Archive for August 2nd, 2015

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Sorting

Which samples have interesting attractive elements, which have potential for development?

Sample p2-2h  To destruction

Sample p2-2h To destruction

In sample p2-2 (6-June-2015) I experimented with multiple presentations of corrugated cardboard connected with cocktail sticks. The cardboard has warmth, has both flexibility and strength depending on how you use it, can be broken in a variety of ways leaving a range of edges, and is cheaply available with lots of variations. Light plays along its surfaces. Using an intrinsic property of the material in forming joins is very satisfying. There is potential from associations – a cheap covering on a cold night on the streets, a flimsy armour of appearance not substance, an empty box remaining… I would like to use this material more.

Sample p2-12 j

Sample p2-12 j

In a later exercise I was able to take the material and basic technique a little further (14-June-2015). This is a more refined and decorative version, but clearly the potential just expands together with the gap of the join. Another variant in this iteration included decorative beads and twists.

Sample p2-3 a

Sample p2-3 a

I include sample p2-3 (6-June-2015) in my selection as an example of risk taken. It began by taking one of my favourite samples from Part 1, then cutting and puncturing it. The risk paid off, with a new, bright and attractive set of samples and a way forward to develop the original surface distortion possibilities. In the event my extended joining sample took a slightly different path, but joining multiple, relatively small components in ways found during this exploration could build to an interesting whole.

Sample p2-7c Detail

Sample p2-7c Detail

Multiple threads were used in groups in sample p2-7 (11-June-2015). In a sense this was an exploration of gravity – how does this fall? – and if I had time I know such ideas can be linked back to the early days of fibre sculpture (see 26-December-2014) and elsewhere. I would love to work further with this – different weights and lengths and materials and scale of thread and cord, using gravity but also joining … what?

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

This sample (19-June-2015) used p2-13 as a base. The insect mesh is another of my preferred non-conventional materials and in this sample it provides both layering and movement. A curved edge was joined to a hole creating a lot of volume, and the orange cable ties provide additional drama and focus in the spot of colour, although contained and to an extent controlled by the mesh. However it is in the combination of the two samples which really lifts the result. The colours are limited but crisp, strong and distinct. There is variation in line and texture. Light and shadow comes into play, providing additional drama, variation in tone and general interest. There is a grace to the curve of the mesh which is lovely. I slightly altered this sample and used it as a decorative element on my extended join sample ensemble, and it worked very well as a body adornment.

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19 (19-June-2015) is an attractive combination of colour and texture. Satisfying in itself, it would be interesting to extend the sample into three dimensions, possibly repeating variants of the inset motif. I would not want to lose the spacing around the inset element, or the contrast of organic and geometric lines. This sample is another instance of joining corrugated cardboard using its own ridges, an idea that continues to attract me.

Sample p2-21

Sample p2-21

Another attractive combination is sample p2-21 (22-June-2015). Two very different materials are joined in a way which links them visually as well as functionally. The circle motif is seen embossed in the paper, in the heat treatment of the metal, and in the embossing and holes of the join. The red of the paper is seen through the piercing, and also in part of the metal’s colour variation. Contrasting textures add interest and bring light to the combination. I like the general approach of integration of materials across a join, and this particular instance would work very well as the cover of a hand-bound book.

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

Sample p2-23 (22-June-2015) is included for its potential. The join and later heat treatment takes advantage of the different properties of the two materials. I think this is a very powerful idea, suggesting possibilities to modify one material with traits acquired from a second. Another version is seen in the shaping created with netting and plastic in sample p2-3 above.

Sample p2-26 Extended - various views

Sample p2-26 Extended – various views

Sample p2-26 (27-June-2015) provides a means to join and extend segments with great flexibility. The join can be flat, but is even more interesting if angles are included or joins made away from the edge. This sample uses fairly rigid paper – a new set of effects are possible with a soft material used on one or both sides of the join.

A number of selected samples allow separate elements to be joined and developed into a larger work. This could be useful in the context of distance learning, if I wanted to work at a larger scale but post only part for review by tutor and assessors.

