Archive for the 'Explorations' Category

Weekly roundup 24 July 2016

The grid?
Another approach to dimensional weaving, following on from 11-Jul-2016. Aluminium insect mesh, corrugated (thinking this gives additional stability and flexibility). The technique was inspired by Flora Friedmann’s basket, seen in Basketry NSW’s Fibre Stories exhibition (10-Jul-2016) – or at least my imperfect understanding of it.

sample -aluminium mesh with twining in progress

sample -aluminium mesh with twining in progress

The base is a plain weave square, the X of corner ribs added later. To move into 3D I used twining – at least that’s what I think it is, subject to correction. I used thin black cord for the twining weavers, enough to have a presence without dominating the transparency of the mesh.

Initially the ribs of mesh were kept straight, but the mesh just visually disappeared – I really wanted overlaps and differing densities. I initially thought of bulges and irregular shaping, but I don’t have the skills to do that deliberately nor to manage the rough edges of the ribs catching on each other and generally being awkward.

So every second circuit I started swapping the positions of ribs, twining around two together, then each rib separately in the next round.

Sample with curled top

Sample with curled top

When I ran out of length on a couple of the ribs I tied off and curled the top of ribs with excess length. Not a great result – there’s just too much mass, curling down and obscuring the weaving below.

So I straightened things up, gave it all a pull around, and cut down the longer ends.

Finished sample

Finished sample



There’s a lot of energy in the result. Inside and outside connect. I particularly like the dynamic lines of the weavers, pulled and bent by the strength of the mesh ribs. I’ve suddenly remembered the pretend writing I used to do as a small child, before starting school. Those lines contrast well with the almost-ordered interlacing of the ribs.

I’d like to try something similar using perhaps a fine red leather cord for the weavers – about the same weight but more assertive. With experience I might be able to get folds and more movement in the ribs, but if doing that I might need more regularity in the weavers to maintain contrast. It would have the advantage of further confusing interior and exterior, again pushing for that extra dimension.

Front view

Front view

I’ve also tried rearranging my earlier depth weaving (first seen 11-Jul-2016).

Top

Top

Sample in earlier arrangement

Sample in earlier arrangement

Instead of overall chaos, in two corners I’ve taken out the extra folding lengths so the weave of the elements is more obvious. The non-tightened corners have become even wilder, accommodating the excess length.

I think the weaverly nature is more apparent, and an unanticipated advantage is a diagonal movement in the long looping lengths, moving up from left to right in the front view shown above. The price is perhaps a little less sense of exuberance, the folds not moving so much into a new dimension but just looking a bit untidy in ordinary 3D.

Sketching / printing
This started with some “calligraphy” paper from last week’s shopping. I wanted to try writing with pen and ink on this paper, but I’m currently finding plain text less interesting than almost-text.

1846 letter by John Chester Jervis

1846 letter by John Chester Jervis

I’ve been helping my mother with a family history website, and a letter written by a great-great(etc) uncle suggested an approach.

Next some text was needed. Recent research led me to The Fold by Gilles Deleuze (pdf from http://www.elimeyerhoff.com/books/Deleuze/Deleuze%20-%20The%20Fold.pdf).

Deleuze text, crossed

Deleuze text, crossed

Apparently “In The Fold, Gilles Deleuze argues that Leibniz’s writings constitute the grounding elements of a Baroque philosophy and of theories for analyzing contemporary arts and science. A model for expression in contemporary aesthetics, the concept of the monad is viewed in terms of folds of space, movement, and time.” (http://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-fold).

Deleuze text continued

Deleuze text continued

I’ve read as much as filled one crossed page and one plain page. I have no idea of what the text means. I’m planning to continue reading, just to see if I can catch any meaning but that’s for another day (I strongly suspect there’s a lot more other reading that would need to be done to make sense of this work).

Back to the “sketching”. In the page with crossed lines the text as written works as non-text, with the bonus of orthogonal lines. I wanted to add more layers, so did some printing with the gelatin plate – the first since project 4 of MMT (7-Dec-2015). The plate has been sitting, covered, on a bench in the garage. There was a tiny spot of mould on one corner, easily wiped away. Impressive.

My printing approach was inspired by the look of yarn works by Mike Kelley (for example http://www.skarstedt.com/exhibitions/2002-03-15_mike-kelley/#/images/5/). I’ve only read a little of the artist, and don’t know how he conceived of these works. In my printing I decided to drop some lengths of yarn and a bit of plastic netting onto the inked gelatin plate, to act as a resist.

Deleuze text, overprinted

Deleuze text, overprinted

Detail

Detail

Above is the crossed writing and a ghost print from the gelatin plate. There may have been some additional ghosts of ghosts.

I like both the idea of folds of colour on the text of The Fold, and the unreadability of a text I found unreadable (or at least un-understandable). The text and its meaning are opaque, while illustrated by a trace of folds on a page with no folds.

