Ridge thatching wheat straw, ply and timber frames, lamp shade wire frames, galvanised wire, cable ties, sisal rope, fence paint.
Works developed ireferencing the local thatched church nearby the studio, one of only a few churches to ever be thatched. The finer wheat straw used for the uppermost ridge coverings was sourced from a local thatcher. After studying the methods, tools, and techniques of thatching, work was started with the material to find its possibilities and limitations for use for more temporary sculptural purposes.
Keeping the bulk of the length of each original sheave, the straw was assembled onto a cone form. Outer wire straps were used referencing the more recent technique used, usually hidden under layers of overlapping reed. The concentric circular form was constructed initially expecting the thatch cone to be upright when finished, so treated ply was used. As work progressed, the concentric form became as interesting and contrasting a form.
Birch Tree Spiral
Constructed as a working piece over an Open Studios weekend in 2015, partly to eventually provide some rain shelter for a hole in the trunk of a mature birch tree in the garden. Mini reams of thatching wheat straw were gathered, and after soaking to make pliable, bent and cable tied onto a length of sisal sash cord. The spiral then wound onto the tree, pegged at the base and tied to the first branch.
Lampshade and Rocket Forms
In exploring methods of structuring and assembling the wheat straw, another route was to use alternative frameworks. The wire frames underlying traditional lamp shades were thought of as a possibility. Responding to these new parameters, the straw was interwoven until wedged in between the spaces.
Another two forms were made, with a partial blackening for use in the collaborative work Four Plinths: Plinth People.