'Fogou' Vessel

Delivered in: over 3 weeks


Hammer formed vessel. Pierced, hammered and reticulated 'lichen', enamelled. Each of the ‘Lichen’ pieces are hand cut, formed and curated; making each item a unique and one-off artwork.

The ‘Fogou’ Vessel was the result of a life long interest in the ancient monuments of our landscape.  Standing stones often provide habitat for lichen and moss, a plant form which is usually overlooked but is particularly interesting when studied in close detail.

The ‘Fogou’ Vessel was create with the ancient site of Carn Euny in mind. Carn Euny, the remains of an Iron Age settlement, demonstrates one of the finest examples of a ‘fogou’. A fogou is an underground chamber specific to Cornwall.

Cornwall has an abundance of both ancient monuments and lichen. In the course of my research I have looked at many monuments around the country including Avebury, and Holy Cairn and Torhouskie in Dumfries & Galloway, but I mainly focused on the Boscawen-Un Circle, a place that has particular resonance for me, in Cornwall where I live. The vessel is intended to evoke the idea of a monolith, a stone that has stood for generations, and feelings of ancient stillness.

The Design Process

The design process for this piece involved several visits to the Boscawen-Un Circle and Carn Euny village to observe, contemplate and meditate, and to document the stones through photography and sketches, particularly concentrating on their lichen growth. My observations and documentation of lichen has been extensive both on standing stones and in other environments.

I had an idea of the form I wished to create, and although this was never intended to be an exact representation of a standing stone it is intended to symbolise that of a monolithic form. From my original sketches of vessels I then progressed to working directly with the silver.

The lichen developed through working and experimenting directly in the material. I used numerous techniques and piercing patterns before settling on the final outcome. Many of these silver test pieces I then used to create colour tests in the enamel.

The Production Method

The Vessel was hand raised and planished using a variety of stakes and hammers, and then textured using a rock to beat the surface of the silver, before refining with texturing hammers. The lichen was pierced from sheet silver, hammered, reticulated, fused, and then vitreous enamel is applied & fired. The ‘lichen’ was then applied to the body of the vessel and is intended to appear as if growing on the vessel

Hallmarked Britannia Silver, December 2019.   Vitreous enamel 

Approx mm high

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Additional Information
Delivered in over 3 weeks
Designer Abigail Brown