Front

Front

The extended join sample (2-July-2015) has been included as another example of the strength of combining multiple ideas in building up a work. Of course it includes p2-18, which itself is a combination of samples.

Keeping to a restricted colour scheme allowed all the components to work together to create a cohesive, balanced ensemble. Examining the whole there are many moments of interest, but no single part dominates.

Sample p2-42 detail

Sample p2-42 detail

Sample p2-42 is fun and dynamic. I would like to create a series of works in different scales, with different wrapped objects. As a start I would keep with simple colours, perhaps all objects bleached wood, and simple but varying shapes and scales. They could be grouped hung at different heights in a gallery. Lorna Murray’s Making Space (22-May-2015) comes to mind, with simplified carved shapes in a theme forming a group.

Sample p2-58 b

Sample p2-58 b

During the wrapping exercises I became conscious of absence – the space left by something, or the gap in our attention / visual perception when we take items for granted. Sample p2-58 (16-July-2015) is moderately interesting as a wrapping around a spoon. It is much more interesting when the spoon has been removed. In either or both forms the sample could be built up in a series, possibly combined with sample p2-42. If hung empty the sample would stretch, which could be useful, or it could be stabilised with additional strands of plastic. It could be interesting to have quite different “barnacles” in other colours attached.

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

Initially I didn’t include sample p2-57 (16-July-2015). A braid in conventional yarns seemed just too conventional, even if around a wooden spoon. Was it too safe? Regardless, it is interesting and attractive. The colours glow, there is just a hint of sparkle to bring in light. The four part braid adjusts smoothly to the changing width of the spoon, the technique a critical part of the success of the work as can be seen by comparison to sample p2-56. The plump, soft lines contrast to the hard, smooth wood visible within.

For me there is also a welcome reminder of my textile core. I’m trying to be open and adventurous, taking advantage of the stimulus of this course and enjoying the ride, but my roots remain in textiles.

experimental collagraph 01

experimental collagraph 01

Done within the period of the course, I’ve included this collagraph print done in a workshop with Jet James (16-July-2015). The techniques learned may be useful later in the course, but more directly samples already made were used to emboss the printing plate. To the left are leaves joined with machine stitching – p2-10. Almost any flatish sample can be used to create textures in a print. Of course that print could then be combined or used in further development. I wonder how p2-58 would behave going through the press. Prints and more wrappings could be used in a display together, or the print could be torn or altered using one of the other sampled processes.

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I regard sample p2-65 (22-July-2015) as the most fully resolved work created in this Part of the course.

I don’t have anything to add. I wouldn’t change it (if it still existed!), I wouldn’t want to create a larger grouping. I would mount it in a very minimal way, perhaps on a square white primed canvas, and hang it as is.

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Samples p2-68, p2-69 and p2-70 (22-July-2015) excite me. Each on its own has its merits, especially p2-70. For no clear reason I would like a kitchen dresser full of empty plastic shells, or perhaps carefully wrapped items one after another. A Miss Havisham moment? I’m not sure, but there could be a poignancy and fragility about such a collection.

Perhaps it would be better to be less obvious. I’m thinking of cutting or combining, or perhaps hanging on a Christmas tree. With that mix it seems to be a solution looking for a problem, but there must be places to take this. It wants to tell a narrative.

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On similar lines there is sample p2-72 (22-July-2015). I like the idea of a shattered exhibition, each piece carefully wrapped and then destroyed, with shards and simplified volume left to tell – what?

I don’t want to force the last couple of ideas. Suitable opportunities will present at some time. I remain very interested in the fragile, and absence of what was.

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 Detail – multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 (28-July-2015) is difficult to describe. It’s a quirky mix that has a kind of swagger and independent air about it. It can grab attention, puzzle, and may not delight. For me it is a step well out of the comfort zone and I am surprised at how much I like it.

