Archive for the '2 – Joining and Wrapping' Category

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Review

Looking back over my work for this Assignment my main emotions are pleasure and excitement. I’ve noticed that “exciting” and “interesting” have become my go-to words. There have been lots of failures, samples abandoned, things that were OK by the third attempt, but I can understand my tutor’s advice “so much creativity is about disappointment … the trick is to put everything down to a learning experience, another step towards a positive outcome”. I’ve taken lots of steps, some not ultimately in my preferred direction, and despite such disappointments overwhelmingly I am enjoying the journey.

Some thoughts on the formal assessment criteria of the course from my perspective, beginning with sketchbook work as it touches all aspects.

Sketchbook
In my review of assignment 1 I identified sketchbook work as an area requiring improvement. My tutor found some positives, but agreed I could push myself more – “There is no need to expect these drawings to be great works of art or to take a lot of time. A range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” I have tried to develop my sketchbook and looking skills in a number of ways.

Join & Wrap research page 3

Join & Wrap research page 3

When researching other artists I have used sketching and associated notes to engage my focus, note aspects of their work that particularly attracted or interested me, and record ideas generated for my own work.

As well as referring back to them during exercises I am storing these pages together as a useful ongoing resource.

Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

Colour pencils on A3 cartridge paper

Sketching as an entry to work immediately before beginning an exercise was useful, for example 11-June-2015. It was also occasionally a barrier (28-July-2015), but in the event I was able to work past that – it made me more conscious of what I actually did want to do, by contrast to a path I chose not to take at the time.

Planning extended join sample

Planning extended join sample

I sketch to capture ideas or plan for specific samples, using different media and on the computer. Often it is diagrams or text, trying to work out a technique. Similarly I have used sketches to record a method used, as part of maintaining this work log.

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

I’ve used a range of media to record and review samples produced, and generally have met my goal of at least one sketch at the end of each section or session of work. It’s an improvement, but I think I can go further. At the end of the final exercise I did a series of sketches a couple of days later, then reflected on those sketches separately (2-August-2015). I got a lot more out of that process than when forcing out a quick something at the end of a session. It’s a matter of managing time and energy. I’ll try to adjust my work process and the balance just a little during the next Part of the course.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74

I have sought out new materials to use, such as computer and printer components, and continued my explorations with other materials such as insect mesh, plastics and cardboard. I have incorporated existing textile skills such as weaving, adapted to joining foam and paper, and taken advantage of techniques from Part 1 such as paper crumpling and use of the 3D pen. I particularly enjoyed re-purposing old samples within new work.

Sample p2-20

Sample p2-20

This Part provided lots of scope to mix materials, colours and textures. Insect mesh and cork worked well together, as did metal and paper.

Sample p2-5 Link - accordion folds reverse

Sample p2-5 Link – accordion folds reverse

At times considerable ingenuity was needed to achieve a desired outcome. Metal and wood proved difficult when joining flush using the 3D pen (7-June-2015) and at an angle in sample p2-29 (27-June-2015).

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

At times no great technique has been needed. A combination of papers with a simple stitch in wire resulted in a very pleasing sample (19-June-2015).

Quality of outcome

Sample p2-70

Sample p2-70

As demonstrated in the collection of work shown when Sorting (2-August-2015) I have produced a strong and varied body of work in this Part of the course. Some samples offer great potential to support themes of interest to me, such as fragility and loss. Others are a celebration of material, colour and / or texture.

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

In fact I wonder if I edited too heavily when Sorting. Sample p2-4 (7-June-2015) is very attractive especially when back-lit, and of interest as being so closely linked to my research, but wasn’t included. Sample p2-6 (11-June-2015), although more bright and cheerful than really attractive, is an interesting development of technique using the 3D pen and that colour haze is worth exploring.

In her earlier feedback my tutor suggested I “continue developing [my] writing style and look for new ways to talk about [my] work”. I have made a few attempts with mixed success. A couple of sentences writing about sample p2-18 (19-June-2015), weren’t too bad. A slightly longer piece at the beginning of writing about the extended joining sample (2-July-2015) was very stilted and sounded like a parody. Some phrases when writing about sketches of wrapping flowed quite well (2-August-2015). Overall there is a lumpy, uneven result – my habitual chatty style, some more lyrical passages, and a few leaden thuds. It seems to work best when I am presenting or reviewing my work, writing with a little distance, rather then when recording methods and outcomes. I will continue trying to develop my skills, perhaps with an occasional post with that specific focus.

Demonstration of creativity
Throughout this Part I have tried to take risks, to work out of my comfort zone, to attempt work when unsure of the outcome. I’m coming to feel almost encouraged by failures as proof of working on the edge – and the contrast makes the successes sweeter.

My general approach to work remains methodical and planned, for example starting with a set of guiding principles for the first exercise (6-June-2015), and looking for joins that really took advantage of an overlap (22-June-2015). However I frequently ignore the plan as opportunities present themselves while working.

Sketch_20150621An example of deliberate risk was sample p2-24 (22-June-2015), when I chose materials that seemed unlikely to work. The particular application failed and is best remembered in my sketch from the day. However the actual materials looked rather good side by side, and I would like to try them again in a more supportive context.

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

The technique and one of the components were used in p2-33, part of my extended join sample, and worked very well.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

It felt like a risk to take a hammer to a sample (22-July-2015) but I find the result deeply moving. This feels like the seed of something that could be become significant. At the moment it is empty of meaning, the result of materials and technique rather than concept, but there seems enormous potential for expression of any number of themes. On the other hand the idea of emptiness or violence that are just that – no meaning or purpose, the leftovers of a random event – is intriguing although out of character.

Context
I’ve written above about research in the context of my sketchbook. I’ve found the combination very useful.

I’ve begun using pinterest boards to capture and augment research – see https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/. Pinterest feels a two-edged sword. It’s become a good way to capture new visual information and ideas quickly, and to track them back when needed. It can be a distraction, like general web surfing, getting lost following threads. It can become empty – the cover of the book with no substance behind it. I’ve tried to slow myself down and ensure proper attribution by tracing items back to the original source rather than just repinning. So far I’ve found it useful with care and as just one component of my approach.

