The work here is developed from my interest in Rubislaw Quarry in Aberdeen, which is the biggest man made hole in Europe. It explores the depth of the water-filled quarry, something which is very hard to grasp when standing in front of. I made two replicas of a very old sledge hammer, which had been used at the quarry. I carved one in cork, exactly the same size as the original, which would float,
and cast the other in lead, which would sink. They hold the same image and form and weigh exactly the same but differ greatly in scale.
I have metaphorically given an old tool, which had played a part in creating the void at the quarry a new function as a measuring device.The lead hammer was spooled down into the water, symbolically back into time and into a space which has not seen the light of day for many years. Once the lead hammer hit the bottom, the cork replica was attached to give an exact measurement of 142 meters (77.6 fathoms); the time it took to hit the bottom being 2.29 minutes. The cork bobbing on the surface like a half remembered memory in this huge expanse of water, and the smaller lead hammer submerged, and connecting to the ground deep under water.
I like the idea of bringing a physical measurement into the gallery space, and implying that the tool could be used in a different context to maybe explore another space and make comparisons. I enjoy the reality and the granite hard fact of measurement, and the endeavour in trying to get things right. The metaphors which inhabit the work I believe tell a story.
RUBISLAW, ABERDEEN 2014
Cork, Lead and String- 70 x 24cm
Above: Data from a Bathymetric survey carried out at the quarry in 2012. From this data I have been able to 3d print a two-scale model of the negative space within the quarry, representing the volume of water which has filled the quarry since it's closure in 1971.
I'm currently in the process of creating symmetrical versions, voluminous in form which would float and act as a buoy. A buoy for Rubislaw.