Archive for February, 2016

T1-MMT-P5-s5 Sorting

In the Sorting stage I would usually select samples that excited me, that I could see had potential for further development. I have far fewer samples to select from in this Part. They were generally larger, more complex and took more time to make and cure than the work in the earlier Parts of the course. Another change is that I’m not intending to develop a particular sample. Instead I want to develop my collection and use groups of them in exploring space and presentation.

This Sorting started by identifying samples that I think don’t have potential for development in terms of contributing to that exploration. Samples p5-1 and p5-2 used polymorph and composimold respectively in combination with resin (31-Jan-2016). The composimold/resin result was intriguing, but the shape has collapsed over the weeks. Samples p5-6 was a limited colour experiment, while p5-9, resin over knitted texture is static in form, dark and heavy (14-Feb-2016).

I see potential in all the other samples produced in this part (and even remain open to p5-9 in the right combination). A very standard presentation:

Part 5 samples

Part 5 samples

There are possibilities, but I am much more excited when thinking and looking more broadly. Why limit myself to the final samples? The course notes state “this final part of the course is designed to bring together all you’ve learned during this course”. My final samples all developed directly from earlier work, and some of them actually incorporate earlier samples. I’m going to extend my possibilities, my exploration, by extending my set of samples – bringing together any developed during the course.

Sorting - extended set

Sorting – extended set

Object balance exerciseThe focus will be on experimenting with small groups of objects and documenting results in photographs, building on my research of Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016). There may be some new making as well if an opportunity is identified and time allows. I am interested in working with the 3D pen again. Its lines could work to animate compositions in a way similar to Lowndes’ use of wire.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

T1-MMT-P5-s5 Sorting
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 5: Sorting

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – El Anatsui

Yesterday I visited El Anatsui: Five decades at the Carriageworks.

There are a few previous mentions of his work in this blog: 27-Aug-2012 seen at the 18th Biennale Sydney: all our relations and discussed in the context of “Textile Art” research; 27-Mar-2015 as an example of surface distortion in research for assignment 1 of this course; and 29-Aug-2015 when I used the quote “He feels it is important to work with a newly discovered medium until you really understand it and can “get something intrinsic out of it” in support of my decision to narrow and deepen my exploration of molding materials in assignment 3. In that final post I also referenced a post by fellow student Nina, on ninaoconnor.wordpress.com which gives an excellent overview and related links about El Anatsui’s work.

This post is going to focus purely on what attracted my attention as related to my current project, An exploration of materials and space, also known as a collection of vessels.

El Anatsui

El Anatsui

El Anatsui Imbroglio

El Anatsui Imbroglio

At one end of a large space there were a series of objects. They were made at different times – 1979, 1987, 1995. They used a variety of materials – most manganese, but also oyili-oji wood and black afara wood. The spaced arrangement, the height, made it easy to walk around, to peer into the works. It also tended to homogenize them, to isolate them.

This would not be an effective method to display a collection as an interacting group of objects nor to explore space.

El Anatsui Waste paper bags

El Anatsui Waste paper bags

Waste paper bags is clearly a single work consisting of multiple elements. I find this presentation of the work particularly evocative. Anatsui’s work frequently references waste and recycling. Here it is presented in a building which was in a sense waste, when no longer required for building and maintaining railway carriages, and which now has been “recycled” into a contemporary multi-arts centre. The original fabric of the building is largely intact, with new structures inserted within. The mix of old and new materials of the gallery provides a very appropriate backdrop to Anatsui’s work. The high roof and skylights also allows shafts of light to enter and illuminate the works to very good effect.

My own vessels are new constructs of new materials. However the potential of different surrounds and natural light, at least as a supplement, is relevant to my thinking.

Viewers are able to move around the works, to peer into them in a very direct way. So far I have been considering my samples as complete at their existing size. Could they be scaled up so that people could walk amongst them? I can’t see that, at least not directly. I have been working with the properties of the materials, and the textures and forms created would not become larger simply by using more of the same materials. They could be made somewhat larger, but not human sized without a translation to other materials.

El Anatsui  Drainpipe (detail)

El Anatsui
Drainpipe (detail)

El Anatsui  Drainpipe

El Anatsui
Drainpipe

Finally another reminder of the impact of the surface on which the work is shown. An internet search easily finds photographs of it exhibited on marble, on polished work, on blemish-free polished concrete. It’s a little different every time. That’s certainly something I want to experiment with over the next few weeks.