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney - photograph, acrylic paint

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – photograph, acrylic paint

As well as separate posts focusing on particular artists I’ve referenced influences within my recording of exercises. The research of Christo not only suggested ideas for wrapping, but was a source of criteria when assessing my results. My consideration of wrapping space (31-July-2015) was an extreme case where research of multiple artists combined to inform a practical sample.

I’ve used a lot of time, care and words in this Review. It may be excessive but I think it helps me to consolidate my learning, to get all the value I can out of the effort and discipline of following the course and to be clearer about what I want to achieve in future work. It feels a risk to put this out into the world, but isn’t that akin to the risk of exposing oneself presenting meaningful art? It will be interesting to compare my thoughts with the more objective and experienced response and recommendations of my tutor.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Review
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Review

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Sorting

Which samples have interesting attractive elements, which have potential for development?

Sample p2-2h  To destruction

Sample p2-2h To destruction

In sample p2-2 (6-June-2015) I experimented with multiple presentations of corrugated cardboard connected with cocktail sticks. The cardboard has warmth, has both flexibility and strength depending on how you use it, can be broken in a variety of ways leaving a range of edges, and is cheaply available with lots of variations. Light plays along its surfaces. Using an intrinsic property of the material in forming joins is very satisfying. There is potential from associations – a cheap covering on a cold night on the streets, a flimsy armour of appearance not substance, an empty box remaining… I would like to use this material more.

Sample p2-12 j

Sample p2-12 j

In a later exercise I was able to take the material and basic technique a little further (14-June-2015). This is a more refined and decorative version, but clearly the potential just expands together with the gap of the join. Another variant in this iteration included decorative beads and twists.

Sample p2-3 a

Sample p2-3 a

I include sample p2-3 (6-June-2015) in my selection as an example of risk taken. It began by taking one of my favourite samples from Part 1, then cutting and puncturing it. The risk paid off, with a new, bright and attractive set of samples and a way forward to develop the original surface distortion possibilities. In the event my extended joining sample took a slightly different path, but joining multiple, relatively small components in ways found during this exploration could build to an interesting whole.

Sample p2-7c Detail

Sample p2-7c Detail

Multiple threads were used in groups in sample p2-7 (11-June-2015). In a sense this was an exploration of gravity – how does this fall? – and if I had time I know such ideas can be linked back to the early days of fibre sculpture (see 26-December-2014) and elsewhere. I would love to work further with this – different weights and lengths and materials and scale of thread and cord, using gravity but also joining … what?

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

This sample (19-June-2015) used p2-13 as a base. The insect mesh is another of my preferred non-conventional materials and in this sample it provides both layering and movement. A curved edge was joined to a hole creating a lot of volume, and the orange cable ties provide additional drama and focus in the spot of colour, although contained and to an extent controlled by the mesh. However it is in the combination of the two samples which really lifts the result. The colours are limited but crisp, strong and distinct. There is variation in line and texture. Light and shadow comes into play, providing additional drama, variation in tone and general interest. There is a grace to the curve of the mesh which is lovely. I slightly altered this sample and used it as a decorative element on my extended join sample ensemble, and it worked very well as a body adornment.

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19 (19-June-2015) is an attractive combination of colour and texture. Satisfying in itself, it would be interesting to extend the sample into three dimensions, possibly repeating variants of the inset motif. I would not want to lose the spacing around the inset element, or the contrast of organic and geometric lines. This sample is another instance of joining corrugated cardboard using its own ridges, an idea that continues to attract me.

Sample p2-21

Sample p2-21

Another attractive combination is sample p2-21 (22-June-2015). Two very different materials are joined in a way which links them visually as well as functionally. The circle motif is seen embossed in the paper, in the heat treatment of the metal, and in the embossing and holes of the join. The red of the paper is seen through the piercing, and also in part of the metal’s colour variation. Contrasting textures add interest and bring light to the combination. I like the general approach of integration of materials across a join, and this particular instance would work very well as the cover of a hand-bound book.

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

Sample p2-23 After heat treatment

Sample p2-23 (22-June-2015) is included for its potential. The join and later heat treatment takes advantage of the different properties of the two materials. I think this is a very powerful idea, suggesting possibilities to modify one material with traits acquired from a second. Another version is seen in the shaping created with netting and plastic in sample p2-3 above.

Sample p2-26 Extended - various views

Sample p2-26 Extended – various views

Sample p2-26 (27-June-2015) provides a means to join and extend segments with great flexibility. The join can be flat, but is even more interesting if angles are included or joins made away from the edge. This sample uses fairly rigid paper – a new set of effects are possible with a soft material used on one or both sides of the join.

A number of selected samples allow separate elements to be joined and developed into a larger work. This could be useful in the context of distance learning, if I wanted to work at a larger scale but post only part for review by tutor and assessors.

Front

Front

The extended join sample (2-July-2015) has been included as another example of the strength of combining multiple ideas in building up a work. Of course it includes p2-18, which itself is a combination of samples.

Keeping to a restricted colour scheme allowed all the components to work together to create a cohesive, balanced ensemble. Examining the whole there are many moments of interest, but no single part dominates.

Sample p2-42 detail

Sample p2-42 detail

Sample p2-42 is fun and dynamic. I would like to create a series of works in different scales, with different wrapped objects. As a start I would keep with simple colours, perhaps all objects bleached wood, and simple but varying shapes and scales. They could be grouped hung at different heights in a gallery. Lorna Murray’s Making Space (22-May-2015) comes to mind, with simplified carved shapes in a theme forming a group.

Sample p2-58 b

Sample p2-58 b

During the wrapping exercises I became conscious of absence – the space left by something, or the gap in our attention / visual perception when we take items for granted. Sample p2-58 (16-July-2015) is moderately interesting as a wrapping around a spoon. It is much more interesting when the spoon has been removed. In either or both forms the sample could be built up in a series, possibly combined with sample p2-42. If hung empty the sample would stretch, which could be useful, or it could be stabilised with additional strands of plastic. It could be interesting to have quite different “barnacles” in other colours attached.

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

Initially I didn’t include sample p2-57 (16-July-2015). A braid in conventional yarns seemed just too conventional, even if around a wooden spoon. Was it too safe? Regardless, it is interesting and attractive. The colours glow, there is just a hint of sparkle to bring in light. The four part braid adjusts smoothly to the changing width of the spoon, the technique a critical part of the success of the work as can be seen by comparison to sample p2-56. The plump, soft lines contrast to the hard, smooth wood visible within.

