When Canberra-based Artist, Anna Eggert began sculpting with stainless steel wire mesh two years ago she tried every tool to model the material with little success.
Almost giving up on completing her installation, Eggert reached for a stone and began attacking the 316 mesh in frustration .... with extraordinary results.
The primitive stone became the perfect tool for modelling the wire mesh into soft folds to resemble drapery.
This modelling skill exploits the material to create smooth flowing lines of a garment pressed against a feminine body. It is an effect that effectively breathes life into material to create the illusion of steel 'blowing in the breeze'.
Metal Mesh in Terry Hills, NSW supplied the sculptor with 0.56mm diameter wire mesh with an aperture of 1mm for strength and rigidity. However, various other sizes are often used to create different visual effects.
Two layers of different size mesh can produce a moire effect, with the lines shimmering in and around the material. In the shade, the mesh becomes transparent and in the sun it shines and glitters, it has a life of it's own.
"I was really lucky to stumble upon Wire Mesh Industries in North Ryde (Sydney). They knit stainless steel wire into all kinds of knitted things, car parts, filters and cables, which make beautiful ribbons and belts", says Eggert.
The works are all put together with 3mm stainless steel rivets supplied by Specialty Fasteners in Canberra.
Anna Eggert was recently a finalist in the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Her latest work "Belinda's Wedding" features a five piece bridal party. The work will be on show until March 2004 as part of a major exhibition of Australian sculpture at the McClelland Gallery in Langwarrin, Victoria.
Photos by David Paterson and Anna Eggert.
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.