Earth Heads

Mud from worm casts is the raw material used to create these small scale heads which portray the weathered faces of old Breton women wearing traditional headdresses.

Sea, stone, earth, wind and rain have shaped the rugged Breton landscape and its small strong people. The oldest folk have lived through times of extreme change, from a world of horse drawn ploughs and intense physical labour to our present day indoor existence where cars, televisions and computers dominate.

The weather worn faces of the old ladies are beautiful and poignant in an epoch when wrinkles are less and less acceptable and characterless botoxed features stare at us from screen and page. I’m fascinated by the contrast between these lived-in faces and the exquisitely delicate headdresses which originated as practical bonnets and scarves and evolved into ever more fanciful, decorative creations each unique to its own village or commune.

It is important to me that the heads are all made from natural materials, found in Brittany. I have been experimenting with worm cast mud, which is finely filtered and strangely spongey. Worms only cast in spring and autumn, during which times I am bent double with my bucket. After kneading and mixing the mud into a large ball, I work simply with few tools and allow the heads to appear, letting different characters develop according to my mood and attitude. They are then left to air dry and because the soil is full of life, seeds sprout, tiny worms hatch and create wrinkles, cracks appear and the heads shrink to about two thirds life size. The natural elements etched on the sculptures echoing the weathering of the Breton faces they reflect. The headdresses are all based on traditional shapes and styles but made using sun bleached seaweeds, skeletal leaves and fish skins.
With ‘Earth Heads’ I am exploring the beauty of age and self- expression and at the same time trying to show that we need to re-connect with our environment.

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visage de cette terre 2

lace leaf Bonnet Bonnet visage de cette terre 1



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