Archive for January, 2016

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 31-Jan-2016

Sketchbook work is continuing, at least a little each day. As the assignment progresses it’s becoming a satisfying mix of research, ideas, and at last recording my own samples.

p5-sketchpage 034; 20160125

p5-sketchpage 034; 20160125

Some final notes on ideas from previous assignments. The sketch of work of June Schwarcz influenced the design of sample p5-4 (31-Jan-2016) – inept, but with promise. I’d like to follow up this research.

p5-sketchpage 035; 20160127

p5-sketchpage 035; 20160127

I’ve already written about Fiona Hall’s work Slash and Burn (30-Jan-2016). Moving and shocking. Also a great example of contemporary textile work (although Hall uses a very wide range of techniques, materials and influences in her work).

p5-sketchpage 036; 20160128

p5-sketchpage 036; 20160128

I am very excited about Gillian Lowndes’ work and have been trying to track down more images and information. Beautiful and inspiring. On this page I did a line drawing sketch, influenced by my tutor’s suggestion to explore my prints using line drawings. There are also some notes from the videos on the V&A website showing artists commenting on Lowndes’ Cup on base piece. A proper research post will follow.

p5-sketchpage 036 a; 20160129

p5-sketchpage 036 a; 20160129

Using a process taught by Graham Marchant (24-Jan-2016) I traced a photograph of Gillian Lowndes’ Cup on base in preparation for a watercolour. I found it very useful in Graham’s class to work with a single inspiration source for an extended time, really getting to know it and seeing more and more.

p5-sketchpage 036 b; 20160129

p5-sketchpage 036 b; 20160129

I spent a couple of days on the actual watercolour. I got mixed up in the layers of clay, my lights and darks muddled so the effect is lost. On the other hand there are some parts that work – for example the corner of the top layer.

p5-sketchpage 037; 20160129

p5-sketchpage 037; 20160129

A little more on Gillian Lowndes. Some desperate calculations when working on p5-5, and a sketch of the sample itself, trying to capture the frenzy.

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 31-Jan-2016
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Sketchbook update 31-Jan-2016

T1-MMT-P5-s3 Initial resin drizzle samples

In my Review wrapup (26-Jan-2016) I identified a number of initial sampling ideas.

I set up those and even more for my first work session, leading to my first failure. The resin had settled into soft crystals. With lots of stirring I was able to get some out of the container, then lots more stirring with the hardener to mix thoroughly. While brushing and dribbling I began to notice the resin warming, then suddenly it was semi-solid and smoking hot – too hot to touch in my nitrile gloves. So I have a lump of semi-cured resin and a number of samples still in progress. Lesson learnt – I’ll have to accept that this process needs time and small batches.

Results so far:

Sample p5-1 Resin on polymorph

Sample p5-1

Sample p5-1

Sample p3-3 was brushed with resin. Most dripped off and I have not been able to remove the thin film of resin that remains. The surface is now glossy, but I can’t see any advantage of combining the two materials.

Possibly I should try again with a barrier at the edges to ensure a thicker resin sheet which might be easier to separate, but I don’t currently see this as a strong contender for development.
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Sample p5-2 Resin on composimold
This sample was based on the idea of columns of vessels with a corrugated surface (sketchpage 024 18-Jan-2016). Composimold was poured onto a plastic sheet with corrugations (in past life packaging for a set of pencils). It was rolled and slid into a cardboard tube to hold the column shape. The tube was held at an angle in a bowl and resin was dribbled in.

Sample p5-2 in progress

Sample p5-2 in progress
Click image for larger view

Given the heat generated by the resin I expected the composimold to melt into a lump. However the next day it appeared intact and I was able to peel off the cardboard tube.

The resin came away easily. Composimold is a good candidate for creating molds in future samples. However having been placed on an angle most of the resin had simple run through and only a thin film was left.

