Archive for July, 2015

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space

During this Assignment I have noticed wrapping that makes the viewer aware of something otherwise overlooked.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

The shape of the wooden spoon was intensified by wrapping it without really changing the boundaries. There’s a millimetre or two added, some colour and texture, detail lost – but the spoon is now consciously experienced.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

An old mug is unseen in the back of the cupboard, but wrapped and then part removed our vision tries to restore it. The viewer searches out the lines, puts together fragments of information in an effort to see more.

Perception of a stretch of coast is changed because Christo and Jeanne-Claude once wrapped it. There was an event. Detail was lost and simplified, shadow and line and movement was added.

Jim Lambie Zobop 2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie
Zobop
2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie made a large gallery the art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I’ve written about this previously in the context of The Stripe (15-April-2014). The floor was wrapped in coloured tape. The air in the room seemed to be pulsing. The viewer became hyper-aware of irregularities in the shape of the room which may never have been noticed in the past.

Jim Lambie Psychedelic Soul Stick 68 2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Jim Lambie
Psychedelic Soul Stick 68
2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Resting against a wall was Lambie’s Psychedelic Soul Stick 68, a wonderful example of wrapping that joins, disguises and transforms objects – quite different to the wrapping, intensifying and re-presenting of space I am writing of here.

site shift Veronica Herber

site shift
Veronica Herber

As part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi 2013 Veronica Herber wrapped an electrical transformer and the sloping ground around (3-November-2013). It celebrated the detail of this very particular place. It recorded the time taken in the wrapping process. Space that was invisible to the casual walker enjoying the magnificent coastal scenery was suddenly, forcefully, present.

Nadia Odlum Perspex installation

Nadia Odlum
Perspex installation

I became aware of Nadia Odlum at a local exhibition, Cove Lines, last year (see 4-October-2014). From her website, Odlum “is interested in the processes of perception associated with the navigation of physical spaces, with an emphasis on architectural spaces and dynamic urban environments. … Through the creation of environments that necessitate active exploration she seeks to grant the viewer a heightened awareness of their own body, and its existence in physical space.” (http://www.nadiaodlum.com/, Accessed 31-July-2015). Unfortunately some photographs I remember don’t appear to be on the website currently. Odlum had added masking tape to flights of steps, on alleyway walls and so on, cleverly linking and repeating small architectural details, drawing notice, affecting the attention, perception and experience of the passers-by.

Mel Bochner has produced a series of works bringing attention to space with vinyl tape and measurements (www.melbochner.net/exhibitions/measurement-room/). The gallery space is no longer neutral – it is the artwork. There is an interaction, a tension, between visual perception and the abstract descriptive numbers locating the viewer in the space.

Tess De Quincey

Tess De Quincey

Ruarc Lewis

Ruarc Lewis

In a performance Tess De Quincey and Ruarc Lewis transformed the Hazelhurst Gallery with line which brought our attention to the space (4-November-2012). This could be stretching “wrapping” a little too far, but it’s relevant to my current theme (and if it seemed important one could describe the work as joining parts of the space).

Thinking about this theme, the idea of wrapping to affect awareness, I decided to wrap the front porch based on shadows over the course of a sunny winter’s day. Planning this I was certain that I have seen the idea before, and associated it with Mel Bochner – but I haven’t been able to identify a specific source. It is certainly heavily influenced by a number of the artists referenced above.

The porch is on the south west corner of the house, and in Sydney’s winter with the sun low in the sky that means it is in shade most of the morning. I began the series of taping and photographing around 11 am. There is some additional light at times reflected from the neighbouring house, which I chose to ignore during this exercise. The tape marks the boundary of light and shadow at roughly hourly increments. Sometimes the shadow moved in the time it took me to tape, which gives some mismatching. Towards the end I ran out of the blue tape and had to change.

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At 11am the sun was just reaching over the roof of our house. By 5pm the porch was in full shade.

Sample p2-79_Completed

Sample p2-79_Completed


Making this sample really made me aware of the space and the changing light, but also very conscious the time of year, being in this city, the orientation of the house, and a particularly beautiful day. The same exercise in summer would have a very different result.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Wrapping space

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e3 Uneven wrapping

Found computer components

Found computer components

This exercise calls for found objects or bric-a-brac, wrapped in an experimental and playful way. Thinking of building on a theme of sorts, I collected and de-constructed two old PC and a defunct printer, together with sundry keyboards, headphones, a scanner, mouse… Lots of interesting shapes and protrusions, plus potential for more complicated combinations.

Computer component printing

Computer component printing

Warming up, I used a variety of the surfaces to print in acrylic paint on paper – potential wrapping material.

Preparatory tracing - Judith Scott

Preparatory tracing – Judith Scott

Judith Scott - additional response

Judith Scott – additional response

I also looked again at Judith Scott’s work, tracing over one of my favourite images, and reviewed some of my earlier research, including a page not previously posted which focused on the colour, freedom, and my interpretation of emotion in some of her work.

I pulled out a pile of more and less conventional wrapping “threads” and materials.

Then I froze.

“There is no limit to the ways in which you can use your binding materials”, the OCA notes inform me. “Respond the to the shape of the object”. Yep.

My head was full of an end result of a group of objects in a theme. The particular work by Judith Scott I had looked at is more line, complex but quite drab in colour, while the other research focused on lots of colour and a general mass. I was thinking emotions and colour combinations. I was loading all this pre-thinking on an exercise that calls for playful response.

I stopped to capture all of the above in a draft post. Then put it to one side.

Deep breath, and just start wrapping. See what happens.

Sample p2-73
I chose a component with some interesting bumps and holes.

