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Fit for `purpose @ the V&A.

April 10, 2012

I got the opportunity to take part in the Contemporary British Silversmiths exhibition at the V&A, which runs for the next 3 months [I think!]. The theme was “Fit for Purpose”- which conveyed to me the idea of function and utility- ideas which are implied and subverted in the pieces I make. I always look at shapes and forms which relate to function- old tools, utensils and domestic forms so this theme set easily with my work. Recently I have picked up old parts of tools and I had thought of remaking/reconstructing them with alternative materials to give them an alternative sense of purpose. Perhaps implying a use in the ephemeral realm rather than the purely practical physical sphere of existence, the purpose  being related to memory, emotion and experience instead. I chose two pieces to work with- a found plastic paintbrush handle washed up on the beach and a discarded rusty hacksaw frame. I take a great deal of pleasure in turning discarded old rubbish into pieces to be treasured and to me these pieces where just a precious as the silver I was pairing them with. For the brush I used my own hair- purely due to the need for a certain material quality- to keep it a brush, but still to take it beyond simple functionality. To join the handle I made a rectangular, laced up box- the pressure of the tied form keeping the two parts, hair and handle, together. I liked the angular form contrasting with the curves of both the handle and the bunched hair, distorted by the forms it held, tied tight with bright red silk. The saw frame i reworked by casting individual rose thorns in silver as teeth for the blade, these where strung on white silk thread and held in tension. I silk and enriched[white] silver set beautifully against the brown rusted frame, vivid and rich, and the handle was bound with linen twine, warm and functional. 

These where named “Found/Fabricated” , which really is the essence of my work- the combination of what is found and what is made which lifts the two to a different perspective. 

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