Sample p5-2

Sample p5-2

In this photograph I’ve left the resin partly on the mold, and the combination of materials creates an exciting combination of shape, texture and reflective properties. Soon after the materials relaxed and they now lie flat. However it is clear that there is a lot of potential here. This is a combination of materials and form that I would like to take further.
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Sample p5-3 Resin on crumpled paper
This sample started with print p4-32, reshaped into a bowl form. The form was placed in a plastic bowl to help retain shape during resin application. Resin was poured and brushed on.
Sample p5-3 with internal lighting

Sample p5-3 with internal lighting

In the photograph above a small LED has been placed in the bowl. When exploring all of the samples in this post I was aware of reflections of light. I would love to see all of them in good gallery lighting, which would really bring out the sparkle of the faceted surfaces.

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The bowl is around 16 cm in diameter and 10 cm at its highest. It is light but quite stiff. The resin will continue curing and gaining strength over the next few days, so I haven’t put a lot of pressure on it.

I think this result is delightful. There is potential to go back to all the crumpling techniques and printing techniques to create a series of vessels in different shapes and sizes.

Perhaps it could be a way to record and develop shapes such as those created during the casting project.

Liu Jianhua Container Series detail

Liu Jianhua Container Series detail
Click image for larger view

Peering into the centre reminds me of Liu Jianhua’s ceramic series (30-Jan-2016). A low display, perhaps with some taller vessels and playing with reflections, could be effective.
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Sample p5-4 Resin over heat distorted fabric
Sample p3-46 detail

Sample p3-46 detail
Click image for larger view

This sample was intended as a development of p3-46. The shape was based on a vessel of enameled copper by June Schwarcz (https://enamelguild.org/june-schwarcz/, sketchbook page and research yet to be posted).

Sample p5-4 sewn

Sample p5-4 sewn
Click image for larger view

I began with some roughly cut triangles of crystal organza, pinned together to make a tube. I wanted some sparks of colour, so included two orange pieces amongst the grey. One of my development plans was to use more of the plastic horsetail, leading to a decision to sew in black thread, then oversew some seams to capture the plastic threads.

At this stage I was doubting my taste level, but I’ve written recently of the feeling of daring myself. This is the piece I referred to in my reflection on tutor feedback (28-Jan-2016). I kept going, wanting to learn as much as possible from unpromising beginnings – and just maybe there would be a surprise.

Sample p5-4 heat distorted

Sample p5-4 heat distorted
Click image for larger view

Holes appeared almost immediately when using a heat gun. This aligns with earlier experiments – if the fabric can’t shrink and distort, holes appear. In the current sample the stitching held firm and put pressure on the fabric.

I suspended the shape and brushed and dribbled resin over it.

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-4 top view

Sample p5-4 top view
Click image for larger view

The final result is stiff and sits stably on the worksurface. The main part is 7 to 8 cm high, the plastic spikes rise to 20 cm.

I find it intriguing. It bothers me. It’s ugly and misshapen and awkward, but… The overall shape is dynamic. It claims space in a way that I find effective. There are the seeds of something that could work for me. If I don’t look at the detail, or only the right detail, it’s exciting.
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Sample p5-5 Resin over woven black plastic

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail
Click image for larger view

Sample p2-41 b

Sample p2-41 b
Click image for larger view

This sample evolved as I was working on it. First it was going to be a bowl based on sample p2-57. I couldn’t find the bundles of yarns used then, so decided to substitute plastic horsehair. I was thinking something smooth and elegant.

I wanted to shape the braid over a form – a balloon. The plastic was very difficult to work with and I just couldn’t manage it. So I decided to switch to basket weaving. There would be challenges with the fairly short lengths of plastic, but that could lead to spiky shards, as seen in early sketchbook work (sketchpage 005, 10-Jan-2016).

Sample p5-5 in progress

Sample p5-5 in progress
Click image for larger view

It was a struggle. There were loose ends everywhere, everything sliding around. I had little to no control over the shape, which could be an issue if developing the sample. A sensible approach could be to combine with another material, but I really wanted the initial sample to be a “pure” exploration of my material of choice.

The final form was fragile. Individual threads could slide around and it seemed at any moment the entire thing could fall apart. However I was able to suspend it from three of the base groups of threads, and paint it with resin. The process was slow, and it was during this that the resin heated and smoked.

