‘Utopian Realism’ is an exploration of rural utopianism, idealism and industrialism in the North East of England and Mid Wales by the artists Mair Hughes and Bridget Kennedy.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pineapple in Progress

As we are revving up to production mode for the 'Late Shows' exhibition in May, I made a return visit to The Mining Institute with the express purpose of making a mould of a crystal pineapple. This Victorian lamp base, resembling a stylised pineapple, is one of a set of about 12 that originally lit the library when electric lighting was introduced. No longer in use, but still a beautiful artefact, I decided to reimagine it as a sculptural piece to hang again, as the original lamps did, from the 39 foot ceiling.
The process of making the silicone and plaster mould took a week, but happily the original emerged unscathed and I've now transported the mould back to my studio, ready to start work on some pineapple shaped offspring.

Fake Fire

One idea that's stayed with me since our visits to the Mining Institute is the idea of making a sculpture for the Lecture Theatre that plays on our obsession with the coal fire hearth, and the ways we've tried to recreate that visual focal point even when heat is generated electrically.
The glow of the electric filament is an inadequate replacement for the mesmerising experience of gazing in to the flames, which explains the wide variety of simulation coal fires available, and the wide range of flicker flame lightbulbs designed to imitate the form of the candle flame and it's irregular and agitated projection of light
My plans for this piece are in the early stages, but my enthusiasm has been stoked (ahem) by theatrical tricks and effects, so it seems like a good time to get hold of some of these materials and start experimenting...