I have had a lifelong fascination with industrial landscapes. I grew up in Sheffield and the glow and sparks from the steelworks left its mark on me. I also enjoyed exploring the remains of lead mine workings and the archaeology of quarrying to be found in the region. During lockdown I have been walking along the foreshore from Ratcliffe steps in Limehouse. I have come to love this place away from the crowds, the low viewpoint, the smell and sound of the water close by – I have discovered a new industrial landscape.
In this temporary space I became attracted to a capsule of East London’s past through the clumps of fused, corroded hawsers and chains, jetties, ladders and concrete blocks that once supported structures. I have collected large metal bolts, fragments of gas-cut plate and twisted nails and chain links along with bone, flint, chalk, ceramic shards and other washed-up items. I have taken casts in situ of various surfaces and made sprig moulds from metal pieces before they disintegrate, therefore I am able to make repeated forms.
I wasn’t sure how to use these ‘relics’ until I remembered the exhibition of David Smith’s sculptures that I saw at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I liked the way that he had welded found utilitarian objects with more abstract offcuts, to form landscape referenced or totemic sculptures. Clay is an ideal material for collage and construction, it is as enduring as it is fragile, which feels suited to my subject matter. Cornucopia, arose from finding a battered funnel and imagining how I could employ it as a receptacle for something that appears to be never ending. I used stoneware with slips, oxides and a verdigris coloured dry glaze to pickout the surface textures.
Cornucopia ceramic (stoneware) sculpture
Size: 15cm h x 18cm w x 29cm d
Price: £330 contact (please include the title of the work)