The evolving life of a broken mirror – Re-siting of ‘Fractured’

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‘Fractured’ in the willow circle at Artfield

This piece was first made in 2012 as part of the body of work that became the Fracturescape exhibition at Electric Mountain.
It uses large pieces of slate scavenged from the abandoned slate quarries on the edge of Snowdonia where I live, selected for their highly angular shapes, combined with a single large heavy old mirror that I deliberately smashed as part of an earlier installation in 2007 called Stop Making Sense. (Incidentally, that installation is where I first started using empty picture frames and broken up mirrors as a language for some of my ideas).
I played with these fractured pieces over several days, overlaying mirror on slate, shifting and re-arranging until the original square of the mirror was almost visible, and the slates beneath echoed the strong radial lines that recalled the impact of the object I dropped into the centre of the mirror.
I was working outside, and the mirror picked up the light and weather and the shifting fragments of the garden. Once the mirror pieces were cemented to the slate and the slate buffed with graphite to give it a consistent sheen, it was exhibition ready and moved inside. In a building, on a low plinth under artificial light it threw sharp shapes and industrial ceiling structures back at me, and curious sections of faces of visitors staring into it like a well. Then it returned to my studio, and seemed to sleep, although a studio visitor once commented it made her feel like it was a hearth of embers burned low…
In 2016 an artist friend and fellow Old Goods Yard studios resident invited me to install a piece at her summer ‘ArtField’ on Anglesey. After a site visit I decided to take FractureScape there and installed it onto the floor of a living willow circle. It picked up the sky and the willow circle beautifully and the fragmentation of the interwoven branches through the pieces of mirror made a beautiful kaleidoscopic feast for the eye. There was something serene, meditative and beguiling about being able to stare at shards of sky at your feet.
I also wove some small shards of mirror in to the willow structure to catch the light and provide another little echo or two for an observant eye.
It turned out to be a popular piece through the summer of people visiting and various art events held there.

There has been some discussion of FractureScape being permanently installed into the Caerdroia Forest Labyrinth with Golgyfa Gwydir who manage the site, and that may yet happen. In the forest it will no doubt take on another, surprisingly alive form.

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Additional broken glass elements woven into willow circle as tiny visual ‘fractures’

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