Image by Shannon Tofts
The East Lothian coastline is rife with juxtaposition, in a state of constant flux. The ebb and flow of the tide makes the beach feel monumental in one hour and intimate in the next. During inclement weather sea is violent and foreboding; on a sunny day it is flat, glassy and inviting. Along the shoreline lie bodies of gannets in varying degrees of decomposition, yet in the distance the rocky outcrop Bass Rock is a noisy, undulating mass, home to one of the northern hemisphere’s largest colony of gannets and seething with life.
This dynamic stretch of coast has been the focus of my visual and material research over the last year, which has culminated in the development of my collection. Through drawing and visual research into native seaweeds and kelps I have been exploring my own instinctive inclination towards natural forms. I have been particularly drawn to the gannets I found cloaked in seaweed and washed up on the beach, and their delicate and sinuous bleached bones have informed the shapes which repeat through my work. This visual and material research led to enamelling becoming a key component in this collection. I have aimed to refer to some of the predominant textures and colours of this stretch of shore by setting overfired pieces alongside glossier elements; a reflection of craggy, barnacle adorned rocks and slicks of wet basalt and plant life.
My work has also been influenced by my interest in the Japanese concept of “ma” or the artistic interpretation of negative space, which permeates Japanese culture, both visually and socially; it can refer to a pause in conversation, the gaps between buildings, the negative space between the trees in traditional ink paintings. I hope that the forms that make up my jewellery pieces, which relate to one another but don't quite touch, embody some of this essence.
Despite a challenging year, SilverHub has pushed and supported my development as a maker, and imbued me with new skills to allow me to further explore and develop my ideas. I am looking forward to talking what I have learned during the one-year course with me when I begin my Silversmithing & Jewellery degree at Glasgow School of Art in September.