Challenging Materials

Back in the 80s I came across a book entitled Africa Adorned which I really should have bought. In it were a number of images of West African shaman wearing robes covered in oxblood red leather amulets – filled with prayers, herbs, and the unknown. Some images are never forgotten. These porcelain amulets filled with promises to protect, and studded with nails and desires, bring to mind traditional Catholic votives. I love playing with dreamy qualities of ‘otherness’, maybe promoting another version of culture, belief, folklore, and rituals. This can also involve challenging materials to destruction – kiln firing nails and found metal to melting point or beyond – experimenting with matter to achieve what you didn’t expect is part of the adventure.

Images: Robin Shelton Photography and Alison Brown