Walnut Shell Art Installation – concepts

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The thought process behind my ‘box’ which I completed for Tim Ilife’s multi-artist installation (see Blog entry 2.3.17 “in our minds there are many rooms…”) contained several threads.

Having a mature walnut tree in our garden sparked the initial thread of interest, seeing how each nut and shell was similar yet quite different from the next one. As with everything in nature, no two walnuts are identical. On researching the history of walnuts I became intrigued that in Victorian times the reassembled shells were used to pass secret messages and love tokens. Further research onto the resemblance of the kernel to the human brain lent itself to being used in this art project about mental health.  I chose to cover the empty pill box in black and white felt – a reference to yin and yang, darkness and light, and padded cells. Before I sealed the interior off I inserted three walnut shells that were filled with screwed up pages from the ‘i’ newspaper from Friday 13th January 2017, and strapped them into the shell halves with strong wire so there was no escape! I then combined concepts relating to Gulliver being tied down on one face of the box with the opposing face featuring a spiders web with its prey wrapped and ready to eat. Strands of copper wire and thread were used throughout. No one but me (and you!) knows what is inside the box making intriguing noises as the box is turned over. This project has intrigued me, such a simple concept but so many different interpretations as the 1000 artists all explore their own “rooms”.  Currently installed until the end of April at Bangor Cathedral, I will keep you posted as it travels to each venue over the coming months.