Sample p2-73 Two views of found object

Sample p2-73 Two views of found object


Wrapping began with a torn strip of green crystal organza. I used holes and notched edges to wrap a “flower” effect.
Sample p2-73 Two views - wrapped organaz strip

Sample p2-73 Two views – wrapped organza strip


I wanted to highlight the knob, and used a red computer cable – again using holes in the object to place, catch and hold the “thread”.
Sample p2-73 Protrusion wrapped

Sample p2-73 Protrusion wrapped


I liked the open looping spiral, but it didn’t feel generous enough.
Sample p2-73

Sample p2-73


Some horsehair plastic threaded through holes adds a little drama and height. The bump of a gear wheel on the reverse side helps the object sit up on a slant, presenting the work to the viewer.

Sample p2-74

Sample p2-74 Printer components

Sample p2-74 Printer components


Next a piece of printer roller/feed, and an extra corner because I want to stand it up and get some height.
Sample p2-74 Attached cable wrapped for initial join

Sample p2-74 Attached cable wrapped for initial join


The two pieces stand together, joined by a simple wrapping of cable from the corner around the roller. As work progressed I gradually made a number of other joins to stabilize and strengthen the join.

There are lots of separated bits, so I decide to start with a series of upward spirals.

Sample p2-74 Side wrapping in bricklayers line

Sample p2-74 Side wrapping in bricklayers line


Pink bricklayers line, closely wrapped giving density of colour. The spacing responds to the shape and holes of the object – I find the variation pleasing.
Sample p2-74 Side over-wrapping in trimmer line

Sample p2-74 Side over-wrapping in trimmer line


Some green trimmer line gives a much more open curve and helps the piece claim more space around it. The interaction with the pink wrapping is good. The green might need to be removed temporarily as work progresses.
Sample p2-74 Other side wrapped in bricklayers line

Sample p2-74 Other side wrapped in bricklayers line


Yellow bricklayers line wraps up the other side. There’s also some orange line helping to stabilise the connection of the two parts.

I want to add something more substantial.

Sample p2-74 Sliced cd-rom cable looped around roller

Sample p2-74 Sliced cd-rom cable looped around roller

Puzzling over what to do, I added another vertical element, adjusting that orange tie that didn’t really fit.

I sliced a cd-rom cable into shreads, and looped it around. It doesn’t look like much at the moment.

Sample p2-74 Weaving through cable

Sample p2-74 Weaving through cable


Other reclaimed wires woven through create volume. I had to do some extra work to stabilise everything with the weight pulling forward.

It’s amazingly ugly, but I actually like it. I see the volume and the lines, and not so much the mess.

Sample p2-74 Rear stabilised but bare

Sample p2-74 Rear stabilised but bare


The back (new clarity of orientation) was looking empty and uncared for.
Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip

Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip


Some fringed strips of insect mesh woven through filled that.
Sample p2-74 Completed column

Sample p2-74 Completed column

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 Detail – multiple wrappings and joins


I like it! Lots of colour, texture and volume. There are odd aspects, true, but it’s got character!

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

It’s totally different in character to the original inspiration work of Judith Scott, and also to that of Hiromi Tango. I haven’t written about her work in the research for this section – information on an exhibition I visited last year was posted 30-October-2014. There was a profusion of objects and wrappings around the room and piled up in the centre. Hiromi clambered over and around, and sat cocooned in the mass as she spoke to us. Such a sensation of generosity and joy and layers of meaning and history. The hard metal and complex shapes and cables I am using as my objects are taking me on a different, sparser path. Although a different interpretation, I think there is still enough “wrapping” technique to meet the requirements of the exercise.

Sample p2-75
Next the inside of a power supply.

Sample p2-75 Power supply, with inset showing reverse side

Sample p2-75 Power supply, with inset showing reverse side


This looks so great and has so many wires already attached that it could be displayed as is. However that would push a bit too hard on the exercise requirements. The tricky thing will be to find something that enhances it and makes it more interesting.

On further investigation the underside is interesting too.

Sample p2-75 Support from second power supply

Sample p2-75 Support from second power supply


I took apart another power supply – just harvesting interesting parts. One piece of metal I used as a prop for my board. I also cleared off a few deteriorating batteries and bits and pieces from my object, to better display the finds and coils that first attracted me.

It seemed a natural choice to spiral the attached wires around the object like an inverted bowl. It would be wrapped in space as well as wire “threads”, continuing the idea of increasing volume.

Sample p2-75 Weaving in progress

Sample p2-75 Weaving in progress

I briefly tried using another thread as a weft, but felt it obscured the contents too much. Interweaving the wires themselves seemed a better fit, responding to all my base object offered. Not an experienced basket weaver, I found the process difficult. Creating a neat, or at least non-distracting finish defeated me. I did twining (?) first, using strips of organza to link back to the first sample. That still left a tangle of wires that cluttered the base. An attempt to weave in the ends based on an internet tutorial had mixed success. The wires looked likely to spring apart at any moment if I cut them shorter. I used waxed linen thread (a nice, obedient, strong thread) to whip around the edges to bind the base together. It hasn’t quite worked but it hasn’t quite fallen apart, so I’m calling it good enough for a sample, with some questions to be resolved in a finished work.

Sample p2-75

Sample p2-75


Sample p2-75 Top view

Sample p2-75 Top view

Sample p2-76
In my next sample I wanted to use a disk drive which has a lovely screw mechanism support, a part that moves up and down – perhaps I could keep that – plus a fan that still has traces of acrylic paint from the printing session.

