Why Artefact Shack?
When I was 7, I remember visiting the British Museum with my big sister, Valerie, she was an artist, who lived and painted in Notting Hill, London in 1970. Amongst the many wondrous objects there in the Museum, I became particularly entranced by the ancient Bronze age artefacts and the Celtic cultures generally. The seed of my fascination was planted here - real treasure. It seemed to me by the earnest age of 11, that there was a clear misrepresentation of the native tribes of these islands, that Savage and Barbarian were the partisan words of those most powerful Empire builders, the Romans, whose own interests were to occupy and control these ancient Britons and the resources of these islands. Already across Europe there was a massive trading network in precious metals and the skills of the blacksmith and the artisan reflected influences from the East and beyond. Bronze and Iron, Silver and Gold. Exquisite adornments and decoration on the equipment of the Northern Tribes, stories in symbols told on Holy Cups and Vessels. This ancient art gives a real sense of the primal and cultural links of a native society to the natural environment that it is part of. My mission was clear, symbols from the past should be celebrated and explored by all. Interlocking spiral forms and key patterns. Part of our ancestral past, the ancient lexicon.
I love these patterns and symbols and I am drawn to them. I have always worked with my hands as a sculptor - carving and modelling in clay and plaster, then mould making and casting, at first making tiles, spiral-forms and sconces, then smaller and finer again, bronzes and then with the help and advice of Jewellers and Artist friends, I began Silversmithing. Cutting and carving wax with an old spirit lamp and simple metal tools, casting in Silver then hand-finishing each piece, so that each is unique and special. Whilst I can admire the precision and intricate skills of the typical high street jeweller, I like to see evidence of the human hand in my artefacts, the irregular, the irrational, a certain primitive charm, which for me is an antidote to the clinical and conventional and sometimes soul-less mass produced product.
This little boutique of unusual objects have evolved over the last 30 years and I hope that others will love them as I do.