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – El Anatsui
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 2: Research
El Anatsui

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 27-Feb-2016

p5-sketchpage 049; 20160214

p5-sketchpage 049; 20160214

Sketch 20150601b

Sketch 20150601b

I was very pleased to get some corrugations in my samples – corrugated cardboard has been a recurring material during this course (for example 6-Jun-2015). I started thinking about how to link in crumpled paper. Sample p5-3 (31-Jan-2016) used the technique and was an interesting result, but the green didn’t seem to fit as part of the collection. I now have some other samples that may forge a link, with the advantage of being a little less obvious.
p5-sketchpage 050; 20160216

p5-sketchpage 050; 20160216

This biro drawing was inspired by a sketch by Gillian Lowndes. Some good energy and pattern, but the vessel itself (sample p5-10) got lost.
p5-sketchpage 051; 20160217

p5-sketchpage 051; 20160217

Collage! Not a technique I am comfortable with, and this was a warmup prior to the Ruth Hadlow workshop where I expected to do lots. That didn’t happen (I sense an inner sigh of relief), but it helped me approach sample p5-8 in a different way.
p5-sketchpage 052; 20160219

p5-sketchpage 052; 20160219

Thinking about aspects of displaying the samples, I tried to trace shadows of p5-5. Not easy as I’d set it up, as I kept bumping the sample and changing the shadows. Still, it’s an example of my ongoing efforts to move forms around the page rather than defaulting to a centered full view (as suggested in my last tutor feedback).
p5-sketchpage 053; 20160219

p5-sketchpage 053; 20160219

I wanted to use acrylic paints – not a medium I’ve experimented with much. This involved combining the major colours of my collection, black and orange, and printing onto the page using various scrap materials on the worktable as stamps. There are some interesting marks, and I think the composition that developed is effective – a fair amount of movement but overall balanced. In my eyes it resembles a potential sample sitting on a tabletop.

p5-sketchpage 054; 20160222

p5-sketchpage 054; 20160222

This grouping of samples p5-5, p5-10 and p3-35 was created using a variant of the sketching brief developed in Ruth Hadlow’s workshop (25-Feb-2016). It used charcoal and orange conte crayon. I varied the time constraint, allowing as much time as I wanted on the final layer. There’s a lot of energy. I think the under-sketching is very effective in adding movement, interest and complexity. The haze of earlier orange helps to bring the sketch together. Taking extra time on the final layer allowed me to produce a more finished, coherent result. I tried to anchor the items more, with shadows and a suggestion of edges on a round table, which I see as improvements.
p5-sketchpage 055; 20160223

p5-sketchpage 055; 20160223

Although excited by the new drawing approach I thought it was important to keep moving between approaches, so attempted this observational sketch in coloured pencil of samples p5-11, p5-12 and p5-13. Dull.

p5-sketchpage 056; 20160223

p5-sketchpage 056; 20160223

Unsatisfied by the previous sketch I did another of the same subjects using charcoal and the three layer approach. I think this version is more successful at showing the links between the objects, suggesting the lines of corrugation and the tensed distortion of organza and 3D plastic drawing.

I’d like to explore more with the 3D pen. I’ve noted the wire which animates Gillian Lowndes’ work. Perhaps 3D drawing could serve a similar function while also continuing my existing lines of enquiry during the course.

p5-sketchpage 057; 20160224

p5-sketchpage 057; 20160224

Samples p5-10 and p3-35 were the subject of this blind, continuous line drawing, done with a three minute time limit. I was surprised by the result, I expected much more – then realised the biro had run out during the time. An unanticipated drawback of blind drawing!
p5-sketchpage 058; 20160224

p5-sketchpage 058; 20160224

Another version of the previous page – with a new biro. The nature of the lines is different – not so much from examining the visual result of the first attempt, but more that some of the movements hadn’t felt right, had got me into trouble as if I knew my hand wasn’t doing the right thing even as I was working. A strange feedback. Could one exploit this, deliberately doing something that “feels” wrong, that isn’t a match for the object you’re drawing? Big bold lines to describe a delicate tracery. What would be the point?
p5-sketchpage 059; 20160225

p5-sketchpage 059; 20160225

Another sketch of another piece by Gillian Lowndes. I was using a charcoal pencil, giving a much sharper line. I think this catches the different materials – the spiky wire wrapping, the hard lines of a pot shard, the softer droop of the bag formed from fibreglass dipped in slip. I like the quality of line the pencil gave, strong and bold but not solid.
p5-sketchpage 060; 20160226

p5-sketchpage 060; 20160226

Drawn after visiting El Anatsui: Five decades at the Carriageworks. At the top is a response to Awakened, done in various colours of pen on the inside of an envelope (trying to vary my surfaces beyond the default white cartridge). I don’t find this result interesting, and I found it slightly painful to produce – those tight repetitive movements. Below is a piece of heavy drawing paper, on which I drew in 4H pencil then charcoal. I was trying to reproduce an effect seen in a sketch by El Anatsui, but this wasn’t the right method.

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 27-Feb-2016
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Sketchbook update 27-Feb-2016

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – Gillian Lowndes

GillianLowndes

Gillian Lowndes
Cup on Base
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Starting with the subjective. I used the image above in the workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016). The class task: looking at a contemporary art practice that interests you, extract information and turn it into a brief for sampling. (“define parameters” an alternative expression for those who had trouble with “brief”).