Sample p2-78

Sample p2-78

As a weaver I enjoyed creating sample p2-78 (28-July-2015). It uses conventional yarns in a non-conventional wrapping. A dynamic abstract artwork has resulted. Working on it was fast and free. The greatest potential I see for it is in experimenting with colour choices, but a collection of them could surprise and delight.

Looking back at the work of the last ten weeks I think I have created a strong set of samples. There are certainly dull ones and one or two total failures, but they are in the minority. Quite a few more could have been included in this sorting. In practice I have created A3 pages with small photographs of each sample in the two Parts completed – a bit like photo proof sheets. Pinned to a nearby board I refer to them often, looking for samples or techniques that I can bring forward into new work. Quite a lot from Part 1 was Joined in Part 2, and samples within Part 2 were combined or taken apart and reused as work progressed. It could get tricky to submit physical work for assessment, but I really like the continuity and complexity which is building.

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

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes

Generally I record outcomes as I work through the exercises, however I have a few responses to exercise 3 as yet unposted, plus the course notes pose some specific questions.

When writing about exercise 3 Uneven wrapping (28-July-2015) I was a little distracted by the fact that the wrapping I produced didn’t fit the mold of dense wrapping in yarns seen in artists researched. I don’t feel I examined my samples on their own terms. There were snatches “I see the volume and the lines, and not so much the mess.” and “Lots of colour, texture and volume. There are odd aspects, true, but it’s got character!”.

I’ve now spent some more time with the samples, looking more at them and less at my expectations.

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Sample p2-72 has complex if sparse wrapping. Space is captured and shaped. The viewer can look down through the bars of woven cable to a swollen volume that reaches forward. Light as well as space is filtered, captured, created.

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

A fist-full of felt tip pens records some of the unruly exuberance of the wrapping. Fluorescent colours glow stridently against the dark gray of the central column. Syncopated rhythms of curves coil up and around, at times reflecting, at times denying the underlying structure of the found objects.

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

A range of black markers, sample p2-74

Another fist-full, this time a range of black markers with different tips, finds the lines and textures of the black wrapping – sliced cable one side, fringed insect mesh the other – and the upright central core. There is variation in scale and texture, proportions altering as the viewer experiences the work in three dimensions.

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

An ink sketch flattens the space, emphasizing the variety and energy and structure of line in the work.

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

In the earlier presentation priority was given to the paper-wrapped element in sample p2-76. In this sketch the energy and complexity of the wrapped fan are examined with a fist of coloured pens. The squat, stable box has strong vertical lines on some faces, providing a foundation and upward push to the object. The shape of the fan on the top surface, inferred from the dark shadows around the blades, provides movement in what could be a static, solid block. From this base an irreverent spray of sharp, spiked lines thrusts upwards on the cheeky wings of a scrap of organza.

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

The colours and lines of sample p2-78 combined in a dynamic abstact design. In this sketch similar lines and colours have been layered. Some of the vibrancy of the original is lost as the chalky dust smears colours, but the energy and sense of purpose remains. It reminds me of the cable-stayed Anzac bridge, reaching towards the city.

The sample felt like a new approach to the yarn wrapping done when planning weaving designs – but more exciting, dynamic and with some of the interaction that is a core part of warp and weft. Could such sketches and wrapping become a part of my design process?
Sketch_20150731gA new version based on purples, red and blue was attempted. The result was leaden, until a few lines of yellow were added. Suddenly there was some life. Proportions need to be managed, but this feels like a quick and refreshing way to begin a colour investigation.

Next responses to specific questions raised in the course notes.

• Did you feel comfortable with the exercises?
I didn’t always feel comfortable – for example getting started with uneven wrapping (28-July-2015), when research and preliminary sketching felt at odds with the materials I was using.

I have become comfortable with the exploratory, questioning approach encouraged by the exercises. It provides a structure where I can feel comfortable pushing beyond my comfort zone.

