Thursday, 29 December 2011

Ideas about material for the Tinsmith workshop commission

Whilst filing the edges of some of my metal gallery pieces over Christmas, I started noticing the beauty of the backs of the pieces; the accidental, or incidental scratches and the unplanned oxidisation of the surface.

This got me thinking about a phrase that kept coming back to me on my visits to the museum; 'Make do and mend'.  The tinsmith not only made new products for customers, but fixed old items too.  When times were hard, nothing could be wasted; copper kettles with holes in were patched up; tin cans, mended.

With this ethos in mind, I thought about using found metal, from around my studio, and perhaps elsewhere if I can find it, to make my commission for the Tinsmith workshop.  If pieces aren't big enough, I can solder sheets together in a patchwork.  As well as perpetuating the make-do and mend ethos, the seams created by soldering metal sheets together, provide an interesting surface texture, and tell the story of the origin of the object's material.  Scratches and oxidisation on the metal's surface echoes the aged and worn objects in the museum collection.

 Here's the back of my gallery-piece, which triggered off my ideas....
 A sketch showing the use of a discarded piece of metal, acid-etched with the surface pattern of a template from the Tinsmith workshop, and cut out to be formed in to a cone-shape.
A sketch showing how metal sheets could be soldered together, then acid-etched and cut out to be formed in to a cone-shape.

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