Archive for August, 2015



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

T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Local Research

“Molding” and “casting” can be used to describe a wide range of materials and processes.

At Bloom, a recent exhibition by members of Primrose Paper Arts, there were a number of works which could fit within my research area.

Jill Elias
From the artist’s statement: “Bloom was a porous mass of iron and slag produced in the early smelters. My papers have been cast over the melted metal remains of a car burnt out in the dark of the night outside our studio at Primrose Park, and seedpods found after a bushfire in Victoria.”

Jill Elias Out of Ashes 1 (Detail)

Jill Elias
Out of Ashes 1 (Detail)


Jill Elias  Out Of Ashes 1

Jill Elias
Out Of Ashes 1

This work appears to be a result of “casting” as used in the course notes. Paper pulp has been used to capture the texture of another surface.

The textures are varied with a combination of organic and geometric shapes. Containing this within the rectangular sheets the paper and then together in the larger frame provides a formality and order at contrast to the imagined chaos of a burnt-out car. The narrative as well as the irregular forms adds to the interest of the work.

The colours used in the paper have a subdued warmth and in the afternoon light held shadows that assisted the viewer to appreciate the quality of surface that had been created. The metallic overtones link to the back-story and the theme of the exhibition.

Jill Elias Out of Ashes 2

Jill Elias
Out of Ashes 2


Jill Elias Out Of Ashes 2 (Sideview)

Jill Elias
Out Of Ashes 2 (Sideview)

In a second work by Jill Elias some of the cotton paper had much greater depth, which I’ve attempted to capture in a side-view photograph. I believe these elements were cast/molded over seed-pods.

Using the lens of my current research the processes and differing results are interesting. However as an artwork I find this less successful than that shown previously. The individual elements seem too neatly placed, presented to our attention, rather than combined into a composition. The diagonal line of white is too orderly, too constrained, to add any dynamism to a static arrangement. The drama of the back-story has been stifled. Comparing the two works, Out of Ashes 1 could seem even more controlled, but there is a clear distinction between the molded paper and the subordinated mounting.

Thinking of possible applications in my course sampling, casting/molding paper can clearly be very effective in capturing surface texture and can adapt to unusual source materials. The soft textured surface created is very attractive. If multiple source pieces are used in a single page it could be very difficult to predict the positive and negative forms that will result from the combination given individual shapes and then the relief effect. Lighting could be significant.
 
Rosemary Christmas

Rosemary Christmas Bloom Bouquet Pattern

Rosemary Christmas
Bloom Bouquet Pattern


These two forms by Rosemary Christmas are handmade paper pulp on a wire frame and were included in the Bloom exhibition.

I find them very engaging. Light brings out the deep folds of the underlying wire frame, with the inconsistent cover of the pulp creating deeper shadows emphasising the forms and volume. The plain white of the paper provides a dimension of simplicity. Placed side by side the two vessels combine and respond to each other in a more complex composition of echoing shapes and lines.

It would be easy when describing the works to use the terms “cast” and “molding”, and I probably would have used those terms in the past, but I don’t believe the processes used or the result fit within the assignment parameters. That doesn’t mean ruling this out as a line of investigation, but it would be a side track.

Eggpicnic and Future Nature
Future Nature is a project at the Australian Design Centre (ADC) in partnership with the nearby Australian Museum. It’s a mixture of art, science and design, exploring possible futures. Currently there are a number of designers in residence at ADC including Eggpicnic, Christopher Macaluso and Camila De Gregorio, with an exhibition opening 27 August. The ADC website promises that the resident artists will be “exposing their creative process as they design for the exhibition” and Christopher and Camila certainly lived up to that when I visited last week, being incredibly generous with their time, information, and general enthusiasm and interest.
EggpicnicEggpicnic_2The work table was an exciting jumble, but you may be able to see a number of examples of casting and molding.

For this project the duo are interested in bio-degradable containers and have been experimenting with different combinations of widely available ingredients. Given their inspiration at the Museum there is a strong scientific slant with petri dishes and lab beakers. The actual experimentation seems very open, with many of the base materials available at supermarkets. Cornstarch, salt and water were prominent, but peanut shells and Xanthorrea resin were also to be seen.

