the allure of things

Can form become more precious than material? For the HS3 Frame Galleries exhibit I have combined some of my Kauri Plate pieces, from the Platina show, with 2 new necklaces made from an unknown wooden bowl. My intention was to extend an earlier exploration from Handshake2 that used the same making process, with slight variances, on different types of discarded wooden objects, to compare their value when made into similar new forms.


Untitled, [2], Necklace, 2017, wooden bowl, vinyl, brass

The biggest question is; are we attracted to form over material or material over form?  Does the viewer consider the materials list over the product/object on show? What happens when you take a precious indigenous material [like Kauri] to another country, does it devalue with the lack of knowledge around the significance of its native environment and history. How does it speak to the pieces it is sitting next to, pieces I have made from wood that have no obvious significance or history? Or is there something naturally sumptuous about the quality of the kauri pieces? Myself as maker cannot ascertain this, for one I am too close to the pieces individually and secondly I have never had them sitting side by side, the viewers of their presentation at HWM get to see this before myself.  Having never had all the pieces together, I have not yet been able to play with their arrangement and it has exacerbated how integral their placement, alongside one another is and how one thing reads off the other when side by side. Playing with images just doesn’t cut it.In the early days of my practice developing, I was, and still am, very interested in the idea that objects are animated; they have a life and we interact with that life. With this life there are degrees of attraction. As I am not in Munich to observe the reactions of the viewer, I am now recognising that an element of voyeurism would be beneficial as I find myself contemplating more questions than answers about what attracts us to things.

the kauri plate 1

The Kauri Plate [1], Brooch 2016, kauri, kauri copal, vinyl, brass

Jane Bennett, a professor of political science uses the term ‘the call of things’, as she discusses the idea of ‘Thing power’ and uses the hoarder as a discourse to explain her theory, suggesting that these people are “susceptible to the enchantment power of things” more so than others. Bennett uses these people to ascertain how things have a mysterious influence over us.

Although Bennett’s context and reasoning for this area of discussion is different from mine, it is still relevant as we are both concerned with what allures people to things. For example when I am beachcombing, I wonder what makes me bend down and pick something up over all the other things on the beach and why do some things make it into my kete and others not.


Untitled [1], Necklace, 2017, wooden bowl, vinyl, brass

And so I still ponder; what determines our attraction or repulsion of inanimate forms? Is our attraction to objects purely personal preference and/or taste, or is it wealth and status?  Then again it could be composition, colour or the details within the construction. Whichever way , this musing will continue and hopefully at some point initiate a more in-depth investigation as to the nature of objects and how they attract and deflect the body in  a similar way that we are attracted to one another as people.

For the time being these questions and paths of my inquisitive mind remain unanswered and may in fact never be answered, but I will continue to consider them as I make and collect.


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