In April this year, to further my work with precious metals and Cornish tin, I undertook an artists residency on the dramatic and beautiful West Cornish coast – the area which is the source of my tin and inspiration.
As a result of spending time in and around the mines, my work entitled ‘The Mine Beneath the Sea’ was formed. It will be exhibited for the first time in the Best of the Best section at Art in Action.
The Levant tin and copper mine ran out over a mile beneath the sea, and to depths of 600 meters. Miners were able to hear the waves crashing and the sea rolling boulders and rocks above them when they were working.
On October 20th 1919, the miners were making their way to the surface at the end of their shift, when the antiquated and poorly maintained ‘man engine’ they were being transported on broke. 31 miners were killed and the operation to rescue survivors took five days.
I crafted the wire wave sculpture (which can also be worn as a cuff) from recycled silver. During my residency I spent a lot of time with the sea on that coast – it was stormy and I took to ‘drawing’ the wave shapes with wire, it was a more immediate way of capturing their energy than pencil and paper (and it didn’t matter if it got wet!).
Hanging from the wave is a chain necklace entitled ‘The Edge of the World’. To make the chain, I alloyed Fairtrade & Fairmined 18ct red gold – the red colour reflects the red of the rock and mud from the mine. There are 31 links, in memory of each of the miners who lost their lives. I forged the shapes from square wire and added a simple loop at each end to link them. The necklace falls inside the plinth where, at the base, is a Kerensa Surf pendant of silver and Cornish tin. In presenting the necklace in this way I hope to portray a little of how it feels to stand at the top of a mine shaft.