD Museum. I still remember it vividly! The old cabinets with the collections. I want my house to look like that one day! I’ll even take the mothball smell! I like labs like those in movies, kind of the old asylum hospitals, I love watching any movie with the old creepy labs and hospitals where you can imagine all sorts of Specimens. Even just the boring real science labs with a few things in jars, and science equipment everywhere, I just think that is so cool! And the Anatomical models that hang in some of them, so cool!
What are some of your favourite local indie labels and why?
Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts have so many awesome labels! Catamation makes exceptionally amazing Origami which you must check out! Emily Nelson Art draws lots of quirky cuties, I have loads of her hand drawn owl brooches. I’ve always liked Pannikin and have a Pannikin tote with a Pigeon on it (anyone who draws pigeons is pretty cool!). Wicked Child Designs made an Alice Copper for me to give as a gift for my Step-Dad and creates loads of fun characters, including a Simon and Garfunkel! I also love Little Lala, Esbert’s Collections, Kharlia Bee and Hungry Designs. I’m sure I am forgetting some pretty wonderful labels!
What do you love most about working with felt?
Oh, I just love wool felt! I love that I can dye it any colour I want so I can play with lots of Pinks to make my items in different tones. I love blending and shaping wool fleece using needle felting. I think needle felting is just so much fun, you start with fleece off the sheep and end up with a brain, or a nose, or an ear! Wool felt also has an amazing look and feel and versatility that you just cannot get with acrylics. I can also control the thickness of the felt by throwing it in the wash. As an avid and mildly crazy recycler I also like that if someone no longer wants one of my pieces they can bury it in the compost and it will get eaten by the worms and slaters.
What can we expect to discover in the next ‘Your Organ Grinder’ range?
I am very excited about my work to come this year and itching to get into making some new items. I want to create a lot of displays, such as the ear with the ear canal and all those awesome bits in there. The nose with the sinuses, some fun brains with weird and wonderful things emerging from them. I want to make another spine and pelvis, an anatomical person (but a small one this time). More illnesses and bodily anomalies are on the list and I love doing the research for those. I will also be redesigning a few items to make them more detailed and more anatomically correct. It can all get a bit obsessive. But to quote John Irving “You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed.”