Archive for August 14th, 2015

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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