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

• Were there particular materials and techniques you enjoyed working with?
I have developed some favourites among the less conventional materials. Insect mesh and corrugated cardboard have become staples. Crumpling paper keeps reappearing. The 3D pen only appeared in a few samples in this Part, but it was very effective when used.

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

Variants of weaving and braiding were used in samples p2-22, p2-27, p2-57, p2-74 and p2-75, and possible others. Wonderful techniques that I enjoy using.

• How did your various materials respond to the two techniques?

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

Sample p2-53

Sample p2-53

A material could look and behave very differently in different circumstances. Rows of paper clips formed interesting lines and shadows joining curves in sample p2-16f and were both functional and decorative in the extended joining sample. However wrapping a spoon in p2-53 paper clips were awkward and drab. A recycled notebook spiral was out of scale and awkward in p2-28, but fell beautifully across the shoulder and neck as part of a side cape in the extended join sample.

Sample p2-29

Sample p2-29

A range of hard and soft materials were used, sometimes in combination. Hard materials could pose difficulties when asked to be pliable. Stitching through metal and wood in p2-29 took a few attempts to develop a usable method.

• Were you able to achieve interesting textures and colours in your samples?

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

I found myself making more and more aesthetic decisions as the focus moved to techniques rather than materials. I particularly like the combination of indigo-dyed paper, orange corrugated cardboard and copper wire in p2-19. There is variety in texture and colour that comes together harmoniously.

Sample p2-24

Sample p2-24

I deliberately chose materials with clashing properties in p2-24, and the combination failed both functionally and aesthetically.

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

The same technique and some of the same materials were used in p2-33 – this time resulting in an interesting and successful combination of colour and texture.

• Which outcomes were successful? Which were less so – and why?

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

I think p2-65 was the single most successful sample in terms of a resolved final outcome. I could see that mounted on a wall as an artwork. There is movement and balance, structure, interest, line and form. There is a tension between the known and partially visible contents and the anonymous wrapping, with the twist of using a temporary packaging material as the element that transforms a beer jug into an artwork.

Sample p2-72 cSample p2-69The series of work around samples p2-69 and p2-72 are very successful in suggesting future areas of exploration. They trigger a very strong emotional response in me – I’m not sure why (yet?), but that makes them all the more intriguing.

There was a long sequence of experimental wrapping of a wooden spoon, the bulk of which was not very interesting. There was no spark, no revelation, no conversation or even argument between the materials used. I think that’s just part of the process – play and explore, a lot won’t work, just note it and move on.

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 was not successful, and was abandoned early in development. It was too big, too much. I started it because I was uncomfortable that my exploration had led me away from my linked research and I felt I was missing something. This sample was a too ambitious over-compensation.

• What are your thoughts on the artists, designers and makers you’ve researched in Part Two?
I have written specific posts about Christo and Jeanne-Claude (18-July-2015), Judith Scott (17-July-2015), Erin Manning (29-June-2015) and Eva Hesse (7-June-2015). I would have liked to write more about Sheila Hicks, but it would have covered much of the same territory as previous posts (8-January-2015 and 24-June-2012). All of these artists are so different and offer so much, I can’t give a meaningful summary. Follow the links given to see more.

More research has been documented on a pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/, in various sketchbook pages and within posts on specific exercises.

• How did the research you carried out inform your own work?
At times research informed my work very directly. For example my wrapping space sample (31-July-2015) was more a research exercise than anything, although I feel I put my own spin on the actual work done. A quick check shows I referenced eight artists, some working together, in that post. All were relevant from my point of view, and in each case I took one or two little nuggets in building up my narrative.

Generally I found the research very helpful. I used research on Christo and Jeanne-Claude to suggest possible work and in recording and evaluating my samples (22-July-2015). On occasion the research caused me difficulty, when it turned out not to be a good fit with the work I was doing (see 28-July-2015, when I had to “brain dump” the research before I could focus on the very different materials I had chosen).

Early in my OCA experience I was hesitant about the use and perceived potential dangers of research and “copying”, but now I feel it provides a wonderful non-limiting framework which enriches me and my own work.

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


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