Stuart Cairns combines natural materials and found objects with precious metals, in order to create jewellery and artefacts in the tradition of tableware and domestic objects. His work explores the relationship between the environment, materiality and recycling, and his source materials are collected whilst walking the County Down coast, the Hollywood Hills or the streets of Belfast.
Stuart Cairns graduated with a Bachelors Degree In Silversmithing and Jewellery from the University of Ulster in 2000, returning to complete a Masters degree in 2006. He is a member of the British Designer Silversmiths and a part-time lecturer in the University of Ulster. Selected exhibitions include Setting The Scene, at the Craft Study Centre, Farnham in 2013; Collect, at The Saatchi Gallery 2012; Fit For Purpose, at The V&A, London in 2012; The Linen Diaspora, at the 4th Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf, in Quebec, Canada in 2011; and Side x Side, at Hämeenlinna, Finland in 2009. His work is held in both public and private collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, University of Ulster and The Ulster Museum.
My studio practice is not just about the landscape, but the experience of being within it, of being part of it. The walking, the collecting and even the swimming is about immersion, of feeling fully connected as part of the ecosystem relating to the tides, the seasons and the swoop of seagull equally. This is what I explore through the richness of materiality planted within the forms of domestic objects of silversmithing to reference the daily experience of being human.