For me there is also a welcome reminder of my textile core. I’m trying to be open and adventurous, taking advantage of the stimulus of this course and enjoying the ride, but my roots remain in textiles.

experimental collagraph 01

experimental collagraph 01

Done within the period of the course, I’ve included this collagraph print done in a workshop with Jet James (16-July-2015). The techniques learned may be useful later in the course, but more directly samples already made were used to emboss the printing plate. To the left are leaves joined with machine stitching – p2-10. Almost any flatish sample can be used to create textures in a print. Of course that print could then be combined or used in further development. I wonder how p2-58 would behave going through the press. Prints and more wrappings could be used in a display together, or the print could be torn or altered using one of the other sampled processes.

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I regard sample p2-65 (22-July-2015) as the most fully resolved work created in this Part of the course.

I don’t have anything to add. I wouldn’t change it (if it still existed!), I wouldn’t want to create a larger grouping. I would mount it in a very minimal way, perhaps on a square white primed canvas, and hang it as is.

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Samples p2-68, p2-69 and p2-70 (22-July-2015) excite me. Each on its own has its merits, especially p2-70. For no clear reason I would like a kitchen dresser full of empty plastic shells, or perhaps carefully wrapped items one after another. A Miss Havisham moment? I’m not sure, but there could be a poignancy and fragility about such a collection.

Perhaps it would be better to be less obvious. I’m thinking of cutting or combining, or perhaps hanging on a Christmas tree. With that mix it seems to be a solution looking for a problem, but there must be places to take this. It wants to tell a narrative.

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On similar lines there is sample p2-72 (22-July-2015). I like the idea of a shattered exhibition, each piece carefully wrapped and then destroyed, with shards and simplified volume left to tell – what?

I don’t want to force the last couple of ideas. Suitable opportunities will present at some time. I remain very interested in the fragile, and absence of what was.

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 Detail – multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 (28-July-2015) is difficult to describe. It’s a quirky mix that has a kind of swagger and independent air about it. It can grab attention, puzzle, and may not delight. For me it is a step well out of the comfort zone and I am surprised at how much I like it.

Sample p2-78

Sample p2-78

As a weaver I enjoyed creating sample p2-78 (28-July-2015). It uses conventional yarns in a non-conventional wrapping. A dynamic abstract artwork has resulted. Working on it was fast and free. The greatest potential I see for it is in experimenting with colour choices, but a collection of them could surprise and delight.

Looking back at the work of the last ten weeks I think I have created a strong set of samples. There are certainly dull ones and one or two total failures, but they are in the minority. Quite a few more could have been included in this sorting. In practice I have created A3 pages with small photographs of each sample in the two Parts completed – a bit like photo proof sheets. Pinned to a nearby board I refer to them often, looking for samples or techniques that I can bring forward into new work. Quite a lot from Part 1 was Joined in Part 2, and samples within Part 2 were combined or taken apart and reused as work progressed. It could get tricky to submit physical work for assessment, but I really like the continuity and complexity which is building.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Sorting
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Sorting

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes

Generally I record outcomes as I work through the exercises, however I have a few responses to exercise 3 as yet unposted, plus the course notes pose some specific questions.

When writing about exercise 3 Uneven wrapping (28-July-2015) I was a little distracted by the fact that the wrapping I produced didn’t fit the mold of dense wrapping in yarns seen in artists researched. I don’t feel I examined my samples on their own terms. There were snatches “I see the volume and the lines, and not so much the mess.” and “Lots of colour, texture and volume. There are odd aspects, true, but it’s got character!”.

I’ve now spent some more time with the samples, looking more at them and less at my expectations.

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Sample p2-72 has complex if sparse wrapping. Space is captured and shaped. The viewer can look down through the bars of woven cable to a swollen volume that reaches forward. Light as well as space is filtered, captured, created.

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

A fist-full of felt tip pens records some of the unruly exuberance of the wrapping. Fluorescent colours glow stridently against the dark gray of the central column. Syncopated rhythms of curves coil up and around, at times reflecting, at times denying the underlying structure of the found objects.

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

A range of black markers, sample p2-74

Another fist-full, this time a range of black markers with different tips, finds the lines and textures of the black wrapping – sliced cable one side, fringed insect mesh the other – and the upright central core. There is variation in scale and texture, proportions altering as the viewer experiences the work in three dimensions.

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

An ink sketch flattens the space, emphasizing the variety and energy and structure of line in the work.

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

In the earlier presentation priority was given to the paper-wrapped element in sample p2-76. In this sketch the energy and complexity of the wrapped fan are examined with a fist of coloured pens. The squat, stable box has strong vertical lines on some faces, providing a foundation and upward push to the object. The shape of the fan on the top surface, inferred from the dark shadows around the blades, provides movement in what could be a static, solid block. From this base an irreverent spray of sharp, spiked lines thrusts upwards on the cheeky wings of a scrap of organza.

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

The colours and lines of sample p2-78 combined in a dynamic abstact design. In this sketch similar lines and colours have been layered. Some of the vibrancy of the original is lost as the chalky dust smears colours, but the energy and sense of purpose remains. It reminds me of the cable-stayed Anzac bridge, reaching towards the city.

The sample felt like a new approach to the yarn wrapping done when planning weaving designs – but more exciting, dynamic and with some of the interaction that is a core part of warp and weft. Could such sketches and wrapping become a part of my design process?
Sketch_20150731gA new version based on purples, red and blue was attempted. The result was leaden, until a few lines of yellow were added. Suddenly there was some life. Proportions need to be managed, but this feels like a quick and refreshing way to begin a colour investigation.

Next responses to specific questions raised in the course notes.

• Did you feel comfortable with the exercises?
I didn’t always feel comfortable – for example getting started with uneven wrapping (28-July-2015), when research and preliminary sketching felt at odds with the materials I was using.

I have become comfortable with the exploratory, questioning approach encouraged by the exercises. It provides a structure where I can feel comfortable pushing beyond my comfort zone.

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

• Were there particular materials and techniques you enjoyed working with?
I have developed some favourites among the less conventional materials. Insect mesh and corrugated cardboard have become staples. Crumpling paper keeps reappearing. The 3D pen only appeared in a few samples in this Part, but it was very effective when used.

