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Sherd: Synonyms or Related Terms: shard, potsherd
Definition: Any pottery fragment – piece of broken pot or other earthenware item – that has archaeological significance. They are an invaluable part of the archaeological record because they are well-preserved. The analysis of ceramic changes recorded in potsherds has become one of the primary techniques used by archaeologists in assigning components and phases to times and cultures.
(Kipfer www.archaeologywordsmith.com 2020)
“I am an artist working across artforms, moving from painting to glass blowing, casting to ceramic in my investigations of the genius loci of the landscape. For the Ancient Connections Commission, I am interested in exploring how I can use archaeology to reveal and examine human connections with other places, primarily Ireland and the Celtic Diaspora. I am constantly seeking out things that connect me with the landscape and the people who lived here before me and I am increasingly drawn to small overlooked ‘finds’ that tell untold stories and connect me to the landscape and the people of the area.” – Linda Norris
Taking as its form the domestic dresser, a familiar iconic piece of furniture which has pride of place in many homes in both Wales and Ireland, the artist has created a ‘virtual dresser’ using glass, light and shadow.
Starting from the simple sense of delight afforded by stumbling upon a jewel like fragment of porcelain in a muddy field, or on a windswept shore, this work explores the sense of connection that is evoked by these small, broken and often overlooked, fragments of domestic objects.
As part of the development this work the artist ran a series of poetry workshops with poet, Emma Baines, during which people in Pembrokeshire and Ireland were encouraged to write poems inspired by sherds they had found, handwritten fragments of these poems in Welsh, Irish and English, along with a poem by Welsh poet Menna Elfyn, can be seen in the shadows cast in the work.
Fragment Dresser explores what is there, and what that reveals of what is no longer there. In essence the work imaginatively investigates powerful human connections across time and landscapes. These tiny shards provide a portal into other lives and places, and journeying there inspires us to reflect on our own.