Archive for August, 2015

T1-MMT-P3-p1 Sketchbook and change of plan

After the session using composimold (26-August-2015) I felt the need to step back and think about next steps. Wanting to examine results so far more closely I worked on my photographs in gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Program).

First I manipulated individual photos.


 
Then I tried layering.
Photos layered in gimp

Photos layered in gimp


 
I like the combination of the different materials, so I tried printing out photos (glossy), carefully tore them (Assignment 1) and then combined.
Woven photos

Woven photos


The layers of photo paper separated as I tore, effectively widening the photos in one dimension. This meant they didn’t fit neatly overlapping when combined and my attempts to force the issue caused distortions. I want to carry forward the idea that a combination of materials can create tension and distortion.
 
I’ve also spent quite a lot of time handling the samples themselves – looking at them, bending and stretching, layering them in different orders… Below are a couple of my favourite combinations.
Sketch i

Image i


Sketch j

Image j


Sample p3-9, composimold impressed using a computer card, is the most effective as a top layer. There is enough patterning to create interest without obscuring the lower layer too much.

I want to take composimold further, plus I want to use it in combination with polymorph. The two materials seem to have an affinity – they are both 1 part molding materials that soften with heat. Both can be reheated and reused multiple times. The honey and white, transparency and translucency work well together. On another student’s blog I read about El Anatsui – “He feels it is important to work with a newly discovered medium until you really understand it and can “get something intrinsic out of it”” (ninaoconnor.wordpress.com).

I’d planned to move on to moulding with some silicone and some plaster that I purchased at the same time as the composimold. Instead I’ve decided to use the time to explore deeper rather than wider. It means I’ll work with few materials than suggested in the course notes, but I’m confident it’s the right choice.

===============================================
Post edited to add a detail of image d, which was based on an image of sample p3-11 (26-August-2015). Zooming in based on Lottie’s comment it looks like human skin under the microscope.

Detail of image d

Detail of image d


With colour inverted it looks to me like fibres, a closeup of felt. That suggests development possibilities.
Detail of image d, colour inverted

Detail of image d, colour inverted


===============================================

T1-MMT-P3-p1 Sketchbook and change of plan
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 3: Molding and casting
Project 1: Sketchbook and change of plan

T1-MMT-P3 Tutor feedback on Assignment 2

Last week I got feedback from my tutor, Rebecca Fairley, on Assignment 2. In my own review (6-August-2015) I was pleased and excited about the work, and happily Rebecca was also very positive. She even asked my permission to put a write-up on the WeAreOCA blog, which you can see at http://weareoca.com/textiles/judy-nolan/.

It’s a great confidence boost to get such a response. I’ve enjoyed a happy haze for a few days, but now I need to take care to focus on the detail – the why of the positives and the what next. I need to continue and to develop in:

  • being brave and taking risks, not just in sample making but in the way I approach drawing. On the drawing side in particular I think I can learn/steal from some fellow OCA students who are doing exciting work in A Textiles Vocabulary, the other new level 1 textiles course. Examples include Charlotte/Lottie (thecuriosityoflottie.wordpress.com), and Julie (aslowunravelling.wordpress.com). One of the exercises involves sketching as a way of exploring archive textiles – not drawing to make a picture, but loose and inventive discovery. Drawing as a useful part of the way I work, not an end itself.
  • building up, blending, linking – of technical understanding, knowledge, research… I now have a framework, a scaffolding. I love the feeling of broadening, strengthening, enriching that, making connections. Rebecca points out this will both inspire and inform my own creativity and making.
  • review what I record about my own and others’ work. I need to do this more – sometimes I wonder if I have the same “new” insight or revelation over and over again. Plus I may understand more fully with a little distance and time.
  • Rebecca recommended “continue to develop the language you use to discuss and reflect upon your own work and the research material you collect. Nothing is too wacky or too strange, record your thoughts honestly…” Similar advice was given in her feedback to Assignment 1, and although I experimented with language a little it was all rather stilted and awkward. I think editing out the wacky/strange part could be being afraid of appearing stupid or obvious or wrong. So what? I can develop, extend, change ideas later, but not if I’ve forgotten them. And as for sounding awkward, I suspect it’s that I don’t take my own work seriously. It’s just student work, it’s just a sample, it’s only a bit of fun. Being self-deprecating is a defence. To treat my work seriously, to write about it as an artist writing about her work, is to be vulnerable. I think that’s a new revelation (see point above). The work is playful, fun, exploratory samples by a student – but it’s still serious, and deserves to be treated as such. So going forward I’ll try to be less safe, less hedging my bets. And I’m going to try to be conscious of how other artists write about their work – not just the content, but the language – then note the bits that resonate with me and try to copy them.
  • T1-MMT-P3 Tutor feedback on Assignment 2
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Tutor feedback on Assignment 2

    T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

    Composimold is a composite molding material. The details are a trade secret. It’s biodegradable, food safe (but don’t ingest), honey coloured, rubbery at room temperature and melts in the microwave. It’s designed for mold-making, and can be melted and reused at lest 35 times. I got mine from Aldax in Sydney (http://www.aldaxstore.com.au/), and there’s lots of information (except for composition) on the Composimold company website http://www.composimold.com/.

