Found vintage beer keg with hand built fine silver dandelion seed, mirror and stand
Lisa Heath 2020
UPENDED is a vintage beer keg that was rescued during a clean up of Fishbourne Bay, not far from where I live on the Isle of Wight. The information stamped on it told me that it was manufactured between 1961 and 1967 which meant over 50 years of bobbing at sea.
I took it home to drain before heading to the tip, but over the next couple of weeks, as the sea water slowly trickled out, its battered sides and corroded edges had begun to speak to me. The pandemic hospitality industry seemed to be perfectly represented by it and I felt compelled to help it find its voice. The company that made it no longer exists so I felt sure that anyone who cared would be happy for the keg to have found a new lease of life.
I found a stand and mounted it but it had more to say so I added a mirror and built a dandelion seed out of fine silver which came to rest so beautifully, it was as if they had been found together. I like the way the silver patina has turned out - it matches the colours on the keg perfectly.
So now it is an artwork, one that invites us to examine our cultural endorsement of drinking to excess and our economic reliance upon that too. Bar by bar, the lockdowns have given precious pause in which to find the freedom from reliance that so many crave.
UPENDED challenges us to accept the battered parts of our lives and (like the keg has done) redefine ourselves in a way that allows us, and others, the best chance of moving forward in freedom, healing and grace.