I used the image above, and also works shown in a monograph by Amanda Fielding.
My list of what attracts my attention:
Unbalanced; balancing act; teetering; precarious
Textured; rough; unfinished
Unexpected mix of objects; mix of shapes
Recognisable but not
3D – something you can hold
Use of wire animates
Coils – energy
Solidity — fragility
Slumped – a result; a moment of change; not crisp and new
Happenstance; provisional
A captured moment
Result looks inevitable, not random
Works look like they have a story, history, but are complete as they are
Some resist narrative – sufficient
Almost geometry
Level of detail – intricate, not fussy
It feels risky, but unconcerned, not nervous
Distortions
Partial

From that list I developed a brief to guide my exploration:
Select objects
Balance
Record with a photo

My first iteration
Object balance exercise
I look at that, and suddenly my mind is buzzing.

I’ve written about presenting my collection – it’s always been an integral part of the exercise. In my thinking I’ve been in default mode – white surfaces, different levels, good lighting, conversations between pieces… Look at the photo above – how much more exciting, how connected it is. The table surface isn’t passive, it contributes. The pieces are animated. They aren’t separate any more, but have joined in a much more interesting whole.

Suddenly I’m clear about what I want to do over the final few weeks, how I can keep sampling and pushing. A slight variation to the simple brief:
Select objects
Select environment
Balance
Record with a photo

Stage 6 is prototype/maquette-making, and I think this fits extremely well.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. I feel as if things have been spinning in my brain and they’ve come together with an almighty click! I feel I’ve finally done what my tutor asked for in her last feedback – picked apart my research material to find what I can learn from it.

Before racing into this bright new future, there is the objective style research I was already doing – still of value and I think an edited version worth recording.

The work by Gillian Lowndes shown above is not a vessel and not a collection, but it is certainly an exploration of materials and space. I was led to Lowndes’ work when researching Debbie Lyddon. In an article on textileartist.org (www.textileartist.org/debbie-lyddon-art-that-inspires/) Lyddon talks about influences, including Gillian Lowndes. Lyddon: “What inspires me so much about this work is the way the ambiguous nature of the objects Lowndes made speaks not of things or concepts but purely of the materials and the processes of change used. They are mysterious objects that create connections between many different things. Her work has encouraged me to question, explore and experiment with non-traditional textile techniques and materials and to use the physical properties of materials to evoke a sense of place.” So much of the work I was researching at the time had deep emotional significance, unlike the samples I was actually producing. A focus on materials their physical properties was clearly more closely related to my samples and the material exploration I was doing.

Lowndes explored far from traditional pots. She worked in bricolage, mixing found objects and everyday materials in her ceramics, transforming all through high heat in the kiln. Lowndes’ work was open, ambiguous. Her work was “about process and the random relationships of different materials” and she stated “I want [my works] to be elusive, mysterious objects which have all sorts of connections to all sorts of different things” (quoted in Fielding, p. 60). Alison Britton wrote “What is the appeal of an object that is like something but is obviously not being that thing? A visual metaphor, a transfer of meaning, is in operation, and there can be a sort of energy, a ripple of understanding in the recognition… ” (quoted in Fielding, p. 75).

A wonderful resource is Ceramic Points of View: ‘Cup on Base’, by Gillian Lowndes, a collaboration between The National Electronic and Video Archive of the Crafts and the Victoria and Albert museum (www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/ceramics-points-of-view-gillian-lowndes-cup-on-base/). There are video responses by six people to the work shown at the top of this post. I find Alison Britton’s particularly exciting as she handles the piece while discussing it, giving a sense of the physical presence, the weight and substance, of the work. Britton’s comments include “Very experimental, but it’s not idle experiment, it’s always with a very strong voice … clear purpose.” (this is in the transcript not the edited video). Very relevant to the MMT method and Ruth Hadlow’s class.

Included in the video are comments on vessels in comparison to sculpture – I wonder if that reflects a ceramics view of the world, where vessels are normal, traditional, and sculpture is a step somewhere else. Display is also mentioned – something Lowndes experimented with, putting work on walls or mounting it on perspex. Both of these feel very relevant to me as a textile person moving perhaps somewhere different.

In terms of my own work I know I haven’t got all I will from Gillian Lowndes. I think she will be a hero of mine for a long time, and I’ll keep returning and finding new points of interest and relevance. For my current project a couple of key points are around combining forms and display and being more confident about exploring materials and process without an attached meaning, and separate from this the video commentaries, which I’ve already experimented with (5-Feb-2016 and 19-Feb-2016).

Reference
Fielding, A. (2013) Gillian Lowndes Ruthin Craft Centre The Centre for the Applied Arts, Ruthin.

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – Gillian Lowndes
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 2: Research
Gillian Lowndes

T1-MMT-P5 Ruth Hadlow – Articulating Practice workshop

The full title of this weekend workshop was Articulating Practice: exploring the interior terrain, and the first sentence of the description on the ATASDA website “The subtle slippery nature of generating ideas, their development and transformation into objects, images, words and forms is difficult to describe, express or even have confidence in, and yet it is the core of artistic practice.” We would be examining – mostly talking around – strategies of creative practice.

I’m still processing the two days dense with ideas – this is not a polished post, more teasing out a jumble of interlocking strands.

Starting points – points of reference; what interests you, what attracts your attention (magnetic).

Exploring, unpacking – not committing to a single direction early.