    Sample p3-8

    Sample p3-8 in progress

    Sample p3-8 in progress

    In my first experiment I used a silicone egg ring on a smooth plastic cutting mat as a base. Plasticine was used to create a seal around the bottom. The tub of composimold was put into the microwave for three bursts of 30 seconds, until it melted to the consistency of runny honey. A pool was poured into the ring, then a half skin from a sumo mandarin put on top. No mold release was used.

    I waited for around an hour for the composimold to set (ambient temperature around 18° C).

    Sample p3-8 Backlit

    Sample p3-8 Backlit

    The backlit view gives the best idea of the level of detailed texture captured. Where the mandarin rested the material is thinner, but there are no breaks.
    Sample p3-8 Flexing

    Sample p3-8 Flexing

    The mold is delicate, ethereal. Variation of depth causes colour change, enhancing our perception of the textured surface. Tiny air bubbles bring vitality and light into the surrounding material. What would be a flaw in a mold for casting becomes a positive here.

    The photograph on the left demonstrates the flexibility of the material. The disc will fold right back on itself with no apparent damage. I feel this could be useful, although I don’t have a particular application in mind yet.

    This image also shows the “splash” effect of the molding material moving up around the mandarin skin as it was placed in the ring.

    Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

    Sample p3-8 over indigo paper

    The material is almost totally transparent. On the right a piece of indigo dyed paper has been placed behind it and detail of the patterning is clearly visible, green through the gold of the composimold.

    The surface of the composimold is very slightly tacky to the touch. The samples I saw in the store had picked up dust and lost their gloss and some of the transparency – something to consider when presenting and storing work if those properties are significant.

    Sample p3-8 side detail

    Sample p3-8 side detail

    A closeup of the splash effect shows the energy and dynamic interest created. The delicate tracery around the edges is moderately strong but I suspect would not withstand prolonged or rough handling.

    Sample p3-8

    Sample p3-8

    A final, full view of the sample. A very exciting result which left me keen to explore more. I have however noticed the pace of experimentation has slowed still further. I like to see the results of one sample before deciding on the next step, and setting time is becoming significant. I will probably need to adjust my process when working with the casting materials or I won’t be able to meet the assignment deadline.

    Sample p3-9

    Sample p3-9 in progress

    Sample p3-9 in progress

    A computer circuit board was used as the source of texture in this sample. The same egg ring and plasticine were used, but this time the base was the circuit board itself, propped up to be roughly level.

    Sample p3-9

    Sample p3-9

    Sample p3-9 side view

    Sample p3-9 side view

    The composimold was able to capture the detailed connections on the card. There is interest and variety but also order in the impression obtained.

    The photograph to the left demonstrates the impact of different angles of viewing. The colour of the material is much richer where we are looking through the full width of the mold. In sample p3-8 the best photographs had the molded surface showing and the smooth surface on the table. This allowed appreciation of the depth of texture. In the current sample the best photographs had the smooth surface uppermost. When the molded surface was on top visually confusing and blurring shadows muddied the image.

    Sample p3-10

    Sample p3-10 in progress

    Sample p3-10 in progress

    Sample p3-10 was molded on a warp-faced synthetic luggage strap and a loose round braid of synthetic yarns. Egg ring and plasticine were used to contain the molding material, and once again I didn’t used a mold release or prepare or pre-treat the base materials in any way.

    Sample p3-10

    Sample p3-10

    Some composimold adhered to the surface of the strap and it had to be very carefully peeled away. A small amount of material found its way underneath the strap, but it was a simple matter remove it. However the braid was basically encased in the composimold. I cut through one side and was able to extricate the braid, but it has created a thin and weak area across the mold.

    Despite or because of those difficulties, the fine details of the texture have been captured and the result is pleasing.

    Sample p3-10 backlit

    Sample p3-10 backlit

    The backlit view allows one to appreciate the intricate impression. This material is very effective in capturing texture. The transparent honey is pleasing to my eye. Being a one part material that is simply heated in the microwave makes it easy to use – and reuse. The major constraints are low tolerance to heat (of course – it melts!) and possibly picking up dust, degrading the appearance.

    P3-e1 group of samples - polymorph and composimold

    P3-e1 group of samples – polymorph and composimold

    I also find the combination of materials, polymorph and composimold, of great interest. Above we see the same three subjects captured in the two materials. I would like to find a way of joining these elements in a way that can take advantage of different lighting conditions.

    Sample p3-11

    Sample p3-11 in progress

    Sample p3-11 in progress

    Looking again at sample p3-8 while writing up this log led me to make one final sample during this work session. The delicate splash effect on the earlier sample made me wonder about a full mold catching that dynamic lift. The composimold site shows the possibility of painting on the material, and this seemed a good fit to the task.
    Sample p3-11

    Sample p3-11

    This sample is a delightful, delicate bowl that beautifully records the mandarin’s texture and shape. The appropriate colouring is a lucky happenstance of the combination of materials.

    Sample p3-11 Inside out

    Sample p3-11 Inside out

    The flexibility of the material makes it a simple matter to turn the textured side out, in the photograph highlighting the glossy surface of the painted side.

    Sample p3-11 Backlit

    Sample p3-11 Backlit

    The backlit view visually flattens the bowl, creating a flower-like look.

    On this first experience I am very taken by the possibilities and ease of use of this material. I have a few days of other activities scheduled, which will give me some time to think about next steps.

