CIDA Award Submission

CIDA Award Submission

Bronte Simpson-Little

Smoke Fired Chains

A Link to Traditional Craft

My research began by immersing myself within landscape and making journeys to experience the joys of the natural world. This has been a huge source of inspiration to my work this year. At the beginning of research, I explored the local agriculture across Sussex. I realised that I am intuitively drawn to this natural aesthetic and while on these journeys, I found myself in awe of the astounding beauty and saturation of colour which captured a sense of calm and peacefulness within. I aimed to reflect this sensation in my work and bring an impression of my journeys into my own practice.

Across my journeys, the aimed to capture the beauty of the landscape through photos, videos and journal entries. I was inspired by the cracks of colour that burst through the surface and aimed to reflect that in my work. I sought to capture the essence of my journeys through organic materials and objects, such as seaweed, cuttlefish bones, leaves and imbedded these into my pieces in order to leave an impression of the landscape I had experienced. I aimed to not only reflect the journeys I had made but remind people of their relationship to their environment and encourage them to reconnect themselves to it. 

I continued to develop my project and investigated how organic materials are being incorporated into craft practices. I explored how these crafts are being defined by the landscape and the heritage of the area; making that particular craft unique to that specific location. One of the local crafts I researched was the Sussex Trug; an elongated shallow carrier. The Trug evolved from the Anglo Saxon ‘Trog’ that was used to pick low fruits. Trugs evolved to prevent bruising to the fruit and to suit the local surroundings and therefore became a part of the local heritage

The impact of humanity in natural landscape became apparent during my research in the dictation of human influences I saw across my journeys. A field of wheat is a natural occurring plant but can be controlled by human’s influences. This is similar to the way craft behaves. Some materials are natural,working in tune with the landscape; yet, it’s instigated by that human connection to become a functional and purposeful object. Every fragment of my research involved human connection. My project symbolises the process of hand-making, hand-building and working with the landscape reformed into a physical object. 

Reflecting over the pieces I have made, I am blown away by the beauty that is held within them. The way the smoke firing burnt away the organic materials to reveal the essence of landscape and at the same time, burst an explosion of colour, directly connects to the scenery I experienced while taking journeys across Sussex landscapes. 

I have always loved being outside and involved with nature, and this has subtly been evident throughout my degree. Having grown up learning that natural life is something to cherish and respect, I am naturally drawn to exploring this in my work. In my final year, I wanted to continue this exploration into nature and develop and understanding of the materials that we as a society often take for granted. 

I aimed to take journeys into the natural world around me and record my findings via photo, video and drawings. I am lucky enough to live in a town where the sea walks hand in hand with the countryside, so I had a large diverse palette of nature to choose from. Over the course of my journeys, particular objects became prominent against the backdrop of nature. Recording these moments of emotion, impression and judgements created this documentary of poetic like thoughts about a particular journey on that particular day.

I wanted to expand my knowledge and gain more insight into traditional craft practices. To achieve this, I actively engaged myself in heritage craft environments, attending workshops and work experiences that develop my understanding of heritage crafts. I aimed to celebrate those traditions, raising awareness that some of these craft traditions are at risk of being lost.