Joy is not made to be a crumb (Set of Four)

Joy is not made to be a crumb (after Mary Oliver Don’t Hesitate).  This series of hand-printed etchings are a celebration of the breath evidenced in natural, often seemingly inanimate, phenomenon.  Wilton grew up on the North East coast of Great Britain and has always been entranced by the life-force of the sea and its shoreline.  For years she has captured images of the apparent inhale of the beach as the tide recedes.  Found in abundance, these breathing holes that appear on the beach are an affirmation of resilience and a joyful reminder of the cyclical nature of life.  Each inhale is followed by an exhale as each tide rises and falls, each wave crashes onto and recedes from the coastline.  The work is named after the final line of the Mary Oliver poem ‘Don’t Hesitate’.  The poem reminds us to gratefully embrace the preciousness of each moment’s gift, reflected in the precious metal that is pressed into the embossed surface of the print.  Wilton recorded the air bubbles that appear on the sand as the backwash of a wave forces the air between the sand particles upwards, through small pin holes in the sand.  Her photographic recordings were then transferred to a solar plate, using the energy of the sun to etch out the marks made by the bubbles. The plate was then used to emboss into a sheet of precious metal (gold, copper, silver and mixed metal), pressed onto paper.  The set of four metals is available, each in editions of 8.


Additional information


Hand-pulled print embossed on copper Chine Collé

Original / Edition

Limited edition of 8


20 x 20 cm




Jayne Wilton has spent her career as an artist investigating the human breath in a visual format, very often exploring the subject alongside scientists, musicians and poets.  Jayne has an MA (Fine Art) from the Slade School of Fine Art, 2010, and has since completed a Leverhulme funded residency at Brunel University where she worked in collaboration with particle physicists Professor Peter Hobson and Professor Akram Kahn. In 2014 she received ACE funding for a collaborative project with the Royal Brompton Hospital and Harefield Hospitals to record the breath and song of patients with respiratory impairment. She also spent a number of years working with the Wellcome Foundation funded Life of Breath Project.

Go to Top