    T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – ComposiMold
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Project 1: Molding from a surface – ComposiMold

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott

    Victoria Ferrand Scott

    Victoria Ferrand Scott Together

    Victoria Ferrand Scott
    Together

    Victoria Ferrand Scott is primarily a sculptor, but also works in video, drawing, photography, mixed media and more.

    ictoria Ferrand Scott Compress and Expand

    Victoria Ferrand Scott
    Compress and Expand

    At first look I found her work in concrete confronting – so visceral, smooth curves and bulges, suggestive. When working at Leeds University as a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence ribaldry was a common reaction to one of her experimental forms. On learning more it’s not surprising. Ferrand Scott describes her work as “exploring processes which harness the natural forces of gravity, pressure and elasticity to create sculptures which bulge with their own visceral life.” Flexible containers are created from latex or fabric, filled with liquid concrete, and allowed to hang and and take its unpredictable form, with an occasional reinforcing bar added in potentially weak areas. That description isn’t too far from a sagging human body.

    Victoria Ferrand Scott

    Victoria Ferrand Scott

    Ferrand Scott has shared her exploratory approach in the online process log of her Residency (link). This included an extensive series using different water/cement ratios and various additives in concrete, seeking combinations that gave the properties she required.

    Molds were sewn using a variety of textiles. The grain of the fabric, seam treatment and placement of supporting bindings all influenced the final form taken by the casts. In some samples the texture or printing on the textile left impressions, although the print transfer was regarded as a non-permanent effect.

    Victoria Ferrand Scott BS Series

    Victoria Ferrand Scott
    BS Series

    In my current course we are encouraged to take risks, to learn from failures and move on. Weight was an issue, particularly when Ferrand Scott moved to larger pieces, and attempts using different aggregates to lighten forms were unsatisfactory. She moved on to the next idea, designing more complex molds with apertures, thus reducing dead weight. This brought its own challenges of structural integrity and placement of reinforcing. It also made a striking change in the forms produced.

    In her log Ferrand Scott notes “the first reminds me of Polynesian figurative artefacts, the next has more of an alien character with an extended head and narrow arms. It fascinates me how little is needed in an upright form for it to suggest a standing figure.” An interesting observation in itself, and also an example of an aspect of her approach that attracts me, that accords with my own desire for narrative in a work. All the artworks (as distinct from sampling) are titled. I don’t know when in the process the names were chosen, but many had me looking again at the piece and seeing more in them.

    Reading through the material provided by Victoria Ferrand Scott provided links to other sites. A number are no longer active, but I’ve included a few links below to a student workshop and exhibition which has some exciting forms.

    In terms of my own exploration, ideas of sewing molds, playing with seams and grain are very enticing. On the other hand I’ve decided that the complexities and choices in working with concrete are too complex for the scale of my current project.

    All images reproduced by kind permission of the artist.

    Resources

    http://www.axisweb.org/p/victoriaferrandscott/ – Artist’s website

    http://tinyurl.com/vfscott-AIR – Entry page for Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence website. Includes a link to Ferrand Scott’s monthly process log.

    Other links
    http://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/exhibitions/the-cast-exhibition/ The Cast Exhibition – in Edinburgh, showing outcomes of a 2 week workshop in 2012 involving architecture, textiles and glass.

    https://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/workshops/surface-texture-and-light/results/

    https://sites.eca.ed.ac.uk/fabricformedconcrete/student-projects/march-0809/

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Artist Research: Victoria Ferrand Scott

    T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA

    Light Show
    Energies: Haines & Hinterding
    It’s almost two months ago that I saw these exhitibions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney. They’ve stayed in my mind not so much because of the works, but because of the visitors, their reactions, and my reactions.

    Haines and Hinterding

    Haines and Hinterding
    Geology, 2015

    Geology is described on the MCA website as “an amplified cinematic experience”. That is such a tepid description of an enveloping experience that assaults eyes and ears, with deep harmonics that vibrate inside your body. There are headphones and records on turntables, a large photographic work that linked to the screen images, I believe aromas although I didn’t detect them. But the main show was on the screen, flying through an alien terrain conducted by the movements of one of the audience.

    I was there during the school holidays and the gallery was enormously popular, with children and adults patiently awaiting their turn on the conductor’s rostrum (well, mat). Clusters sat in the darkness, absorbed in this gigantic video game.

    haines_hinterding

    Haines and Hinterding
    Geology, 2015

    Towards one side of the huge room was a triangular chamber, Telepathy. Lined with rubber and foam, reminiscent of the lining of the interior of the drifting cubes in Geology, it is intended to insulate from external noise, allowing the occupants to reflect on their inner energies. This was less successful for me, with any inner energies still disturbed by the penetrating external harmonics, and sharing the small space with two strangers, one of them a young, curious, vocal child.

    Overall an interesting experience, and as I’ve mentioned very popular with the holiday crowds. Holiday entertainment. Suitable for all ages. On the harbour, close to the wharf, you can catch the ferry to Luna Park or the zoo to complete a great day out.

