Like many others who do not live within walking distance of the beach, I am taking the opportunity to work with my existing collection of found objects. I like the idea of making jewellery but also making art in the form of jewellery. Some of my finds are rusty or delicate and some hold the secrets of untold years in the sea, sent to my bit of coast from who knows where. And some of these pieces are not suitable for wearing so here they are presented as if they could be.
My fascination with beach-combed objects stems from the fact that man-made items enter the sea at a place and time unknown. At this stage, they are often useful, in good condition and are similar to many many other such times. By the time, I retrieve them from the shoreline they are no longer of any use, they are worn and distressed by time and tide, and they are unique. It is the alteration that occurs during this unspecified time period that interests me – it raises so many unanswerable questions: When did it enter the sea, why and how? How long has it been in the sea? How far has it travelled?
One particular fascination is brushes. I find many plastic brush handles but more interesting are the bone or wooden ones. These sometimes present with bristles, whole or partly intact, but the really interesting ones no longer have bristles, just the holes where bristles once were.
I like the contrast between the worn finish and the precision of the holes. I am starting to explore this idea further, combining the found with the made; the old with the new; the perfect with the imperfect.
These three pieces combine hand made paper with found elements. I’d love your feedback!
I am always looking for new ways of presenting the found. Some of the items that I collect are large, some are heavy and some are very small. I rarely know what I will do with an item when I pick it up, I just know that it has “something”. I am fascinated with the process by which an item enters the sea and is later washed up, altered. Hence, the things that I collect are the man-made rather than the natural and organic. They are also not conventionally pretty – no sea glass or pebbles for me! But what to do with them …. that of course is the big question.
An idea that I have had for some while, is to make pieces of art in the form of jewellery. Given the nature of the found objects that I have, they will not necessarily be worn, although they could be, but rather I liked the idea of forming the objects into the shape of necklaces or brooches or bangles. There are many talented silversmiths working with found materials be they plastic, wood, metal, or stone and when I saw a course at West Dean College, I thought I would try and learn the basics of making with eco-silver and brass.
Since my last encounter with a blow-torch (think creme brûlée) resulted in a visit to A & E, I viewed the two torches on display with a little trepidation but, I am pleased to report, no injuries ensued! Attaching tiny pieces of solder to bent wire and using the flame in a controlled way to join the two took a little practice, but I managed to produce a series of chain links to be used in conjunction with the found.
I look forward to receiving comments on these pieces from visitors to Chichester Art Trail which runs 10.30 – 5.00 on May 2,3,8,9 and 10. Anyone local who cannot make these dates, is welcome to get in touch direct with any queries.
I recently attended a course with Jane Ponsford and learnt the basics of hand made paper making. We used cotton rag and in some cases, I combined this with found clay to add colour.
I wanted to combine the hand made paper with some of my found objects and went with some ideas in mind as to how this might work.
Having kitted myself out with the appropriate gear, I am looking forward to experimenting more with the combination of made and found to produce a series of work. The images above are all starting points rather than finished works but I have thoroughly enjoyed learning this new process. Another course beckons in the Autumn looking at sculpting, folding and moulding with paper – can’t wait!
At the weekend, I spent time with the lovely Mary Crabb at the Oxmarket Gallery in Chichcester together with other like minded ladies learning the basics of “looping.” Working with a variety of fine flexible materials, Mary weaves using adapted traditional basketry techniques to form a range of beautiful objects.
The purpose of the workshop was to explore the process of stitching to create a fabric. Mary had brought a huge range of flexible textile materials for us to play with, from fishing wire to rope, from rubber tubing to yarn made from nettles. We experimented with working flat, working in 3D, in the round and from side to side, comparing stitch variations, materials and tension. The aim was to play and to start developing individual items as to how we might use this technique in our own way.
Samples using a variety of materials
I am particularly interested in combining this technique with my found materials. I may use the looping with actual found “yarns” such as fishing line, rope, electrical wire and so on but also combine the found with other yarns using them as a holder or as a mould. More play required! For the time being, I thoroughly enjoyed just exploring what one can do with a length of yarn!