Sample p5-5 detail

Sample p5-5 detail

Sample p5-5

Sample p5-5
Click image for larger view

My photographs don’t do the sample justice. There are droplets of resin of various sizes all over it and they sparkle catching strong light. It casts wonderful shadows. There is an airiness and light to the structure.

The form is around 60 cm wide, but a couple of outstretching threads take it to 90 cm wide. The rim of the bowl sits 5 or 6 cm above the work surface.

If I can learn to work with the material there is huge potential here. I need to work on my lighting and photography to communicate this.
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I feel I’ve learnt a lot from this first set of samples. My resin handling is already improving. I need to work on my lighting and photography. One or two of the samples could be included as they stand in my collection. Sample p5-4 looks much better in combination with p5-5. It starts to become an interesting variation rather than just an isolated oddity.

T1-MMT-P5-s3 Initial resin drizzle samples
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 3: Sample-making
Initial resin drizzle samples

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Collections of vessels at the AGNSW

Earlier in the week I was at the Art Gallery of NSW for the first of this year’s art appreciation lecture series (theme Collectors & Collections, starting with the Medici), and spent some time earlier looking for collections of vessels.

Liu Jianhua Container Series (2009)
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/228.2010.a-kk/

Liu Jianhua Container Series

Liu Jianhua Container Series

Liu Jianhua Container Series detail

Liu Jianhua Container Series detail
Click image for larger view

The vessels of this series are linked by the glaze used – celadon on the body and a red glaze giving the impression the vessels are full of liquid. There is a range of form and height, and a sense of sparseness in the unadorned shapes. In this installation the vessels are grouped on a low bench in the centre of the gallery, just large enough to accommodate them. The visitor looks down into the rich transparent red. Individual vessels can be seen clearly, they are brightly lit, open to view, but despite individual beauty it is the group which has primary impact.

Longquan ware

Longquan ware

In contrast other vessels in the same gallery are displayed in rows behind glass within the walls. They are evenly but relatively dimly lit. Each has its own information label. They are related – similar materials and place of origin – but separate.

The gallery website for Liu Jianhua’s work shows a different arrangement, the pieces close but not touching, on the floor in the corner of a white room. It is just as effective in showing them as a series.

Unlike my proposed collection, there is a depth of cultural references and symbolic meaning in Container Series. China’s ceramic heritage is referenced in glazes and some of the forms, but combined with other forms and a distinctly contemporary installation. China as a producer of consumer goods, and its position as a growth art market add to understanding, appreciation and meaning of the work.

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Dale Frank Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56 (2014)
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/189.2014.a-zzz/

Dale Frank Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56

Dale Frank Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56

Dale Frank Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56 detail

Dale Frank Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56 detail
Click image for larger view

The bottles in Dale Frank’s Ambition 25 + regrets 10 + death 21 = 56 are one part of a larger whole. The grouped placement is significant, referring to the title of the work. In the group of 21 bottles each has a coin placed on top, I assume linking to the tradition of coins on the eyes of the dead to pay Charon. The total number of bottles is the artist’s age at the time. Is this the sum of his life, placed in service to art exemplified by the varnished plexiglass above? I took my photographs at an angle, wanting to avoid my own reflection, but perhaps I should have embraced the opportunity to create my own self-portrait. Given the title, ideas of life and death, this work seems in the tradition of still life, a commentary on a brief and shallow existence.

The individual bottles are anonymous, mass produced. The ideas behind the grouping contain the importance of the work – although it is also visually striking, being large, reflective, a glow of colour.

I feel uncomfortable about this work, as if I’m not in on a joke or there’s a conversation going on over my head. I don’t see this world of ideas as relevant to my current research purpose, my focus on materials rather than concepts.
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Fiona Hall Slash and Burn
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/418.1997.a-ttt/

Fiona Hall Slash and Burn

Fiona Hall Slash and Burn

I wish I could include a better photograph of this work by Fiona Hall. It is stunning. The image on the AGNSW website is sharper, but for me it loses the atmosphere of silent screams, empty eyes, and random body parts.

