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I have always had an interest both in the wonder of words and in wondering how things work.

In this engaging episode of Cultural Icons, artist, author, and owner/curator of Blikfang Art and Antiques, Sheridan Keith, discusses her life and practice with Michael Smythe, designer, design consultant and author.

Much like the narrative of Keith’s award winning novel Zoology (1995), their conversation begins in the present and works its way back in time.

She begins by describing her current art practice as an exploration of blikfang, the Danish word meaning ‘a trap for the eye’. So captured was she by the sound and meaning of blikfang, Keith adopted the name for her ‘art based home interior space’ where she holds themed exhibitions and ‘salon’ events.

Keith gives consideration to what we find visually compelling in art, as she discusses a few of her installations, such as Apparatus to Test the Potential for Disaster and Clockwork Mouse attempts tightrope walk!.

She has long been interested in the way that objects are impregnated by time and rich in history, and looks to examine her ongoing fascination with art, science and wider culture.

Reflecting on her extensive career in radio and broadcasting both in New Zealand and abroad, Keith became committed to writing in her 40’s. She views writing as a way of capturing experiences and putting them into form, not just for her lifetime but also beyond. Thus, a number of her short stories from collections, Shallow are the Smiles at the Supermarket and Animal Passions draw on her own experiences of growing up in Wellington, domestic life, suburbia and more.

This episode is filled with marvellous stories, such as the ice cream cake competition she won as a child in the middle of winter, and when her mother, artist June Black, commissioned her friend Rita Angus to paint Keith’s portrait. Sheridan Keith’s wit and warmth emanate throughout this interview, along with her insightful observations on art, existence and all things blikfang.

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