    I am such a snob. That is a totally unfair and unjustified reaction. These are serious artworks, with aesthetic, philosophical and conceptual concerns, underpinned by years of experimentation and science. I watched everyone having fun – and that really is a good thing. Go to an art gallery, see and experience things you’ve never imagined, be taken out of your everyday world, experience art as positive, meaningful part of life … but I felt the art I love, slow, contemplative, quiet, often small, getting lost in this whirlwind of noise and light. People are flocking now to the annual Archibald Prize exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery (also the Wynne and Sulman Prizes). “The art Sydney’s talking about” says the gallery website (link), and it’s true, I overhear random conversations “have you been yet” at work and on the bus. I don’t feel snobbish about that – it’s great to have the crowds and buzz and excitement in my “home” gallery.

    Perhaps it’s because of the video game feel, the interactive element, that it could actually be a ride at Luna Park.

    Light show was also on at the MCA. No photos allowed – the best web images I’ve found are from the Hayward Gallery (http://www.haywardlightshow.co.uk/ and exhibition guide). Anthony McCall’s ‘solid light’ installation You and I, Horizontal (2005) was an enthralling, immersive experience, and yes it appealed to the kiddies (no complaints from me on this except when the “little darlings” put their hands over the light source and entirely blocked it). I happily queued to stand in Iván Navarro’s Reality Show (Silver), a phone box of infinitely reflecting mirrors – one way, so we each in turn stood blind under the surveillance of those still waiting. I’ve written briefly before of the fascinating Slow Arc inside a Cube IV by Conrad Shawcross (22-July-2015). The absolute stunner for me was Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation – white walls, ceilings and floors, separated but connected chambers flooded with red, blue and green light, solid, saturated, rich and wonderful, blending at carefully controlled edges, small white panels let down from the ceiling to create more mixes. I stood in drenching red until my eyes were overwhelmed and the red seemed almost white. The kids were in there too and some stood in awe like me and it was wonderful. And perhaps it could be in Luna Park too.

    Am I an elitist snob? Almost certainly I fear. It’s also true that I found the noise and internal vibrations of Geology unpleasant, and the huge, zooming, swerving image did not sit well with my poor balance and chronic vertigo (BPPV). It’s made me think a lot about what art means to me, what I like and why, what I want to make – but no conclusions.

    T1-MMT-P3 Exhibitions at the MCA
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Exhibitions at the MCA

    T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – Polymorph

    The goal in this project is to capture the texture of other materials using a casting material. I chose to start with polymorph, a thermoplastic, having experimented with it on a sidetrack in Part 1 (21-April-2015).

    Sample p3-1 and p3-2

    Samples p3-2 (left) and p3-1 (right)

    Immediately apparent was the challenge of photographing a shiny white textured surface. I tried multiple backgrounds, lightsources and angles, then chose the best result(s) for each sample leading to some inconsistency in this presentation. Clicking on the smaller images below will lead to a larger version.

    Sample p3-1

    Sample p3-1 backlit

    Sample p3-1 backlit

    Polymorph rolled to 5mm sheet, then pressed into a cabbage leaf.

    Sample p3-1

    Sample p3-1

    A series of curved lines are indented in the surface. In this horizontal arrangement the curves are calm as they merge and spread to cross the space. One corner is broken off – I think of a shoreline or rocky outcrop by the sea. In some lights the uneven surface between the curves catches the light, just as the swell of the ocean glints in sunlight.

    Sample p3-2

    Sample p3-2

    Sample p3-2

    5mm sheet pressed into a sumo mandarin, the overall curve gently pressed flat while the plastic remained pliable.

    This is a highly textured piece. The patterning is very organic in nature and seems to shift as you look at it. A spiral is apparent, but shifts as I try to trace it and a new spiral suggests itself. Some higher areas appear smoothed – a true reflection of the fruit? A mishap in making the mold? The varied depth of the impression, inconsistent reflection and general complexity has proved beyond me as a photographer. A video looked sharp on the phone but blurred on a larger screen.

    Based on the first two samples I decided to use the polymorph thinner, looking for more pliability and clearer molding, plus better effects from backlighting.

    Sample p3-3

    Sample p3-3

    Sample p3-3


    Sample p3-3

    Sample p3-3

    Sample p3-3 backlit

    Sample p3-3 backlit

    3mm polymorph sheet pressed into cabbage leaf.

    The extra pliability of the thinner sheet, plus my extra experience in pressing the polymorph into the form, has resulted in a much clearer mold. Lines are crisper and there is more detail in the surface between the ribs of the cabbage leaf. The inclusion of the main rib across one corner and the alignment of major elements on the diagonal creates a dynamic composition. The overall shape of the sheet deformed with the shape of the leaf, and was not adjusted as in sample p3-2. This adds to the sense of movement and increases the response of the work to changes in the direction of lighting.

    The thinner sheet is more translucent, thus providing greater impact from backlighting.

    Sample p3-4

    Sample p3-4

    Sample p3-4

    Sample p3-4

    Sample p3-4

    3mm polymorph sheet pressed into sumo mandarin.

    Similar improvements are seen in a repeat of the mandarin mold in thinner plastic. The small black dots visible are the remains of crayon rubbed across the surface in an unsuccessful attempt to further highlight the texture created.

    The complex surface is still difficult to decipher. There is a sense of a spiral, but still a lot of visual noise. Attempts to photograph a backlit view were not successful.

