Quickly taking stock

A scamper over recent activity. It’s basically a continuation of the Swirling November post (18-Nov-2018)

Scarey music twining
More twining in 5-ply waxed hemp twine. A little bit of fun, but it turns out I need to pay more attention to the process if I’m playing with shape and colour. It doesn’t quite fit the requirement.

The green and blue one started as a piece of plain weave, with warp and weft becoming the spokes as I twined up the walls of the shape. It worked moderately well, although badly tensioned and lumpy. The shine is from mod-podge, used to handle all the pesky ends in a thread that didn’t want to sit quietly. I’ve since used the same structure in wire, shown later in this post.

Side and bottom views

Continuing with some of the pieces of heat-treated copper from Swirling.

A series of manipulations on copper sample F

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I like the combination of copper and resin. The different textures, reflection, transparency, work well together. The wrinkles and folds of the flattened version are also interesting – good texture reminiscent of clothing, and a strong, ungainly form.

Other samples didn’t thrill. Smaller pieces of copper wire were just fiddly and annoying, although improved when I started using the ring clamp (the wooden pivot kind). An attempt to make looping more interesting by mixing materials worked in the sense that I could keep it airy, with the wire providing structural support. But looping is so round and enclosed.

Realising the roundness was a problem I tried plain weave in 0.5 mm brass. This was before the class with Alice Spittle (3-Dec-2018). Some of the techniques in that might have helped get a better result. I might return to this, but the particular sample was not a happy experience or result.

There has been progress since this, but first another disappointment.

Monoprinting with stamps
Back in October I was planing a print-making session with stamps made using basketry techniques (1-Oct-2018). I finally got to it, more in the spirit of “let’s get this over and done” rather than “I wonder how this will work” and “what else would be interesting to try”. A self-fulfilling prophecy?

Using the gelatin plate, lamp black ink rolled on then taken off using samples of “flat coiling” were under-whelming.

Looping in soft string wasn’t picked up at all. Shown below is some scrap paper, used to semi-clean the stamps after printing. Some OK texture.

Looping in soft string

It’s hazy, but a stamp made of cardboard with tensioned wool looping around it is quite effective.

Random looping around card using tension

Using packaging cardboard as a stamp

Some cardboard packaging worked quite well – it could be the base for further work.

Altogether not a strong result. The intention was to work through a series of design exercises in a book, but somehow it’s not working for me at the moment. Time to park that, maybe return another day. Especially as a couple of more engaging things have come up.

New scarey music making

August joining

I’ve been looping on and off for a few months now. Back on 4-Aug-2018 I tried it as an alternative joining method for sculpture inspired by the class with Matt Bromhead (10-Jul-2018).

October sampling with different sizes of wire

There was looping with Mary Hettmansperger (17-Sep-2018), then sampling blogged 1-Oct-2018 and 21-10-2018. The print-making above helped me to realise that the enclosed swirls of looping just weren’t what I’ve been looking for.

A quick dip into The Primary Structures of Fabrics by Irene Emery, under Single Element (which also includes looping) gave me linking – in particular link-and-twist. Some quick experiments and I experienced a thrilling flash of recognition and revelation (thanks for that phrase to Henry Eliot, writing about literary classics in The Guardian).


The sample above is 32 gauge brass. I quickly worked up some more – more 32 gauge but smaller spacing, some black 28 gauge, and then 0.5 mm brass.

More link-and-twist

Irene Emery clearly instructs that this is not netting, nor is it knotless netting (an expression she finds hard to justify in any context). Still, I use a netting shuttle in making it and link-and-twist is a mouthful. I’m going for the casual “netting”, generally speaking and unless formality is required.

Noŋgirrŋa Marawili
Lightning (detail)

That sense of recognition was undoubtedly influenced and strengthened by my viewing of Noŋgirrŋa Marawili’s work (7-Dec-2018), one of many related experiences.

Sample p3-44

Another is a sample of netting dripped with resin for Mixed Media for Textiles (23-Sep-2015). In fact looking back at that, and above at the resin shard, has started me thinking again…

Back to the “netting”. Look what happens next.

Twisted netting

It holds shape. It can be spread wide and light, or squeezed into shading. Line and form in space.

A quick posing – peeking at possibilities.

Strike a pose

The large scale black is from the class with Marion Gaemer (26-Dec-2017), and has since haunted my sketching and pondering. I think the underlying mesh from Bunnings is actually link-and-twist. The plaster and wire channels Matt Bromhead and more from Mixed Media for Textiles (4-Aug-2018).

The link-and-twist is ideal for scarey TV watching. Wire controlled on the netting needle, no risk of scratching self or companion. Very simple to start and stop. Mindless but productive. Here is a component that’s exciting, adaptable, links to my past, meets my need to be making…

Definitely thrilling.

Laborious fun
Also in Swirling I mentioned the excitement of a lecture by Lisa Slade , including the “swirl of fragments in my mind”.

The lecture is now available on SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/artgalleryofnsw/lisa-slade-a-present-past?in=artgalleryofnsw/sets/art-appreciation-the-hidden. Sound isn’t enough. You can get a list of the major images from https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/members/current-members/member-events/hidden-language/ – in my case I have the handout with my scribbled notes from the night. I’ve been able to track down most of the images, now on a Pinterest board.

It’s not easy listening. Every step of the way, including the image gathering, leads to another internet search, more exploration, reading, rabbit holes… I’m up the the sixth minute of the talk. My version of fun 🙂 .

New opportunity
In that swirling November post I signed off with a certain satisfaction about my current path – “Maybe one day more formal study, or a group, but not for now.” That was then. Fast forward three weeks and I’ve signed up to Ruth Hadlow’s Intensive Creative Research Program in 2019, a structured one year program involving four 3-day intensive sessions in Hobart. “The program will focus on a creative research model of practice, incorporating reading, writing, material investigations, dialogue and critical analysis. It is cross-disciplinary, and oriented towards process-based contemporary arts practice.” So not formal, as no academic bureaucracy, and not group, in that the focus is individual art practice. Terrifying and exciting.

There was more. I’ve been reading and musing, writing up page after page in my workbook. Time for that another day. Maybe.

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December 2018

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