Harry Fletcher & Jimbo Adams
Fletcher & Adams began working collaboratively as students on BA (Hons) Fine Art at Kingston University, London, graduating in 2015. Throughout September and October 2015 they worked closely with the London Bronze Casting team to bring their winning Ingot Prize Proposal to life. Here, Fletcher & Adams talk about the experience.
‘The idea for our work began with the study of coral reef depletion, specifically under the influence of Acanthaster Planci - the 'Crown-of-Thorns' sea star. After humans, the Crown-of-Thorns is the biggest depleter of coral reef, reproducing and feeding at a rate that has resulted in sustained culling of the coral.
What initially began as a concrete based sculptural idea was elaborated by the potential of incorporating bronze through the Ingot Prize. Our proposal was to create a singularly-cast concrete coral reef studded with bronze-cast sea stars, amalgamating the textures and colours of precious metals with building materials to create a visual metaphor for the behaviour, fragility and destructive correspondence of these creatures.
In preparation for our invitation to cast the bronze urchins at London Bronze Casting's Farnham foundry, we worked to create an assortment of models out of clay and balsa wood for casting, but in hindsight, the advantages of working from scratch at the foundry was inevitable. The difference between working alone with basic tools in a garage creating models and working with casting experts with a wealth of material and equipment at our disposal means that our preparation (a few models and a decomposing specimen) became only relevant for fleeting reference.
We drew out rough outlines of the sea stars onto the prepared casting sand before carving straight in, forming our casts gesturally. This departure from our initial considerations of casting prepared models and would ultimately inform the resulting sculptures with individuality without becoming overwrought or over thought. There was no time to think; the entire process was condensed over two days, from scratch.
Sculpting a specimen that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes allowed us to combine careful and calculated casting methods with rudimentary carving techniques. The carefully balanced mixture of sand, resin and carbon dioxide that formed our carvable sand was shaped and extracted using little more than a tablespoon and a drill.
On reaching the eventual pour, we realized that no amount of YouTube viewing could prepare us for watching and feeling bronze turn from solid ingots to a flowing and molten mass, entering the moulds prepared with our hands. Placing the emptied crucible away and waiting for the pulsating, red bronze to cool down was both a relief and a source of overnight anxiety, though it was nothing compared to the moment of hammering the bronze out from those moulds.
However, to yield results of greater success than we could ever have imagined is testament to the patient guidance and help we were given by a team of enthusiastic experts from the start to the end of the day. We give our endless thanks to Tom Winstanley, Vincent Jack, Derek Bayley and James for allowing us to create our idea.’
Further updates to follow as work progresses.
Fletcher & Adam’s winning piece will be exhibited at Bowman Sculpture, London from 18 - 31 July 2016.