I thought I’d add a little entry here to explain the evolution of the Pomarius studio and the decision to delineate its development from my broader practice. I settled on the title ‘On Beginnings’ for this post since the very first proto-Pomarius works also timed with my decision to commit to bronze as a medium and a process.
The first incarnation of the work was the outcome of a residency with a walled garden in East Anglia; this, and playing with the casting process as an apprentice in an atelier-style studio.
I’ve since coined a phrase to describe the furious experimentation and obsession with the transformative properties of bronze that tends to bewitch individuals who begin casting. The ‘Midas effect’ in the early days bronze casting has you measuring the possibility of any material or object as potential cast. Around working for the artist training us, myself and another member of the workshop were running a home-made furnace and kiln on the side. We cast moss, dead fledglings, tree bark, stones, and fabrics amongst other things. (This article in The Learned Pig describes the process of casting a pig's head for an installation at Battersea Arts Centre - possibly the peak in a list of bizarre direct cast experiments and outcomes: http://www.thelearnedpig.org/bitumen-and-pork/2328) I was particularly taken with the large fig tree growing out the front of the space and began testing casts of figs from this too.
These experiments timed around the residency and it seemed that a shift in material status would be the perfect means to make explicit the value of the historic and much loved place.
Along with my experimental casting partner, the artist Freddy Morris, we have since made the move to our own studio and foundry space, Riggle Street. This is the centre for all the casting work myself and Freddy undertake. We run a workshop programme delivering casting workshops (The Portable Foundry Project) and continue to produce our own work alongside casting services for other artists.
With respect to Pomarius - having repeated this initial means of responding to the project of other people’s gardens and restored estates, I decided to outline Pomarius as a studio of its own. My other sculptures differ in aesthetic, working with a similar process of direct casting, but ultimately resulting in a very different description of a place as final piece of work. There was still so much scope in plant and produce variety and in locations to be explored with Pomarius. Equally, so much more to learn from those who have dedicated themselves to a far greener skill set than my own.
With this in mind, I decided to define Pomarius as its own craft-design studio, to ensure conceptual clarity and aesthetic consistency within the works.
For more information on my broader practice, see www.aliceandreaewing.com
The Portable Foundry Project website is www.theportablefoundryproject.co.uk