I use the sooty carbon trace left from a candle flame to make smoke drawings. To me this ephemeral material expresses the passage of time, memory, absence and our fragile and transient nature.
Recent works have taken a look at the sooty material itself, the element of carbon, often called ‘the backbone of life’. This was the starting point for a series of works called ‘Carbon Based Forms’. The geometric designs are drawn from the crease patterns that remain from unfolded origami.
I saw a parallel between carbon and origami, in both complexity of life or form comes from the simplicity of a small building block, an atom or a fold, repeated and evolving to create a vast number of different objects.
I work with and enjoy the element of risk; total concentration is needed to make the drawings. Fire creates an irreversible transformation, there is no going back; images cannot be unburned. But as you can imagine, as in life, much does go up in smoke.
Here is a slide-show of the process of making one of my Carbon Star series.