    Sample p3-5

    Sample p3-5

    Sample p3-5

    Sample p3-5 with charcoal

    Sample p3-5 with charcoal

    Sample p3-5 backlit

    Sample p3-5 backlit

    3mm polymorph pressed into back of computer card.

    The photograph above shows the fine detail that the polymorph can hold as a molding material. The printed lines connecting components are clearly visible if the light strikes in the right direction. Marks appear in clusters, but there is still a sense of organisation and purpose.

    It is only in closeup that the detail is visible. Charcoal was rubbed over the surface in an attempt to make the patterning clearer, but the effect is unattractive. The backlit view is more interesting, despite a poor quality photograph. The effect is reminiscent of a city at night – or perhaps a surveillance photograph of a car park.

    I think this has possibilities to be a supporting texture in a larger whole. Possibly it could be combined with actual computer parts, or with larger, more three dimensional molds.

    Sample p3-6

    Sample p3-6

    Sample p3-6

    Sample p3-6 with charcoal

    Sample p3-6 with charcoal

    3mm polymorph sheet, molded using wide synthetic warp-faced luggage strap and a loose round braid of synthetic yarns.

    Strong, parallel diagonals cross the work in a variety of textures. There is a rigid regularity on the lower left, formed by the warp-faced strap, although the edges could have been captured more clearly. The more chaotic nature of the loose braid and the areas left unmolded provide variety and interest.

    The charcoal effect is too messy, but it does break down the rigidity of the strap area.

    Although this sample used textiles, it was a careful choice to use smooth surface materials in this initial attempt. The character of the different textile structures has been molded into the surface, but there are no actual fibres caught in the plastic.

    Sample p3-7

    Sample p3-7

    Sample p3-7

    Sample p3-7 in progress

    Sample p3-7 in progress

    Sample p3-7 detail

    Sample p3-7 detail

    3mm polymorph sheet molded into weaving sample.

    In this sample I invited the embedding of fibres from the textile source. The textile was a sample originally created in project 9 of A Creative Approach (14-October-2012). The polymorph sheet was placed in an area with a variety of wefts, including torn fabric strips and woolen rug yarn. It can just be seen in the process photograph that a square of perspex was used to push the polymorph into the textile to provide a uniform pressure. It would be interesting to repeat this sample with localised pressure to take up as much texture as possible.

    The closeup photograph shows the fine level of detail – even the weave of the fabric strip weft can be identified. Fibres have been caught in the molding material, an effect that really attracted me in the work of Rebecca Fairley (16-August-2015). Here is doesn’t work, and in particular the scales are wrong. The fine detail of the different tapestry techniques were captured in the polymorph, but are heavily obscured by the wool fibres, which distract rather than enhance.

    The rhythm of work was quite different in this exercise. Melting the polymorph pellets and rolling to a reasonably uniform sheet took time and was repetitive. It seemed difficult to be spontaneous, to follow a line of thought or speculation. In some lights the results look like plain, misshapen lumps of white plastic. I spent more time and effort taking many, many photographs – those shown are the best of a large bunch, and some are only marginally useful. I chose the roughly regular square format as building blocks for a larger whole, but it seems to have homogenised the samples.

    I was very unhappy with the results initially, and attempted a number of sketches to try to see the samples more clearly.

    Sketch of initial molding - 1

    Sketch of initial molding – 1

    Oil crayon rubbing on copy paper.

    Messy and unenlightening.

    Sketch of initial molding - 2

    Sketch of initial molding – 2

    Black marker on cartridge paper.

    Sketching this helped me to appreciate the different characters of the samples. As a group they look bland, especially if the lighting is from a direction that doesn’t promote reflections. Looking closely increased my awareness of the detail and the variation.

    Sketch of initial molding - 3

    Sketch of initial molding – 3

    Black conte pencil on cartridge paper.

    The overlaid outlines show the close-but-not-quite consistency in sizing of the samples. While I like the softer edges, particularly on the more natural cabbage and mandarin samples, the level of variation is not quite right. It needs to be more or less.

    Possible improvements – add colour, be either more or less uniform in size, build up a theme (I think computer components could be explored), try thinner sheets (more pliable and translucent), push further into three dimensions.

    T1-MMT-P3-p1 Molding from a surface – Polymorph
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Project 1: Molding from a surface – Polymorph

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Initial sketching

    Recent sketchbook work has been preparation for the coming casting and molding exercises.

    sketch 20150808

    sketch 20150808

    Sample p2-65

    Sample p2-65

    This sketch is on A3 kraft paper, roughly painted with gesso, then a charcoal sketch of sample p2-65. I worked from the photograph – the sample doesn’t exist any more.

    I’ve written before that I regard this sample as the strongest in terms of a completed outcome (2-August-2015). Drawing this sketch and glancing at it on the pin board over the weeks actually had me going back to the course notes on recording outcomes, because I’m really beginning to understand the value and power of the process. I was already aware of the dynamic diagonals and the semi-transparent disguise, and perhaps the repetition of circles and bumps on circles. However what really is attracting and fascinating me are the indeterminate edges. Wraps disappear, lines change direction, bubbles form the edge but there are edges within edges, reflections and shadows complicate. Where is the edge?