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

Variants of weaving and braiding were used in samples p2-22, p2-27, p2-57, p2-74 and p2-75, and possible others. Wonderful techniques that I enjoy using.

• How did your various materials respond to the two techniques?

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

Sample p2-53

Sample p2-53

A material could look and behave very differently in different circumstances. Rows of paper clips formed interesting lines and shadows joining curves in sample p2-16f and were both functional and decorative in the extended joining sample. However wrapping a spoon in p2-53 paper clips were awkward and drab. A recycled notebook spiral was out of scale and awkward in p2-28, but fell beautifully across the shoulder and neck as part of a side cape in the extended join sample.

Sample p2-29

Sample p2-29

A range of hard and soft materials were used, sometimes in combination. Hard materials could pose difficulties when asked to be pliable. Stitching through metal and wood in p2-29 took a few attempts to develop a usable method.

• Were you able to achieve interesting textures and colours in your samples?

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

I found myself making more and more aesthetic decisions as the focus moved to techniques rather than materials. I particularly like the combination of indigo-dyed paper, orange corrugated cardboard and copper wire in p2-19. There is variety in texture and colour that comes together harmoniously.

Sample p2-24

Sample p2-24

I deliberately chose materials with clashing properties in p2-24, and the combination failed both functionally and aesthetically.

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

The same technique and some of the same materials were used in p2-33 – this time resulting in an interesting and successful combination of colour and texture.

• Which outcomes were successful? Which were less so – and why?

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

I think p2-65 was the single most successful sample in terms of a resolved final outcome. I could see that mounted on a wall as an artwork. There is movement and balance, structure, interest, line and form. There is a tension between the known and partially visible contents and the anonymous wrapping, with the twist of using a temporary packaging material as the element that transforms a beer jug into an artwork.

Sample p2-72 cSample p2-69The series of work around samples p2-69 and p2-72 are very successful in suggesting future areas of exploration. They trigger a very strong emotional response in me – I’m not sure why (yet?), but that makes them all the more intriguing.

There was a long sequence of experimental wrapping of a wooden spoon, the bulk of which was not very interesting. There was no spark, no revelation, no conversation or even argument between the materials used. I think that’s just part of the process – play and explore, a lot won’t work, just note it and move on.

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 was not successful, and was abandoned early in development. It was too big, too much. I started it because I was uncomfortable that my exploration had led me away from my linked research and I felt I was missing something. This sample was a too ambitious over-compensation.

• What are your thoughts on the artists, designers and makers you’ve researched in Part Two?
I have written specific posts about Christo and Jeanne-Claude (18-July-2015), Judith Scott (17-July-2015), Erin Manning (29-June-2015) and Eva Hesse (7-June-2015). I would have liked to write more about Sheila Hicks, but it would have covered much of the same territory as previous posts (8-January-2015 and 24-June-2012). All of these artists are so different and offer so much, I can’t give a meaningful summary. Follow the links given to see more.

More research has been documented on a pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/, in various sketchbook pages and within posts on specific exercises.

• How did the research you carried out inform your own work?
At times research informed my work very directly. For example my wrapping space sample (31-July-2015) was more a research exercise than anything, although I feel I put my own spin on the actual work done. A quick check shows I referenced eight artists, some working together, in that post. All were relevant from my point of view, and in each case I took one or two little nuggets in building up my narrative.

Generally I found the research very helpful. I used research on Christo and Jeanne-Claude to suggest possible work and in recording and evaluating my samples (22-July-2015). On occasion the research caused me difficulty, when it turned out not to be a good fit with the work I was doing (see 28-July-2015, when I had to “brain dump” the research before I could focus on the very different materials I had chosen).

Early in my OCA experience I was hesitant about the use and perceived potential dangers of research and “copying”, but now I feel it provides a wonderful non-limiting framework which enriches me and my own work.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Recording outcomes

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space

During this Assignment I have noticed wrapping that makes the viewer aware of something otherwise overlooked.

Sample p2-37

Sample p2-37

The shape of the wooden spoon was intensified by wrapping it without really changing the boundaries. There’s a millimetre or two added, some colour and texture, detail lost – but the spoon is now consciously experienced.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

An old mug is unseen in the back of the cupboard, but wrapped and then part removed our vision tries to restore it. The viewer searches out the lines, puts together fragments of information in an effort to see more.

Perception of a stretch of coast is changed because Christo and Jeanne-Claude once wrapped it. There was an event. Detail was lost and simplified, shadow and line and movement was added.

Jim Lambie Zobop 2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie
Zobop
2014 vinyl tape, varnish

Jim Lambie made a large gallery the art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. I’ve written about this previously in the context of The Stripe (15-April-2014). The floor was wrapped in coloured tape. The air in the room seemed to be pulsing. The viewer became hyper-aware of irregularities in the shape of the room which may never have been noticed in the past.

Jim Lambie Psychedelic Soul Stick 68 2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Jim Lambie
Psychedelic Soul Stick 68
2007 bamboo, wire, coloured thread, ladies necklace, green feather, Marlboro Light packets

Resting against a wall was Lambie’s Psychedelic Soul Stick 68, a wonderful example of wrapping that joins, disguises and transforms objects – quite different to the wrapping, intensifying and re-presenting of space I am writing of here.

site shift Veronica Herber

site shift
Veronica Herber

As part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi 2013 Veronica Herber wrapped an electrical transformer and the sloping ground around (3-November-2013). It celebrated the detail of this very particular place. It recorded the time taken in the wrapping process. Space that was invisible to the casual walker enjoying the magnificent coastal scenery was suddenly, forcefully, present.

Nadia Odlum Perspex installation

Nadia Odlum
Perspex installation

I became aware of Nadia Odlum at a local exhibition, Cove Lines, last year (see 4-October-2014). From her website, Odlum “is interested in the processes of perception associated with the navigation of physical spaces, with an emphasis on architectural spaces and dynamic urban environments. … Through the creation of environments that necessitate active exploration she seeks to grant the viewer a heightened awareness of their own body, and its existence in physical space.” (http://www.nadiaodlum.com/, Accessed 31-July-2015). Unfortunately some photographs I remember don’t appear to be on the website currently. Odlum had added masking tape to flights of steps, on alleyway walls and so on, cleverly linking and repeating small architectural details, drawing notice, affecting the attention, perception and experience of the passers-by.

