I started this sequence of work 23rd April (dated by photos and Evernote), three weeks ago. Are my notes good enough to pick up the thread?
It began with reviewing work to date. I decided to work with some of the samples in my sketchbook.
First “rubbings” of a range of them, using rice paper and conte crayons.
It started with the pink in the middle (from felt sample p1-68), which I thought was uninteresting, then got worse.
Decided to treat it as background texture, and rubbed over with a paper towel to blend it in.
Very little moved.
Drew over with inktense pencils, based on sample p1-75.
Then tried to move colour around with water.
It didn’t look promising, so went to one side to dry.
Next idea was to draw one of the samples in 3D. I really wanted to get the sense of all the movement and cells in the original sample (p1-62), but take advantage of the pen by adding some extra dimensionality. I traced over the general shape first (baking paper between), then embellished.
I can see the relationship, but quite different too.
Then I tried using the 3D pen on a piece of polymorph (part of sample p1-5, that reformed during a demo to a work colleague). I tried to play up to the accidental orchid reminiscent shape.
The filament feels quite well attached, and it was quite straightforward to add a sketchy line tracing along one part of the edge, and a more lacey effect on the lip.
What would happen if I remelt the polymorph?
The polymorph softened, but the pink from the 3D pen was not affected at this temperature.
I formed the familiar simple fold.
The pink filament formed clumps.
I worked to spread out the clumps.
A resemblance to sample p1-75 suggested itself.
The backlit view has a spiderly effect.
Writing the above has been a good test of my current note-taking system. The ricepaper inktense drawing above has now dried and looks perhaps slightly improved, although still extremely boring. My intention before the long pause was to combine it with the “3D sketch” produced above.
The drawing was torn and soaked in a bowl of diluted pva.
The pieces layered onto to plastic sketch.
The result was a soggy mess.
I tried to turn it over, thinking to encase the plastic in paper – but of course the paper just fell off. No photos – I was too busy dealing with the mess.
A couple of days later it was dry.
It took some effort finding shadows to give any definition in the photo above. Patterning on the paper interacts with the shaping of the work in a deadening way.
The view from the other side has the advantage of the plastic which provides a tiny bit of form, a path for the eye – but it’s marginal.
The backlit views make the work more readable, but at the price of losing all the 3D aspects which first interested me.
There was no adhesion between paper and plastic. The plastic is quite brittle, and in a couple of places the paper had caught around it. I was able to separate them with just a few breakages.
I wonder if a series would work – make a single plastic item, mould over and break off repeatedly, with the cast paper forms capturing the gradual disintegration of the plastic.
The paper cast is fairly firm. I think if cut in stripes they would hold shape, but the whole thing wouldn’t resist a rolling pin for long.
Perhaps because the pva was well diluted, the paper retains a papery feel. In further experiments it might be interesting to write on it or colour it – perhaps some shading to emphasise the heights and valleys.
I prefer the backlit view of the paper on its own, compared to Photo 16 above where the plastic was still in place. Photo 19 is a detail, but it’s cleaner and crisper.
It could be interesting to follow a similar process but use writing on the original rice paper. Perhaps some text about a place or an event in a location, broken and layered over a relief “map” of that location. A hill that was the focus in a military campaign is the first rather obvious thought.
Print photos on the paper? (don’t know how the printer would like this particular paper, or the paper behave with the printing ink).
I just poked a pin through the paper form. One could stitch through it, although care would be needed in handling to avoid breaking down the form. Or maybe a collapsing shape could be part of the point.
What about the crossing of the great dividing range? Use imagery on the paper to show the different views of the European explorers and the original inhabitants, views that break, merge, overlap… Maybe some text from reports – I wonder about the range of recognition / inclusion in newspaper or official reports of the interactions or involvement of aboriginal people. Mix it all together, stitch some lines showing various paths or views…
Taking a step back from these ideas, I note that while I enjoy exploring the qualities of materials I often come back to wanting the results to mean something. A recent article on www.textileartist.org/ presents the work of Collette Paterson – www.textileartist.org/collette-paterson-oca-textiles-tutor/. Paterson is an OCA tutor, amongst many other work roles and ventures. Her work is strongly materials-led, within varying constraints of commercial briefs or desired outcome or product. She will sometimes follow the properties of material exploration, or select materials that have properties desired. All sorts of skills and techniques are used to create an innovative design. A commercial product. Do I have an artificial and probably snobbish and unhelpful divide in my mind? My initial reaction to Paterson’s work is “this is great, but not the path I want to take”. Why should I limit my paths (note the plural)?
T1-MMT-P1 Sketchbook – delayed
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion