Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cabinet of curiosities

I have long been inspired by the work and collections of American artist Mark Dion. Having seen his 'Tate Thames dig' at the Tate Modern, beautifully displayed in a Victorian collectors cabinet, I have wanted a similar collection myself. I along with all mudlarks and beach combers have one thing in common, the need to scavenge on a river's edge or along the coast line for curiosities. Looking for the unusual, beautiful or just something useful.

Living by the sea and indeed on a small island, my daily dog walks are always spent scrambling over the rocks (if not in the sea) looking for bits and pieces. The weather is changing and finally in November I think we can say good bye to Summer and are due the first of the winter storms and high winds this week, which should produce some big seas. In turn the big waves should wash up a whole treasure trove of driftwood, shells, stones and all manner of things to be gleaned.
My collection is growing fast and is already taking up too much space on my small shelf. I need to make a special display case (probably out of driftwood) to show them off, all lined up neatly. To add to the bits I have found I have also been given some beautiful and unusual pieces that add interest to the collection.

 I have a whale bone, a dragon fly, sea urchin shells, cowrie shells, stones with holes in, heart shaped stones, egg shells dyed with plant dye, a fossil cockle, a sharks tooth, a mother of pearl fish, a manilla (slave currency  in the form of a bronze bangle) and 3 buddha's, one ivory (old), one jade and one sandlewood.

My textile hanging is coming along. I have been working on it for nearly a month now. Every day I spend a couple of hours sewing. I love it. Very medatative ! I am not rushing to finish. I have now sewn down all the edges and will soon begin to work on the detailing. A little gold silk has crept into the gaps, I guess in the style of  Kintsukuroi - mending with gold-


I have used scraps of vintage linen, embroidered cotton, silk, handmade gozitan lace and many other collected textiles. I love the way there is no order to it, it's very intuitive and very wabi-sabi.

Next project, I have some suitable china to use for this !