    Sample p2-72 c

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    Sample p2-6 Side view

    It’s made me look again at other samples – p2-72 and the missing handle of course, but also the haze of p2-6. A quick search shows I have written multiple times about a fascination with boundaries, so I’m not sure why it feels like a revelation. Perhaps because I am beginning to develop a store of visual means, evoking (provoking?) that moment of hesitation and search for the edge.

    sketch 20150809

    sketch 20150809

    Sample p2-70, conte pencil on newspaper. Curves of the shrinkwrap. I like the movement and the busyness of this. A fairground ride.

    Victoria Brown research page

    Victoria Brown research page

    I’m continuing the sketch/information pages as I research, but as I had permission from a number of artists to use their photographs I didn’t include my pages in the original research posts.
    Rebecca Fairley  research page

    Rebecca Fairley
    research page

    Sketch 20150815

    Sketch 20150815

    This is research that got away from me. I was looking at Louise Nevelson’s Luminous Zag: Night on the Guggenheim website (link), and was taken by a sudden need to work in pattern blocks.

    The base is newspaper, with white gesso painted on then blotches of blue and brown acrylic paint when I tried to print off large bubble wrap (unsuccessfully). I cut some thin craft foam into shaped strips, then printed in red trying to create visual blocks from individual elements. Fast, fun, quite effective, plus it’s got me thinking about how to make the molding samples in some way uniform to build up into something larger.

    Victoria Ferrand Scott Research page

    Victoria Ferrand Scott
    Research page

    Some more research in progress. Looking at work done by Victoria Ferrand Scott during her time as Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence (http://tinyurl.com/vfscott-AIR).

    Lindsay Harris Research page

    Lindsay Harris
    Research page

    More research in progress, from Lindsay Harris (http://lindsayharris.co.uk/plaster.html). This is A3 cartridge paper, outlines in black crayon, washes of ink trying to explore values which got lost and I tried to recover using white acrylic.

    Obviously lots of artist research outstanding, plus I haven’t yet blogged about materials research and selection or my list of goals/ideas for the exercises, but I feel the need to make a start on practical work before I overthink and it all gets stale.

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Initial sketching
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Initial sketching

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Rebecca Fairley

    Rebecca Fairley
    Rebecca is Textiles Course Leader at OCA, was responsible for the development of the Textiles 1: Mixed Media course I am currently undertaking, and is my tutor. I started this research feeling a little extra pressure, but it’s also become an opportunity to reflect on the overall approach of the course, the what and why of the exercises, and to see Rebecca’s own work almost as an extended response to similar questions. What we’re asked to do – the whole process – in one part of a Level 1 course, is a template that can be scaled up and extended and repeated. I’ve also discovered a bit more about myself. More on that later.

    All of the images below are reproduced by kind permission of the artist. Each is linked to the original larger, clearer photographs on Rebecca’s website, http://rebeccamfairley.wix.com/portfolio.

    Rebecca Fairley Inspire Project

    Rebecca Fairley
    Inspire Project

    The piece on the left was one outcome of an investigation of surface design possibilities. The form created is a rough lozenge in shape, the depth difficult to gauge but I would guess less than width or breadth. The surface is overall smooth, even polished in appearance in areas. Pockmarks of different sizes are distributed across the surface, occasionally in small clusters. A loose, powdery crust is visible, particularly in the centre of the lozenge and scattered on the surface around the object. A series of creases or small folds reach from the edges towards the centre. A number of depressions can be identified, some circular, some simple dips. A line is etched across the centre from left to right, cutting deeply into the edges.

    Above I have described an object, particularly its surface. I don’t know its material or method of construction but it could be plaster or cement put liquid into a plastic bag, tied across the centre and a number of weights placed on top. Little of that was in my thoughts when first viewing the photograph. I thought of a captured moment, like a grey plastic grocery bag blowing empty across the street and almost tangling in my feet as I sat waiting for the bus (part of a longer story from last week, as it happens). I thought about the fragility of all constructs and barriers that we build around ourselves; about thin veneers that crack and reveal; about what we would see it this was dropped and split apart.

    Rebecca Fairley Final Degree Show Project 2011

    Rebecca Fairley
    Final Degree Show Project 2011

    This detail appears to show a base surface with a shallow texture resembling leather or perhaps ripples of sand on a beach. There is a sharp transition to a very roughly textured almost crumbly looking crust. Wisps of fibres are caught in the crust. Along the line of the transition are fairly regular perpendicular markings. This area also shows a higher concentration of pocking in the surface. Overall colouring is butter yellow, with blues and terracotta breaking through.

    I wonder if the deeper texture and wisps at the top were formed by a textile of some kind placed onto the surface as it set. The more craggy parts could be aggregate appearing through the surface of concrete. Those irregular markings could be stitches or some other way of positioning and holding the textile. Perhaps concrete was cast in a container of knitting stitched to leather. Or something else entirely.

    Once again these speculations came second for me. For some reason this photograph made me catch my breath – an immediate, emotional reaction. Delicacy, fragility, scarring, traces? The contrast of warmth and texture in a hard material? I haven’t been able to identify a reason or a story, but each time I look the emotion comes first.

    Rebecca Fairley Final Degree Show Project 2011

    Rebecca Fairley
    Final Degree Show Project 2011

    Another example from the same series of work. This time the concrete (?) is grey. From a sharply cornered base a textured dome rises. Fibres are caught in the surface – pale blue, mustard yellow, perhaps some red. The artist’s stated intent in the series was “to experiment and explore the possibilities for the manipulation and control of concrete surfaces”, and her results “broadened the perception of concrete as a decorative surface”.

