Charcoal as my material of choice

I am interested in the transformation of materials from their organic state to a mass produced and then consumed product. Charcoal is a common artists’ tool manufactured into various forms, but in its simplest form it is the residue of impure carbon easily obtained by burning wood or other organic matter, thus removing water and other volatile constituents. I pull pieces of unmanufactured charcoal from bonfire nights with fellow artists. Each recovered piece is unique, a new tool that I had to learn by testing the different angles of its surface before I knew how to employ it most effectively.

A single piece of my found charcoal is comprised of a variety of tonal differences; some parts are softer, therefore darker and more brittle and a sharp point on the opposite side can be harder with a tight edge used for detail. I am interested in using this material for conceptual reasons. The following connotative qualities lead me to choose charcoal as another medium: It is pure carbon, which is a hot topic with discussions on achieving carbon neutrality for individuals and industry. It is a found material that is the residue of community building bonfire happenings that occur at the MFA warehouse. It was never manufactured, coated in plastic, labeled, priced and shipped from afar.


As I work on my vertical drawings, the charcoal hunks chip and fall to the ground. There is always a great dark powdery area beneath the drawing.