Second page of text, overprinted

Second page of text, overprinted

The second page is less obscured and less interesting. It doesn’t excite me as the first page does.

I’m not sure where this experiment may lead. The process seemed a nice flow of one idea leading to and informing another, perhaps of different strands of investigation coming briefly together. Possibly I’ll put it to one side for the moment, but it is tugging on me. I think there could be something there. Could more layers, something entirely different, work? Should I fold the pages?

The printing was enjoyable, and I made some additional ghost prints on the same light calligraphy paper. It might be interesting to try to write on these. I wonder if it would be harder to keep on line. Or perhaps I should try to write following the lines of those folds.

I like the level of detail that the ghost prints give, but of course there needs to be a print first. A large piece of cartridge paper was sitting nearby, and it received all the bits and pieces.


A couple of levels of detail shown here. The full page is about 64 x 76 cm, too big to photograph meaningfully. I intended this as a possible base for later sketches, but the colour is a bit strong. Perhaps a light gesso or some collaged tissue paper could be tried. I definitely want to start moving beyond blank white in my sketching.

Vessels
This experiment was based on the recent Joomchi workshop with Angela Liddy (10-Jul-2016). In my earlier post I wondered about “molding a very light paper around plaster vessels, looking perhaps like a discarded skin when displayed together, a contrast in solidity.”

This weekend I attempted it – a single layer of unryu (mulberry paper). I tried using an orbital sander on the dampened paper which was protected by thin plastic. I was looking for a lacey effect but it really didn’t work, just a few holes. Cling film was used to protect sample p5-11 from MMT project 5 (23-Feb-2016). The damp and fragile paper was also encased in cling film, to keep it together while I molded it over the plaster vessel.

Paper and plaster samples

Paper and plaster samples

The result is underwhelming. The paper wasn’t as airy as I wanted, plus I hadn’t reckoned on the multiple layers formed in the molding. The result is heavy, pedestrian, not delicate. Much of the delightful detail of the original plaster is lost. The general shape of the plaster is captured, but the protruding corners of the paper make it look like a lumpy skirt for Morticia.

Paper with internal lighting

Paper with internal lighting

A small LED inside the paper vessel lifts it a little. In this photo the shapes of the two vessels show the beginnings of a correspondence – the paper shell seems to offer something extra, there is some shadow interest in the uneven blocking of light. In fairness I think the glow of the plaster is wonderful, so it’s a hard ask for something else to add to it.

Paper trimmed

Paper trimmed

Trimming those odd, leaden feet of the paper have lifted it further. There is now some movement, a sense of a twirl of dance, in the vessel. The plaster remains beautiful and serene while the paper provides movement and life.

It could be worth trying this again with white paper. I saw a beautiful fine white mulberry paper while shopping last week – but at the first store visited, so didn’t buy it. Perhaps worth another trip. An alternative could be a light open-weave fabric, perhaps cheesecloth, using CMC to mold and then stiffen it.

Reading
I’m continuing to work through the essays in Brüderlin, M (ed) (2013) Art & Textiles: Fabric as material and concept in modern art from Klimt to the present Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz Verlag. I’m getting so much from it, so many leads (see Mike Kelley, Gilles Deleuze, ideas of threads liberated from the surface but not in my prints, confusion of interior and exterior etc above). I get impatient, conscious of the ever-growing book pile, but there is just so much meat for me in this very large volume. There’s no point rushing on to something else. Given the ever present time constraints I’ve chosen today to write about the actions leading from the reading, rather than the actual reading points.

Last week I mentioned Textile: Cloth and Culture Volume 14 Issue 1 March 2016. Just noting here that it’s a great resource for ideas about modern craft, collaboration, performance.

Lecture
This week’s lecturer was Kendrah Morgan, the topic “Movers and shakers: John and Sunday Reed at Heide”. I had some basic knowledge of the topic, but this took it much further. It was a solid, information-filled hour. Main outcome – must visit Heide Museum of Modern Art (https://www.heide.com.au/).

Grid / depth weaving progress

dimensional weave

dimensional weave

26-June I mentioned a plan for a corrugated metal and much crisper/neater version of the cardboard and fibreglass sample I showed 12-June-2016.

Here it is.

dimensional weave sample 20160708

dimensional weave sample 20160708

The frame uses an aluminium framing system intended for insect screens.The corrugated cardboard has been replaced by embossing-weight aluminium embossing foil, the fibreglass insect mesh by aluminium insect mesh.

Both the foil and the mesh responded well to the crimping tool. The framing system worked very well to keep the strip ends firmly in place.

I like the idea of a surreal fly-screen.

Some more views.

The major ideas which might be coalescing at the moment:

Formal strategies
* weave structures
* corrugations – creating light, shadow and movement. Also firm up the loops.
* metal – reflections

To explore ideas of
* Fontana’s infinite dimension – “[cutting] between the space occupied by the viewer, through the surface of the canvas, to the space that lies beyond” (12-Jun-2016)
* The orthogonal – exploring / breaking that constraint? constant? in weave
* gravity – partner to orthogonal.