Model of practice: not discrete bubbles of separate projects. A series of strands of investigation, like currents in a river – although not a progression. A strand may start, fade, join with other strands… Go where-ever I am most engaged at the moment.

Key areas of practice – reading; writing; analyzing / attentive looking; making.
Ruth sees all parts of life as part of her practice – the key areas above, plus gallery “work” (using the key areas, and a research project in itself), library “work” (ditto), and lived experience (some parts more potent than others, but in theory including washing dishes).

The core is attentive looking and analyzing.
Close looking:
– Registering (scan and select)
– Paying attention (screen out distractions – the glass bell; sketch and record – drawing and writing, eg form, materials, associations)
– Analyzing
 —Subjective first – what is attracting my attention; what can I bring to my practice; avoid getting stuck in the literal or derivative; using language helps attract, analyse attention.
 —Objective less important – type; history; context; biography. Information that has authority, certainty, categories, boundaries is not useful to my practice.

Drawing: a verb, not a noun. Provisional, propositional. Avoid default behaviours – insides of envelopes instead of white paper, scissors instead of pencil. Use to advance very attentive looking.

Writing: a vehicle to a more attentive practice. A place to unpack stories, narratives and ideas; to play with structure and forms; to engage with ideas. Take time to make notes. Clarify. Push further.

Reading: forage – chapters here and there; multiple books on the go; making new connections. Focus on one chapter – what really attracts interest.

Everything is brought back to your own work.

Ruth gave extended examples of how attentive looking and analyzing works. Focus on exactly what attracts your attention. Ideas generated by Matisse wall cutouts: not framed, provisional, scale, loose repeat of pattern –> a lot of licence –> tear rather than cut so less controlled, less contrived –> recognise interested in negotiating a terrain of uncertainty. This led to work by Sally Smart – what attracted, what changed / extended. Led to William Kentridge – torn paper on a ground.

Another sequence was on drawing and doodling, and Ruth took us on a path through artists showing her chain of thought and interest, one thing leading to or building on another.

Once you’ve identified interest in a territory, start adding more examples. Translate materials or contexts – responding to, not replicating

Ruth is interested in the sets of rules or processes that artist set up – maybe working in timed sessions, feel versus look etc. These rules or brief determine the outcome of the investigation. The internal logic gives terms for personal critique.

Be your own best critic: not the default inner critic (negative), but your own best critic – was I engaged (even if work was “easy”) or was I being lazy? Did I meet the brief I drew up?

One suggestion was to try a related exercise over a month. It can develop an interest, build to a project, it might surprise, be an enjoyable process. A clear brief can be reshaped. The idea is to engage the creative mind, focus attention, respond, build, recognise links… As it builds up a new project may eventuate, and all start to build up a life of the mind. We can turn our passions into research settings, and all into ongoing exploration.

Ruth is constantly sampling, and often sampling becomes the work. Sampling avoids predetermining the work. But always ask: Am I playing it safe?

John Bokor Kitchen table

John Bokor
Kitchen table. 2011. Pencil, gesso wash on thick textured white paper (oil paper)
http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/362.2012.3/
Click image for larger view

After a lot of talking we tried to use some of the ideas. When preparing for the class I chose John Bokor as a contemporary drawing practice that interested me. I’ve written about him previously in the context of still life (31-Jan-2014).

The class task:
– Make a list of what attracts my attention. It may be easier to start by listing what you see then identifying those key points.
– Write a brief for a drawing exercise based on that. Based on interests, then take that information and play it out separately and differently.
– Use chosen object as subject matter or to inform the drawing brief.
– Bring in some lightheartedness – this is an experiment.

While working on this task I realised that my interest was being attracted by some specific works by Bokor, so I focused on those. My initial list:
overlapping/layering of image; domestic scale; life as it happens; simple lines, complex image; charcoal, gesso; depth, not flat pattern; looks like fast work – a captured moment; provisional, not definite; sense of movement; life was happening as he worked; no directional lighting; structure – basic perspective; space between – positive and negative space lock together in pattern.

I note the ideas of captured moment and provisional. A definite strand of ongoing interest there.

My edited list of what is attracting my attention: layering of image; captured moment [–> work quickly] [–> multiple sessions]; simple outlines.

My brief for an exploration: Use a small group of items (not a single one – I wanted space between). Three timed 2 minute sessions. Brush down sketch between sessions.

Variations noted were same arrangement; changed arrangement; changed objects.

Sketch objects

Sketch objects
Click image for larger view

My selected objects were samples p3-33, p5-4, and a prayer wheel brought by another student.

For the first sketch I changed the arrangement after each session and worked in charcoal in all layers.

Sketch 1-3

Sketch 1-3

This sketch has much of the energy, movement and sense of the moment that had attracted me.

For the second sketch I kept the same arrangement in each session, but ignored the traces of earlier layers as I was working.

Sketch 2-3

Sketch 2-3

Sketch 2 is much more static and uninteresting.