In theory I could create similar mixes as part of my course work, but I have concerns about longevity, quarantine and general practicality. Some of their samples were degrading, a couple had mold growing – not suitable for posting work to the UK for assessment next year. However the general approach of open-mindedness, risk-taking, and iterative experimentation was inspiring. They also shared information about resources, including www.instructables.com/ and a possible source for eco resin.

Dani Marti

Dani Marti Centrepoint Tower facade

Dani Marti
Centrepoint Tower facade

marti_2Dani Marti is an exciting, risk-taking artist whose work includes film and weave (described as “painting” on his website).

For the facade of this shopping centre / office block Marti wove ropes to create a work which became the pattern for silicon molds. Panels were cast using glassfibre reinforced concrete, as precast concrete and the associated support structure was estimated to be too heavy. There are photos of the original sculpture and the process of making mold and final cast at urbanartprojects.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/the-making-of-baroque-minimalism-dani-marti/. The end result takes my attention every time I walk past it, but given I’m a weaver perhaps a better indicator is how frequently I see people who have stopped to look at and touch the wall. I think there’s the surprise that it’s panels of concrete rather than individual possibly organic parts, but it also is simply very inviting to the touch. The molding and casting process was very effective in capturing the textures of the original sculpture.

From my research so far this process of making a mold and then taking a cast is very common. It’s not precisely covered in the course exercises, but there could be some wriggle room towards the end of the second project. Certainly I am keen to use textile techniques and particularly weaving as a source of texture and this work suggests one path towards that. I will need to consider my material choices carefully to keep options open.

For my response to a very different exhibition of work by Dani Marti see 22-October-2012.

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

T1-MMT-P3 Molding and casting – Initial Research

This Part of the course is about creating new surfaces, molding a material by using surfaces with texture, and casting into a flexible material, with further processes to develop the results of both.

This is a huge field with many possible materials available and I suspect new and improved products coming onto the market frequently. It will take some time and research to identify and source some good candidates. First I want to consider what I already have, including some materials already used earlier in the course.

Polymorph plastic pellets

Sidetrack p1-5 Materials

Sidetrack p1-5 Materials

An extensive side-track using this material was recorded 21-April-2015. Under different names these pellets are included in the course notes’ list of possibilities. It’s quite odd, to go off on what appears to be an adventurous tangent and then discover it’s core course content.

Sidetrack p1-6 Embossed

Sidetrack p1-6 Embossed

Among other experiments on my tangent I embossed the polymorph then used it as a stamp. I’ll now redefine that as molding. Clearly this needs to be one of my selections for the current Part.
 
 
PVC board – James Jet workshop
experimental collagraph 01

experimental collagraph 01

In the Experimental Collagraphs workshop with Jet James (16-July-2015) we created texture on pvc board using the pressure of the printer roller.

Photo: Claire Brach

Photo: Claire Brach

This technique uses solid texture sources on a solid material so doesn’t fit with the more liquid molding and casting materials in this Part. Overall the method would be better explored within Part 4 which looks at mono and collatype printing. However I think there is potential for creating a mold that is used for casting. If I want to make a plaster block with say texture from heat-treated organza, one way would be to imprint the texture on pvc board and use that to build a mold.

Papier mâché

Paper cast of 3D sketch

Paper cast of 3D sketch

During Part 1 I attempted to rescue a sketch on rice paper, using it to make a papier mâché cast of some 3D pen work (16-May-2015). At that time I had quite a long list of possible directions to take similar work. Looking at it now I would add stitch and some of the joining ideas from Part 2 to the list.

This seems an ideal opportunity to explore further.

Casting in kinetic sand

Sidetrack p1-3 Result

Sidetrack p1-3 Result

While experimenting with the 3D pen I was introduced to the wonders of kinetic sand. On the left you can see I used the sand as a mold in which I “cast” the semi-liquid strand of plastic produced by the pen (16-April-2015). (You may also note the alternative spelling “mould”. I’ve now switched to the form used in the course notes).

