‘Flotsam Vessel’


Stuart Cairns’ exhibition vessel contains moments from daily wanders along the local coastline over paths, across rocks and sandy shorelines of North Down. Such gathered and collected objects act as material memories, taken, selected and set into the handle. These are treasured things, their value elevated as they hover above and hug close to the hammered silver form, each element contrasting and complimenting the other, becoming more through combination.

Materials: silver, oxidised silver, linen thread, shells, beach found plastic, found washer

Artist Bio

Stuart Cairns works as a silversmith combining natural materials and found objects alongside precious metals to create artefacts in the tradition of tableware and domestic objects. He graduated with a Bachelors Degree In Silversmithing and Jewellery from the University of Ulster in 2000, returning to complete a Masters degree in 2006. He is a member of the British Designer Silversmiths and a part-time lecturer in the University of Ulster. Cairns has exhibited widely; selected exhibitions include, Setting The Scene, the Craft Study Centre, Farnham 2013, Collect , The Saatchi Gallery 2012, Fit For Purpose, The V & A, London (2012), the Linen Diaspora, 4th Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf, Quebec (2011) and Side x Side, Hämeenlinna, Finland (2009). His work has been purchased for both public and private collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, University of Ulster and The Ulster Museum.

Describing his practice, Stuart Cairns says: ’My practice as a maker is concerned with the relationship I have with the landscape, investigated through the material language of metalwork combined with found objects lifted on everyday journeys through the local environment.’