Sketch 3-1

Sketch 3-1
Click image for larger view

I’d just started sketch 3 when Ruth arrived for our one-on-one. The idea for this set was to use three different colours of conte pencils. I was limited in the sketch materials I’d brought, and thought this could make an interesting variation.

One note was the three colour idea. Using similar media would limit the range of mark-making. Ruth suggested trying a range of media – say pencil, conte and charcoal.

We also discussed “ordinariness”. Clearly I wasn’t looking at well-known domestic objects – but these are objects that currently fascinate me and that I want to work with. Where else could “ordinary” lie? In media used or support (Ruth is very encouraging of moving away from the default white paper). Perhaps draw in tea or coffee.

Ruth also focused on p3-33, one of my “glorious failures”, and suggested exploring further with lots of small variations – shapes in different plastics, working at different temperatures, recording in sketch or photo. All of this, in fact much of the course, was very close to the OCA structure I’ve been following. Research, sample, record, sort, lots of reflection. Good reinforcement, and also good to see it from a different perspective.

Sketch 4-3

Sketch 4-3
Click image for larger view

The group critique came soon after. There was just time for a very quick attempt with different drawing media – pencil (3H), conte pencil and charcoal.

This final sketch is not satisfying, the different media interacting to muddy the image. However the group made some interesting suggestions about playing with which medium is dominant, putting some shading and variation in tone and mark, and anchoring the objects in a space. Ideas I’d like to follow up that were raised as we moved around the room were varying scale (the drawing we were looking at was a brown paper background with white and black chalk over. What about fine black ink and white chalk pastel?). If you find/feel a frustration try to recognise and name it –> new ideas. Working in the round, not on a flat surface – a cylinder of acetate or paper draping in the hand. Drawing with stitch and collage. Pushing pencils, working while standing. Overlapping and rearranging paper surfaces. Drawing with a stick and ink.

As mentioned above a lot of the course resonated with me because of the parallel with Mixed Media for Textiles. I realise on reflection that Ruth has given me a way to continue that exciting ride out of the college context, making my own briefs rather than relying on course notes.

There was another class exercise, working with a contemporary art practice, but that leads to my next post – research on Gillian Lowndes.

Later edit: I realised I’ve written about Ruth and her work a couple of times previously – in the context of the proppaNOW collective (5-Jan-2014), and a talk she gave at COFA (20-Sep-2013).

T1-MMT-P5 Ruth Hadlow – Articulating Practice workshop
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Ruth Hadlow – Articulating Practice workshop

T1-MMT-P5-s3 Final vessel samples

p5-sketchpage 047; 20160211

p5-sketchpage 047; 20160211
Click image for larger view

The final samples are based on ideas recorded on sketchbook page 47, 11-Feb-2016 and previously shown 15-Feb-2016.

They were based in a few ideas – returning to the corrugated surface I found effective in earlier samples in the course; returning more closely to the casting of the internal space of vessels as in Assignment 3 (I’ve felt at risk of venturing too far from the basic course parameters); and bringing together my main materials – resin, plaster and the orange organza.

Sample p5-11

Sample p5-11

Sample p5-11

Sample p5-11 Setup

Sample p5-11 Setup
Click image for larger view

This vessel could easily slot into Assignment 3. Some corrugated plastic shelf liner was used the create the external shape, which was deformed by tying and pressing in lumps of plaster left from previous sampling. To form a “vessel” rather than the more generic “object” a cardboard tube was wrapped in more corrugated plastic and held in the poured plaster as it was setting.

The shape gently undulates, emphasised by the ridges of the corrugation which respond to lighting with gentle shadows. The colour and form are calm, solid.

Sample p5-11 view 2

Sample p5-11 view 2
Click image for larger view

The shape is quite compact, standing around 10 cm high. I find its proportions satisfying and it attracts the eye and the touch. I regard this as a very successful sample. It is also useful in the collection, being less aggressively showy than some other vessels but with a lot of its own quiet character. Its movement is within clear boundaries, providing a solidity and stability.
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Sample p5-12

Sample p5-12 - two views

Sample p5-12 – two views

Sample p5-12 Setup

Sample p5-12 Setup
Click image for larger view

Sample p5-12 had a similar genesis. A tube held corrugated plaster in a firm column. What was intended to be an internal space was made with a cardboard tube covered in plastic. While setting the mold was supported at an angle, impacting on the shape of the cast vessel. Limited visibility and buoyancy of the inserted tube resulted in the internal void touching a side of the vessel.
Sample p5-12 In progress

Sample p5-12 In progress
Click image for larger view

I was very tempted to stop with the sample in this form. It created an interesting contrast to p5-11 and I found it visually appealing. The idea of potentially ruining it was unattractive.

However this course is all about risk and I continued.

The vessel was returned to the mold, but this time held upright rather than at an angle. A large piece of orange crystal organza was heat distorted. It was then soaked in liquid resin and pressed onto the plaster in the mold.

There are some technical issues in the outcome. I didn’t push the plaster vessel firmly into the mold and a rather odd foot of resin formed. It’s only attached along a small part of the edge, and it’s not clear how stable and long-lasting it will be. The bottom of the cardboard roll and inner plastic set firmly in the resin. I was able to cut away most, but the bottom of the void is unsightly. I would prefer more dribbles of resin down the sides of the plaster. I find the uneven patterning unattractive. On its own the form is much more static than the other pieces in the collection.

