Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 13:22 UK

Artist brushes up precious broom

By Nigel Wrench
PM programme, Radio 4

Love is a Charm of Powerful Trouble (2008)
Love is a Charm of Powerful Trouble (2008). Picture courtesy of the artist

Edinburgh's newest contemporary art space is exhibiting brooms, screws and rawlplugs as part of its debut show - and they're all for sale, at a price.

The Ingleby Gallery has just opened new premises behind the city's Waverley train station.

In a ground floor gallery, visitors will come across a broom, leaning in a corner; a wooden block with two screws in it; and blobs of what looks like paint on the floor.

Far from being the detritus of a careless builder, all three are pieces by the London-based artist Susan Collis.

The broom has a name: Love is a Charm of Powerful Trouble (2008) and, inlaid with precious stones, is priced at 7,500.

The artist has made brooms into art before.

"Once I walked into the gallery and the cleaner was sweeping the floor with it," she said of a previous exhibit.

"I want to make something that is simultaneously very worked on and that manages to be invisible."

Ms Collis buys her brooms at local hardware stores and then transforms them with, in the case of the Edinburgh broom, white, yellow and Brazilian opals, freshwater pearls, white and black diamonds, a sapphire and an emerald, among other precious stones.

She said: "It appeals to me to use a grand process on a humble object."

The painstaking inlay technique she uses would be more commonly found on, she suggests, a fine walnut cabinet.

The wooden block on the floor at the show is called Falls From Grace (2008).

Here, the wood is inlaid with mother of pearl, 18 carat white gold, diamond amber and topaz.

Falls from Grace (2008). Picture courtesy of the artist
Falls from Grace (2008). Picture courtesy of the artist
It's priced at 5,000.

The blobs of "paint" on the floor together form Down to the Mother (2008), in mother of pearl, price on application.

One of the screws in the wall is in white gold with white diamond, titled Our Turn Now (2008) and, in an edition of 10, priced at 2,200.

Further screws and rawlplugs are in silver and gold, which with assorted precious stones, form a wall installation called Fixed (2008).

To the casual viewer, it resembles the half-finished work of a weekend DIY enthusiast.

To the serious collector its price tag is 18,000, though parts are available separately.

Ms Collis said: "I get a sense of delight watching the penny drop as people 'get' the work.

"For me I'm dealing with weighty issues. What makes one thing valuable over another?"

Susan Collis's work is on display at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh until 24 September as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. All pictures courtesy the artist.

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