I thought I would begin my blog with some background to the work through which I started exploration of casting processes and which sparked my interested in learning to cast in bronze…
My proposal for the AN Professional Development Bursary is to develop experience in Bronze Casting by working alongside Scartworks, a bronze casting foundry & fabricators based in Ormskirk, Lancashire through shadowing, assisting on their commissions and 1-2-1 tuition.
I first began working with Scartworks, in 2017 when I contacted them with an unusual enquiry of explore the possibility of casting with salt. (Cutting a long story short) months of testing pursued both working alongside Stephen at the Scartworks foundry & my own studio experimentation before the ten cylindrical forms of cast salt (with ceramic & steel cores) for Persistent Bodies was realised.
Persistent Bodies was developed through research in response to a residency at Glasgow Women’s Library in 2017. Spending time at the library and reading archived documents led me to thinking around sentiment; the intended belief, thought or feeling behind an act, in relation to the events, political campaigns and movements I was reading about and connections with notions of (being) sentimental and sentimentality – feelings of tenderness, sadness, affection and love.
I began to think about this in relation to the body as active and archive, resistant and vulnerable and residues of the ‘blood sweat and tears’ and salty traces of the emotional, laboured and pained body. This led me to explore the potential of salt to reflect on the human condition, as a metaphor for the physical and emotional body, drawing on salts inherent properties of division, healing and energy, to explore how it can sympathise with the body being capable of states of suspension & fluidity, crystalline and strong yet fragile and vulnerable to environmental changes.
The ten cylindrical forms of cast salt in Persistent Bodies (2018) reference the story of Lot’s (unnamed) wife who was turned to a pillar of salt when she defied orders from the angels and turned to look back on the burning cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:26). In opposition to the intention of this biblical story, the piece infers in it the subversive potential of bearing witness, the importance of looking back.
Persistent Bodies is one of four works made for an exhibition earlier in the year at Castlefield Gallery from 8th March – 29th April alongside Glasgow based artist, Ruth Barker. The other works that I exhibited also utilised salt but in different forms. More energy than object, more force than form, a series of saltwater batteries congregate in circles reminiscent of a gathering or ancient monument, drawing upon the energy of people coming together. The multiple bodies of cells makes specific use of the particularities of salt, the energy of difference, separation and attraction that occur when salt is suspended in water to power a light. The energy of difference, charge and attraction was further echoed in Affinity through the copper and zinc, between affinity bond between atoms of sodium and chloride, and that which draws and binds people together.
The final of the four works, Consequences of progress, remnants for the future, 2018 will be exhibited for the first time in the New Year when the exhibition from Castlefield Gallery tours to Glasgow Women’s Library from 1st February, 2019 – 23rd March, 2019