Free as a Bird

Hand forged steel and bag parts

3.2 x 1.4 x 0.2 m

I spent three years training as a blacksmith as a means to gain new skills and develop my art practice.  My interest is in traditional techniques and reusing them in a contemporary manner. This is one of my largest and most complex pieces made on an art residency at Gerfail Yr Ynys, a forge in Wales.

It features over 300 hand forged acanthus leaves, used as feathers on a set of wings. The acanthus leaf is a traditional motif which is commonly seen in iron work throughout history, on gates and other functional or architectural objects. The leaf pattern was found in one of the first books published about blacksmithing. I am interested in repurposing these time old methods and using them sculpturally, in ways a traditional blacksmith may not consider.

The wings are part of a series which adapts human clothing as if to transform the wearer in to a bird. However the weight of each makes them impossible to wear, humorously contradicting there very nature.