Interview with one of our artists ‘Dovetail Foundry’

Dovetail Foundry’s sculptural work, in response to Castle Drogo, reveals their attention to detail, dedication and excitement for the stories of Castle Drogo and concepts they are w orking with. Their contemporary attitudes to installation bring a fresh and unique approach to the Castle’s collection and interpretation. They explore the existing collection to interpret family stories as well as architectural features designed by Edwin Lutyens in the early 20th century.

How have gone you about creating and developing your work?

We’re creating a range of installations using a variety of methods so it’s hard to give a short answer. Each has had its different inspirations and ways of development. One of the uniting aspects is that we have looked and listened closely to the stories that the landscape, building and people have to tell, and tried to incorporate this in the narratives of our work.
With regard to the camera, we actually used a series of short-term time-lapse set ups and then a lot of smaller shoots to get the seasonal change. We had a tripod of fixed length and pegs driven into the ground so we could return and get the exact same view of the hillside as it changed from summer to winter. We also sought local advice about the best vantage points to see seasonal change – the top of various hills, certain walks and times of day that the most evocative light would be available.

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Tell us about your experience on your visits to Castle Drogo, such as your filming?

Apart from the filming of the hillside and surrounding details of landscape, we spent time by the river capturing the foaming water, and managed to glimpse a leaping salmon. However, the best images came from early rising and spending time on the promontory that the castle is on, as the sun rose, catching storms, rainbows, mists and sun.

Tell us about local artists you have been working with?

For the Willow Mirror Jo worked with local maker Linda Lemieux, who is a basket maker and teacher and who runs the shop Wood and Rush in Chagford. She was invaluable, in guiding and helping with the structure and providing the materials – and the willow mirror was constructed in her studio which has a view of Drogo from the window.
We were also keen to draw upon the skills the volunteers at the castle possess. We’ve been fortunate through this process to be put in contact with Tavistock Goosey Quilters who have been beavering away making pieces for a quilt for the exhibition.

Willow
The studio where the Willow Mirror is being made.

How has the Castles collection been reflected in your work?

We’ve been inspired by lots of items in the castle, from the astonishing ‘Seven Ages of Man’ marquetry cabinet to the various trinkets that the Drewes collected on their travels.

What stood out to you when you visited the Castle to inspire your work?

The story of how and why it was designed and built – the Castle is in some ways a pinnacle of the Victorian paradox in architecture – medieval in concept but technological in construction. It represents a moment in history where the world is irrevocably changing – interrupted by the First World War, it is the last of its kind.
What also stood out was how varied and changeable the landscape is surrounding it. The light is constantly shifting, the seasons are vivid but unpredictable – sun and rain in the space of an hour. That all helped create lovely images for the time-lapse.

Dovetail Foundry are currently building a lantern which will be presented in one of the castle rooms. This large-scale storytelling sculpture is in full swing, however, we shall save pictures for the great reveal when we open on the 9 March.

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