Diversions Into Sculpture

A visit to the beach last winter presented me with scenes that stuck in my mind, and nagged at me to revisit, and to contemplate. Blistering cold winds off the water swept across and tore through the thin beach grass that had become weathered, and almost colourless. The grass parted into sweeping patterns, splaying fourth from the relentless gusts of wind. The grass was lifeless yet electrified with so much energy. It embodied visible trace's of the life it encountered, both from nature and humankind. It was ghostly, and intriguing; I clung to this image for months.

Conrads Beach, NS. Winter 2017.

 

Those of you who follow me on Instagram, may have already seen how this blustery coastal scene has found its way into my work. I was really struck by the patterns of the windswept beach grass (also called marram grass), and wanted to somehow capture the essence of this through metal. 

I have spent the past two years focusing almost exclusively on jewellery, but taking the time to design non-functional art objects is something that really fuels my creative practice as a whole. This past summer, I spent a lot of time working in paper to explore some three-dimensional forms inspired by the beach grass. I eventually tested out the forms in metal, and was happy with the way in which I could achieve a visual lightness similar to paper with a material that could better hold its form. 

 

 

Paper prototype. Paint on paper.

Sample forms, paint on brass.

 

I began to create paintings of coastal landscape on thin sheets of copper, which I would deconstruct into thin lengths that mimic weathered beach grass. The imagery of the original paintings become unwoven and obscured imprints of the environmental conditions of the coast. Opaque brushstrokes and controlled hints of metal come together to conjure echoing sounds of the ocean, while forming a static snapshot of faded memories. Although marram grass can withstand extreme coastal weather, and tolerate human encounter, it always seems to carry visible traces of all that passes through.

Paintings on copper.

Mock up mounting of paper forms on board.

I began to create paintings of coastal landscape on thin sheets of copper, which I would deconstruct into thin lengths that mimic weathered beach grass. The imagery of the original paintings become unwoven and obscured imprints of the environmental conditions of the coast. Opaque brushstrokes and controlled hints of metal come together to conjure echoing sounds of the ocean, while forming a static snapshot of faded memories. Although marram grass can withstand extreme coastal weather, and tolerate human encounter, it always seems to carry visible traces of all that passes through.

This small sculptural project that I began alongside my jewellery design, has recently begun to take shape in a larger format. I am presenting this work as a sculptural installation as a guest artist at the 2018 Toronto Offsite Design Festival, taking place January 15-21st in Toronto, ON. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to realize this work in full, and for it to be presented in the context of the Toronto design community. The installation is going to be on exhibit in the window display space of Muddy George (973 Bloor St. West) for the duration of the festival.

Components for sculpture. Paint on copper.

Components for sculpture. Paint on copper.

I’ve been posting a lot of process and behind-the-scenes images of this new work on my Instagram account. The development of this piece is slow and tedious, but each day it is progressing, and growing bigger. Seeing each strand of copper build up into a larger form is a meditative process that has felt all-encompassing, both physically and mentally. Stay tuned for further updates!