Over the past few weeks I have been attending workshops to learn the process of bronze casting. Although I hadn’t had an idea in my mind that I could see leading to Bronze casting previously I decided that this was too much of a good opportunity to miss out out. I think that maybe challenging myself and taking on a perceived masculine process to explore ideas around the female body could illuminate the concepts from a different perspective. I think it is important to keep an experimental and explorative approach to my practise- whilst also being quite focussed.
I have really enjoyed learning this new process, and whilst I was prepared for it to be a complex process I was still surprised to see how long it takes to get from object to object cast in Bronze. The actual involvement with bronze seems to be a very small part of the process! I had to quickly think of an object I would like to cast in order to learn the process, but I wanted to make sure that the object was relevant to my practise. I didn’t just want to cast the body because it is loosely linked to my practise, I felt like I wanted to cast something that had more of a conceptual connection. As I didn’t have much time to make the decision I made the snap decision to cast tampons and sanitary towels. The idea of making these objects, that are considered to be luxury good from a tax point of view, into actual luxury items seemed quite poetic! There is humorous element to using expensive materials and a process that is associated with luxury purchases to replicate these objects. There is also a simplicity in taking one object and translating it into another material- but I feel that it becomes more complex and interesting as you dig deeper with the work. I like the idea of taking something which is intended as a temporary object and making it permanent. I like that something which collects a waste product and then becomes a waste product is elevated and made important and valuable.
I soon realised that this would be more complex than just casting something like an ornament or a lump of clay. Due to the small intricate details of each component and the porous quality, casting these objects involved some problem solving! This has actually proved to be valuable. Having a less straightforward process has meant that I have been able to develop more skills and a deeper understanding of how different materials react together.