Sample p2-76 Components

Sample p2-76 Components


Wanting to move away from the sparse, hard computer cables and braided nylon of earlier wrappings, I used the printed paper from the beginning of the exercise as my wrapping material.
Sample p2-76 Wrapped in printed paper

Sample p2-76 Wrapped in printed paper


To display the interesting interior I cut and tore through the paper.
Sample p2-76 Revealed

Sample p2-76 Revealed

I really like this effect. The wrapping acts as a frame to the piece. It’s good to make the connection of wrapping to unwrapping. Christo’s wrapped paintings are intriguing (18-July-2015), but I like the excited-tearing-of-gift-wrapping association, plus such a deliberate and self-conscious “mystery” feels a little forced.

Wrapping of the fan was minimal.

Sample p2-76 Fan wrapped

Sample p2-76 Fan wrapped

Horsehair plastic thread was wrapped through holes, braided, and tied with a snippet of crystal organza. It’s a link back to sample p2-73, but quite a different treatment. I’ve found myself trying to create height and movement in all the samples of this exercise – computer components can tend to just sit, static.

Sample p2-76 Joined - top view

Sample p2-76 Joined – top view


Sample p2-76 Detail

Sample p2-76 Detail

The two parts were joined simply, pushing a loop of cable from the tying on the wrapped package over the fan where it fits snugly, while a cable from the fan is jammed into an opening of the disk drive. The combination is satisfying, non-identical twins joined by their own cords. It creates a variation and a tension – why are these connected? is one taking power or information from the other? The space between them becomes important.

Sample p2-77
In what was going to be my final sample I played with the idea of inside-out – computer components and cables wrapping around the case, rather than inside.

Sample p2-77 Initial attempt

Sample p2-77 Initial attempt with inset of cable join

In the initial attempt I started creating lengths of thread and cable, wrapping them around the empty case. It looked thin and weedy, and too like earlier samples.

Sample p2-77 Second attempt in progress

Sample p2-77 Second attempt in progress

I restarted, this time connecting components – a motherboard, disk drive, printer body parts – wrapping them around with yarns to form the connections and trying to build an interesting and complex shape.

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

I had taken on too much. It would take too much time, too much in materials, to get the density of wrapping I wanted a create a new whole from the various components. I abandoned the sample.

Sample p2-78
I still wanted to make a sample with dense wrapping and colour mixing. I took a drive component very similar to p2-73, and started wrapping.

Sample p2-78 Progressing

Sample p2-78 Progressing


This was quick, fun, satisfying, and I really like the result.
Sample p2-78

Sample p2-78


Sample p2-78 Reverse side

Sample p2-78 Reverse side


The colours work well together, the lines are dynamic. The wrapping responds to the overall shape of the plate, but works around the knob without interacting with it. I rather like this as a contrast to all the other samples, which seemed acutely aware of and directed by the protrusions of the found objects. Here the wrapping is the star, the original object a vehicle to display it.

Following a comment from another student on social media, I tried grouping my objects as a collection.

Exercise 3 Samples

Exercise 3 Samples

There is variety but also a strong commonality of the grouped wrappings. If this were an actual exhibition I would want to take more space, putting each sample on a separate plinth at various heights to give each an opportunity to claim its own space while still creating a conversation with the group. As shown in the photograph there is too much visual complexity and confusion, and in honesty it looks too similar to the original pile of components pictured at the beginning of this post.

I added a few inductors, gear wheels and springs on the table to break up the space and add an extra note. In a larger setting I’d like to experiment with a box of cables and parts lying discarded on the floor.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e3 Uneven wrapping
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 3: Uneven wrapping

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads

Sample p2-59
I started this exercise in the most basic way possible. Brown paper, twine. A very simple base combination.

Sample p2-59

Sample p2-59

The shape is asymmetrical and undefined. No hints are given, it’s very anonymous.

I expected this to be entirely without interest, but find it just a little intriguing. The “vertical” tie slants, responding to the slant in the shape and adding a dynamic element. I “know” that it sits stably on the surface, because I put it there, but looking at the photo those lines and a slight lifting at the bottom seem like it could be about to topple to the right. The horizontal sits low, curves up slightly, perhaps holding it back. Those loose ends ask us to untie and reveal the secret. It looks like a small harp, or … what?

Sample p2-60
The same brown paper was repeatedly crumpled (echos of assignment 1), and now conforms closely to the shape within, assisted by extra wrapping in red poly-string.

Sample p2-60

Sample p2-60

The secret is discovered. We have a jug, S-shaped handle to the left, a little over-extended and unbalanced, and pouring lip giving a rather nice curve upper right.

Sample p2-60 a

Sample p2-60 a

On the right is the shell of the wrapping after the contents are removed. To me there’s a sense of time passed, of the litter after the parade, the disregarded leftovers. Or perhaps of trying to hold on to something that has already gone. These are all thoughts after the fact, after some of my later samples.

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Fruit mesh bags and back lighting.

A wrapping that disguises nothing, but I think brings a little colour and the nice quirk of the net around the fish.

The ungainly S-curve of sample p2-60 is revealed as an artificial excess of paper.

I have such happy memories of this jug, filled with beer and my parents entertaining friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The wrapping enhances the movement of the fish on their mission to slake our thirst. (note added: when I was a child the beer wasn’t for my thirst!)

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Wrapped in a woven paper placemat and “horsehair” plastic threads the proportions of the jug are changed. It is taller, rather more sophisticated and less convivial in its elegant monochromatic wrapping. The shape is simplified.

Sample p2-62 detail

Sample p2-62 detail

I very much like the decorative effect of the knots as they sit a little open due to the stiffness of the threads, and the cool, clear lines and colours.

