An installation. Twelve pieces in 999 Fine Silver, 3 different sizes, hooked onto forged iron wires, can be displayed from a ceiling or wall. As seen in the images here, approximate dimensions are Height 110 cm Width 30cm Depth 30cm.
The idea for the piece came about after a visit to the fine Victorian hot house at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, where there is a collection of pitcher plants. These fascinating and strange plants, set against the riveted wrought iron structure, caught my attention. I looked up the Latin name for tropical pitcher plant, ‘Nepenthes’, and discovered that the name was chosen by Linnaeus in 1737 when he compiled his Hortus Cliffortianus and is taken from Homer’s Odyssey. “Nepenthe” literally means “without grief” (ne = not, penthos = grief) and, in Greek mythology, is a drug that quells all sorrows with forgetfulness. In naming the plant Linnaeus said:
‘If this is not Helen’s Nepenthes, it certainly will be for all botanists. What botanist would not be filled with admiration if, after a long journey, he should find this wonderful plant. In his astonishment past ills would be forgotten when beholding this admirable work of the Creator!’.
Later that week with all this fresh in my mind, I happened to read ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and although I think it unlikely that Keats was thinking about Nepenthes plants, I did feel there was a connection of sentiment with Linnaeus, of looking to the natural world to sooth us…
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret…
I wanted to create a piece inspired by the Nepenthes plants, their strange other-worldliness and ability, at least in my case, to take the mind drifting happily elsewhere, or to entice the un-wary into a sweet trap.
Each ‘pitcher’ has been formed on wood to create a natural texture, soldered, riveted, further textured and burnished. They hook simply on to forged and oxidised iron tendrils; the soft finish and pearly-light of the fine silver contrasts with the dark lines of the iron tendrils.