The Beginning is a bronze sculpture constructed out of glyph like shapes that come from Arabella’s alphabet of forms. The alphabet is a collection of 50 shapes, that have been distilled from shapes found and repeated in all aspects of nature. They are found in all natural elements, in bark, in microscopic views of matter, they are seen in photographs of the earth’s surface taken from space, in cloud formations, in patterns formed by the wind on sand and in the patterns of the fur of an animal.
The sculpture The Beginning takes an oval, a form associated with the beginning of life . Glyph like shapes are joined together in an apparently random fashion, to create the form of an egg or a seed, this form asks the viewer to question the origins of the life force and to draw connections between the origins of all of nature and of the universe. It asks the mind to travel freely around these questions.
The title is a reference to the fact that this idea is also just the beginning of a line of questioning that prompts the viewer to ask themselves what the universe is about. It alludes to the beginning of a thought process that questions interconnectedness of all things and how the universe began.
‘The glyph like shapes used are a physical manifestation of the interconnectedness of all things that one sees playing out in the synchronicity of the forces of the universe’
“Nature is the source of all my inspiration in its awe inspiring magnitude, in both its utter simplicity and equal depth of ingenuity’
The sculpture is made of bronze using the lost wax process of casting. Arabella’s originals are made in wax which is a medium that straddles the fence between solid and liquid. The bronze is also a medium that in the process of making the work goes from liquid to solid. This alchemy echoes Arabellas fascination with the transition from the conscious to the subconscious, ideas of transmutation and the endless polarities that form part of existence. Bronze is also an ancient medium that has been used to make sculptures and objects of worship since the iron age and so references an art of dominance and war, and also of worship and prayer and yet may at other times be more purely utilitarian. These are all ideas that echo the sculptures function on many levels. The colour is cobalt turquoise the colour of the sky, the heavens, precious stones and deep pools of water, all of which have deeply symbolic and metaphorical associations. As a sculpture in bronze it therefore follows a tradition of art works using symbolism and metaphor as a form of communication.
The sculpture is made first in wax, each individual piece is cut and moulded. Arabella works in her kitchen and uses domestic tools to heat, melt, bend and form the shapes and textures. All of the work processes are founded in things that have been part of Arabella’s life, domestically since childhood, from grating cheese, making pasta, melting chocolate, to the making of mixtures, and cutting and pasting.
‘My home is my studio and my studio is my home’
The wax pieces, approximately 300 – 400 pieces are then gated and cast into bronze. They are then cleaned and sanded before being laid out on a large table where they are sorted, a bit like biscuits . A base is then made and then each piece of bronze is individually bent and beaten, clamped and then soldered together gradually forming a shape which is built up piece by piece.
Arabella has an idea of where she is going when she starts building a sculpture but it is ultimately a very spontaneous and intuitive process, it is a matter of trusting that the form will become what it is meant to be.
‘It is like a dance being performed to a score that only I can hear, I follow the music and so the sculpture appears.’
Every piece that is made is individual and is always a surprise and more beautiful and magical than Arabella could have imagined.
‘The less I interfere the better the work. Each piece is a gift of inspiration and on many levels I am merely a conduit to its expression’