I have long been fascinated by decay, distress and general wear and tear in surfaces. My eyes are drawn over and over again to rock, stone, wood, paper or any material where the worn and battered winks at me and asks for further inspection. I love torn edges and scruffiness.
Taking up more and more room in the house, I have an embarrassingly large collection of found objects that reflect my preferences and I am still struggling to find a clear way forward to use these within my art. I am unable to pigeon hole myself as a “painter”, “printmaker”, “textile artist” or some other moniker – I like all manner of techniques and media. The saving grace is that there is a common need – to make use of the found and to conform to my idea of what is aesthetically pleasing as outlined above. I realise that to some/many my taste is bizarre and that anything I produce will have a limited market with the majority doubtless seeing only “rubbish.” I also need to distinguish myself from what I see as twee – sculptures and assemblages made from pieces of driftwood for example. They are just not me – not dirty enough, not raw enough, not scuffed and damaged.
Some of what I produce will be fragile (I have some beautiful charred paper from an incinerator); some will have a shorter life than “traditional” art because it will continue to erode and spoil over time. But I will persevere with my ideas that involve the found, the rusty and the burnt. I have workshops coming up in 2018 with the inspiring Debbie Lyddon whose textile work I simply love and also with Elaine Bolt who I hope will take me down a new route considering ceramics and they can help me display my found objects. I was delighted to discover her although a little sad to see that my ideas are not entirely new – ideas rarely are! – and that she is producing far lovelier work than I am sure I will manage.
I am currently thinking about my collection of found brushes (some are shown above) – I have already started to experiment with embossing and “printing” with the handles and would like to try making ceramic handles in the form of these found brushes. I have a collection of “bristles” that can be fastened to the handles and yesterday rescued a whole pile of lovely rusty, “been through the bonfire” bendy metal from which I can form ferrules to adjoin the handles to the bristles.
Here are a collection of my other “from the fire” objects which I hope to use in future work. I’d love to know if anyone else “get’s it”!!