Each guest at the recent 'Water' weekend had been encouraged to bring an object or image about water to discuss in small groups on arrival. Maps of Fair Isle fishing grounds, a fishing reel, an early engraving of a boat, paintings of fish - underwater and on the table, poems, charts of the sea and maps of the sea, as well as personal reflections on the sense of freedom associated with being in or on water: swimming, sailing - were shared.
Preoccupied with housekeeping and organisation (unnecessarily as the Ardtornish team had all things running beautifully from the outset) I failed to share my offering. This was a photograph of a beautiful, silver cup, made in 2006 by Sheffield silversmith Maria Hanson. I had seen the maker talk about the work at an event in Middlesborough earlier in the week. This is the image; and this is what she said:
Water is the source of all life and its rituals. WaterRing is designed as something precious, intimate and utilitarian. It's an object for wear and use to be handed on through generations. Making the shape was informed by many things. The simple cylindrical form echoes the 'can' that most basic of vessels. It makes associations with military cups: precious objects carried by soldiers in combat during the first and second world wars. The choice of chain echoes the chain found on company ID cards: large offices are the primary places for water dispensers with disposable cups. Silver makes it precious and lasting: can it also be everyday and ordinary?
I was thinking about the responsibility we should all have for the environment and the waste that we create; the money and resources that we spend on disposable cups.
Can we change the way we think through what we make?