Blog Post: Jemma Egan


Stella, 2015, Bronze

Blog Post: Jemma Egan

Blog Post: Jemma Egan


8 August 2016

My work for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016, Stella, is an enlarged coffee cup lid, based on a lid I found in Canada a couple of years ago. I was walking down the street and just saw it - the lid - this small goofy face looking up at me. I walked past it that day but when I passed it again the next day I picked it up and kept it.

I kept coming back to the idea of this lid and the significance of it. I remember hearing that archaeologists can pinpoint moments in time based on the top of drinks’ containers and I felt that my find was a token of this. It’s different than the design of a UK McDonalds’ lid. It doesn’t even say McDonalds on it, but I recognised the design to be from there. Presumably the lid has been designed to look like a face, I don’t know this for sure, but there seem to be eyes, a nose, and the spout you drink from is like a mouth. It had been squashed in such a way that the outer edge of the lid resembled hair; sort of a bob-like haircut.

I had it 3D scanned and enlarged it for 3D printing so it would further resemble the face or a mask of some sort. Then I made a mould of both sides to make wax models before casting in bronze. A lengthy process for just a lid. But in my opinion a very significant find. The title, Stella, comes from a woman Stella Liebeck who famously sued McDonalds after burning herself on hot coffee. The case became a flashpoint in the debate in the United States over tort reform and since then the words ‘caution hot liquid’ have been included on lids.