As a child I was drawn to collect things that repulsed others and provoked a visceral response, such as snails and seaweed. My investigation Slippery Ground connects to this childlike fascination with the tactile and sensory qualities of materials. Inheriting a Victorian seaweed album drove me to research the history and context of 19th Century seaweed collecting.  There is a sense of a continuum for me as a female artist, as the practice of seaweed collecting was dominated by women, giving them rare access to scientific enquiry in the Victorian period. In Slippery Ground I have adopted the role of researcher and collector, creating a personal taxonomy of seaweed.

 

The collection incorporates work from direct observation, memory, and my responses to archival seaweed albums. The materials: inks made from seaweed, Jurassic mud, rust; connect to sites on the Dorset coast where I have collected. My development of pigments from seaweed has been a process of trial and error, leading to more intuitive approaches and tacit knowledge. The transformative processes used feel like a form of alchemy. The work is an invitation to look closely, investigate, and engage with childlike curiosity.

 

Website: www.claudiadharamshi.com

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