This is a lovely combination of materials, with strong horizontal and vertical elements that to me give a sense of stability and serenity.

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Very thin plastic, held close to the shape with unobtrusive white wire-like thread, does nothing to enhance the enclosed object. It doesn’t take advantage of the jug’s own attributes, it doesn’t add mystery or intriguing properties. Perhaps there are some interesting tucks in the plastic and the variation in colour from the base is good, but I’m struggling.

Sample p2-64

Sample p2-64 - view 1

Sample p2-64 – view 1

Large scale bubble wrap and pink braided nylon bricklayers line. Focus comes on to the dynamic line of the thread, rather than the contents. For me this sample has the closest link to Christo’s comments about the lines of his wrapped magazines (see 18-July-2015).

I couldn’t stand the jug normally, so started experimenting with different angles – just looking at shapes, not constrained by the convention of the material inside.

Sample p2-64 - alternate views

Sample p2-64 – alternate views

The shape within is now less important than the texture and movement of the wrapping and thread.

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Additional thread wrapped on the previous sample creates more interest and movement, especially with different orientations of the package. The overall shape, lines and proportions of this package, the colours and mix of textures, the layers of interest with focus on the exterior but the interior evident and contributing lines and form, combine in a successful whole.

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

This sample is disappointing. I intended it as a series, gradually adding to the wrapping and demonstrating the slow reveal of the shape of the jug. I took a long series of photos, both front and back lit. They weren’t interesting enough to process and present.

Sample p2-66 detail

Sample p2-66 detail

The wrapping material is thin white plastic treated with the heat gun (following sample p1-62 20-April-2015). The thread is a waxy synthetic. At a detail level it is an attractive combination.

Sample p2-7c Detail

Sample p2-7c Detail

With later reflection, I think pushing beyond the simple straight lines of single strands of thread would have been a better approach. Long looping lines of multiple threads, similar to p2-7 (11-June-2015) could have added interest and movement, and the proposed series would show the gradual engulfing of the wrapping in threads.

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67 backlit

Sample p2-67 backlit

This sample in form is a near repeat of the first, sample p2-59. I changed to a thick polythene, thinking again of the magazine wrapping of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

With the contents visible it is less dynamic than the earlier version.

When writing about Eva Hesse (7-June-2015) I noted the physical changes of her works as the materials aged over time. There is more information at http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/thoughts-on-replication-and-work-eva-hesse. I thought of this when watching some of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude videos, especially Christo handling his older magazine wrappings. How does the changing of the materials affect our viewing of the works?

If I left the jug wrapped in polythene for an extended period would the wrapping darken and obscure the contents more? Could I hasten the process with some mix of chemicals and special lights, and record the deterioration in a time-lapse? Would the wrapping sag or harden or crack, or the relationship with the jug change?

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Thinking about changes of materials over time and the impact on both wrapping and contents, I decided to move to a less-precious-to-me mug for the wrapping contents. The once reflective red foil surface had been ruined in the dishwasher, and only tatters remained. In the thin white plastic tied with linen rug warp yarn the line of the damaged foil becomes a positive, adding interest and movement to the wrapped piece.

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69 - view 2

Sample p2-69 – view 2

A heat gun was used to distress and shrink the plastic wrapping of the previous sample. This was basically the same process used to create the material used in wrapping sample p2-66, but the plastic was constrained by both the linen ties and the mug within.

Is it lace or scar tissue that resulted? The scorched linen threads suggest the level of trauma. Here a narrative is beginning to build, the series I was looking for earlier. The next sample continues the story, and to me is the most exciting and full of potential.

Sample p2-70

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 2

Sample p2-70 view 2

Here only the wrapping remains. The object is gone, although traces of the damaged red coating remain. There is a space, a memory, a shadow.

Without the mug, how much do we really know of it? That question reminds me of a work by Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV, seen recently in Light Show at the MCA (www.mca.com.au/exhibition/light-show/). Shawcross was inspired by the work of chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, mapping the molecular structure of insulin in a process she likened to “decoding the shape of a tree from the shadows its leaves cast on a wall” (quote and an image of Shawcross’s work at www.haywardlightshow.co.uk/artists/#conrad-shawcross). All very different materials, but it does suggest an interesting path to take my sample.

Other associations could be memory, or loss, or perhaps waste and the environment. I find this sample very engaging visually, and the general process of shrink-wrapping and capturing shapes and shadows full of potential. For now I’ll just enjoy the sequence.

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

The old mug, the thick polythene, and the yarn mix I liked in sample p2-65 combine. This is really just a preamble to the next sample, which I’ll show in stages.

Sample p2-72

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 c

Sample p2-72 c

Following on the idea of deterioration, change, absence, I took a hammer to my sample.

I like this sequence, and especially the final result, very much.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Once again there are ideas of loss and change, with an extra edge of violence or trauma. With the angle of the backlit view there is a sense of holding on to something that’s gone. I think there’s potential to create something powerful with this.

I need to do more research on artists working with similar ideas. A quick search found Shattered intimacy by Max Dupain (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/279.1982/) and L’altra figura by Giulio Paolini (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/349.1987.a-c/). Paolini’s work is the one I remembered and searched for, and the catalogue notes on the linked gallery page show some of the many themes that can be explored with breakage. I’ve set up a new pinterest board, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/breakage-in-art/, and hope an opportunity will come up in this or a later course to go further with the last few samples and surrounding ideas.

