Gog & Grindstone

About the piece

My House Mill-inspired piece is called ‘Cog & Grindstone’. This piece is based on three key words that resonated with me whilst on a tour of the mill – History, Industry, Productivity.

I was particularly interested in the fact that this mill had its beginnings in the 18th century, and that it was a pivotal place for the production of food, as well as gin. What struck me were the muted colours of age – rusty steel, discoloured faded timber, dusty grey stones and brick, and the sense of history that was evoked.

Walking through the 18th century walls of the Mill House, there was no shortage of inspiration. I would say that the strongest element was the circle because of its holistic representation – the waterwheel, the grindstones, the gears and their cogs, and less literally the whole cycle of production from the grain growing on the farmers’ land, being transported to the mill, pulverised into flour and shipped out to the bakeries, made into bread, eaten by the people (and the farmer himself!). For me, the gears and cogs represent this entire chain of events and leave me imagining all the people involved, working in sync like a well-oiled machine. This was an aspect that was poignant for me. Underlying all of this was the harnessed power of water, which was central to the mill’s production process.

With this piece, I chose to reflect the aspect of ‘industry’ hence the rusty copper in the shape of gears and the grindstone pattern etched into the metal, the use of rope for the necklace and a bolt for the closure at the nape of the neck. I found this to be more beautiful than having a highly polished traditional piece of jewellery. My intention was for my piece to speak about the milling industry and the force of the water that powered it. I particularly like the irony of the water that looks deceptively delicate in my piece, in contrast to the oxidised ‘time-worn’ metal, leaving the viewer with the suggestion of water’s hidden intrinsic power.

Cog & Gindstone

Cog & Gindstone
Photograph: Alexey Moskvin

Cog & Grindstone in situ as The Mill House Photograph: Enzo Mercedes

Cog & Grindstone in situ as The Mill House
Photograph: Enzo Mercedes

Cog & Grindstone neckpiece

Cog & Grindstone neckpiece

The making

The photos below show the process of making Cog & Grindstone. A little ‘behind-the-scene’ glimse.

Initial sketching

Initial sketching

Exploring

Exploring

SAM_0689

Mocking it up in paper

Mocking it up in paper

Getting the composition right

Getting the composition right

Work at the bench

Work at the bench

Marking and preparing the grindstone pattern for etching

Marking and preparing the grindstone pattern for etching

Working out the water component

Working out the water component

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