Suspended in dim light are dismembered remains, knit from video tape still connected by an umbilical cord of tape to video cases lying on the ground. They are war films – Hamburger Hill, Apocalypse Now, Gallipoli. “Slash and Burn” can be clearing land, or more darkly, ethnic cleansing.

The media glorify violence, and make money from it. The victims are voiceless, anonymous, without number. The AGNSW website includes “Hall believes there is no hope for the sustainability of nature until human beings begin to treat one another with greater respect and understanding.”, but I see no hope in this installation.

Grace Cossington Smith The sock knitter

Grace Cossington Smith
The sock knitter
Click image for larger view

The use of knitting is poignant. Elsewhere in the AGNSW is The sock knitter by Grace Cossington Smith, showing the artist’s sister knitting socks for troops in World War 1. It is full of colour and quiet determination, comfort and hope. There is nothing quiet or domestic in Hall’s work.

Once again I find it difficult to find ideas to bring back to my own work. The individual parts were displayed in a strict grid pattern. There is variation in detail but the similarities mean the parts build as a group to create impact. In this post I am presenting works in the order I came across them – the AGNSW is constantly changing and all the works bar Liu Jianhua’s were new to me – and each seemed more serious, had greater depth of ideas, making my student explorations seem trite. I’m posting despite this, in a way demonstrating what my plans are not. However it is the next, final piece which silences me.
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Doris Salcedo Atrabiliarios (1992-1997)
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/372.1997.a-o/

Doris Salcedo Atrabiliarios detail

Doris Salcedo Atrabiliarios detail

Doris Salcedo Atrabiliarios

Doris Salcedo Atrabiliarios
Click image for larger view

Here is loss, pain, emotion, violence that I cannot encompass. Presented in niches in the gallery wall, closed away from us by cow bladder stitched with surgical thread, are shoes of women who have disappeared in Colombia.

I stand quiet before this memorial.

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T1-MMT-P5-s2 Collections of vessels at the AGNSW
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 2: Research
Collections of vessels at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

T1-MMT Tutor feedback on Assignment 4 – Mono and collatype printing

I received my tutor’s feedback on Assignment 4 – Mono and collatype printing a couple of weeks ago. In the past I have shared my reflection but not the actual tutor report on this blog. In response to a recent question my tutor advised “I am totally happy with my tutor feedback forms being made public. I believe this will help other students and shows this is an open dialogue between tutors and students.” Although Rebecca’s reports have overall been very positive this feels like another step up in the vulnerability stakes. A major theme in this course has been dealing with, accepting, embracing, risk. So here is a link to download a pdf: Tutor’s feedback. Links to earlier feedback forms are included under the relevant Assignment on my Mixed Media for Textiles contents page here.

My reflection:
I’m very pleased that Rebecca has recognised both my difficulties in the early stages of the assignment and that I was able to challenge and change my mindset. The result was “a good range of work”, but I agree that the more important outcome is learning how to learn, how to reflect on and respond to difficulties, to recognise and take advantage of opportunities.

I like the suggestion of working a form around the page to see the effect on the total composition. Given composition is one of my major goals in the current assignment I need to make sure to try this. Although I have been writing about exploring space and three dimensions, photographs on this blog remain my major communication tool and I need to make them as dynamic and interesting as possible.

Bringing past samples into current work is always pleasing. As associations and connections build it gives extra depth and strength to the work. It’s also a great way to consolidate learning. I certainly mean to continue this in the current assignment.

A number of times in her reports Rebecca has encouraged me to take risks and go with even the crazy-seeming ideas. I’ve just starting sampling for my final pieces and realise I’m virtually daring myself. If I think an idea’s too out there I must try it. For future reference the current example involves crystal organza and plastic horsehair inspired by an enameled copper work by June Schwartz. It’s not looking promising, but just maybe I’ll discover something amazing from it. The focus I’ve chosen for the assignment should allow me to keep experimenting and pushing right to the end – my main concern at this point is simply time.

As soon as I read the suggestion to make pencil drawings to examine detail of some of my prints I couldn’t believe I’d missed the idea. We’re learning that feedback loop, looking at and building on what we’ve done to take us further, looking at details for something unexpected or new. I couldn’t find a way to translate the prints further, but simple lines of selected areas… of course! In the last couple of weeks I’ve been focused on developing ideas for the final piece, but I’m now at a point where I should be able to try this.

I’m currently in the research stage of assignment 5 and can see that although I’m searching widely I probably haven’t focused in enough, really picked apart what I’m seeing. As Rebecca noted I learnt a lot from the Degas detail exercise. I’ve got a couple of ideas to try over this Research stage to push myself on this.

One suggestion puzzles me. “I suggest you continue to develop ‘how’ you think about your work, learning from this deliberation and feeding it back into your creative process.” I recently read The First Book I Wish I’d Had At Art College by lb Vindbjerg (available free on amazon – here, a link given by another student on the OCA forum). It discusses eight perspectives for approaching art, which I suppose might be useful in thinking about my own work. Or could it be that I have concentrated on materials and techniques, with only cursory asides on potential content? Any suggestions would be most welcome.

I’ve listened to some TED talks on where ideas come from and made a few notes in my sketchbook. Feeling somewhat flooded by ideas during the Review stage I haven’t made deliberate practical use yet, but I’m sure the time will come.

Finally I’ve printed Rebecca’s Pointers, slightly modified, and taped them above my computer screen to keep myself on track:
• Continue to take risks, learning from happy accidents
• Maintain your excellent working practices
• Add some more drawing to this assignment in the form of line drawings of your print work
• Try working a form around the page to see the effect on the total composition
• Continue to research widely
• Pick a part your research material to find what you can learn from it
• Continue to use critical reflective thinking to learn about your work and working practices

I originally penciled in 14 March for the final assignment due date and this is the date suggested by Rebecca. However given assignment 4 was delayed a couple of weeks over the Christmas / New Year break I’m currently aiming at 28 March. If I keep focused and work steadily I should do it.

T1-MMT Tutor feedback on Assignment 4
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Tutor feedback on Assignment 4 Mono and collatype printing

T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review – an exploration of materials and space

The Review stage has taken me considerably longer than anticipated. I’ve been amazed – almost overwhelmed – by the amount of material generated. I considered another level of summary, condensing to a dot-point list of relevant ideas, but found that too much was lost in the process plus it all started feeling a bit stale. I’ve decided instead to take enough for my first set of samples, then come back to the full sketchbook to refresh and inform for the next cycle.

In theory Stage 2 – Research is next, but I’ve decided to interleave that with Stage 3 – Sample-making. It seems a more natural way of working – research leads have already been making their appearance in the sketch pages during Stage 1. Also I noted in my review of Assignment 3 the rhythm of work with casting and molding (12-Oct-2015), and I know there will be time waiting for samples to harden which can be used effectively for research.

The working title for the final piece(s) is now An exploration of materials and space. It will probably still look like a collection of vessels, but makes clearer that my interest is in continuing to explore my materials, their properties individually and in combination, and to consider the parts as a whole installation.

For my first set of samples I want to look at resin in combination:

Sample p3-3

Sample p3-3

* with polymorph – can it act as a mold or be embedded for shape or surface texture
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Sample p3-33

Sample p3-33

* with composimold – ditto
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Print p4-32 shaped

Print p4-32 shaped

* over crumpled paper – p4-32
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Sample p3-46 detail

Sample p3-46 detail

* over molded fabric – an extension of p3-46
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Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

* over braided yarns – an extension of p2-57
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Sample p2-41 b

Sample p2-41 b

* with inclusions and joins of plastic horsehair
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Sample p3-20

Sample p3-20

* with colouring agents (ink, liquid dye)
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T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review wrap up – An exploration of materials and space
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 1: Review
An exploration of materials and space

T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review – Part 3

An update on progress with very brief notes to avoid too much duplication. Most of this work was done while in Bathurst, before or after concentrated days in the class studio. A mix of the next stage, Research, is included.

