Transference of Skills: In Conversation with Candice Lau

For our YRMOS debut artistic collaboration we combine artistic commentary and culture. We talk to Candice Lau, an award winning leathercraftwoman and sculptor. Based in London, England, Lau's desire is to transfer her creative and craftswoman skills into sculptures. In this conversation, Candice talks to us about confidence and drawing creative power through unexpected ways. A potent mixture of self-expression, self-confidence and truth, making a conversational statement.

Photography: Matt Krygowski

YRMOS: What is your favourite part of the day?

CL: My favourite part of the day is when I catch a glimpse of something I made perhaps 1 week or 4 months ago, and realise that the work finally makes sense to me. This doesn't always happen, but it is just the most magical moment when it does. But this also goes to show that as an artist/maker, you never switch off. Deep in my mind, I have images of the hundreds of pieces I have made and constantly evaluating and ruminating over the same question, does this work?

Y: In what ways do you break with tradition and expectations?

CL: I've come into my craft from many different angles, from graphic design to leatherwork, then to clay. The transference of one skill onto another informs the art created in the most unexpected way. And perhaps, this is how I break tradition. As a craftswoman who uses traditional skills to create artistic work, judgement and expectations often come thick and fast. The moment when the work is revealed to the public, it can be incredibly frightening. However, I am resolved that this is what I can do, and this is what I love to do. I cannot create in any other way as this feels the most natural to me. I have to live this belief and present my work to the world with this truth.

Y: Where do you draw feelings of power and confidence from?

CL: When I am not afraid to destroy my work, that is when the confidence arises to truly create. I have never been precious about things that I own, nor things that I make. My hands work faster than my brain and the hands would have taken over the creation before the brain realised what had happened. I would not say I work in such veracity like Jackson Pollock, nor ruminate over ideas like Cornelia Parker. Perhaps I am somewhere in between. A concept is formed somewhere between getting on the bus to opening the gate to my front yard. It often seeps way down into the depths of my brain. When I am back in my studio to start making, I am not even conscious that I am attempting to realise the idea previously formed. The hands then take over and something is made. This is when I feel most powerful. Then one week or four months later, it catches the corner of my eye and I can say, "this makes sense, or it doesn't".

Y: What’s next for you?

CL: What is next is much more profound. I had yearned to step away from commercial work for a long time and unbeknown to me, I had been sitting on ideas and creative energy for years. I have worked at a feverish pace for the past year, creating new art that speaks a very different language than what I used to do. Yet I am still at the beginning and there is much more to come. I think there are more sculptures to be made and a more definitive creative language to be built. It is a fun and frightening new chapter. I can visualise it, yet slightly blurry. But I am excited!

Discover the Anteroom on and follow the series on