Ochrolechia

Necklace

Ochrolechia 'Crabs Eye Lichen'

My hand holding a necklace cut from a stone cut from the landscape of home 200 years apart.

 My great grandfather worked at the pavement works during the early 1900s. The machines used to cut stone then comprised of wooden batons that rubbed sand back and forth to wear a grove into slabs. These paving stones have been used to pave cities all round the world including Edinburgh's Royal Mile where I studied at ECA, the feeling of knowing I was walking over these stones whilst living away from home, had a mild sense of calming on my homesick mind.

I moved back to Caithness after nearly 20 years away. The local landscape was so familiar and I struggled to accept why I had never appreciated the beauty and uniqueness of the wild open spaces before. My new home is surrounded by miles of well crafted stonedykes. Gaps are appearing in the walls and these days farmers patch the holes with wire fencing, the craft of drystone building is a dying art.

I spent two years working with caithness stone figuring out this beautiful and frustrating flaky and muddy material, then in 2016 was awarded money to purchase a powerful stonecutting machine.

The stone I carefully picked is covered with the very common Crab's Eye Lichen or Orchrolechia, an indication of the clean air of Caithness.

I like the juxtaposition of the old handcut stone used to make this modern machine cut necklace. The contrast between the monumental weight of stone versus the delicacy of the lacy edging that clings to the fragile edges of the slices. The resin hand is a cast of my own. The necklace is stored outside to allow the lichen to continue to grow.

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  • Ochrolechia 2