For the past two weeks I’ve been working at Scottish Sculpture Workshop making new metal work for my upcoming collaborative project ‘islandness’.

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The net needle is an object I’ve been infatuated with for some time now. As a tool it is used to make and repair fishing nets, usually made from wood of plastic.

I’m interested in taking a tool or object and removing its function, viewing it purely for its aesthetics, which was my goal for the last time I cast bronze at SSW, making two nets.
For these net needles however, I wanted to ensure they were still useable tools, able to make nets and continue on as part of the fishing industry. They now have a new weight however, they feel heavy to handle and work with and act as a reminder to the user of the value the process they are carrying out holds.

I made two in bronze and one in copper. The net needles have been polished to a high shine finish but over time due to being handled, used and exposed they will age and take on their own natural patina.

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As well as my three net needles I cast seven haddock skins in bronze.

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Through the casting process I wanted to explore the skins’ rich textures. For these skins I used a lost wax and ceramic shell process which meant I could burn out the original skins and wax runner system, leaving a hollow mould for pouring the metal into. I had to learn to let go of some control when making these casts, each piece was so different and somewhat of an experiment. The skins were thin and delicate, meaning there are some irregularities to the finished casts. A couple are as the skins were, some have holes, some are missing the flick of a tail. Each has a slightly different texture, some showing the true shape of the scales, some forming their own varied surface.
Later this year these casts will be naturally patinated in the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Newfoundland.

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The casts remind me of landscapes, looking down on topographies from above. Small islands in their own right.

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These casts along with other work by Jane Walker and I will be exhibited at Eastern Edge Gallery, Newfoundland 16 September – 11 October.

The production of this work was partly funded by Shetland Arts and Creative Scotlands ‘Visual Art and Craft Award’.

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