“As reclamation is essential, I use both photography and historic events as material that can be re-purposed.” - the artist
The impacts of nostalgia and neglect of industry and urbanization are depicted in my enameled jewelry. Photography has documented the rise and decline of American industries. Manufacturing presence deeply affects the identity of local communities.
When no longer used, industrial structures have two possible fates. If neglected their deterioration negatively impacts the surrounding community while re-purposed factories honor the past in a post-industrial era.
As reclamation is essential, I use both photography and historic events as material that can be re-purposed. Photo transfer decals allow me to reproduce an image and fire it into enamel. I pair industrial images with the wildflowers that re-mediate and reclaim the soil of shuttered factories.
Weeds emerging from sidewalks and buildings demonstrate nature’s resilience and suggest that we are not as in control of our built environment as we may believe.
Current discussions also permeate my work. Cleaner sources of energy represent a new era of precious American industry. They have the potential to provide a returned sense of manufacturing pride and new monumental structures to decorate our landscape. However, wind energy is seen as a threat to those nostalgic for the steel mills and coal mines of a pre-Rust Belt era.
About the artist:
Sarah Loch-Test studied at Kent State and East Carolina universities, where she embraced the art of enameling. Her time spent living in Pittsburgh, a resilient city in a post-industrial era, continues to influence her metalwork. She is currently the Metals Technician at the University of North Texas. Her work has been included in the biennial Enamelist Society Exhibitions and is in the Enamel Foundation’s permanent collection.
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