Sample p1-59b After - on mould

Sample p1-59b After – on mould

Sample p1-59 (20-April-2015) used the sand as a form or mold when using a heat gun on fragments of plastic. Can this be regarded as “casting”? In my first reading of the requirements the focus appears to be on capturing texture. I think there is potential here, but no certainty. (Risk!!!)

Shrink wrap mug

Sample p2-70 view 2

Sample p2-70 view 2

Given the rule bending considered in the previous point, there can be no doubt that I will be attempting to take sample p2-70 further (22-July-2015). Can this be regarded as molding or casting? It must be close. Plastic semi-melted by heating takes form over a mold. That sounds like casting, with a little topographical switch between internal and external. If I can play on that and maybe even capture some texture it should be near enough.

It’s definitely something I want to take further.

Cast paper
A few years ago I spent a day at Primrose Paper Arts (29-May-2011). As well plain sheets of paper we experimented with pressing objects into the damp sheets – not only as inclusions in the final paper, but for form and texture. I don’t have a photograph of my efforts shaping the paper around … I think it was wire racks. Fortunately just a few days ago I went to an exhibition by Primrose Paper Arts – I’ll show more in another post. Currently I don’t feel a strong pull towards this particular material / technique mix.

Having taken stock of existing materials and interests, I’ll move on to wider research.

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

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Review

Looking back over my work for this Assignment my main emotions are pleasure and excitement. I’ve noticed that “exciting” and “interesting” have become my go-to words. There have been lots of failures, samples abandoned, things that were OK by the third attempt, but I can understand my tutor’s advice “so much creativity is about disappointment … the trick is to put everything down to a learning experience, another step towards a positive outcome”. I’ve taken lots of steps, some not ultimately in my preferred direction, and despite such disappointments overwhelmingly I am enjoying the journey.

Some thoughts on the formal assessment criteria of the course from my perspective, beginning with sketchbook work as it touches all aspects.

Sketchbook
In my review of assignment 1 I identified sketchbook work as an area requiring improvement. My tutor found some positives, but agreed I could push myself more – “There is no need to expect these drawings to be great works of art or to take a lot of time. A range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” I have tried to develop my sketchbook and looking skills in a number of ways.

Join & Wrap research page 3

Join & Wrap research page 3

When researching other artists I have used sketching and associated notes to engage my focus, note aspects of their work that particularly attracted or interested me, and record ideas generated for my own work.

As well as referring back to them during exercises I am storing these pages together as a useful ongoing resource.

Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

Sketching as an entry to work immediately before beginning an exercise was useful, for example 11-June-2015. It was also occasionally a barrier (28-July-2015), but in the event I was able to work past that – it made me more conscious of what I actually did want to do, by contrast to a path I chose not to take at the time.

Planning extended join sample

Planning extended join sample

I sketch to capture ideas or plan for specific samples, using different media and on the computer. Often it is diagrams or text, trying to work out a technique. Similarly I have used sketches to record a method used, as part of maintaining this work log.

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

I’ve used a range of media to record and review samples produced, and generally have met my goal of at least one sketch at the end of each section or session of work. It’s an improvement, but I think I can go further. At the end of the final exercise I did a series of sketches a couple of days later, then reflected on those sketches separately (2-August-2015). I got a lot more out of that process than when forcing out a quick something at the end of a session. It’s a matter of managing time and energy. I’ll try to adjust my work process and the balance just a little during the next Part of the course.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74

I have sought out new materials to use, such as computer and printer components, and continued my explorations with other materials such as insect mesh, plastics and cardboard. I have incorporated existing textile skills such as weaving, adapted to joining foam and paper, and taken advantage of techniques from Part 1 such as paper crumpling and use of the 3D pen. I particularly enjoyed re-purposing old samples within new work.

Sample p2-20

Sample p2-20

This Part provided lots of scope to mix materials, colours and textures. Insect mesh and cork worked well together, as did metal and paper.

Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds reverse

Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds reverse

At times considerable ingenuity was needed to achieve a desired outcome. Metal and wood proved difficult when joining flush using the 3D pen (7-June-2015) and at an angle in sample p2-29 (27-June-2015).

