Monica Findlay (she/her)
Incorporation of Hammermen Prize
Traces is an ongoing body of work that is informed by the material presence of the past. Curiosity for generational relics, as evidence of lived experiences, influence these designs, and each piece aims to evoke a sense of antiquity. Tactile techniques place emphasis on the interrelation between memory and object, testing the possibility to trigger nostalgia through manipulated materials. Etched textures and delicate wirework replicate and emulate inscribed memories. Embossed traces convey the absence of passing objects that once were in contact with the surface; “it is in this gap between resemblance and identity that nostalgic desire arises. The nostalgic is enamored of distance, not of the referent itself. Nostalgia cannot be sustained without loss.” (Susan Stewart, 1984). Precious and non-precious metals emphasise habitual traces that are often overlooked, encouraging tactile and emotional engagement, extending curiosity from maker to viewer. Bringing together storytelling and archaeology, this collection explores tangible remains, their surface qualities as important signifiers or touchstones of memories both ancient and modern.
Portfolio on request.
Traces // Inspiration
Documenting my grandfather’s empty workshop. Completely handbuilt, this hut references my grandfather’s craftmanship in its entirety. Belongings are cleared from the shelves, yet the space is packed with traces of the material past:
Negative space where tools once filled the walls; hand inflicted marks on surfaces; scuffs on the floorboards that shuffle from the door, to the window and back to the bench. From the handbuilt structure to the habitual scuffs of projects gone by, traces insight a well-used space; full of memories.
Traces // Struck
This piece is inspired by material narratives. This wooden mould was once a much-loved garden tree, brought down after being struck by lightning. The process explores force and impact – the molten metal strikes the mould, as the lightning once stuck the tree, leaving behind an immediate and tangible token of the memory. The tree decays, the precious metal remains, carrying with it traces of the material past.
Traces // Chain Collection
I spent this year grieving the loss of two people that were dear to me. While in lockdown, I began observing inherited belongings in a new way, experiencing their potential to evoke nostalgic associations. I found solace in the material past, appreciating tarnished heirlooms and worn surfaces as tokens of my loved ones lived experiences, touchstones of their memory. I have been working on translating this into metal using various techniques, such as embossed traces and patina, to encourage tactile and emotional engagement from the viewer. Grief and bereavement are feelings that far too many have become familiar with over the pandemic. My collection responds to these feelings, allowing me to acknowledge, unpack and tangibly make sense of them. Below is a series of narrative chains to be exhibited together. Initial chain – becomes cyanotype print – transient shadows of the original links inform the next neckpiece. A conversation continues between metalwork and cyanotype, allowing consecutive works to carry subtle traces of their forebearers. This series is a comment on intergenerational relationships and their tangible impact on our lives.
Traces // Impressions Chain
The ‘Impressions’ chain is a traditional interlocking chain that acts as the blueprint for this collection. These forms are abstracted as the cyanotype prints become less apparent. This chain explores overlooked details; therefore, subtleties define this design. Each link is carefully reworked to enhance the point of contact between connecting components. Using controlled impact on overlayed links to leave subtle impressions on each, I have tried to exaggerate the temporal characteristics of a well-used artefact. Inspired by the habitual traces objects gain through use, this chain emphasises the idea that tiny marks, scratches, and scuffs (often overlooked) contextualise lived experiences.
Traces // Shadow
tracing the shadow forms of ‘Impressions chain’ with 2mm copper wire, this chain will be composed of ‘fragmented’ links. The traced shapes will be press-formed for strength, then forged to achieve varying thicknesses echoing with the transcience of the shadow. Connected together with loose rivets to allow for movement. All chains in the proposed exhibition to be of the same scale – 2 meters to create an A1 print.
Traces // Hidden Beneath
Work in Progress // Third chain in the series // this chain follows a lighter shadow, a print that is hard to decipher. I plan to bring structure to these marks using cylindrical forms. At a glance, the links are hidden, but as the light catches the embossed traces, the subtleties are revealed.
This design is brought to life when worn as movement reveals the inner workings—flashes of blue and gold contrast the oxidised exterior, encouraging a closer look. The components are threaded along a blue cord, referencing the cyanotype process used to generate my designs. Hidden beneath each link is 24-carat gold gilding, which beautifully glows in the light. The inner details tease at this chain’s value – emulating the sentimentality of heirlooms beyond their temporal tarnish. This golden gilding communicates the idea that our belongings have a deeper, hidden preciousness.
Traces // Box Collection
excavation box // impressions chain // surface qualities
Traces // Solace
The unique and extreme aspects of the Scottish climate leave material traces alongside human impacts on the landscape of the country, producing geological markers: scree, schist, fissures, and fractures as ‘rock defiant against frost and the old grinding of ice ‘(Nan Shepherd, 1934) performs its temporal permanence. These jewellery pieces explore tangible remains, their surface qualities as important signifiers or touchstones of memories. Timeless forms and rock hammered surfaces pair together to emulate nostalgic associations in the everyday.
Photographed in collaboration with Solace, a Glasgow based slow fashion brand with a focus on therapeutic processes.