Except of exhibition text by Katie Treggiden
Conversations in Making is Brothwell’s attempt to map Stonehenge and Amesbury by talking to local people, whether that’s through real-life dialogues with the area’s makers or imagined exchanges with the famous Amesbury Archer.
She has taken the time to understand why master thatcher Brian Chalk hides time capsules in his roofs. She has spoken to local cobbler Martin Coombes about the 100-year-old hammer he inherited from his grandfather. And she has been equally enlightened by the early Bronze Age man buried three miles from Stonehenge, who is thought to have been among those to bring ‘Beaker culture’ – with its distinctive vessels and metalworking skills – to Britain. ‘I try to hear their voices as I work,’ she says.
Brothwell’s next conversation is with the metal from which she made the 40 vessels in this exhibition. She knows they could have been made less labour-intensively, but she’s not in the business of simply imposing forms onto materials: ‘Why would I spend four days with a sheet of copper, if I’m not going to listen to what it has got to say?’
Her final conversation is with you, the visitor, and the local community. As you walk around the exhibition, try to hear what she is saying. When the exhibition ends, and these objects find their way back into the community – into schools, libraries and perhaps even the local chip shop – they will be used and loved; they will remain in dialogue with the place they came from and the people who inspired them. The conversation continues.