Sketch 20150720

Sketch 20150720

Later edit to add: I did manage a little sketch at the end of the work session, but it was definitely an afterthought. It’s obviously not key in my process, given I initially forgot to include it in this post. This was trying to see line and value using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in shades of grey.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 2: Wrapping with materials and threads

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Wrapping has been a major recurring component in the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I have faint memories of the time they wrapped part of the coastline just south of Sydney in 1969-70, when I was a child growing up in a northern suburb. A 2.5km stretch of cliff and beach was wrapped with synthetic erosion-control fabric and polypropylene rope, a four week process. The wrapping was in place for ten weeks, then removed and recycled. It was widely reported and polarised opinion. It could be a manufactured memory, but in my middle class home it was seen as odd, not something we would go to see, but rather nice that such a thing could be done in Australia.

Sample p1-58a Detail

Sample p1-58a Detail

More recently I’ve seen two works by them at the Art Gallery of NSW – Wrapped Paintings (1968 – link and Two wrapped trees (1969 – link). I was reminded of them while using a heat gun in an earlier project (20-April-2015). I find the wrapped trees depressing – long dead and preserved beyond reason. The wrapped paintings are intriguing – apparently no-one knows just what is inside.

Wrapping could take many forms – transparent, both displaying and transforming the contents (a nude woman, a bundle of Esquire magazines – interesting that in a video with Christo he comments on the movement in the wrapping, rather than the contents http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/videos/wrapped-magazines#.Vank1_mqpBc); Opaque, but with contents easily identified, as with the trees; Obscured. In a video of Woolworks (1969, http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/videos/christo-during-the-installation-of-wool-works#.Vanlh_mqpBc) a stacked wall of wool bales is covered in dark tarpaulins, completely obscuring the contents, but displayed nearby are more bales, the tops opened and contents tipping out. The wrapping can create a sculptural quality in everyday objects and cause viewers to reconsider, to see afresh, both object and the surrounding space.

Wrapping is not the only process used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They have also surrounded objects (eleven of the islands situated in Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami in 1980), and drawn lines through environments (a 39.4 km fence in California 1972-1976, a curtain across a valley in Colorado 1970-1972). They alter an environment, allowing viewers to see it with new eyes, newly conscious.

Many of the large landscape-based projects take years to fulfill, or have never been realised. There can be long negotiations and litigation, as community and environmental concerns are addressed and permissions obtained. They are generally sited in or near population centres, intended to be seen and experienced directly by people. The large scale works are temporary, and that is part of the aesthetic, creating a sense of urgency to see it, knowing that this is really unique, giving a quality of the love and tenderness we can feel for the fleeting.

Fabric is a frequently seen component. Christo explained it “translate[s] the fragile, nomadic quality of our projects”, “like living objects, they move all the time”, “you can see the wind, normally you cannot see you can only feel the wind” (https://vimeo.com/34773748). In the website FAQ Jeanne-Claude described the use of textiles as the common denominator of their work “Fragile, sensual and temporary materials which translate the temporary character of the works of art.” (http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/common-errors).

The work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is not conceptual. They wanted to see it realised. It is environmental in being in human environments, but the claims I have seen about commentary on waste and use of plastics is all from others, not the artists themselves. More than anything the works are intended as an aesthetic experience. Talking about a proposed project, The Mastaba, Christo said “Simple, incredible geometric form situated in the waving landscape of the sand dunes. This is important, the contrast between the movement, the organic shape of the dunes with that steep, very simple form.” It was to be very colourful, multi-colours, gorgeous abstract painting, “so enchanting and unique that they [people] like to be present” (https://vimeo.com/50862146).

Christo prepares enormous numbers of drawings while developing projects – simple sketches, collages, altered photographs, maps and more. This could be simply part of his process, but the drawings also are a part of the communication process in advancing a project, and a necessary part of the planning process for major organisational and engineering undertakings. Sales of the drawings provide funding of the projects themselves. Inspired by this, I attempted a sketch of a possible wrapping of St Mary’s cathedral in Sydney, printing a photograph on A3 cartridge paper then spreading acrylic paint with a cut-down credit card. Lines for the ties were drawn into the paint with the wrong end of a brush. (More about the cathedral is in a report I did for Art History – 10-June-2013)

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney - photograph, acrylic paint

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – photograph, acrylic paint

Resources

A variety of opinions on the wrapping of Little Bay – “Christo”, broadcast 19 April 2004, transcript available on line, http://www.abc.net.au/gnt/history/Transcripts/s1090226.htm. I particular like “Although it isn’t my cup of tea, I should imagine that to many thousands of people, it would be their cup of tea with cream added in.”

Images of work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude held at the Art Gallery of NSW http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?q=christo

http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Christo and Jeanne-Claude

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Judith Scott

figure_moodboardJudith Scott’s work was first mentioned in this blog when it appeared on my moodboard for the final project in A Creative Approach (28-December-2012). It’s that figure-like binding in the centre at the top. To me it looked like a trapped and tortured figure, fitting with my theme on Aged Care. I don’t know what it meant for Scott. She was born with Down syndrome, possibly due to early childhood illness was deaf, and never spoke. Her life story included a long, harrowing period and her creativity wasn’t expressed until later in life when she went to live with her twin sister.

Sketch 20150529 detail

Sketch 20150529 detail

Is the interpretation of torture from my mindset at the time? In May researching for this Part of the course my attention was caught by a different work illustrated in the same book, Mary Schoeser’s Textiles. Shown here is my research sketch (detail of page previously blogged 31-May-2015). Surely that must be auto-biographical.

