Suspended Animation

My love for the sea and wave washed objects is transmuted into hanging sculptures that capture my relationship with the endless motion of wind and tide.

A beach may appear empty and barren at first glance but take a longer, deeper look and you find a fragile yet violent place full of hidden stories, signs of lives lived and lost, clues to other shores, ships and continents.

Beach detritus hints at the world beneath the waves.  Sometimes huge balls of whelk egg cases litter the sands, at other times squid skeletons festoon the beach in their thousands. Winter storms throw up the sad broken bodies of drowned seabirds.   And of course, everywhere, trash and detritus sweeps in on the swell:  the unwanted garbage of mankind decorating all our shores. This seemingly unlovely haul is exposed to salt, sun, sand, cold and heat; cooking, freezing, polishing and abrading everything they touch. Wood is bleached and blunted, feathers stripped to quills; garish plastics and tough ropes are faded and softened beyond recognition.

I collect at the beach; each item is of value to me and has something which attracts me to it: bone, burnt wood, a million minute shells, dried seaweed twisted into tortured curls, a discarded shoe, unwanted save by me.  Subconsciously I feel a piece of work in the making; something impels me to collect a particular thing, and sometimes it is unique to a time, a place and an event.  On any one day, perhaps only one beach in Brittany will have waves in the right direction to gather a particular shell, maybe following a storm that coincided with a breeding event beneath the waves that happens only during particular one moon rise each year. It means that each piece of work is utterly unique.

Back in the studio I wash and sort everything.  As I handle and organise, I have as yet no preconception of what it is I am about to make.  I look at the collections of carefully hand-picked sea-scoured rubbish and at the desiccated, fragile remains of living creatures lining up in front of me and relax.  I let my mind go empty and somewhere along the line my love and feeling for the sea guides me to transmit the essence of my sea collection into the ever moving mobiles that capture both my relationship with the seaside and the endless motion of wind and waves.  Animation suspended.

Sea spine

Spiralling plumes

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