I was privileged to be asked to contribute a piece for the Tavistock Heritage Centre Exhibition celebrating the area’s industrial heritage and contribution to the historic development of the region’s economy .
I have always been attracted by the engine houses of the mining areas of Devon & Cornwall, having had a lifetime’s interest in rocks, minerals and chemistry. So the engine house of Wheal Betsy near Tavistock was a natural choice of subject for this piece.
I took many photos with my antique camera but struggled to get a good image on the X-ray film at the time. In the end I used digital images taken on my Fuji X-H1 and created a picture in Photoshop which I then printed out on a laser printer, using my technique for transferring the image onto Metal. It seemed fitting to represent an engine house through metals that it could have extracted – Zinc and copper. Zinc is a reactive metal like Aluminiumand displaces copper from solution, so image was etched in Copper Sulfate. The final image is a relief representation and is reflective so changes with the light and with viewpoint – hard to capture in one photograph. The Zinc etched quite differently to the aluminium – very smooth in the uniform areas and able to be polished to a high level shine. Quite unexpected but I like the effect very much.
The crooked chimney is an accurate rendition of the building!
I am happy to say the piece sold on the exhibition’s first full day.