I am currently showing a new body/piece of work called ‘in to and out of the field’. It’s a piece made up of 92 parts that I have collected on journeys and walks or made back in the studio in reflection…most of these journeys, places and things I have documented here on my blog and so I am beginning a list below of the pieces, where they were found or made and link this to where I have previously documented them on this blog. Hope you enjoy…


In to and out of the field 2013

‘This piece is a collection of pieces that I have found or made and I think of them as describing some sort of journey into the past whilst reflecting into the future. I often use objects as thinking points and so all these objects or paraphernalia have something about them that enables me to develop thinking.

I have mapped out where some of them come from, when they were found or when they were made below and tried to include, where known, who they belonged to.

I use the laying out and moving around of work/objects a great deal in my work – it’s an active thinking process.

The piano tuner.

I did not meet or know the piano tuner. The late father of the friend, some of his materials were given to my partner, David, some years ago. One day, on coming across them I was struck by the beauty and care with which they had been wrapped, stored, sorted, kept and cared for. I often take these things out of their various boxes and wrappings. I sometimes arrange/ rearrange them or use parts of them in my work. I often think about this man I did not know. About his trade, about what he made and repaired. I look at these carefully labelled boxes and their contents and imagine him.

2012-04-19 20.13.54

The jeweller

About 11 years ago when I was working at a London university I received a phone call from a man in Colchester saying that he had a large cache of tools to sell. It turned out that he was a retired professional jeweller who was now dedicated to restoring vintage cars and needed to clear out his old things. I ended up visiting him and of course buying all his tools. Included in this were several boxes of various oddments, tools, scraps, and the beginnings of projects that had never been finished.

During our meeting he told me some stories that have stayed with me – of his days working in Hatton Garden, the centre of London’s jewellery trade and of his move to set up a jewellery shop in Blackheath. Of how, after the second world war, he would re-polish and sell-on sewer finds – cutlery etc and that he and his team would illegally gold plate base metal sovereigns and sell them as gold ones.


Jack Wax and Miyuki

In 2007 I visited Richmond, Virginia to work at Virginia Commonwealth University. It’s an early point when I really started collecting and laying out my finds as part of my work. It probably happened there as the streets were littered with pieces of metal and so I spent a great deal of time picking things up. It didn’t take long to amass a huge collection of pieces from around the streets closest to the University. I extended this process to the Alleys radiating away from there and then began to sift further out through Alleys and streets on visits to friends and colleagues.

On a visit to friends Jack and Miyuki I collected a huge amount of found metal with Miyuki, along the alley at the back of their home – old locks, nails, ring pulls (of various ages and descriptions), paper clips and other paraphernalia. Shortly after returning home I exhibited these pieces in an exhibition called Process Works.

Recently on a visit to the USA, to my surprise and delight, I received a box of new finds from Jack and Miyuki from the same Alley.


Why are these objects and associations important to me and what do they mean in the context of an exhibition about landscape?

I can’t say that I use landscape directly in my work in the way that you may directly recognise a configuration or laying out of a landscape. I do though see landscape as being important in a broader context.

Over time the objects that I collect and make form the back bone of my work and I see the collection and documentation and making from these objects as forming a type of landscape that I navigate daily.


One thing that I find persistently interesting is that many of these objects that I collect were formally part of a different market – commodities, parts of things that have been consumed or the beginnings of things that were made into pieces to sell or used in the construction or mending/repair of something which may now be redundant.

But I don’t see these objects as being redundant… they have become something else.

These objects perform as markers in time, reminders of what was and what can be. In the active moving of these things around, in handling them, in altering and composing with them they are important thinking things. I use them in a hands on way that I know that I could not do if I was just looking at them here in these photographs. Through handling them I know more of them and I hope I can convey that somehow in the work.

In the gallery they again enter a market and I hope too that they can share new meaning as a whole…and in this they are active and somewhat live things that live through my ongoing work’.



1 Washer dryer: Spruce Pines, North Carolina, 2010

2 Enamel, London, 2010

3 Paper, Berlin 2011

4 film, london, 1998

5 Domino, car boot sale Wiltshire, 2007

6 Enamel 2012

7 Pebble, Dungeness beach 2012

8 switch, Dungeness Beach, 2012 https://helencarnac.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/dungeness-2/

9 Burrs, Jeweller Colchester, Essex, 2003

10 plastic, Dungeness 2006

11 whisk, Penland, NC, USA, 2010

12 enamel vessel, london, 2009

13 enamel vessel, london, 2009

14 Wire, Ruthin, 2002

15 Can top, Dungeness, 2010

16 Enamel, Haystack, Maine, USA, 2013

17 Rubber, Dungeness, 2012

18 Pine cone, Dungeness, 2012

19 Paper clip, Berlin, 2011

20 Sand, Campo Bello Island, Canada, 2013

21 Lead, 2010

22 Burr, jeweller, Colchester, Essex, 2003

23 Off cut, 2006

24 Tin from West Norwood, London, 2011

25 Enamel, Seattle, USA, 2011

26 Brush, Dungeness, 2010

27 Staple/pin, Richmond, Virginia, USA, 2008

28 Paper, London, 2011

29 Enamel, Seattle, USA, 201I

30 From the allotment, south London

31 cupcake, West Norwood skip, with wood from Roussillon, France 2012

32 earth from Roussillon, France, 2012, plastic pot from estate of enameller,1998

33 Burr from Jeweller, Cochester, Essex, 2002

34 from Piano tuner/maker’s collection 1990’s

35 old nails, found 1990’s by David

36 Piano tuners/maker’s things 1990’s

37 Piano tuners/maker’s things 1990’s

38 Brush, Dungeness, 2009

39 Part of drive belt, Dungeness, 2009

40 Enamel, London, 2011

41 steel off-cut, 2008

42 off cut

43 Ruler from Tool at hand Exhibition, 2011

44 Found Richmond, Virginia, 2007

45 top of can, Penland NC, USA, 2009

46 Piano tuner/amker’s parts and found round, Rye Harbour, 2013

47 enamel piece made from drawing, 2011

48 Found metal, Penland North Carolina, USA 2010

to be cont...


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