Echoes of Amphora: Column Vessel I/20 thumbnail 1
Echoes of Amphora: Column Vessel I/20 thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery

Echoes of Amphora: Column Vessel I/20

Sculpture
2020
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Eleanor Lakelin is a British artist creating sculptural objects in wood. Trained as a cabinet maker, she uses traditional equipment - woodworking lathe, chisel, gouge - together with modern carving techniques like sandblasting. Ebonising the wood, through scorching, or charring, is an important part of her process too, revealing the grain of the wood as well as giving it new patina and feel.

Lakelin’s ongoing ‘Echoes of Amphora’ series (from the wider ‘Contours of Nature’ series), worked in burr from Horse Chestnut tree, speaks of the porosity between disciplines and the artist’s deep understanding of her material. In her manipulation of material and form, Lakelin works sculpturally within a ceramic idiom, while using furniture-making techniques and referencing architectural structures. This piece also encapsulates the meeting of nature, making and culture. Lakelin uses sustainably-sourced wood, coming from forests all over Britain, specifically trees that had to be felled due to disease or decay. She predominantly works with two species, Horse Chestnut as here, and Sequoia. When working with Horse Chestnut, Lakelin privileges burr, the area of knots and interlocking grain that shows the tree’s stresses and struggles. Working with burr presents particular technical challenges but also aesthetic possibilities. Because of the twisted, knotty grain, it can chip and shatter, but it is also very hard. Through the laborious hollowing, sandblasting, carving, scorching, smoothing, Lakelin in a sense echoes the struggles of the tree during its lifetime. She brings to the fore the inner structure of the wood, usually hidden from view, to reveal the organic beauty of the tree’s anatomy and its chaotic inner life.

Lakelin says: "I’m fascinated by wood as a living, breathing substance with its own history of growth and struggle centuries beyond our own. I’m particularly inspired by the organic mayhem and creative possibilities of burred wood. This proliferation of cells, formed over decades or even centuries as a reaction to stress or as a healing mechanism is a rare, mysterious and beautiful act of nature. The twisted configuration of the grain and the frequent bark inclusions and voids are challenging to work and the forms difficult to hollow but the removal of the bark reveals a secret, ethereal landscape, unseen by anyone before.”

‘Echoes of Amphora, Column Vessel’ collapses natural and human scales of time. Not only does the artist respond to the passage of time through the growth, erosion and decay of the tree itself; formally-speaking, her piece references the 25,000 years old-tradition of making ceramic vessels, and the structure of Greek antique columns, produced in sections.


object details
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Wood sculpture, made of turned and carved Horse Chestnut burr, and titled Echoes of Amphora: Column Vessell I/20, by British artist Eleanor Lakelin (born 1960)
Dimensions
  • Height: 128cm (as provided by the artist)
  • Width: 35cm (as provided by the artist)
  • Depth: 35cm (as provided by the artist)
  • Weight: 38kg
Crate dimensions 52 cm x 52 cm x 142 cm.
Gallery Label
Echoes of Amphora: Column Vessel I/20 2020 Eleanor Lakelin (born 1960) This monumental piece encapsulates the meeting of past and present, nature and culture. The artist breathes new life into antique forms – the vessel, the column – by reimagining them in wood. She uses traditional equipment, including a woodworking lathe, chisel and gouge, alongside modern techniques like sand blasting. Her laborious process echoes and reveals the tree’s growth and struggle, hidden within its burr. England (London) Turned and carved Horse Chestnut burr Purchased with support from the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts Museum no. A.2-2020(07/12/2020)
Credit line
Purchased with support from the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts
Summary
Eleanor Lakelin is a British artist creating sculptural objects in wood. Trained as a cabinet maker, she uses traditional equipment - woodworking lathe, chisel, gouge - together with modern carving techniques like sandblasting. Ebonising the wood, through scorching, or charring, is an important part of her process too, revealing the grain of the wood as well as giving it new patina and feel.



Lakelin’s ongoing ‘Echoes of Amphora’ series (from the wider ‘Contours of Nature’ series), worked in burr from Horse Chestnut tree, speaks of the porosity between disciplines and the artist’s deep understanding of her material. In her manipulation of material and form, Lakelin works sculpturally within a ceramic idiom, while using furniture-making techniques and referencing architectural structures. This piece also encapsulates the meeting of nature, making and culture. Lakelin uses sustainably-sourced wood, coming from forests all over Britain, specifically trees that had to be felled due to disease or decay. She predominantly works with two species, Horse Chestnut as here, and Sequoia. When working with Horse Chestnut, Lakelin privileges burr, the area of knots and interlocking grain that shows the tree’s stresses and struggles. Working with burr presents particular technical challenges but also aesthetic possibilities. Because of the twisted, knotty grain, it can chip and shatter, but it is also very hard. Through the laborious hollowing, sandblasting, carving, scorching, smoothing, Lakelin in a sense echoes the struggles of the tree during its lifetime. She brings to the fore the inner structure of the wood, usually hidden from view, to reveal the organic beauty of the tree’s anatomy and its chaotic inner life.



Lakelin says: "I’m fascinated by wood as a living, breathing substance with its own history of growth and struggle centuries beyond our own. I’m particularly inspired by the organic mayhem and creative possibilities of burred wood. This proliferation of cells, formed over decades or even centuries as a reaction to stress or as a healing mechanism is a rare, mysterious and beautiful act of nature. The twisted configuration of the grain and the frequent bark inclusions and voids are challenging to work and the forms difficult to hollow but the removal of the bark reveals a secret, ethereal landscape, unseen by anyone before.”



‘Echoes of Amphora, Column Vessel’ collapses natural and human scales of time. Not only does the artist respond to the passage of time through the growth, erosion and decay of the tree itself; formally-speaking, her piece references the 25,000 years old-tradition of making ceramic vessels, and the structure of Greek antique columns, produced in sections.

Collection
Accession Number
A.2-2020

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record createdOctober 7, 2020
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