University of Huddersfield
Objects can be classed as a ‘prompt’ to “our conscious lives of inexplicable mysteries which exist…as reminders of people who are absent” (Ash, 1996, p. 220). Objects embody memories for individuals reminding them of special times, people and places. To others this object may have no worth, but in conjunction with a memory adds attachment and value. As a maker my previous work includes a collection of fashion artefacts entitled “Absence” in which each object played with the idea of absence and presence and questions functionality. The process of casting objects in platinum cure silicone then using the mould, as the basis of the finished piece is a technique I have developed, leaving a negative space, but a positive ghost like representation of what once was present, creating a lasting material memory. I am currently creating a series of ten artefacts that capture individual’s lost relationships by fusing memories and existing objects that have become imprinted and embellished with the characteristics of the original owner. The finished artefacts will represent individuals lost love in a material form. My practice develops the use of both traditional leatherwork and silicone moulding techniques in conjunction with modern processes from laser cutting to 3D printing. The N-Exlace was produced as my own personal response to the emotional transfer of memory to artefact and became the first in the series for ‘Making Memories’. Before working with other people’s stories I wanted to use my own experience of a lost romantic relationship to develop process and techniques. Love letters and photographs were rediscovered. Old diary entries were used to provide a contrast between what I’ve deemed the ‘public’ and ‘hidden’ side of the relationship. A locket kept as a memento was used in silicone casting experiments, which produced a ghostly imprinted sphere, signifying the memory of the object. The making process used traditional handcrafts that were labour intensive and physical allowing each stage and memory of the relationship to be considered and processed in turn whilst making. Techniques such as experimental acetone printing left letters and photographs distressed and faded, adding to the feeling of memories being forgotten. Working from instinct the piece took the form of a necklace. Very literal to the cast locket embedded within it but the leather began to symbolise my own skin that had been imprinted with memories, but now had been ‘processed’ so was detached from my own body. Concluding this phase of making allowed me to become fully absorbed in the emotions and feelings of the relationship again, establishing the idea that emotion is transferred from making to artefact. Working with 10 items my process of making comes from my background as a fashion practitioner, where having collected and analysed the 10 selected stories from original interviews, I have developed a series that can be worked on holistically. The story is a constant guide to the making processes leading to developing new techniques and skills within my own practice and inventive outcomes within the series of finished artefacts.