Image Reflections - 'Trees' / by Ally McGinn

When bevelling 2x2 timber to create a bevel for making stretchers there is a small offcut leftover. Normally these sections are snapped and recycled.


I have been collecting these lengths from the creation of stretchers for the past year, I don't make many stretchers.

Sanding the slivers normalises their edges, the shape defined by the grain of the wood rather than any conscious aesthetic decisions.

The resulting forms are often unbalanced, shorter than the original length and beautifully varied.

During my time in the shop on Walcot Street, Bath, I tested the presentation of these objects in various forms.

Spread like this, placed at uniform distances from each other and the wall and then allowed to lean against the wall, highlights the differences in this seemingly similar objects.

Highlighting both their differences and similarities.

These are another example of unknown context. Without this contextual knowledge the origin of these objects is an unconsidered factor. One way to ameliorate this issue is to reference their origin in information about the work.

However it is important for me to decide whether the origin of these objects is as important as what they become. I have said before that in working with the unwanted and discarded I am extending their purpose and giving them new validity. If this is true then it follows that they are no longer defined by their previous use, so it becomes unimportant. Or at least, less important.

If their origin doesn't matter then I am forced to wonder what they are. I would usually describe them through their former use, which no longer applies. I am claiming their validity in their current state, they are something more.

I need to control my nostalgic tendencies when describing the objects within my work.