Metal: Work of Imagination

Art Gallery

Sculptor Samvado writes about working with metal.

As a child, my Dad once took me to see the shot tower at the South Bank of the river Thames in London before it was demolished. Standing 50m high, molten lead dropped from the top through a sieve would form perfect spheres, to cool and harden as they fell inside into water.

Samvado-foundry 4
Samvado-foundry 2
Samvado-foundry 3
4D twisted version


Metal in its very making is a work of imagination. It arrives as molten so needs gravity or a mould to form a shape as it cools. Visiting a foundry to see white hot metal poured into your hollowed mould, the success of the idea hangs entirely on your conception. Perhaps here the creative process is most directly expressive, whatever is in your mind is visible, in the eye of the beholder.

So, in this journey of form, metal unshaped is poured to some moulded idea.

Like the artist’s exercise to draw the shape around a leaf, the mould of a sculpture is the negative space of the form.

This crust of earth is a cooled form of sun, where matter and energy are interchangeable as Einstein (One stone) says. Science is an attempt to read the language of the idea, the mould of physical rules in which our world is cast. There are problems with this, not least that Big Bang cannot be Big since ‘all is relative’; nothing can be compared. Second, that the expansion of the universe, away from some notional centre, only implies a centre of matter, not of space. All the matter may be over in one ‘corner’ of the universe, it may have no centre, hence no edge. At least my mind prefers to see it thus, edgeless and unconstrained. Science’s view seems to be that matter creates space, so we are tied to a matter-centric view.

Some aspects of my existence do seem confined to matter and the grip of gravity, and have their own laws and rules. I have my heavy days as well as pink fluffy cloud days.

To put it another way, as stated in the Heart Sutra of Buddha, form and formlessness arise from each other, its not either or, but some creative harmony.

Every attempt at describing the rules of form dissolves at the edges into emptiness, so any ‘telling how it is’ ends up with nothing in hand. Then this universe seems to be an idea at play, we are its working parts in our walk one moment in the sun, and enjoy having the imagination to envisage it so. Again WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), your imagination creates the world around you. But before we are all up to god level as co-creators, we cannot ignore that ‘you’ is also only an idea. Can you make another you? Not poured of metal certainly. Even pouring seed into a right receptacle will make a ‘child of’ or at best a clone, a meat copy. But still not the idea of you.

To come past all that ‘my’ unique history and experience, needs a bigger view, a realisation of consciousness in which this dancing dust mote self catches the light a moment. ‘Shine on you crazy…’ or switch to full screen view, you don’t exist as an island.

Now try to say all that in a sculptural form, of hard edged metal.

Next month I will show you my 4D sculptures, many of which are in metal. (Last November I spoke about working with Wood and Stone.)

Text by Samvado

SamvadoSamvado grew up in England until aged 19, he went to live in Scotland, where he studied psychology. He took sannyas at Medina commune where he took part in the therapist training year. This was cut short and he went to Berlin commune and then Miasto, working mostly as carpenter or in the kitchen. In Pune 2 he had his own wood studio and lathe in No. 3, making two exhibitions there. Samvado lived in Scotland for 35 years then moved to Cornwall in 2003 where he is still living.

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