Archive for the 'OCA' Category



T1-MMT-P5 Lissa de Sailles basketry workshop

The subtitle for this workshop was Korean hanji paper coiled baskets and it was at a lovely venue in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Step one was making our cord from strips of hanji paper. Pinch at the right points, a deft twist of the wrist – and you have two ply cord! A tiny amount of cord, but repeat many times and you’ll eventually have a metre or two.

We used waxed linen thread and tried a couple of different stitches to make our baskets.

Class results:

Lissa de Sailles class group photo

Lissa de Sailles class group photo

Quite a variety of lovely small objects.

Lissa de Sailles class 1This is my finished piece – all of 3.4 cm high. The little bobbles on the side were my innovation (in the class – I’m sure I’ve seen such things in the past). This one used buttonhole stitch.

Lissa de Sailles class 2My second piece remains unfinished. This used a whip stitch to create a spiral effect, and I started used a second colour hoping to accentuate the spiral.

A very pleasant day, learning with companionable people in lovely surrounds (my vessel collection could look great photographed in the succulent garden).

spinning carrier bags

spinning carrier bags

For me the big takeaway is the paper cord making. Recently I’ve been paper spinning using drop spindles.

Carrier bags were do-able, if rather large and uneven.

spinning carrier bag and newspaperNewspaper I just couldn’t manage. I tried on its own and a kind of ply with carrier bag, hoping to gain a bit of strength, and it was just nasty. Unusable.

Results using the deft wrist method (I don’t know a formal name for the technique):
spun newspaperEasy. Strong and even (maybe even too even for some applications). I think you can still tell the yarn’s origins.

I have no immediate purpose for this. The original drop spindle work was more avoidance / brain recovery in the final push for the OCA course. Still, I am convinced this is going to Come In Handy.

Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Lissa de Sailles basketry workshop
T1-MMT-P5 Lissa de Sailles basketry workshop

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Wrapping

I’ve written about Mugugalurgarra (conceal) by Jonathan Jones, one of the most powerful and meaningful uses of wrapping that I have ever seen (17-Mar-2016).

A few days after the Canberra trip I was in the Art Gallery of NSW where installation of work by Sheila Hicks had begun in preparation for the Sydney Biennale.

Sheila Hicks Installation in progress

Sheila Hicks
Installation in progress


Sheila Hicks  Installation in progress

Sheila Hicks
Installation in progress

The work itself uses wrapping as a technique, but in these photographs the pieces have additional coverings of heavy plastic. Some appears to be related to transportation, but most was simply protecting the work overnight (I was in the gallery for an evening lecture).

The wrapping mutes the bright colours, makes the shapes more anonymous, more uniform.

Could I use that idea with my collection? I’ve written about the attraction / interest of repetition with slight variations, done a simulation (6-Mar-2016). Could wrapping give an additional level of uniformity, a different way of seeing my objects?

p5-sketchpage 074 20160316 partialI sketched out the idea with a small collage.

As well as providing a different perspective on the collection, I was really attracted to an idea that linked back so strongly to an earlier part of the course.

It was interesting to see my own difference in approach. In the wrapping assignment I simply tried things, experimented. This time I had a goal – present these particular objects differently. It meant I had a purpose in auditioning and selecting materials. I started with the base assumption of heavy plastic, thinking back to work by Christo. It didn’t meet my objective of greater uniformity of objects in different materials and was quickly discarded.

Given the material used in the earlier sketch / collage, I then turned to brown paper. Heavy paper lost a lot of detail of the forms, and I decided that I didn’t want the pieces to become too anonymous. A major point of the vessels was experimenting with space, the positive and negative spaces of the collection, and I didn’t want to lose that. Lighter weight paper could be crumpled (another nice echo from throughout the course), molded around the objects. For binding I chose a hairy linen thread, fairly fine. I liked the lines created in the wrapping – a good balance between distinct but not too intrusive and disrupting the semi-anonymity.

Sample p5-54

Sample p5-54
Click image for larger view

I took 98 photographs and the one above is the best of the bunch. I do not find it interesting or exciting.

Are the surrounds too busy? Is it lack of photography skills? Poor composition? The initial wrapping a bad idea? All these and more?

I like the process from inspirations through to making. I just don’t know how to make the result interesting.

Darn.

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Wrapping
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Wrapping

T1-MMT-P5 Canberra exhibitions

Recently I went to Canberra for the weekend, visiting a number of exhibitions.

Tom Roberts The Golden Fleece (1894)

Tom Roberts
The Golden Fleece (1894)

Tom Roberts at the National Gallery of Australia (link).

