Finds from Shetland shoreline attracts international interest

by Kirsty Halcrow -

New project from Bunsen Heavy Industries featuring finds from the Shetland shoreline already attracting international interest.

Driftnails is a catalogue of 100 nails extracted from driftwood gathered on the shoreline of Shetland between 2010 and 2013. During this three year period hundreds of pieces of driftwood - from splintered fragments to whole planks and logs - were collected and any nails found embedded in them carefully extracted.

Images of the 100 most striking of these nails have been captured using a high resolution scanner and made available on-line at www.driftnails.com. Visitors to the site can zoom into these high resolution scans and see the detailed patina of rust, dents, chips, scratches and marks that record and signify something of the journey each Driftnail has undertaken since its manufacture.

Driftnails is a project created and realised by Bunsen Heavy Industries - an artist based in Shetland and London. Commenting on the project, he said:

“Driftnails is the result of many hours spent wandering the coastline of Shetland - a place whose beauty and visual richness I never get tired of - observing how the natural and the man-made come together to each exert their influence and mark upon the other. I’ve always loved the sense of mystery and open-endedness about what you find washed up on coastlines, and the series of unique couplings of time, tide, weather and chance that lead that particular object to be where it is and in the condition it is in."
"Releasing each Driftnail from the wavewashed pieces of wood that have transported them across the sea to the shoreline of Shetland and presenting them as individual objects of high aesthetic merit was something that seemed to me like an obvious reaction to their very existence. Each one is a piece of land art in its own right and also an exploration of why and how the everyday is worthy of close examination to understand and acknowledge its inherent beauty. I find the Driftnails intensely beautiful - especially when viewed in the detail possible by the use of the high resolution scanner. Every facet of the surface structure is on view and the patterns of rust and the marks of use blend together. They are simple objects but they signify the act of bonding and linkage that underpins our own humanity, and like us all they display the scars of their existence in their physical form.”

All Driftnails are available for sale through the website using an innovative pricing strategy. The first 23 Driftnails cost 23p each, the second 23 £2.30 each, the third 23 £23.00 each, the fourth 23 £230.00 each and the last eight £2300.00 each. Since the launch in January this year over 30 Driftnails have so far been sold and shipped to destinations including Australia and the USA.

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