Stuart Cairns: Influential – Tool Making

In my field option: Drawing as experience, we had a go at making tools to draw with. An artist that was mentioned in this session was Stuart Cairns, this session inspired me to make my own drawing and painting tools from natural objects to use within my subject module where the outcomes has a connection to nature because of the tools it is painted with. I decided to look into Cairn’s work further and see the construction of the tools, and research his ideas as his work is now highly influential to my current subject practice.

“Stuart Cairns works as a silversmith combining natural materials and found objects alongside precious metals to create artifacts in the tradition of tableware and domestic objects”

He does incorporate natural materials into his tool making but this is not the only kind of material he uses. Obviously when using natural materials there is an ephemerality to consider, but i have attempted to preserve the tools by covering them in PVA so I can keep them as part of my body of work. He also draws and paints the tools themselves, this is something I could think about doing, but I’m not really sure what I would gain from it apart from documenting them if they were too ephemeral and I couldn’t keep them even after trying to preserve them.

He also documents the finding of the materials and the walks he goes on etc. His work has inspired me to make my own tools but it has also inspired me to think about documentation more deeply and to document the collection process, walking through nature collecting things to make tools with and to document the making process. 


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