To further my work with precious metals and Cornish tin, I undertook an artist’s residency at Brison’s Veor in April – the area is the source of my tin and inspiration.

Erica at Cape Cornwall

My work entitled ‘The Mine Beneath the Sea’, began forming from sketches, sculptures and experiences during those weeks. It is a reflection of how  it feels to be in that place, its heritage, natural beauty and a memorial to lives lost in a mining disaster.

The Levant tin and copper mine ran out over a mile beneath the sea, and to depths of 600 metres. Miners were able to hear the waves crashing and the sea rolling boulders and rocks above them when they were working.

On October 20th 1919, the miners were making their way to the surface at the end of their shift, when the antiquated and poorly maintained ‘man engine’ they were being transported on broke. 31 miners were killed and the operation to rescue survivors took five days.

During my residency I spent a lot of time with the sea on that coast – it was stormy and I took to ‘drawing’ the wave shapes with wire, it was a more immediate way of capturing their energy than pencil and paper (and it didn’t matter if it got wet!).

wave inspiration

wire wave

I crafted the wire wave sculpture (which can also be worn as a cuff) from recycled silver.

Hanging from the wave is a chain necklace entitled ‘The Edge of the World’. To make the chain, I was granted permission by the Fairtrade Organisation to alloy Fairtrade & Fairmined 18ct red gold – the red colour reflects the red of the rock and mud from the mine. There are 31 links, in memory of each of the miners who lost their lives. I forged the shapes from square wire and added a simple loop at each end to link them.

forging the links

The necklace falls inside the plinth where, at the base, is a Kerensa Surf pendant of silver and Cornish tin. In presenting the necklace in this way I hope to portray how it feels to stand at the top of the mine shaft.

‘The Mine beneath the Sea’ was exhibited for the first time in the Best of the Best section at Art in Action 2012.

The Mine Beneath the Sea