p5-sketchpage 026 20160116

p5-sketchpage 026; 20160116

Ideas of dribbling resin, playing with scale, the nature of a “collection” (not all prima donnas), fragility, joining, display (interest from every angle).

p5-sketchpage 027 20160117

p5-sketchpage 027; 20160117

How to display change over time; dynamic collection; hidden, revealed; contrasts; in assignment 3 sorting saw greatest potential in materials and combinations; want to sample with a list of questions, not fixed ends or answers; how to link items; vessels and space.

p5-sketchpage 028 20160118

p5-sketchpage 028; 20160118

Embedded materials; using dremel tool (from Graham Marchant class); lighting; colouring resin; themes of loss, change, the edge of violence and trauma, or resilience; make every sample count; plaster on crumpled paper; resin to embed fragments of plaster.

p5-sketchpage 029 20160119

p5-sketchpage 029; 20160119

Resin (or other materials) as mortar; 3 simple ideas can be enough; an aside – listenning to TED talks on where ideas come from; using some prints as basis of vessels.

p5-sketchpage 030 20160121

p5-sketchpage 030; 20160121

Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette. Collection of vessels – the power of many with small differentiation, compared to a smaller group where each piece has an individual presence.

p5-sketchpage 031 20160121

p5-sketchpage 031; 20160121

More TED talks and research. Tina Vlassopules. Simple basic form repeated with variation. The photograph is beautiful, but I don’t think it would be as strong in a space.

p5-sketchpage 032 20160123

p5-sketchpage 032; 20160123

Adam Frezza and Terri Chiao. Another example of the differences between grouped and individual display. Very different results.

p5-sketchpage 033 20160124

p5-sketchpage 033; 20160124

Susan Amann. A beautiful join in raku vessel using basket weave. Perhaps something like that could be my linking element.

Finally finished working through past posts for the Review. Assignment 4 was less rich in ideas, but will be important when sampling and recording. Themes of boundaries, open possibilities, uncertainty, layers of time. Contrasts of texture. My strong interest in a collection of cast plaster, recast in print. Marks in the surface. Joins.

Now I need to pull together ideas from the Review to take forward. I started the process with the idea of a collection of vessels, and despite other possibilities that remains my preferred option – although “vessel” has blurred with “object”. However I have developed a lot of questions/options around the kind of collection, the kind(s) of vessel, and the means of display.

T1-MMT-P5-s1 Review – Part 3
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 1: Review
Part 3

T1-MMT-P5 Graham Marchant – Exploring Mixed Media workshop

Last week I went to the Mitchell School of Arts summer school in Bathurst. Over two hundred people spent the week there, creating, learning, and talking about creating and learning.

My workshop was with Graham Marchant, a very experienced artist and teacher, who draws, paints (oils and watercolours) and prints. Graham has given me permission to include some images of his work here.

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The slideshow above includes one of Graham’s large watercolours. It includes a length of draped fabric – a frequent feature in his work, the folds created using a lengthy process including layers of glazes which he demonstrated during the week. There is also a sliver of window, what Graham described as an exit of the picture, and a favourite compositional device. With my current preoccupation I note the painting includes an eclectic collection of vessels.

I’ve also included two lino cuts. The coloured one used multiple blocks, out of scope for the workshop but it’s interesting to see similar ideas in a different medium. Quite a bit of of class time was spent working with lino cuts.

See Graham’s website for more information and images – http://grahammarchant.com.au/

The class description offered printmaking and further layered processes including collage and painting media, using our own drawings and photographs as source material.

banded ironstone formation

banded ironstone formation

Print p4-162

Print p4-162

I worked with an image from my Broome to Perth trip, the same banded ironstone formation I used in the last assignment (30-Dec-2015 and 31-Dec-2015).