    My reaction is not as strong, but once again my immediate response is emotional, inexplicable – not analytical. I don’t see this as “wrong” – the artist is following her line of enquiry, the viewer brings to the work her own perception and context. However I find the disconnect interesting, and am actually a little irritated by an emotional kneejerk that I can’t explain.

    Rebecca Fairley Investigating the Surface Qualities of Concrete through Creative Practice 2013 ​

    Rebecca Fairley
    Investigating the Surface Qualities of Concrete through Creative Practice 2013 ​

    In a later project Rebecca focused on concrete, shaping the surface and trapping materials. This is an example of an inclusion, the smooth, reflective surface and translucence of the embedded material a wonderful contrast to the dense, pocked solidity of the surrounding mass of concrete. The dynamic curving lines remind me of a river cutting its way through a landscape.

    I think there could be interesting technical considerations in the creation of this piece. For example heat is liberated as concrete sets and hardens. At what temperature would the inclusion melt (similar to the scorching aspects of Victoria Brown’s work (14-August-2015))? That attractive depth and cratering – is that related to air pockets, shrinkage, other factor(s)? How can this be manipulated?

    Side note: My analytical and questioning faculties have returned. I find this piece interesting, aesthetically pleasing, decorative – but my reaction is different to that earlier. Curious.

    Rebecca Fairley Investigating the Surface Qualities of Concrete through Creative Practice 2013 ​

    Rebecca Fairley
    Investigating the Surface Qualities of Concrete through Creative Practice 2013 ​

    And it’s back. Subdued but back, that emotional response. In this image it looks like the folds of a fine-knit fabric formed part of the mould for the cast concrete. The surface texture of the (putative) fabric has been captured in great detail in the finished surface, but there is no trace of any actual fibres. The fine and deep texturing causes a range of depth of shadowing, an interest and complexity that attracts the eye and the hand.

    Some ideas to take forward to my own exercises: don’t be precious – air pockets, cracks and flakey surfaces can all be attractive elements in a work; I definitely want to experiment with textiles to create surface texture; inclusions can be spread throughout a mix (like aggregate in concrete), or localised (particularly near the surface); mould release agents are a choice, not a necessity.

    Finally, I’ve been reminded that both textiles and story-telling are very important to me in ways I find difficult to fathom. I would say that’s part of my personal voice – even when inarticulate.

    http://rebeccamfairley.wix.com/portfolio
    http://weareoca.com/textiles/new-textiles-leader-says-hello/

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Rebecca Fairley
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Artist Research: Rebecca Fairley

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Meredith Woolnough, Patrick Delorey

    Meredith Woolnough

    Meredith Woolnough with Scribbly Gum Leaf (2014)

    Meredith Woolnough
    with Scribbly Gum Leaf (2014)

    Meredith Woolnough is a visual artist who captures the beauty of Australian plant-life in a form of free machine embroidery which she describes as “knotted embroidery threads”. I chose the photograph on the left showing Woolnough with one of her works to give a sense of the scale. This piece is 100cm diameter, a delicate tracery with subtle colouring which beautifully interprets the skeleton gum leaves found in leaf litter.

    Here the work appears to be mounted directly on the wall. Suspended with pins the shadows created would provide depth, interest and movement in the gallery space.

    Meredith Woolnough Orange Nautilus

    Meredith Woolnough
    Orange Nautilus

    Orange Nautilus, a slightly smaller work, is pinned on paper. Separate smaller pieces of dense machine stitching are combined in a medley of positive and negative space, again with the complexity of shadows providing a dynamic element to the composition. Some moulding of form has been achieved in the detailed colouring of the work. I don’t know if Woolnough has experimented with additional physical moulding of her large pieces. On her blog she has shown small bowls of her stitched traceries (link). These were created for an exhibition after winning the 2014 Emerging Artist – Craft minor award from Craft NSW. The additional depth and layers of patterning of the rounded forms are very effective.

    Meredith Woolnough Embroidered specimens captured in resin

    Meredith Woolnough
    Embroidered specimens captured in resin

    Of relevance to my current research, Woolnough has used cast resin to display some of her small works – “specimens”. In a range of sizes this seems an ideal way to present smaller pieces.

    Longer term I am very interested to use resin as a display technique, however it doesn’t fit my interpretation of the current course exercise requirements. The casting exercises focus on the manipulated interior space of flexible vessels and on texture created by pressing objects into the still-fluid surface.

    All images reproduced by kind permission of the artist.
    http://www.meredithwoolnough.com/
    http://meredithwoolnough.blogspot.com.au/

    Patrick Delorey

    Patrick Delorey Erosia: Coal (Detail)

    Patrick Delorey
    Erosia: Coal (Detail)

    In Erosia Patrick Delorey created complex textured panels of new territory, not quite landscape, not quite object. Time and space were collapsed as satellite images of mining sites were layered and blended into new composites. Delorey used a range of materials – aluminium, marble, himalayan pink salt, coal – to produce relief panels of the landscapes.