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

At times no great technique has been needed. A combination of papers with a simple stitch in wire resulted in a very pleasing sample (19-June-2015).

Quality of outcome

Sample p2-70

Sample p2-70

As demonstrated in the collection of work shown when Sorting (2-August-2015) I have produced a strong and varied body of work in this Part of the course. Some samples offer great potential to support themes of interest to me, such as fragility and loss. Others are a celebration of material, colour and / or texture.

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

In fact I wonder if I edited too heavily when Sorting. Sample p2-4 (7-June-2015) is very attractive especially when back-lit, and of interest as being so closely linked to my research, but wasn’t included. Sample p2-6 (11-June-2015), although more bright and cheerful than really attractive, is an interesting development of technique using the 3D pen and that colour haze is worth exploring.

In her earlier feedback my tutor suggested I “continue developing [my] writing style and look for new ways to talk about [my] work”. I have made a few attempts with mixed success. A couple of sentences writing about sample p2-18 (19-June-2015), weren’t too bad. A slightly longer piece at the beginning of writing about the extended joining sample (2-July-2015) was very stilted and sounded like a parody. Some phrases when writing about sketches of wrapping flowed quite well (2-August-2015). Overall there is a lumpy, uneven result – my habitual chatty style, some more lyrical passages, and a few leaden thuds. It seems to work best when I am presenting or reviewing my work, writing with a little distance, rather then when recording methods and outcomes. I will continue trying to develop my skills, perhaps with an occasional post with that specific focus.

Demonstration of creativity
Throughout this Part I have tried to take risks, to work out of my comfort zone, to attempt work when unsure of the outcome. I’m coming to feel almost encouraged by failures as proof of working on the edge – and the contrast makes the successes sweeter.

My general approach to work remains methodical and planned, for example starting with a set of guiding principles for the first exercise (6-June-2015), and looking for joins that really took advantage of an overlap (22-June-2015). However I frequently ignore the plan as opportunities present themselves while working.

Sketch_20150621An example of deliberate risk was sample p2-24 (22-June-2015), when I chose materials that seemed unlikely to work. The particular application failed and is best remembered in my sketch from the day. However the actual materials looked rather good side by side, and I would like to try them again in a more supportive context.

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

The technique and one of the components were used in p2-33, part of my extended join sample, and worked very well.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

It felt like a risk to take a hammer to a sample (22-July-2015) but I find the result deeply moving. This feels like the seed of something that could be become significant. At the moment it is empty of meaning, the result of materials and technique rather than concept, but there seems enormous potential for expression of any number of themes. On the other hand the idea of emptiness or violence that are just that – no meaning or purpose, the leftovers of a random event – is intriguing although out of character.

Context
I’ve written above about research in the context of my sketchbook. I’ve found the combination very useful.

I’ve begun using pinterest boards to capture and augment research – see https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/. Pinterest feels a two-edged sword. It’s become a good way to capture new visual information and ideas quickly, and to track them back when needed. It can be a distraction, like general web surfing, getting lost following threads. It can become empty – the cover of the book with no substance behind it. I’ve tried to slow myself down and ensure proper attribution by tracing items back to the original source rather than just repinning. So far I’ve found it useful with care and as just one component of my approach.

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney - photograph, acrylic paint

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – photograph, acrylic paint

As well as separate posts focusing on particular artists I’ve referenced influences within my recording of exercises. The research of Christo not only suggested ideas for wrapping, but was a source of criteria when assessing my results. My consideration of wrapping space (31-July-2015) was an extreme case where research of multiple artists combined to inform a practical sample.

I’ve used a lot of time, care and words in this Review. It may be excessive but I think it helps me to consolidate my learning, to get all the value I can out of the effort and discipline of following the course and to be clearer about what I want to achieve in future work. It feels a risk to put this out into the world, but isn’t that akin to the risk of exposing oneself presenting meaningful art? It will be interesting to compare my thoughts with the more objective and experienced response and recommendations of my tutor.

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

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


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