Mel Bochner has produced a series of works bringing attention to space with vinyl tape and measurements (www.melbochner.net/exhibitions/measurement-room/). The gallery space is no longer neutral – it is the artwork. There is an interaction, a tension, between visual perception and the abstract descriptive numbers locating the viewer in the space.

Tess De Quincey

Tess De Quincey

Ruarc Lewis

Ruarc Lewis

In a performance Tess De Quincey and Ruarc Lewis transformed the Hazelhurst Gallery with line which brought our attention to the space (4-November-2012). This could be stretching “wrapping” a little too far, but it’s relevant to my current theme (and if it seemed important one could describe the work as joining parts of the space).

Thinking about this theme, the idea of wrapping to affect awareness, I decided to wrap the front porch based on shadows over the course of a sunny winter’s day. Planning this I was certain that I have seen the idea before, and associated it with Mel Bochner – but I haven’t been able to identify a specific source. It is certainly heavily influenced by a number of the artists referenced above.

The porch is on the south west corner of the house, and in Sydney’s winter with the sun low in the sky that means it is in shade most of the morning. I began the series of taping and photographing around 11 am. There is some additional light at times reflected from the neighbouring house, which I chose to ignore during this exercise. The tape marks the boundary of light and shadow at roughly hourly increments. Sometimes the shadow moved in the time it took me to tape, which gives some mismatching. Towards the end I ran out of the blue tape and had to change.

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At 11am the sun was just reaching over the roof of our house. By 5pm the porch was in full shade.

Sample p2-79_Completed

Sample p2-79_Completed


Making this sample really made me aware of the space and the changing light, but also very conscious the time of year, being in this city, the orientation of the house, and a particularly beautiful day. The same exercise in summer would have a very different result.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Wrapping space
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Wrapping space

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e3 Uneven wrapping

Found computer components

Found computer components

This exercise calls for found objects or bric-a-brac, wrapped in an experimental and playful way. Thinking of building on a theme of sorts, I collected and de-constructed two old PC and a defunct printer, together with sundry keyboards, headphones, a scanner, mouse… Lots of interesting shapes and protrusions, plus potential for more complicated combinations.

Computer component printing

Computer component printing

Warming up, I used a variety of the surfaces to print in acrylic paint on paper – potential wrapping material.

Preparatory tracing - Judith Scott

Preparatory tracing – Judith Scott

Judith Scott - additional response

Judith Scott – additional response

I also looked again at Judith Scott’s work, tracing over one of my favourite images, and reviewed some of my earlier research, including a page not previously posted which focused on the colour, freedom, and my interpretation of emotion in some of her work.

I pulled out a pile of more and less conventional wrapping “threads” and materials.

Then I froze.

“There is no limit to the ways in which you can use your binding materials”, the OCA notes inform me. “Respond the to the shape of the object”. Yep.

My head was full of an end result of a group of objects in a theme. The particular work by Judith Scott I had looked at is more line, complex but quite drab in colour, while the other research focused on lots of colour and a general mass. I was thinking emotions and colour combinations. I was loading all this pre-thinking on an exercise that calls for playful response.

I stopped to capture all of the above in a draft post. Then put it to one side.

Deep breath, and just start wrapping. See what happens.

Sample p2-73
I chose a component with some interesting bumps and holes.

Sample p2-73 Two views of found object

Sample p2-73 Two views of found object


Wrapping began with a torn strip of green crystal organza. I used holes and notched edges to wrap a “flower” effect.
Sample p2-73 Two views - wrapped organaz strip

Sample p2-73 Two views – wrapped organza strip


I wanted to highlight the knob, and used a red computer cable – again using holes in the object to place, catch and hold the “thread”.
Sample p2-73 Protrusion wrapped

Sample p2-73 Protrusion wrapped


I liked the open looping spiral, but it didn’t feel generous enough.
Sample p2-73

Sample p2-73


Some horsehair plastic threaded through holes adds a little drama and height. The bump of a gear wheel on the reverse side helps the object sit up on a slant, presenting the work to the viewer.

Sample p2-74

Sample p2-74 Printer components

Sample p2-74 Printer components


Next a piece of printer roller/feed, and an extra corner because I want to stand it up and get some height.
Sample p2-74 Attached cable wrapped for initial join

Sample p2-74 Attached cable wrapped for initial join


The two pieces stand together, joined by a simple wrapping of cable from the corner around the roller. As work progressed I gradually made a number of other joins to stabilize and strengthen the join.

There are lots of separated bits, so I decide to start with a series of upward spirals.

Sample p2-74 Side wrapping in bricklayers line

Sample p2-74 Side wrapping in bricklayers line


Pink bricklayers line, closely wrapped giving density of colour. The spacing responds to the shape and holes of the object – I find the variation pleasing.
Sample p2-74 Side over-wrapping in trimmer line

Sample p2-74 Side over-wrapping in trimmer line


Some green trimmer line gives a much more open curve and helps the piece claim more space around it. The interaction with the pink wrapping is good. The green might need to be removed temporarily as work progresses.
Sample p2-74 Other side wrapped in bricklayers line

Sample p2-74 Other side wrapped in bricklayers line


Yellow bricklayers line wraps up the other side. There’s also some orange line helping to stabilise the connection of the two parts.

I want to add something more substantial.

Sample p2-74 Sliced cd-rom cable looped around roller

Sample p2-74 Sliced cd-rom cable looped around roller

Puzzling over what to do, I added another vertical element, adjusting that orange tie that didn’t really fit.

I sliced a cd-rom cable into shreads, and looped it around. It doesn’t look like much at the moment.

Sample p2-74 Weaving through cable

Sample p2-74 Weaving through cable


Other reclaimed wires woven through create volume. I had to do some extra work to stabilise everything with the weight pulling forward.

It’s amazingly ugly, but I actually like it. I see the volume and the lines, and not so much the mess.

Sample p2-74 Rear stabilised but bare

Sample p2-74 Rear stabilised but bare


The back (new clarity of orientation) was looking empty and uncared for.
Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip

Sample p2-74 Rear woven with insect mesh strip


Some fringed strips of insect mesh woven through filled that.
Sample p2-74 Completed column

Sample p2-74 Completed column

Sample p2-74 Detail - multiple wrappings and joins

Sample p2-74 Detail – multiple wrappings and joins


I like it! Lots of colour, texture and volume. There are odd aspects, true, but it’s got character!