Writing this now I’m thinking more about my own reactions and choices, why they change over time. Because I’ve changed again. Now I find a chair, bound together with bicycle wheel rim and what looks like a woven bamboo basket fascinating (image at http://creativegrowth.org/artists/judith-scott/ and on my pinterest board). It’s not the colours, which I find a bit drab, unlike some other works by Scott. There isn’t the strong emotion, negative and positive, that I’ve found in the works mentioned earlier. There’s something about the unexpected, random combination which doesn’t feel random. I think I’m seeing a change in myself under the influence of the current course. Deeply considering the implications of wrapping a wooden spoon could have that effect.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

I like that you can tell the scale of the work. A chair, bicycle rim and bowl will exist within a certain size range. Other pieces can give a jolt when they are photographed so you can see many are around adult human size. Sample p2-37 helped me to see a wooden spoon – to stop, and see the shape and size of that particular spoon. Our visual system has so many shortcuts and assumptions and leaves out what isn’t “required”. I can’t make assumptions, I have no meaningful conventions when looking at Scott’s work. I don’t know what she meant by it and I’m not able to read my own meaning into it. It makes me stop, and look, and think, and wonder, and see things around me a little differently afterwards.

Resources
Cruz, C. (2015) “Words Fall Away: ‘Judith Scott — Bound and Unbound’” on Hyperallergic [online] Available from http://hyperallergic.com/190327/words-fall-away-judith-scott-bound-and-unbound/ (Accessed 17 July 2015)

http://www.judithandjoycescott.com/

Shoeser, M. (2012) Textiles: The art of mankind. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Judith Scott
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Judith Scott

T1-MMT-P2 Jet James – Experimental Collagraphs workshop

Experimental Collagraphs was a recent weekend workshop organised by ATASDA.

Jet James

Jet James

Jet James is a young artist based in Yeppoon Queensland, who works in a range of media but currently focuses on printmaking. On the right is an image of a print I bought from him. You can see many more images on his website, http://www.jetjames.com.au/.

A few years ago Jet worked with another artist in an intensely experimental period. His “experimental collage” method comes from that. Working with 3mm pvc board as printing plate, Jet embosses the surface with natural and found materials. The leaves and dragonfly you see in the print were actual leaves and dead dragonfly, laid on the board and pressed through the printer. Using oil inks and an intaglio method, the embossed depressions create dark lines and areas in the final print.

Jet can create additional dark areas by texturing the pvc, using lino cutting tools, sandpaper… He creates light areas by adding materials that don’t take the ink, including nailpolish, car paint-sprays, gel mediums… Tape varies in effect. Things like plastic packing tape resist ink and create light marks, while paper tape soaks up ink and creates a dark. Then some tapes have a surface texture. It’s basically a matter of looking around and experimenting.

experimental collagraph 01 - ready for embossing

experimental collagraph 01 – ready for embossing


Wanting to connect to my Mixed Media course, I used a number of past samples in the embossing stage. From left to right we have acrylic felt from p1-70, up to the right p1-55, below that p1-61. Next is insect mesh, seen frequently in the past, then p2-10.
experimental collagraph 01 -embossed

experimental collagraph 01 – embossed

Here is the embossed plate, held at an angle in an attempt to show the texture created.

To print the plate, I spread blue/black ink over the entire surface using a credit card as a tool, then rubbed off the surface with phone book paper. A smear of ink was left overall, and larger amounts in the depressions. I printed on to damp Stonehenge paper. The first few prints were on white.

experimental collagraph 01

experimental collagraph 01

Obviously things are flipped around in the printing.

For a first go I think this is amazing. Others in the class started straight away with building up images, but I wanted to stick with general experimentation. Everything I tried here gave lovely clear exciting textures.
 

experimental collagraph 02 - ready to emboss

experimental collagraph 02 – ready to emboss

From the left – p1-69, cardboard from p1-126, cut outs from p2-24, a feather (some seen in p1-33), and p1-75 (also seen in p2-28).

The thin, light foil shelf-liner cut outs didn’t make any impression, while only the spine of the feather had an effect. I later painted on some gel structure medium to create a raised area that should largely resist ink.

experimental collagraph 02

experimental collagraph 02

I think the ladder effect created by the cardboard is the standout here, and the splodge of gel medium also shows promise.
 
experimental collagraph 03 ready to emboss

experimental collagraph 03 ready to emboss

A torn-down p2-11 was embossed on the third plate. I then scratched into the surface with various weights of sandpaper and a variety of other scratching tools. Lines were drawn in different nail polishes (some with glitter for extra texture). There was also a selection of different tapes added.

experimental collagraph 03

experimental collagraph 03

A range of interesting effects to add to the toolkit.

sketch20121022Next I wanted to attempt a composition of some kind. Here I came unstuck. I considered going abstract and had a range of materials to emboss circular variations, but instead I went for a sketch I dimly remembered from King Island (see 6-November-2012). Unfortunately I’d left my tablet at home and didn’t have a copy of the sketch.

I embossed layers of sandpaper for some beach texture, a rather too thick piece of polymorph plastic to create foreground rocky texture, and p1-61 again for the sea (unfortunately not so effective this time – perhaps flattened by the earlier work). I then cut grasses with a lino cutter, and roughened areas with sandpaper. I printed onto a fawn coloured paper.

experimental collagraph 04 version 1

experimental collagraph 04 version 1

Some of the elements aren’t bad, but it just doesn’t come together. The shore line is too central and vertical, the sea on the left is bland, the ground behind the grasses too similar to the general colour in the foreground.

Rather than start another plate it seemed a good exercise to try to improve on this one.

experimental collagraph 04 version 2

experimental collagraph 04 version 2

I used a variety of nailpolishes and other resist-type pens, looking for some highlights and movement in the sea. Sandpaper was used at the top to try to connect the shoreline to the upper margin.

To address the values problem on the right I tried to manipulate the amount of ink removed when rubbing back, taking off more in the top area and leaving a lot below. Unfortunately I lost some of the good foreground texture in the process.