Its strength lies in combination.

Samples p5-4 p5-11 and p5-12

Samples p5-4 p5-11 and p5-12

I find this first grouping very exciting. These three samples, with all their individual idiosyncrasies, clearly belong together. They respond to each other. I’m beginning to get some very interesting results in the interactions of the collection.
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Sample p5-13
Sample p5-13

Sample p5-13

Sample p5-13 Side view

Sample p5-13 Side view
Click image for larger view

There was some resin left over after making sample p5-12.

Sample p1-59b After - on mould

Sample p1-59b After – on mould
Click image for larger view

Sample p1-59 (20-Apr-2015) was quickly jammed into a plastic bowl, a piece of (undistorted) orange organza was thrown in, and the setting resin poured and scrapped on.

So much planning and effort went into p5-12, virtually none into p5-13, but in the context of the collection the result is wonderful. I’m really looking forward to mixing it in with the group. It’s lively, unexpected, fascinating, exciting, energetic.
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There’s been a lot going on lately and I’m feeling behind in posting, losing the chronology, with topics influencing each other. As a reminder to self:
* Ruth Hadlow workshop
* Gillian Lowndes research
* Grayson Perry exhibition
* Recent sketching
* Sorting

To whet your (and my) appetite, some quick shots of my work area. You will no doubt appreciate, as I do, the extensive tidying up that happened yesterday.

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

T1-MMT-P5-s4 Presentation of sample p5-8

I received some helpful feedback from fellow students and my tutor following my first attempts at video presentation of work (5-Feb-2016).

One question regarded use of video for assessment, and my tutor has confirmed they should be useful as long as they are embedded in my blog. The narrated and more dynamic version was preferred by everyone who responded. I’ve now organised a less textured background (ie not unironed sheets!), although in the end stayed with white as I need all the light I can get during filming. Most of the new video is shot very close to the object which could be an issue, but I’ve tried to pick it up and move it around to give an idea of its physical characteristics. There are also a couple of photos inserted, which may add some interest. I think the biggest downside of the new version is that it’s longer.

Sample p5-8 view 2

Sample p5-8 view 2

Sample p5-8 was first presented 14-Feb-2016. I didn’t feel my text or photographs really showed what I was seeing in the work. I hope this video is more effective – any more feedback or suggestions very welcome.

Edit 28-Feb-2016: Inger suggested a closeup picture of the thread ends. Updating the video would be tricky, instead below is a detail showing both threads and some of the blue fuzz on the general surface.

Sample p5-8 thread detail

Sample p5-8 thread detail

T1-MMT-P5-s4 Presentation of sample p5-8
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 4: Recording outcomes
Presentation of sample p5-8

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 15-Feb-2016

I’ve noticed this form of sketchbook work and recording is working for me. I’m doing at least a little every day, a mix of research and recording and ideas development. At first blogging the pages seemed like double-work, but instead it’s become a form of reflection and review, looking back over the week’s output.

p5-sketchpage 045; 20160208

p5-sketchpage 045; 20160208

Looking at p5-5 (31-Jan-2016), over two days I did a series of manipulations of photographs in gimp, then a collage – adventurous for me as I always get into a sticky mess. I like the swirly energy of this sample. It also looks good in combination with almost all my other samples, so a strong candidate for the collection.

p5-sketchpage 046; 20160210

p5-sketchpage 046; 20160210

Another sketch of work by Gillian Lowndes. I now have the monograph by Amanda Fielding and am enjoying both the reading and the excellent photos. It’s really progressing my thinking about what and why I make. I can’t find an online picture of this piece, but the colours I’ve used reflect my response, not the original.

p5-sketchpage 047; 20160211

p5-sketchpage 047; 20160211

This goes back to some ideas about columns and corrugated cardboard on sketchbook page 24, 15-Jan-2016 posted 18-Jan-2016. A couple of samples based on it are in progress.

p5-sketchpage 048; 20160212

p5-sketchpage 048; 20160212

A couple of line drawings of samples in different felt tip pens. In Fielding’s book on Gillian Lowndes there is a quote about her use of wire animating a sculpture. Just the word I need to describe the thread in p5-8 and the tangle of melted plastic horsehair in p5-10 (both 14-Feb-2016). In terms of a collection, I’m not sure these two meld – except both have movement and a sort of independence, not bending to societal norms. More arrangements and photographs will come in a later Stage, but just now I’ve picked them up, shifted things around and to my surprise the detailed textured surfaces bring them together.

The next page is only half done, and that shows a yet-to-be-revealed sample, so will wait for the next update.

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 15-Feb-2016
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Sketchbook update 15-Feb-2016

T1-MMT-P5-s3 Vessel samples continued

Sample p5-6

Sample p5-6

Sample p5-6

My initial list of experiments using resin (26-Jan-2016) included the use of colouring agents. I added some cyan ink to the resin then dribbled it over some corrugated plastic – the same plastic used as a mold in sample p2-5 (31-Jan-2016).