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

Hiromi Tango

It’s totally different in character to the original inspiration work of Judith Scott, and also to that of Hiromi Tango. I haven’t written about her work in the research for this section – information on an exhibition I visited last year was posted 30-October-2014. There was a profusion of objects and wrappings around the room and piled up in the centre. Hiromi clambered over and around, and sat cocooned in the mass as she spoke to us. Such a sensation of generosity and joy and layers of meaning and history. The hard metal and complex shapes and cables I am using as my objects are taking me on a different, sparser path. Although a different interpretation, I think there is still enough “wrapping” technique to meet the requirements of the exercise.

Sample p2-75
Next the inside of a power supply.

Sample p2-75 Power supply, with inset showing reverse side

Sample p2-75 Power supply, with inset showing reverse side


This looks so great and has so many wires already attached that it could be displayed as is. However that would push a bit too hard on the exercise requirements. The tricky thing will be to find something that enhances it and makes it more interesting.

On further investigation the underside is interesting too.

Sample p2-75 Support from second power supply

Sample p2-75 Support from second power supply


I took apart another power supply – just harvesting interesting parts. One piece of metal I used as a prop for my board. I also cleared off a few deteriorating batteries and bits and pieces from my object, to better display the finds and coils that first attracted me.

It seemed a natural choice to spiral the attached wires around the object like an inverted bowl. It would be wrapped in space as well as wire “threads”, continuing the idea of increasing volume.

Sample p2-75 Weaving in progress

Sample p2-75 Weaving in progress

I briefly tried using another thread as a weft, but felt it obscured the contents too much. Interweaving the wires themselves seemed a better fit, responding to all my base object offered. Not an experienced basket weaver, I found the process difficult. Creating a neat, or at least non-distracting finish defeated me. I did twining (?) first, using strips of organza to link back to the first sample. That still left a tangle of wires that cluttered the base. An attempt to weave in the ends based on an internet tutorial had mixed success. The wires looked likely to spring apart at any moment if I cut them shorter. I used waxed linen thread (a nice, obedient, strong thread) to whip around the edges to bind the base together. It hasn’t quite worked but it hasn’t quite fallen apart, so I’m calling it good enough for a sample, with some questions to be resolved in a finished work.

Sample p2-75

Sample p2-75


Sample p2-75 Top view

Sample p2-75 Top view

Sample p2-76
In my next sample I wanted to use a disk drive which has a lovely screw mechanism support, a part that moves up and down – perhaps I could keep that – plus a fan that still has traces of acrylic paint from the printing session.

Sample p2-76 Components

Sample p2-76 Components


Wanting to move away from the sparse, hard computer cables and braided nylon of earlier wrappings, I used the printed paper from the beginning of the exercise as my wrapping material.
Sample p2-76 Wrapped in printed paper

Sample p2-76 Wrapped in printed paper


To display the interesting interior I cut and tore through the paper.
Sample p2-76 Revealed

Sample p2-76 Revealed

I really like this effect. The wrapping acts as a frame to the piece. It’s good to make the connection of wrapping to unwrapping. Christo’s wrapped paintings are intriguing (18-July-2015), but I like the excited-tearing-of-gift-wrapping association, plus such a deliberate and self-conscious “mystery” feels a little forced.

Wrapping of the fan was minimal.

Sample p2-76 Fan wrapped

Sample p2-76 Fan wrapped

Horsehair plastic thread was wrapped through holes, braided, and tied with a snippet of crystal organza. It’s a link back to sample p2-73, but quite a different treatment. I’ve found myself trying to create height and movement in all the samples of this exercise – computer components can tend to just sit, static.

Sample p2-76 Joined - top view

Sample p2-76 Joined – top view


Sample p2-76 Detail

Sample p2-76 Detail

The two parts were joined simply, pushing a loop of cable from the tying on the wrapped package over the fan where it fits snugly, while a cable from the fan is jammed into an opening of the disk drive. The combination is satisfying, non-identical twins joined by their own cords. It creates a variation and a tension – why are these connected? is one taking power or information from the other? The space between them becomes important.

Sample p2-77
In what was going to be my final sample I played with the idea of inside-out – computer components and cables wrapping around the case, rather than inside.

Sample p2-77 Initial attempt

Sample p2-77 Initial attempt with inset of cable join

In the initial attempt I started creating lengths of thread and cable, wrapping them around the empty case. It looked thin and weedy, and too like earlier samples.

Sample p2-77 Second attempt in progress

Sample p2-77 Second attempt in progress

I restarted, this time connecting components – a motherboard, disk drive, printer body parts – wrapping them around with yarns to form the connections and trying to build an interesting and complex shape.

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

I had taken on too much. It would take too much time, too much in materials, to get the density of wrapping I wanted a create a new whole from the various components. I abandoned the sample.

Sample p2-78
I still wanted to make a sample with dense wrapping and colour mixing. I took a drive component very similar to p2-73, and started wrapping.

Sample p2-78 Progressing

Sample p2-78 Progressing


This was quick, fun, satisfying, and I really like the result.
Sample p2-78

Sample p2-78


Sample p2-78 Reverse side

Sample p2-78 Reverse side


The colours work well together, the lines are dynamic. The wrapping responds to the overall shape of the plate, but works around the knob without interacting with it. I rather like this as a contrast to all the other samples, which seemed acutely aware of and directed by the protrusions of the found objects. Here the wrapping is the star, the original object a vehicle to display it.

Following a comment from another student on social media, I tried grouping my objects as a collection.

Exercise 3 Samples

Exercise 3 Samples

There is variety but also a strong commonality of the grouped wrappings. If this were an actual exhibition I would want to take more space, putting each sample on a separate plinth at various heights to give each an opportunity to claim its own space while still creating a conversation with the group. As shown in the photograph there is too much visual complexity and confusion, and in honesty it looks too similar to the original pile of components pictured at the beginning of this post.

I added a few inductors, gear wheels and springs on the table to break up the space and add an extra note. In a larger setting I’d like to experiment with a box of cables and parts lying discarded on the floor.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e3 Uneven wrapping
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 3: Uneven wrapping

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads

Sample p2-59
I started this exercise in the most basic way possible. Brown paper, twine. A very simple base combination.