    Patrick Delorey

    Patrick Delorey
    Erosia: Coal

    The works were completed during an artist residency at Autodesk’s Pier 9 – their website shows an exciting range of projects (link). Each material in Delorey’s series required different processes, and it is fascinating to see the range of end effects created (link). I would love to see the actual works, as once again shadows play an important part in the final result.

    Patrick Delorey Casting coal and epoxy mix

    Patrick Delorey
    Casting coal and epoxy mix

    Coal uses actual coal, hand crushed by Delorey and mixed with epoxy resin. The method used is covered in detail in an Instructable (link) and involved 3d modeling a relief, machining a foam positive, creating a silicone mold from that positive, processing coal into powder, mixing with epoxy resin until the powder looked “just slightly damp” and casting the final piece.

    For my own studies, this process is a wonderful fit with my 3D design and printing sidetrack in Part 1 of the course (link). I am resisting, or at least deferring, the temptation of another tangent – timing is going to be tight enough, especially given cure times in Sydney’s damp winter. However the idea of mixing resin (or other casting materials) with inclusions is definitely on the list for sampling.

    All images reproduced by kind permission of the artist.
    http://www.patrickdelorey.com/
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Casting-Coal-With-Epoxy-Resin-and-Silicone-Molds/step4/Processing-Coal/
    http://www.autodesk.com/artist-in-residence/projects/erosia.

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Meredith Woolnough, Patrick Delorey
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Artist Research: Meredith Woolnough, Patrick Delorey

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Brown

    Victoria Brown

    Victoria Brown 1440: Ordinance Disorder

    Victoria Brown
    1440: Ordinance Disorder

    Victoria Brown is an artist who works mainly in hand rolled felt. Her Masters was by research – a paper on the early history of feltmaking in the nomadic tradition. She makes beautiful work in what I would term modern traditions, for example the wall hung felts on her website with really beautiful colour and what appears to be highly developed technique (link).

    For my current research “works mainly” are very significant words. 1440: Ordinance Disorder was exhibited in Liminal at the Otter Gallery, University of Chichester in 2013. The work includes resin knitting needles, aluminium, pewter, silk and paper as well as wool felt.

    Victoria Brown 1440: Ordinance Disorder (Detail)

    Victoria Brown
    1440: Ordinance Disorder (Detail)

    This detail shows the results of the process of particular interest to me. First wool was felted thickly around a glass vessel. The felt was then cut in two, in this instance after dyeing the surface. On one side the space reserved by the bottle has been used a mould into which molten pewter was poured. Brown herself comments on “a sense of the ludicrous” in the action.

    Victoria Brown Cast Pewter In A FeltMould

    Victoria Brown
    Cast Pewter In A Felt Mould

    An image of a different work shows more clearly the result. The pewter has solidified in the form of the original glass vessel and has picked up not only the texture but some of the singed fibres of the felt. It’s hard to tell from the photographs of 1440: Ordinance Disorder, but I wonder if the artist has further played with the process by creating multiple felted forms and turning the pewter so it sits proud of the surface of encapsulating felt. The technique has the wonderful property of being non-destructive of the original vessel, which can be used multiple times and displayed together with moulds and cast.

    Victoria Brown 1440: Ordinance Disorder (Detail)

    Victoria Brown
    1440: Ordinance Disorder (Detail)

    Another element which has me puzzled is this, described on her website as “pewter encasing a piece of crochet”. The crochet shows no sign of scorching at all, and while clearly deeply embedded some sections sit proud and apparently untouched.

    I am attracted by the materials, shapes, textures and evidence of process, but also by the thought revealed in it. 1440: Ordinance Disorder responds to the exhibition theme Liminal. Materials and methods chosen refer in multiple ways to a specific location and its layers of history. A doily both suggests the domestic and is a metaphor for the mind. There is order, map co-ordinates, and disorder or chaos in the poured metal. The settlements and uses of the area in the past are presented, and in my eyes the pod of felt resembles a seed buried in the soil, ready to sprout in a renewed cycle of life.

    Victoria Brown Cast Liminal Space

    Victoria Brown
    Cast Liminal Space

    Brown writes that her work explores “the spaces between” in language, memory or process. In the work on the left the two half castings don’t quite match or fit together, and that dark gap, that tiny sliver of light, catch the eye and the mind.

    Some works inquire into gender, labour, the nature of art and craft, the possibilities of collaboration. Fine wool mixes with tape measures and found plastic oddments. Other works have a quirk of humour – on a page of “impossible necklaces” are giclee prints, one showing a chain of flies with a little hanging pendant of a spider.

    Some thoughts to take forward in my own samples: casting creating hybrid materials – not just capturing an impression of texture, but the mould/pattern material itself evident as an integral part of the cast result; the mould as a record of what was – showing the process, but also changed by the process (this seems to resonate with my earlier ideas about the traces of what has been lost such as a wrapped space that once held a mug’s handle); encasing, but not entirely – raw material breaking through the surface.

    All images reproduced by kind permission of the artist. See much more on Victoria’s website, http://victoriabrown15.wix.com/artist.

    Additional resource: Liminal: The Otter Gallery exhibition catalogue [online] Available at http://d3mcbia3evjswv.cloudfront.net/files/Liminal%20Show%20Booklet%202013.pdf (Accessed 14-August-2015)

    T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Artist Research: Victoria Brown
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 3: Molding and casting
    Artist Research


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