There were eight in the class and we began with a large (around A3) lino cut, but after that Graham supported each of us in developing our own path. My lino cut went through a series of states and refinements, with final prints on 300 gsm (I think) German Etch and a rice paper.

class print 1

class print 1

class print 2

class print 2

Print 1 was the German Etch, printed using a press. Print 2 on rice paper was made using a baren and wooden spoon. Both used black Schmincke linoprint ink. Although the heavy paper is beautiful and use of the press allows a solid transfer of ink I think the variation in the hand pressed version is a better match for my subject.

class oil pastels

class oil pastels

I used one of my state proofs as the base for some work with oil pastels. I was feeling a need to break out of the monochromatic!

class drawing 1

class drawing 1

class drawing 2

class drawing 2

class watercolour test

class watercolour test

I started planning a more detailed watercolour and began with a couple of pencil sketches, trying to clarify the broken rock layers. Graham suggested that we use the same source for multiple interpretations, really getting to know and understand the image. The complex movement of the banded ironstone was forgiving in one sense – who would know if my interpretation was wildly inaccurate? I found it challenging, but by the end of the week I was able to see more and more.

At my request Graham gave an extended introduction to basic watercolour techniques. The little square shown here was one of my samplers, working with colours and lines that could be useful in my picture. Reminder to self – I’ve since realised I should have included the technique of random splattering masking fluid with a wash over, for a nice rocky/crystalline effect.

class collage

class collage

In the event I didn’t get to use most of the ideas. I used some 300gsm Arches medium texture watercolour paper, around 57 x 51 cm. The underlying thought was to used mixed media to present multiple views at different scales in a single work. After a base layer of watercolour mulberry bark was glued to the page to suggest the rock bands. More colour was added, plus some mottled baking paper from the natural dye day last year (4-Apr-2015). In the final moments some grasses were added in an attempt to pull the page together. There wasn’t time for the detailed painting or perhaps drawing I intended. At the moment I think it was a mistake to put colour on the mulberry bark, as I’ve lost the lovely sheen. I’m out of ideas currently, so this might stay as an unfinished exercise.

Back home today I wanted to try printing the lino block using my own resources.

home print 1

home print 1

Carbazole violet Akua intaglio ink was rolled on and the print taken on cartridge paper using a baren. Graham did one print like that in class, basically to show us that you can’t get a quality print on even medium weight paper without a press. It’s not necessarily an issue in this current course, as printmaking is only one step in the creating process, but I’m planning to follow up on some possibilities to get occasional access to better equipment.

home print 2

home print 2

The second print was on rice paper. The colour is still patchy and light, but there is a soft, atmospheric effect on this thin paper. I think this is the most successful print of the block, although that’s not so clear in this photograph.

The lino block is larger than my gelatin plate, so only part of the image is included in the final prints.

home print 3 detail

home print 3 detail

home print 3

home print 3

First I rolled the gelatin with a mix of pyrrole orange and red oxide Akua liquid pigments. The uncleaned lino block was pressed in, then a print taken on cartridge paper.

The colour is not sympathetic to the image and my hand pressing of the lino block was uneven. There is some lovely crisp detail of the cutting, and the incidental marks work well for the subject matter.

home print 4 detail

home print 4 detail

home print 4

home print 4

Again with no cleaning, I rolled a mix of lamp black and red oxide onto the gelatin. Only a few drops are needed, but I accidentally used more. I pressed the lino block into the gelatin using an mdf board to ensure pressure over the full area.

The lino lifted off with a squelch due to the excess of ink. The overall picture is lost in all the incidental marks, but there is some lovely patterning at the detail level.

home print 5 detail

home print 5 detail

home print 5

home print 5

I rolled on a smaller amount of ink in the same colours. The print is still not clear. I will probably use this technique again, but on a slightly smaller scale.

All this detail on the physical products of the week doesn’t do justice to what was a great experience. Graham was a generous, knowledgeable and thoughtful tutor, with lots of little tips and insights as well as the major demonstrations. The class was diverse, and the discussion and sharing in the group was both enjoyable and instructive. It’s going to take a little time to rebuild energy – it was exhausting mentally as much as anything – but I’m hoping to see ongoing improvement in my sketchbook over coming months.

Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Graham Marchant – Exploring Mixed Media workshop


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