Others have disagreed with me and preferred the first print, but I think I was effective in addressing a number of the issues I saw. A very worthwhile exercise.

Since the workshop I’ve tried creating a new plate and print. This was using a craft roller machine intended for embossing and cutting by scrapbook enthusiasts. It limits possibilities, being small (A4 can go through, so smaller plate size), would break if I tried to create too much pressure, and has a fixed height between the rollers. You try to get the right pressure for a particular task by adding different thickness boards in the roll-through package.

experimental collagraph at home

experimental collagraph at home

This is the result, on more of the fawn Stonehenge paper. I used p1-70, some cardboard, insect mesh and a plastic net fruit bag when embossing. I don’t have any printing inks, so used acrylic paints with some gel retarder to give myself more working time. When printing I put it through twice, as there was insufficient pressure first time through.

Yes, there are lots of problems, but the focus needs to be that I was able to emboss and print at home!!! For that point alone this is an excellent result.

Part 4 of the Mixed Media course is mono and collatype printing. The techniques suggested in the course notes are quite different, so it will be really interesting to use Jet’s ideas as well and do some compare and contrast. Before then I’ll get some oil inks and a supply of pvc board, and maybe there will be a chance to sneak in some practice.

T1-MMT-P2 Jet James – Experimental Collagraphs workshop
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Workshops etc: Jet James – Experimental Collagraphs Workshop

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e1 Straight wrapping with threads

Wrapping is a fascinating process. It’s one of those repetitive processes quite common in textiles, where the hands are occupied but most of the mind is free to wander. It can enhance a shape, or change it, or hide it. It can join materials or objects, can take advantage of their properties, extend or adapt them (think of pillows and tea-cosies). It can protect, comfort (a hug) or bind, suffocate.

Sample p2-37
As suggested in the course notes I started with a kitchen wooden spoon, and wound rug wool evenly around it.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37 detail

Sample p2-37 detail

The wool changes the colour and texture, but the shape is unmistakable. The wrapping is like a textured coat of paint. The dip of the bowl is lost, and the tip isn’t covered neatly – I think glue would be needed for that. It doesn’t really fire the imagination … although it does make me more conscious of the shape, rather than taking it for granted and dismissing it. It’s not quite so familiar any more.

 
Sample p2-38

Sample p2-38

Sample p2-38

The same yarn, but I wanted to expose the spoon as well – the worn, washed wood.

Any mystery is gone. The wrapping looks brash, random, careless. The wool doesn’t speak to or enhance the wood. Perhaps a kitchen twine would have been better here.
 
Sample p2-39

Sample p2-39

Sample p2-39

With this sample I wanted to change the apparent shape. The result is too obvious as an addition.  The lump of wrapping is alien, imposed. It looks like a gall on a branch, a sign of disease or intruders.
 
Sample p2-40

Sample p2-40

Sample p2-40

The black elastic bands were placed as supports for the next sample, but I liked the effect and wanted to capture it. There’s also the pun on “measuring spoon”, which pleases me (at one point I had the bands lined up at 2 cm intervals, although clearly there was shifting).
 
Sample p2-41

Sample p2-41

Sample p2-41

Sample p2-41 b

Sample p2-41 b


Here the elastic bands have been used to anchor some stiff plastic threads – they are like artificial horsehair, which I have cut into shorter lengths.

The bristles of the ends create a wonderful dynamic effect. The spoon isn’t disguised at all, but it is transformed.

Version b has just a bit more added, trying to push the 3D aspect of the result.

I think this sample is a simple but very effective use of wrapping. The almost monochromatic colour brings unity to the combination of materials. There is a dynamic presence claiming space around the spoon, and also a sense of honesty – the constituent materials declare themselves without disguise or false modesty.
 
Sample p2-42

Sample p2-42 detail

Sample p2-42 detail


Sample p2-42

Sample p2-42

In the previous sample I was trying to stay clean and linear, but noticed the tendency of individual strands to separate. In sample p2-42 I played up that effect, introducing a lot more interest and detail.

The shape of the spoon is de-emphasized, although there is something about the mixture of curved and straight black lines that links back to it. The spoon has become a vehicle for exuberant three-dimensional drawing.

I think there are lots of possibilities to explore here. Using a variety of different-but-related base shapes which together form a larger composition could be interesting.
 
Sample p2-43

Sample p2-43

Sample p2-43

This sample continues the idea of black lines partially obscuring the spoon – but “partial” much more complete. It’s another outing for the black fibreglass insect screening.

It takes quite a bit more effort to discern the spoon within, but it can still be seen in its entirety. The overall shape has been changed and is now wider at the handle end. I was hoping to get more from the layering of the mesh, but the result is more even, contained, and dull than expected.
 
Sample p2-44

Sample p2-44

Sample p2-44

Stripping some strands from the the edges, wrapping more loosely, with twisting to create more layers, has resulted in a much more interesting wrapping. The wrapping is the star with the spoon almost irrelevant.
 
Sample p2-45
Sample p2-45

Sample p2-45

Wrapping more closely, the spoon is enhanced rather than overwhelmed. The twisted, layered, fringed screening creates interest and variety, acting in partnership with the spoon. It’s almost like the wardrobe staple “little black dress”, a glamorous presentation of the previously humble.
 
Sample p2-46
Sample p2-46

Sample p2-46

Here the mesh becomes a container for the spoon. Some volume is created, but in the end it is just a spoon.
 