Layered charcoal

Layered charcoal

It looks much lighter and more open than the cardboard sample. The scale is larger, the looping exaggerated, and the reflection of the metal corrugations seems very important. They are near parallel, but keep changing and cutting directions. This became more apparent when sketching the work.

The frame is visually light. It defines a plane, but is supportive rather than insistent.

What’s next?
* Rearranging the metal sample to various areas of looseness and more grid-like.
* Trying different materials through the crimper. I’d like to take better advantage of the reflections.
* I want to do grid-influenced sketching. Don’t know what that means yet.
* Frames within frames? Can I extend this structure?

Dimensional / depth weaving

dimensional_weave_3My weekly roundup was already in draft form including tentative plans for “depth weaving” when Claire lent me a rotary corrugating tool plus a bag of goodies including embossing foil. I’d asked for her advice on corrugating metal strips or foil following my dimensional weaving experiment (12-Jun-2016).

s1-20160626

s1-20160626

The photo above shows the rotary tool, a sheet of foil, and my first sample which uses a strip of the foil.

It looks very neat and precise. It’s also reasonably firm, so accepts and holds curves I put into it. The foil is probably available in rolls, to give greater lengths – something to research.

s2-20160626

s2-20160626

Wanting more length, sample 2 used a longer piece of kitchen foil – a cheap brand and light gauge. It started as the full width of 30 cm. I kept folding, crimping, finding it still very soft, so pulling out the corrugations and folding the width more eventually down to roughly 2 cm. It holds the crimps, but not any folds I try to make.

It’s very shiny, more brash than the embossing foil. I could use the less shiny side, or use this as an advantage.

s3-20160626

s3-20160626

There was some unintentional folding and crimping at an angle in s2. I decided to push this, folding a new piece of kitchen foil and then putting more folds into the sides to create uneven width.

It went through the crimping tool without trouble, and is a little firmer in the hand than s2.

s4-20160626

s4-20160626

I liked the additional creasing in s3 where I’d put the extra folds. Wanting to get more of this, I took a new piece of kitchen foil and roughly pleated it along its length by hand. I pushed the creases flat, then used the crimping tool.

The result is still corrugated, but very textured at the detail level. Although wider than the folded s2 and s3 the result is much firmer in the hand and sits up well when I try to put in looping folds.

s1 to s4 -20160626

s1 to s4 -20160626

I see s1 and s4 as the samples with potential at the moment.

S1 is lovely and crisp and precise. Less shiny than the others – it looks more elegant and expensive to me. It doesn’t demand attention and I think would work well with other materials and allow the focus to be on the dimensional folding.

S4 has lots of extra texture and interest. You lose some of the corrugations that were my original intention, but you get a lively effect and extra stability in return. It could be a bit of a prima donna.

s5-20160626 view 2

s5-20160626 view 2

s5-20160626

s5-20160626

S5 is the 4 previous samples, woven together with strips of insect mesh. The structure is plain weave, although that’s not apparent with all the loops of extra material. I attempted some twists in the mesh with the idea of varying tones, but it didn’t hold. Lots of options to address that if I choose.

What next?

  • I’ve already mentioned (earlier today) metal and much crisper/neater, then undulating the folds of metal so they suggest an image, then use the gridded mesh weft to create tone. pleat_13That idea may have started thinking of the Barak building in Melbourne (link), and searching for that link took me back to corrugation experiments in MMT Part 1, which I should probably revisit (5-Apr-2015).
  • Attempts could be to highlight the view through, or Fontana’s infinite dimension…
  • Print p4-89

    Print p4-89

    Collagraph plate. More work to emboss obviously. How about a diptych, one side a collagraph print, the other an embossed, cut into strips and woven version – what would the new dimension show or suggest, the newly exposed interior? Thinking of that took me back to printing in MMT – the paper shown here was heavily embossed, although the photograph doesn’t show that well (can’t take a new photo, as it’s with OCA in the UK waiting for assessment, and will probably be thoroughly flattened going through the post). Can one print on foil?
  • Variations in the corrugation – for example slit and twist, especially with the foils that have colour on one side. This reminds me of wrapped warp techniques – in a previous post (14-Oct-2012) I mentioned Sheila Hicks’s Zapallar (link).
  • lace & finger manipulated sampler

    lace & finger manipulated sampler

    Other weave structures, especially with the new depth, could be reimagined. Supplementary weft? Theo Moorman technique – that could really be worth exploring. Or spanish lace – being foil and corrugated there must be ways to take advantage of the open / turning areas to go a bit wild.
  • Perhaps I could emboss the foil in a way similar to the pvc board in the workshop with Jet James (16-Jul-2015), although that’s working very fine and detailed.
  • I could write on the foil – as a long strip, or a page of text that is then cut.
  • I’m sure there’s more, but I want to stop my mind racing and spend more time with the materials. Experience them. Listen to them.


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