Sample p2-59

Sample p2-59

The shape is asymmetrical and undefined. No hints are given, it’s very anonymous.

I expected this to be entirely without interest, but find it just a little intriguing. The “vertical” tie slants, responding to the slant in the shape and adding a dynamic element. I “know” that it sits stably on the surface, because I put it there, but looking at the photo those lines and a slight lifting at the bottom seem like it could be about to topple to the right. The horizontal sits low, curves up slightly, perhaps holding it back. Those loose ends ask us to untie and reveal the secret. It looks like a small harp, or … what?

Sample p2-60
The same brown paper was repeatedly crumpled (echos of assignment 1), and now conforms closely to the shape within, assisted by extra wrapping in red poly-string.

Sample p2-60

Sample p2-60

The secret is discovered. We have a jug, S-shaped handle to the left, a little over-extended and unbalanced, and pouring lip giving a rather nice curve upper right.

Sample p2-60 a

Sample p2-60 a

On the right is the shell of the wrapping after the contents are removed. To me there’s a sense of time passed, of the litter after the parade, the disregarded leftovers. Or perhaps of trying to hold on to something that has already gone. These are all thoughts after the fact, after some of my later samples.

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Sample p2-61

Fruit mesh bags and back lighting.

A wrapping that disguises nothing, but I think brings a little colour and the nice quirk of the net around the fish.

The ungainly S-curve of sample p2-60 is revealed as an artificial excess of paper.

I have such happy memories of this jug, filled with beer and my parents entertaining friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The wrapping enhances the movement of the fish on their mission to slake our thirst. (note added: when I was a child the beer wasn’t for my thirst!)

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Sample p2-62

Wrapped in a woven paper placemat and “horsehair” plastic threads the proportions of the jug are changed. It is taller, rather more sophisticated and less convivial in its elegant monochromatic wrapping. The shape is simplified.

Sample p2-62 detail

Sample p2-62 detail

I very much like the decorative effect of the knots as they sit a little open due to the stiffness of the threads, and the cool, clear lines and colours.

This is a lovely combination of materials, with strong horizontal and vertical elements that to me give a sense of stability and serenity.

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Sample p2-63

Very thin plastic, held close to the shape with unobtrusive white wire-like thread, does nothing to enhance the enclosed object. It doesn’t take advantage of the jug’s own attributes, it doesn’t add mystery or intriguing properties. Perhaps there are some interesting tucks in the plastic and the variation in colour from the base is good, but I’m struggling.

Sample p2-64

Sample p2-64 - view 1

Sample p2-64 – view 1

Large scale bubble wrap and pink braided nylon bricklayers line. Focus comes on to the dynamic line of the thread, rather than the contents. For me this sample has the closest link to Christo’s comments about the lines of his wrapped magazines (see 18-July-2015).

I couldn’t stand the jug normally, so started experimenting with different angles – just looking at shapes, not constrained by the convention of the material inside.

Sample p2-64 - alternate views

Sample p2-64 – alternate views

The shape within is now less important than the texture and movement of the wrapping and thread.

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

Additional thread wrapped on the previous sample creates more interest and movement, especially with different orientations of the package. The overall shape, lines and proportions of this package, the colours and mix of textures, the layers of interest with focus on the exterior but the interior evident and contributing lines and form, combine in a successful whole.

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

Sample p2-66

This sample is disappointing. I intended it as a series, gradually adding to the wrapping and demonstrating the slow reveal of the shape of the jug. I took a long series of photos, both front and back lit. They weren’t interesting enough to process and present.

Sample p2-66 detail

Sample p2-66 detail

The wrapping material is thin white plastic treated with the heat gun (following sample p1-62 20-April-2015). The thread is a waxy synthetic. At a detail level it is an attractive combination.

Sample p2-7c Detail

Sample p2-7c Detail

With later reflection, I think pushing beyond the simple straight lines of single strands of thread would have been a better approach. Long looping lines of multiple threads, similar to p2-7 (11-June-2015) could have added interest and movement, and the proposed series would show the gradual engulfing of the wrapping in threads.

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67

Sample p2-67 backlit

Sample p2-67 backlit

This sample in form is a near repeat of the first, sample p2-59. I changed to a thick polythene, thinking again of the magazine wrapping of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

With the contents visible it is less dynamic than the earlier version.

When writing about Eva Hesse (7-June-2015) I noted the physical changes of her works as the materials aged over time. There is more information at http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/thoughts-on-replication-and-work-eva-hesse. I thought of this when watching some of the Christo and Jeanne-Claude videos, especially Christo handling his older magazine wrappings. How does the changing of the materials affect our viewing of the works?

If I left the jug wrapped in polythene for an extended period would the wrapping darken and obscure the contents more? Could I hasten the process with some mix of chemicals and special lights, and record the deterioration in a time-lapse? Would the wrapping sag or harden or crack, or the relationship with the jug change?

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Sample p2-68

Thinking about changes of materials over time and the impact on both wrapping and contents, I decided to move to a less-precious-to-me mug for the wrapping contents. The once reflective red foil surface had been ruined in the dishwasher, and only tatters remained. In the thin white plastic tied with linen rug warp yarn the line of the damaged foil becomes a positive, adding interest and movement to the wrapped piece.

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69

Sample p2-69 - view 2

Sample p2-69 – view 2

A heat gun was used to distress and shrink the plastic wrapping of the previous sample. This was basically the same process used to create the material used in wrapping sample p2-66, but the plastic was constrained by both the linen ties and the mug within.

Is it lace or scar tissue that resulted? The scorched linen threads suggest the level of trauma. Here a narrative is beginning to build, the series I was looking for earlier. The next sample continues the story, and to me is the most exciting and full of potential.

Sample p2-70

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 1

Sample p2-70 view 2

Sample p2-70 view 2

Here only the wrapping remains. The object is gone, although traces of the damaged red coating remain. There is a space, a memory, a shadow.

Without the mug, how much do we really know of it? That question reminds me of a work by Conrad Shawcross, Slow Arc Inside a Cube IV, seen recently in Light Show at the MCA (www.mca.com.au/exhibition/light-show/). Shawcross was inspired by the work of chemist Dorothy Hodgkin, mapping the molecular structure of insulin in a process she likened to “decoding the shape of a tree from the shadows its leaves cast on a wall” (quote and an image of Shawcross’s work at www.haywardlightshow.co.uk/artists/#conrad-shawcross). All very different materials, but it does suggest an interesting path to take my sample.