This didn’t go well. The stored resin had gone grainy and hasn’t cured properly. The resin just dribbled off the plastic into a bowl, leaving a gritty residue. The plastic sheet was embedded in the dribbled resin and I can’t separate it. The resin is coloured, but has a cloudiness to it – which could be a product of the other problems, not necessarily the ink.

Still, I think it made an interesting photograph on the concrete driveway.

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Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7 detail

Sample p5-7 detail
Click image for larger view

Sample p3-53 (1-Oct-2015) explored developing a casting sample by throwing it repeatedly onto a concrete floor. Could the remains be used as the starting point for a new sample, a vessel?

Shards of plaster were still attached to rough rope. I coiled the rope in a plastic bowl, then dribbled on resin. This was done in two sessions a week apart, trying to build connections between the broken parts.

Once again the resin is grainy and not fully cured. I wasn’t successful in forming sufficient links to make a robust vessel. I wasn’t able to separate the results from the plastic bowl. The plastic was broken up using a hammer and most of the vessel released, but there is still a lot of plastic in the base.

Still, the result has promise. There are multiple interesting shapes, interesting views through the spaces in the vessel. It is a bowl form but clearly not functional. It is broken parts “mended” in a new form with voids and lines that don’t quite make sense. There are so many textures. It holds the gaze.
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Sample p5-8

Sample p5-8

Sample p5-8

Sample p5-8 in progress

Sample p5-8 in progress
Click image for larger view

Sample p3-47

Sample p3-47
Click image for larger view

p5-sketchpage 040; 20160202

p5-sketchpage 040; 20160202
Click image for larger view

This sample is a continuation of the ideas behind p3-47 (26-Sep-2015). I developed the idea for p5-8 and p5-9 in my sketchbook, page 40 2-Feb-2016, posted 8-Feb-2016. A section of the same cardigan was used to line a round plastic bowl. Stitching was used to gather the cuff hem of the sleeve, which then fit neatly around a found glass form. The covered form was suspended over and into the bowl. The idea was that suspended glass would create the central void in a new cast plaster vessel.

No additional lining was used, and a small amount of plaster seeped through the knitted fabric. However what looked like a disaster in progress was actually minor spillage, as the plaster set quickly.(26-Sep-2015).

Sample p5-8 view 2

Sample p5-8 view 2
Click image for larger view

Additional strips of knit fabric were laid on the surface of the plaster, between the inner and outer forms. As a result virtually the entire cast vessel is textured by the knit.

The photographs shown here were taken over a week after the vessel was cast and it is not yet fully dry. Given the experience of sample p3-47 I expect the colour to lighten considerable over coming weeks.

I expected the rim of the cast vessel to be wide and basically flat albeit textured. Instead there is a splash effect with high, fluted inner and outer edges to the rim. I believe this is due more to shrinkage of the plaster during drying, with only small impact from the seepage.

The result is in my eyes at least both ugly and beautiful. The shape seems familiar but wrong. It is both solid, heavy and delicate, fragile. The lines of texture move in a way that is both dynamic and unsettling.

In earlier research of work by Victoria Brown (14-Aug-2015) and Rebecca Fairley (16-Aug-2015) I commented on the fibres caught in some cast works, an effect I find attractive, that adds interest and speaks to the processes creating the work. In p5-8 there is a haze of fibres over most of the vessel, and a few fragments of yarn caught in lines in the rim. Those threads follow the lines of movement in the molding, emphasizing the swirling flow.

I have been trying to make a video to show this more clearly, but grey, matt, slightly fuzzy surface is proving difficult for my current basic equipment to light and focus. Work continues.

Sample p5-8 detail

Sample p5-8 detail

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Sample p5-9

Sample p5-9 with internal led

Sample p5-9 with internal led

Sample p5-9

Sample p5-9
Click image for larger view

In this vessel the second sleeve of the cardigan used in p5-8 was sewn and placed over the same glass shape. I smeared the knit heavily with vaseline, hoping it might act as a release agent, then dripped and poured resin over the form.

I expected to be able to extract the glass with little difficulty, and hoped that I might be able to pull away at least sections of the knit to leave the major part of the new vessel resin. In practice I have been unable to separate resin, knit and glass. I was able to neaten the top edge, grinding with my new dremel tool (purchased after Graham Marchant’s class (24-Jan-2016) for using in lino cuts).

The vessel is heavier and darker than I intended. The form is simple and there is little visual interest. However internal lighting allows appreciation of the knit fabric. Next time I am using resin I may run a bead around the rim to tidy it up a bit more. I don’t see this as an entire failure, but neither is it a success.
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Sample p5-10

Sample p5-10

Sample p5-10

Sample p5-10 in progress

Sample p5-10 in progress
Click image for larger view

p5-sketchpage 043; 20160205

p5-sketchpage 043; 20160205
Click image for larger view

The idea of this woven vessel began in my sketchbook, page 43 5-Feb-2016, posted 8-Feb-2016. It was influenced by my research of Anne Dyke’s work, 7-Feb-2016.

