Morling and the Hoard

As part of the London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad, Katharine was invited to the city of Stoke-on-Trent to create a body of work that references the incredible significance of the world famous Staffordshire Hoard. The Hoard is the largest and most impressive collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found.

"I was so amazed by what I saw and was struck by the fact that I was holding something that until recently, hadn’t seen the light of day for centuries.

It was an incredible experience that really resonated with me and I immediately began putting together possibilities of how I could respond to the Hoard. I found that I had so many questions. Who were these people?...... and what were they doing all those years ago?

I was particularly drawn to the many depictions of animals that decorated the Hoard, what did they symbolise to the people who had worn them on their armor? Perhaps the Anglo-Saxon’s thought that they were taking on the energy and characteristics of these wild creatures, giving them greater strength and power in their battles.

So I took the tiny images from the Hoard and transformed them into mythological god figures, brought to life in a kingdom of ceramic animal gods.

These deities embody the power of the decorative depictions that were originally worn on the battle field hundreds of years ago.

Straight away, as well as creating the work in Ceramics, I knew I wanted the work to come to life and capture the viewers’ imagination. So I developed an animation that tells the story of the animals, how they rose from the Hoard and transformed into mythological gods.

I wanted this project to re-imagine the story of the hoard, from Terry Herbert who discovered it with his metal detector two years ago, finding shiny jewels depicting strange creatures from the surface of the earth, to the creatures themselves being unleashed from the ground from where they have been entombed for centuries, coming back to life on screen, through the modern medium of digital animation.

We believe that the Anglo-Saxons thought that these creatures were magical, powerful and could protect them.

Today I want to let the magic and the power embedded in these beliefs shine with brilliance once again."