Grafting and Budding is a lecture style performance examining ideas surrounding race, heritage, and mixing. The work draws on styles of presentation used in magic, medicine and cookery, literally mixing up elements, colours, smells, concepts.  The conceptual terrain behind the work was researched as part of an Artsadmin bursary awarded to Sheila in 2005 and the practical performance was developed as part of The Living Room Project. 

What happens in the work?

Using power tools, a blowtorch, glitter, ink, chain, candles, nails, feathers etc, apples are manipulated and sculpted in front of the audience in order to create a collection of hybrids.  Overlaying the production of these hybrids is spoken text relating to the horticultural practice of grafting and budding (where two different species of tree/plant are ‘bonded’ together in order to create more ‘hardy’ fruitful species) and alchemy (where any ‘mixing’ results in the production of gold).  Both of these ideas are positive ‘spins’ on hybridity in contrast to popular myths and ideas surrounding the subject. Live-feed video relay and sound are also essential components of the work.

in 2009 Sheila made 5 Years In The Life Of A Piece (Grafting & Budding...still) a short film that considers why the work is still being shown 5 years after it was originally made.

Links to a selection of reviews:

British Council On Tour Magazine

RealTime Issue (Review of NRLA performance)

Photography by Andrew Downs


You could send this piece out, well beyond art houses and live art festivals, and it would speak to people.
— British Council On Tour Magazine
Lovely, just lovely. I really enjoyed your beautiful performance!
— Audience Member at BAC

5 Years In The Life of a Piece was made in 2009 for East End Collaborations Tenth Anniversary Event.  

The film is a light-hearted sketch book style exploration of why GRAFTING & BUDDING - a performance Sheila first showed at EEC in 2005 - was still being performed 5 years after she initially made the piece. 

Duration: 15 minutes