Sample p5-5 in progress

Sample p5-5 in progress
Click image for larger view

I’m actually booked on a one-day workshop on coiling with Lissa de Sailles (class link), but that’s over a month away. I decided instead to weave the vessel – a technique I have already used in my collection in p5-5 (31-Jan-2016).

Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip

Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip
Click image for larger view

The main structure is the plastic horsehair. The base and lower section is yarn made from fibreglass insect mesh, seen many times during this course including in wrapping sample p2-74 (28-Jul-2015). The upper part is woven with strips of orange crystal organza, very loosely twisted as I hoped to get some movement and a light, lacey effect by using a heat gun on the woven form. For the same reason the organza weaving was left open, not packed down tightly.
Sample p5-10

Sample p5-10
Click image for larger view

The heat treatment gave a lot of distortion in the organza, as hoped for. It is not lacey, but there is a light solidity. An unexpected element was the response of the plastic horsehair to heat. It curled and frizzed and dropped to create some very exciting lines.
Sample p5-10 detail

Sample p5-10 detail
Click image for larger view

I find the resulting vessel a delight. It has become an avocado shape and both expands and is more contained than some of the earlier samples. I particularly like the flecks of orange threads on the black base, a by-product of tearing the organza strips.

I originally intended to drizzle resin on the final form, but haven’t followed through with that (yet??). The vessel is already very interesting and structurally quite stable. I like the contrast of the relatively matt and deeply textured surface as a contrast to other pieces, especially p5-4 (31-Jan-2016 and 5-Feb-2016). The photo below shows the two together, with all their contrasts of shape, texture and line. I think this is a very good example of the interaction I was hoping to get in my collection of vessels.

Samples p5-4 and p5-10

Samples p5-4 and p5-10


Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18
Click image for larger view

Looking at this reminded me of one of my most successful samples of the course, p2-18 (19-Jun-2015). I think my collection could be enhanced by revisiting earlier work.

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

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 8-Feb-2016

p5-sketchpage 038; 20160201

p5-sketchpage 038; 20160201

A thumbnail of this page has been seen before, when experimenting with video presentation 5-Feb-2016. This is a very free blind drawing of sample p5-4, trying not to lift the biro. My “plume” is too stumpy, but otherwise I like the liveliness of line which catches the energy and movement of the sample.

p5-sketchpage 039; 20160201

p5-sketchpage 039; 20160201

This version I looked at the page while working, and it is much less convincing. It was while looking at this that I decided a video could be a better way of recording what I was seeing. My first video, done the same day, was very clunky and is no more.

p5-sketchpage 040; 20160202

p5-sketchpage 040; 20160202

In the middle of a work day I was taken with an idea for samples using the same knitted fabric as p3-47. There’s resin, plaster, inside, outside… The resulting samples are hardening in the garage, so more information on a later day.

This page also has an idea for binding the physical sketchbook, using the caterpillar stitching that started joins in Part 2. Very keen to do this when the time comes.

p5-sketchpage 041; 20160202

p5-sketchpage 041; 20160202

Some planning for improvements for video production, then another sketch of work by Gillian Lowndes. A monograph on Lowndes is making its way from Ruthin Craft Centre, and at some point a Research post will appear. The spaces between the pipes in this work are wonderful. See //collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O19516/three-standing-pipes-forms-lowndes-gillian/

p5-sketchpage 042; 20160204

p5-sketchpage 042; 20160204

O dear. This is coloured pencil, trying to do simple lines looking at the detail of sample p5-4. Faint, bland, just a little informative.

p5-sketchpage 043; 20160205

p5-sketchpage 043; 20160205

More ideas for samples keep springing up. Coiled baskets (this was while preparing my Research post on other OCA students, 7-Feb-2016 and looking at Anne Dyke’s work). Plastic horsehair could be used in the coiling, crystal organza for the stitching and final rounds of coiling. What would happen when heat was applied to the organza???

The lower sketch shows a way of recording an internal space other than casting (as in assignment 3). Fill a flexible shape with sand and wrap to create an interesting form. Build a coiled vessel around it (probably easier written than done), then empty out the sand and original flexible vessel. I’ve been a bit concerned about moving too far away from the original assignment exercises, and this could be a way of linking back.

p5-sketchpage 043b; 20160206

p5-sketchpage 043b; 20160206

This sketch started from a comment by Nina (5-Feb-2016), suggesting I work a bit bolder, with some colour, and that white paper can get a bit lost on the white blog background. Doing this sketch really helped me to focus in on the distortions and movement of the organza, and the extra colour strength of the oil pastels is effective. Repeatedly I leave insufficient space to show the plastic horsehair properly. Good ideas from Nina – I definitely should move away from white paper more often.

p5-sketchpage 044; 20160207

p5-sketchpage 044; 20160207

This is looking at work by Katie Taylor, discussed in my Research post 7-Feb-2016. That connecting line is very effective.

T1-MMT-P5 Sketchbook update 8-Feb-2016
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Sketchbook update 8-Feb-2016


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