'Mircrocosms' formed part of a larger body of work that was inspired by research into the ideas of Alchemy. I was fascinated by the way in which Alchemists considered the processes of material research as fundamentally connected to the much larger scale of planetary bodies and cosmic features. 

While researching the material qualities of metals in glass and ceramic I found that metals such as cobolt and manganese create bubbles and turbulence within the glass as it is fired.  I wanted to use these qualities to create  miniature turbulent atmospheres that highlighting a relationship between small and large scale events. 

WHITE LEAD - Winner of the Worshipful Company of Tin Workers Competition

For the Alchemists, each of the 7 metal have strong affinities with celestial bodies and each are associated with a particular part of the human psyche. The Alchemist worked through the 7 metals, starting with the base metal lead, to achieve a spiritual enlightenment eventually represented by gold. 

 

Tin was a metal associated with Jupiter, as the biggest planet in the solar system it is characterised as a male patriarchal figure. The ‘jovian’ temperament is expansive and cheerful and can sometimes be described as superficial. Also tin was known for some time as Plumbum Album (white lead) it seemed to be a more perfected form of lead. 

 

Inspired by recent imagery of Jupiter’s swirling clouds and atmosphere I made this object which uses tin to highlight the swirling turbulence of the glass casting process and also to imitate the atmosphere of jupiter. I used tin in porcelain slip as well as glass to create textures and details that are suggestive of a larger cosmic scale. 

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Clare
Flatley