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This Thing of Darkness

English Oak

100cm x 70cm x 20cm

The inspiration behind this piece started with the line from Shakespeare's Tempest:

"This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine."

It comes right at the end of the play: all the spells have been broken or released, the games are over.

Prospero is describing, acknowledging and prescribing the new order.

As part of this process he takes responsibility for Caliban,

the misshapen, villainous creature (this thing of darkness) that has been doing his bidding.


But watching the play it struck me that we could give a psychological reading of that line.

Over the years I have worked with a personal development approach, based on the work of C.J. Jung.

Jung describes a shadow we each carry in our psyche.

Made up of the aspects of our personality that we choose to hide, deny and repress, the shadow can affect our behaviour in ways that go against our conscious intentions.

Shadow Work is used to bring these aspects into the light, to acknowledge them as part of us,

in order to become a more whole, integrated person as well as to strip the shadow of its power.


Reflecting on this reading of the line, it struck me how appropriate it would be as the title for a mirror.

A symbolically magic mirror.

One that reflects the parts of us that we do not want to see, our shadow;

forcing us to face them and acknowledge them as thine own.


As soon as I had that thought, I had a clear idea of what it could look like.

It took me some time, sketching and playing with it to find the right proportions

but also to convince myself that it would work:

ideas don't usually come to me that quickly and easily.

I was approached by a client after exhibiting "This Thing of Darkness" at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design in Cheltenham.

She wanted an interesting mirror on a narrow wall on the landing at the top of the stairs. Could I come up with something suitable?

I went to visit the house: the wallpaper was based on flowing organic shapes so I designed the mirror to match.

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