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Cairns’ interest lies in exploring his relationship with the environment, materiality and recycling. His source materials are the found objects that he photographed and collected while walking in the varied environments of the County Down coast, the Holywood Hills and the streets of Belfast.
He combines these objects with silver and its associated forms to translate those experiences into relatable physical forms. Cairns photographed points of interest and collected found objects on his walks. He selected a set of objects and then played with drawn shapes to find forms that complement them. He began with two-dimensional mark making, which looks at abstract forms set beside the finds. These were then developed into three-dimensional components in silver, with thought given to depth, weight, tone and texture, to make them ‘physical material’ drawings.
Next he developed the element that connects the found and the fabricated pieces, which are then bound together with fine coloured linen thread. Finally he set out the series so that each element interacts with the others. Silver was used as a means of material drawing through hammering, milling, oxidisation and raw solder joins.
Stuart Cairns ‘To Make a Thing’ Utensil, Silver, Found Objects, Linen Thread, Hallmarked London 2015