research

my research is concerned with place, fragment, memory, history and folklore…

The final fifteen sculptures in the Wood & Stone project.  I am indebted to the work of R. Morton Nance for drawing my research interest to the history and construction of the killick. I have now made fifteen sculptures, based on these pleasing functional objects, using found materials from the shore and moorland of Cornwall, to match the number of films and poems in the project and reference the fifteen bezants, which appear frequently in the heraldry of Cornwall. See ARTISTSPRESS for details of publications

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Wood & Stone – the tenth sculpture in this project, made from oak trimmings found by the studio and a stone that found me…

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Sculptures inspired by research into ancient anchors (killicks – see the work of R. Morton Nance) here are some I have made to date – many are also associated with short film-poems and all of them combine materials from the moor and the shore of Cornwall, except the first one, which I made at the Gaia Trust from Devon cob…

 

 

Making Light Work, 2018                              St Anthony Head

We carry rucksacks, bring something of ourselves, and make artwork, short films and written material, during and following our time in these special places.

 

The Lighthouse came into operation in 1835 and switched from Argon Lamps to Paraffin and then to electricity in 1954. We decided to respond to the site by making artwork from sunlight, using a printmaking/early-photographic cyanotype process. [Please see Background Notes, below, for more information about Cyanotypes]

We considered a range of objects from which to print and wanted them to be relevant to the St Anthony Head site. As St Anthony was patron saint of lost objects and miracles, among other things, we agreed to make our prints from found objects, principally flora and detritus from cliff and shore…

A short film from this residency, Bluebells at St Anthony, which includes some of the outcomes from our work: https://youtu.be/X_4IDtnokX4

Background notes:

John Herschel (1792-1871) discovered the actual process of making cyanotypes in 1842. His work influenced the botanist and photographer Anna Atkins (1799-1871) who used the cyanotype process to illustrate books on ferns, flowers and algae from 1843 onwards. In 1839, she became a member of the Botanical Society in London, one of the few scientific societies that were open to women.

A cyanotype is made by placing the object to be printed on paper treated with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and exposing it to sunlight. The paper is then washed in water, leading to the uncovered areas turning vivid blue.

Susan & Philip Bennetta – artists working as volunteers at National trust sites around the main headlands of Cornwall. This is their second year at the Former Paraffin Store, St Anthony Head; other sites include the Net Loft, Polperro and The Watch House, Dodman Point and previous collaborations range from an installation in an Allotment Shed, to a year-long project on the White Cliffs of Dover. They live and work on Bodmin Moor and will be part of Open Studios, Cornwall, 2019.

Figure in Bracken, 2017 is the third in a series of short films made following short term residencies with the National Trust, at headland sites in Cornwall.
This short film is made at The Watch House, a National Trust building and site at Dodman Point, Cornwall, also referred to as The Dodman and The Deadman.
“We carry only what will fit in our rucksacks, travelling lightly, sensitive to the building, place, folklore and history. We do not want to pre-define our response as ‘exhibition’ so how shall we respond to this National Trust site and building…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArCbw53MVYI figure in bracken

A second short film, from my time at the Paraffin Store, this one is a film-poem…

 

Making Light Work, 2017 – a short-term joint residency,   based at the National Trust’s “Former Paraffin Store to the Lighthouse” at St Anthony Head, Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall (May 13-19 2017)

Work at many levels: the notion of light to dark, given current world events, including those close to home; of how this small building safely stored and held the potential for making light, so that those at sea could be forewarned of hazard and potential danger. The idea of travelling lightly meant organising both research and process in consideration of what could be carried to and from the site in a small rucksack.

Given these train of thought and having some previous experience of printmaking and photographic techniques, the use of a natural sunlight seemed appropriate as one response using a Cyanotype process for Making Light Work. (These can be viewed under work for exhibition/sale)

A range of objects from which to print had to be relevant to our project and St Anthony (patron saint of lost objects and miracles, among other things) came to the rescue and prints were taken from found objects, principally flora and detritus from cliff and shore, as a response to place, history and folklore.

The paraffin was stored in containers on stone slabs and these now bore the marks of the containers being moved. I photographed these areas and make rubbings of those surfaces that attracted me. I used photographs of the stone slabs in the film (see below)

I filmed much of the journey to and from the paraffin store and photographed detail of the store itself and surrounding areas, with many photographs and much video footage which I have trimmed down and made into a 2.5 minute film. The film includes original music played on guitar which was recorded during the residency; making light work…

 

 

Notes on killick project which references some of the work of R. Morton Nance.  A series of recent “killick” (one of the Cornish names given to an ancient anchor for a small boat) made from wood and stone; objects found on the shores and moors of Cornwall and now available on loan for exhibition purposes.

 

 

 

Two short film/poems are also associated with the “killick” project, see below

https://vimeo.com/214040668

https://vimeo.com/213427191

 

Notes on: Open Studios, Cornwall, 2016 included research-based work for the expanded painting, two publications, Home by Different Ways, a joint collection of artwork and poetry and coat peg world, a series of monotypes and poem.

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readings from coat peg world also feature in the film response to place and detail of individual monoprints, also below

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Notes on a short-term joint residency at the Net Loft Polperro, 2016

Work made includes a short film, Response to Place,  a series of thirty monotypes on wood and a large expanded painting…

 

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