THE WEIGHT OF SALT
Wool cloth and thread incasing salt blocks. 2019
THE WEIGHT OF SALT a sculptural installation, has grown out of my interest in the women of the fishing communities of the North East. These women self reliant and self governed within communities such as Cullercoats, gutting fish, baiting lines, their fingers wrapped in rags to protect them, also found time to express their sense of self. The women found an individual autonomy in the smallest detail of the clothes that they wore, even in the most difficult of circumstances an element of singularity emerged.
This floor work seeks to conceptualise some small part of the autonomy these women forged for themselves with in a contemporary context.
20 blocks of salt each the uniform size of a brick are wrapped in wool cloth. The folds and pleats mimicking the designs created by the fisherwomen on their own skirts and held together using the traditional herringbone stitch.
The cold wet and inhospitable lives that the women bore is emphasised in this work as the wrapped blocks are left in water. The moisture wicks through the fabric, dissolving the salt. The water saturated with this salt eventually evaporating.
Finally the salt dries and reforms on the outside of the cloth creating unique patterns across the surface.
Each pattern born form the uniformity of the salt block is as individual as a snowflake, as individual as the women themselves.