My practice is centred on transforming and combining different materials, developing new processes to create intriguing sculptural forms and drawings with wood and pewter. Although a lengthy process, sourcing green wood is a vital part of making, tracing its provenance and influencing how the wood reacts during its drying process. Then by carving, sanding and burning, I add strident contrasts to expose, highlight and celebrate its natural features and so-called imperfections. A delicate balance is found between the artistic input and the natural voice of the material.
The material that forms ‘Identity’ is wood salvaged from a willow tree. The tree itself, is around a 100 years old that was brought down in a storm, blocking a road and damaging surrounding power cables as it fell. Material such as this is usually destined to be firewood and is the primary source for my sculptures in general, living locally meant I could save a significant amount of it. As an artist I wanted to honour its life and bring its beauty to a different audience. Giving it sanctuary, albeit in a different form and space.
‘Identity’ gently plays with the natural occurrence of growth rings, both within human identity and within the growth life of a tree. The age and growth history of a tree is shown in its rings and is unique to each tree. Similarly, a human fingerprint is unique to an individual. Each aspect - fingerprint/growth ring - represents a life cycle and shared history to be celebrated and protected. Each individual piece within this work acts as a unique fingerprint of the wood which, when combined with its counter parts, forms a humanlike fingerprint formation. Each time this work is shown, it is hung in a completely new formation to represent the uniqueness of our identities and celebrate nature and art working in tandem, creating a positive impact on this world rather than a negative human impact on our environment.
Exploring and transforming materials is a key recurring theme in my work. Increasingly, I have been developing novel kinetic processes which permit the individual handmade character of my sculptures to freely flow between dimensions – from 3D to 2D space. Manipulating these processes enables me to create drawings sharing common DNA and while still retaining unique character. No two will ever be completely alike.
‘Dots’, is an example of this process, and achieved the ‘Mud/Earth Dots’ drawing series. To achieve this, I employ a technique of constantly re-burning the ‘Dots’ sculpture. Then working with the charred outer shell as a rolling pin, I knead it into the paper experimenting with friction to enable the charcoal to leave a mark. I see the process as being in-between a drawing and a print as it retains the essence of the sculpture whilst experimenting with my own expression.