Juliette Bigley

Metalsmith

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Thinking through making (Ingold):

from experiment to piece


The story of Four Bowls

Four Bowls began with a friend: teaching ourselves to make two-part moulds in plaster, I became more interested in the material than I was in making moulds.

I began to tape together styrene sheet into forms, attach them to a baseboard with clay, and pour in plaster.

The immediacy of making a substantial and robust form quickly (metal is a slow material and making forms is very time-consuming) really appealed to me, as did the solidity of the models both in themselves and in comparison to other modelling materials.

The the actual material - the feel of mixing it together and the change in consistency as it begins to set – was compelling as was the mixture of control and unpredictability in both the method and the final outcome.

The faint lines that appeared on the models where the styrene joined had an eloquence about them that resonated with me.

This led me to explore the subject of  lines through photography, drawing and modelling as well as casting more pieces.

I chose two models to interpret in metal and made a number of models. Producing these quickly over the period of a week made them the product of action rather than analysis, generating unexpected forms and ‘happy accidents’.

Selecting one of these and developing its form in both paper and metal led to new shapes and, finally the filling in of the sides to produce both hollow and outline forms and the design of the final piece.

Thinking Through Making

Thinking through making uses the act of making to explore, develop, clarify and articulate thoughts.

Throughout my practice I have observed the power of tacit knowledge: knowledge that “adhere[s] so closely to the … practitioner as to remain out of reach of explication or analysis” (Ingold, Making, p. 109).

It is a state where ‘we can know more than we can tell’ and much of my practice has been concerned with finding ways to unlock this knowledge.

Thinking through making is an umbrella term that allows for conversations between maker, material and form to produce artefacts that express and explore the tacit and articulated knowledge that characterises the work and gives a maker their voice.