Other associations could be memory, or loss, or perhaps waste and the environment. I find this sample very engaging visually, and the general process of shrink-wrapping and capturing shapes and shadows full of potential. For now I’ll just enjoy the sequence.

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

Sample p2-71

The old mug, the thick polythene, and the yarn mix I liked in sample p2-65 combine. This is really just a preamble to the next sample, which I’ll show in stages.

Sample p2-72

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 a

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 b

Sample p2-72 c

Sample p2-72 c

Following on the idea of deterioration, change, absence, I took a hammer to my sample.

I like this sequence, and especially the final result, very much.

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Sample p2-72 c backlit

Once again there are ideas of loss and change, with an extra edge of violence or trauma. With the angle of the backlit view there is a sense of holding on to something that’s gone. I think there’s potential to create something powerful with this.

I need to do more research on artists working with similar ideas. A quick search found Shattered intimacy by Max Dupain (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/279.1982/) and L’altra figura by Giulio Paolini (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/349.1987.a-c/). Paolini’s work is the one I remembered and searched for, and the catalogue notes on the linked gallery page show some of the many themes that can be explored with breakage. I’ve set up a new pinterest board, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/breakage-in-art/, and hope an opportunity will come up in this or a later course to go further with the last few samples and surrounding ideas.

Sketch 20150720

Sketch 20150720

Later edit to add: I did manage a little sketch at the end of the work session, but it was definitely an afterthought. It’s obviously not key in my process, given I initially forgot to include it in this post. This was trying to see line and value using Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in shades of grey.

T1-MMT-P2-p2-e2 Wrapping with materials and threads
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 2: Wrapping
Exercise 2: Wrapping with materials and threads

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Wrapping has been a major recurring component in the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I have faint memories of the time they wrapped part of the coastline just south of Sydney in 1969-70, when I was a child growing up in a northern suburb. A 2.5km stretch of cliff and beach was wrapped with synthetic erosion-control fabric and polypropylene rope, a four week process. The wrapping was in place for ten weeks, then removed and recycled. It was widely reported and polarised opinion. It could be a manufactured memory, but in my middle class home it was seen as odd, not something we would go to see, but rather nice that such a thing could be done in Australia.

Sample p1-58a Detail

Sample p1-58a Detail

More recently I’ve seen two works by them at the Art Gallery of NSW – Wrapped Paintings (1968 – link and Two wrapped trees (1969 – link). I was reminded of them while using a heat gun in an earlier project (20-April-2015). I find the wrapped trees depressing – long dead and preserved beyond reason. The wrapped paintings are intriguing – apparently no-one knows just what is inside.

Wrapping could take many forms – transparent, both displaying and transforming the contents (a nude woman, a bundle of Esquire magazines – interesting that in a video with Christo he comments on the movement in the wrapping, rather than the contents http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/videos/wrapped-magazines#.Vank1_mqpBc); Opaque, but with contents easily identified, as with the trees; Obscured. In a video of Woolworks (1969, http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/videos/christo-during-the-installation-of-wool-works#.Vanlh_mqpBc) a stacked wall of wool bales is covered in dark tarpaulins, completely obscuring the contents, but displayed nearby are more bales, the tops opened and contents tipping out. The wrapping can create a sculptural quality in everyday objects and cause viewers to reconsider, to see afresh, both object and the surrounding space.

Wrapping is not the only process used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They have also surrounded objects (eleven of the islands situated in Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami in 1980), and drawn lines through environments (a 39.4 km fence in California 1972-1976, a curtain across a valley in Colorado 1970-1972). They alter an environment, allowing viewers to see it with new eyes, newly conscious.

Many of the large landscape-based projects take years to fulfill, or have never been realised. There can be long negotiations and litigation, as community and environmental concerns are addressed and permissions obtained. They are generally sited in or near population centres, intended to be seen and experienced directly by people. The large scale works are temporary, and that is part of the aesthetic, creating a sense of urgency to see it, knowing that this is really unique, giving a quality of the love and tenderness we can feel for the fleeting.

Fabric is a frequently seen component. Christo explained it “translate[s] the fragile, nomadic quality of our projects”, “like living objects, they move all the time”, “you can see the wind, normally you cannot see you can only feel the wind” (https://vimeo.com/34773748). In the website FAQ Jeanne-Claude described the use of textiles as the common denominator of their work “Fragile, sensual and temporary materials which translate the temporary character of the works of art.” (http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/common-errors).

The work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude is not conceptual. They wanted to see it realised. It is environmental in being in human environments, but the claims I have seen about commentary on waste and use of plastics is all from others, not the artists themselves. More than anything the works are intended as an aesthetic experience. Talking about a proposed project, The Mastaba, Christo said “Simple, incredible geometric form situated in the waving landscape of the sand dunes. This is important, the contrast between the movement, the organic shape of the dunes with that steep, very simple form.” It was to be very colourful, multi-colours, gorgeous abstract painting, “so enchanting and unique that they [people] like to be present” (https://vimeo.com/50862146).

Christo prepares enormous numbers of drawings while developing projects – simple sketches, collages, altered photographs, maps and more. This could be simply part of his process, but the drawings also are a part of the communication process in advancing a project, and a necessary part of the planning process for major organisational and engineering undertakings. Sales of the drawings provide funding of the projects themselves. Inspired by this, I attempted a sketch of a possible wrapping of St Mary’s cathedral in Sydney, printing a photograph on A3 cartridge paper then spreading acrylic paint with a cut-down credit card. Lines for the ties were drawn into the paint with the wrong end of a brush. (More about the cathedral is in a report I did for Art History – 10-June-2013)

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney - photograph, acrylic paint

St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – photograph, acrylic paint

Resources

A variety of opinions on the wrapping of Little Bay – “Christo”, broadcast 19 April 2004, transcript available on line, http://www.abc.net.au/gnt/history/Transcripts/s1090226.htm. I particular like “Although it isn’t my cup of tea, I should imagine that to many thousands of people, it would be their cup of tea with cream added in.”

Images of work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude held at the Art Gallery of NSW http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/?q=christo

http://www.christojeanneclaude.net/

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping Research – Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Research: Christo and Jeanne-Claude


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Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

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