The second Castlegate ART commission was inspired by the invention of the first ever friction match by Stockton-born John Walker in 1827 and its coincidence with the production of the first ever photograph by Niepce also in 1827.
In researching the Stockton-on-Tees region and its history Pickering wanted to identify themes that relate strongly to her practice.
Pickering skillfully reproduced the chemical formula of the match head using the original recipe recorded in manuscripts at the Preston Park Museum in Stockton. The convenient production of fire and light in the form of a matchstick and the fixing of light in a photograph is brought together in the final image.
By recreating and lighting a John Walker ‘Congreve’ match, Pickering was able to capture the same quality of light that would have been seen almost 200 years ago and the image of a lit match fixes a fleeting moment and monumentalises a tiny object, with what was the 38 metre -wide scale of the print.