My final piece is a copper topped writing desk designed to wear with use over time and through this capture an honest imprint of human behaviour. There is an intrinsic human need to leave behind some kind of mark or trace however the conscious artefacts we create, collect or choose to preserve rarely offer a genuine reflection. Although it is impossible to convincingly engineer the passage of time or manufacture an artefact, fossil or ruin, by creating an object that is conducive to wear, I aim to capture, preserve and fossilise the uncurated, unconscious marks that will act as a record of our presence – the negative space rather than the positive. This is the second desk I made as – although in hindsight I feel this desk offers little more than the previous one – I wanted to try and incorporate an element of the language of the modern writing desk. I settled on referencing, through the desk’s form, the pen indent that has bled through from the Victorian school desk into the archetype of the modern writing desk by bending copper sheeting around a wooden frame, the edges of which I planed away. I chose copper as a material because of its use in the processes of printmaking and etching and therefore its historical ties to the dissemination of language as well as for the way it patinas with age or can be rubbed smooth with repeated use. It is also soft enough to capture a faint trace of the marks made while writing.
It is impossible to create an artefact, fossil or ruin but you can aim to capture and preserve a record of our presence and our behaviour through the marks we leave behind over time.