I was very happy to be asked to create a memorial commission using fragments of mining waste (slag). These metal disks were too fragile to be handled and were kept in a drawer, as the client showed them to me she talked of memories of her mum being smitten by them in the Blue Hills Tin Mining shop and even returning to get more even though the drive down to the mine was perilous for one afraid of heights. We talked about creating something that allowed them to be seen, admired and stories to be remembered and recounted.
Hallam & Hockey (2001) argue that the use of objects is central to how people’s grief and practices are presented, performed and understood. My own experiences bear witness to this. The use of objects is central to how people’s grief and practices are presented, performed and understood (Hallam & Hockey 2001). Objects and relationships can be viewed as integral and inseparable (Miller 2009: 280) and there is a reflexive dance between people creating objects and the objects providing the particularities of human experience (Appardurai 1986).
We decided I would make a sculptural hanging that could be placed on an interior door. I didn’t want to cast the disks in glass as I knew the kiln heat would effect the visual array of colours held within the different metals present, it was important to preserve them as they are. I decided to use crystal clear resin that would allow the disks to be viewed from both sides and designed a simple hanging system of incorporated copper loops and brass split rings to allow for inconsistencies in the size of the disks. I used soft silicone moulds to achieve soft edges that worked better with the irregularities. I held them within a frame of varnished old copper pipe so the door can be opened and closed without risk to the piece. I am so pleased with the result and the client loves how “they look like they are set in ice”
These delicate objects can now be viewed and admired without damage, the memory of their collection reimagined.
Appardurai, A. (1986) The Social Life of Things. 1988 2nd Ed, Cambridge University Press.
Hallam, E. & Hockey, J. (2001) Death, Memory and Material Culture. UK: Berg.
Miller, D. (2008) The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press.