Sample p2-47
Sample p2-47

Sample p2-47

Shredded silver paper has been used to wrap loosely around the spoon. Tighter wrapping around part of the handle reflects the shape, but changing tension at the end confuses – which side is the bowl? The answer is clearer in the photograph than in real life.
 
Sample p2-48
Sample p2-48

Sample p2-48


Sample p2-48 detail

Sample p2-48 detail

Looser wrapping overall disguises the spoon more completely, but glimpses are still available.

I like the idea of hidden strength and form. This is almost all, but not entirely, about the wrapping material. Its erratic behaviour is just a little controlled by the interior spoon. There is a slight tension between form and chaos, between hard and soft, which gives interest.
 
Sample p2-49

Sample p2-49

Sample p2-49

Sample p2-47 has been repeated in an exaggerated way. The silver paper appears more controlled, managed, while the spoon is even less relevant.
 
Sample p2-50
Sample p2-50

Sample p2-50

An extra layer of wrapping using insect mesh has been added. Knowing there is a spoon inside I can distinguish the shape, but really it could be anything or nothing. The spoon is just armature.
 
Sample p2-51
Sample p2-51

Sample p2-51

Allowing the paper to “escape” the exterior wrapping brings a sparkle and interest back to the package. The underlying form of the spoon is much more apparent as well – obscured but not lost within.

There is almost a sense of a captured moment. Something is being revealed or is bursting out. Can it be contained? What more will be revealed? Each element – spoon, paper and mesh – plays a part in the ongoing story.
 
Sample p2-52

Sample p2-52

Sample p2-52

Further exploring layers of wrapping, here the spoon is closely wrapped in orange tissue paper, loosely encircled in silver shreds, then nestled in insect mesh. When preparing this I thought a of baby bundled into a pram, warm, protected, virtually invisible.

The result in my eyes is surprisingly static.
 
Sample p2-53

Sample p2-53

Sample p2-53


Extended Join Sample

Extended Join Sample

By this stage it may be apparent that I was dismantling the extended sample from the previous project while working on this exercise. Paper-clip chains, previously suspenders, are now wrapped around the spoon.

Dull.

Almost interesting, I feel it should be interesting, but dull. The individual paper-clips aren’t exactly aligned, but they aren’t greatly varied. Density of wrapping isn’t consistent – but it isn’t particularly anything. The paper-clips and spoon just sit there, not giving anything to each other.

I tried to find a variation that worked, but the paper-clips had an odd mixture of rigidity and movement that resisted. They wouldn’t fall loosely. They reacted to the spoon’s varying shape as if they resented it.
 
Sample p2-54

Sample p2-54

Sample p2-54

Adding an intervening layer of mesh helped a little. The clips are seen as a chain, wrapping.

In the photograph there is a feeling of the spoon entrapped, imprisoned. It was less apparent while working with the materials and I didn’t explore this.
 
Sample p2-55

Sample p2-55

Sample p2-55

Instead I made some small changes to break up the exterior lines and tried suspending and back-lighting.

It looks a little like a stealth jet, or a revealing x-ray. A series could be interesting, individual items that you have to decipher that build into a whole. The kitchen link makes me think of 1950s housewives, chained to their domestic duties. My mother? Could I show house and children dragging and chaining, a gradual lightening and emergence in her own right?
 
Sample p2-56

Sample p2-56

Sample p2-56

Colour!

Bundles of mixed yarns have been used for wrapping. The spoon has returned, there is some nice zigzag movement on the handle, but the bowl wrapping is just a mess.

I like the return to colour and to fibre, but this is clumsy.
 
Sample p2-57

Sample p2-57

Sample p2-57


Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

The same materials are wrapped in a more co-ordinated and controlled way. The result is great. The colours and textures sing together. The spoon is clearly there, but sheathed beautifully.

Tachi fittings

Tachi fittings

Just last night, days after I’d worked on this exercise, I saw this at the Art Gallery of NSW. Part of the Colin McDonald collection, this is a detail of a piece described as “Tachi (long sword worn with cutting edge down) with fittings decorated with dragons amongst the clouds and itomaki-tachi-goshirae style mount. 1390”. The whole piece was exquisite. I couldn’t figure out how this section of wrapping was worked, but the crossing structure was used on a number of the items on display – presumably none original, but I don’t know.

It feels ridiculous to link my spoon with a beautiful, highly crafted, lethal weapon, but it suggests a path to investigate.

 
Sample p2-58

Sample p2-58 a

Sample p2-58 a


Wrapping in plastic filament using the 3D pen – a nod to spun sugar.

On this first attempt I kept a bit loose and open, wondering if I would need to break the plastic to remove it from the spoon. The spiral turned out to be very flexible, and it was easy to manipulate off the bowl and then slide away.

Sample p2-58 b

Sample p2-58 b


The second attempt followed the spoon shape more closely, and resulted in a more dynamic line.

I like the wrapping, but even more I like the wrapping with the original gone. You could take the line of an imprint of what is now lost, or be lighter and see it as a quirky representation.

Shi Jindian’s Beijing Jeep’s Shadow (2007)

Shi Jindian Beijing Jeep’s Shadow (2007)

It reminds me of Shi Jindian Beijing Jeep’s Shadow, seen at the White Rabbit gallery (9-November-2012)Described as crochet in wire, the form of an entire jeep has been captured in wire lace.

This could be a very interesting and rewarding path to follow with plastic. A later Part of this module is on Molding and Casting, and there may be an opportunity in that to take this further.

Sample p2-58 combination

Sample p2-58 combination

I played with different layouts of wrappings and spoon. This one shows the flexibility of the spiral. It’s rather nice to see its genesis and continued development into something quite different.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e1 Straight wrapping with threads
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 1: Straight wrapping with threads


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