Roberts (1856 – 1931) is a widely known and loved painter in Australia. He painted country and city scenes, landscapes and portraits. He was versatile, a creative thinker, a leader and mentor among artists. Robert’s paintings are iconic, helping to form national identity, celebrating the country and the people working in it.

More correctly, Robert’s images show one aspect of Australia’s identity. The imagery and the story was very different at exhibitions at the National Museum of Australia.

Encounters: Revealing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum (link).

I was prepared to be angry about this exhibition. Objects acquired often in shady if not always violent circumstances, so deeply and personally important to people living in Australia but destined to return to their “owners”, stored out of sight or displayed for their anthropologic or exotic interest. (I’m a beneficiary of invasion, so yes, glass houses).

The exhibition was different. It was a collaborative project, including research and community engagement. Vibrant, rich, living cultures were celebrated. Individuals and communities were allowed a voice, and given the opportunity to learn about the objects, to reconnect with their heritage. Ongoing pain and sorrow were expressed, as well as celebration and pride.

There’s an associated conference on this week – “explor[ing] how Indigenous communities and museums are re-thinking relationships with colonial collections – questioning and confronting the legacies of colonialism in creative and unexpected ways.” (http://www.nma.gov.au/whats-on/events/new_encounters_conference).

As a textile lover and a maker the ancient and modern objects were fascinating, as were the videos showing recent workshops and teaching events.

So much more positive than I anticipated.

Except… in the end the objects will return to the UK. Maybe there is a will for change, but power remains unequal.

Unsettled: Stories within http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/unsettled

Sited next to Encounters in the Museum was an exhibition of works by leading Indigenous Australian artists responding to Encounters.

Mugugalurgarra (conceal) by Jonathan Jones blew me away (link). Objects from the National Museum’s collection, acquired from his homeland, were wrapped in pages of a 1878 text The Aborigines of Victoria: With Notes Relating to the Habits of the Natives of other Parts of Australia and Tasmania. Jones displayed the wrapped objects in large glass cabinets, historical cases from the Institute of Anatomy.

What an incredible, succinct statement of what was done to his culture. Objects taken, obscured by layers of foreign constructs that were all about western culture, carefully labelled and put behind glass as curiosities.

I would like to think that the National Museum exhibitions are small but positive steps, part of a larger process of grappling with intractable problems. It would be nice to think that precious objects could return to the people to whom they are most precious, who share the value system in which they were created. But those powerful, self-appointed guardians…

Slight change of topic, but I read an interesting article today. What hit home was the expression “unwitting racism”. The real meaning of Rhodes Must Fall by Amit Chaudhuri (link).

Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Canberra exhibitions
T1-MMT-P5 Canberra exhibitions

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Third photo shoot

At the end of the last post I had a plan. To keep myself on track I sketched out some do’s and don’ts.


The next day I went out fresh, set up floor, background, concrete chunks, the best lighting I could manage, took breaks when indicated… Not easy. In the end I got two photographs which approach what I was looking for.

Sample p5-52

Sample p5-52
Click image for larger view

The photo is a larger size than usual, so you can see the textures if you wish. I’m very happy with the mix of textures, the mix of materials. There’s asymmetry and I see the tilt of the plaster vessel first. It takes some time to see the slightly precarious situation of the other vessel.

Sample p5-53

Sample p5-53
Click image for larger view

I was interested in coming right out of the picture towards the viewer, but I’m not convinced by this photo. To me it’s a positive that my eye doesn’t move around smoothly – that fits with the idea of teetering, off-balance. It would be better if the top slab was tilted, as if about to tip off to the left. There’s actually just of sliver of light visible, but too subtle.

Next I went back to the concept of a pile of objects, experimenting with space.

I am ambivalent about this video. Hopefully it gives an idea of the space created, the interaction of different pieces. I see more when I watch it again – for example in a section on glorious failure I see orange in the object, picked up from other pieces nearby. I think the environment and props enhance the collection.

On the other hand the video itself is poor quality, the picture shaky, transitions clumsy (I pieced it together from a dozen shorter videos filmed). I believe it is as good as I could achieve with current expertise, my tablet, domestic lighting, and free software.

Overall valuable experimentation.

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Third photo shoot
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Third photo shoot

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Second photo shoot

This set of photographs was inspired by my research into Claire Falkenstein (11-Mar-2016). I started this Stage of the assignment using an unconventional background and looking to experiment with balance, based on my research on Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016) and discussion in the workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016). The video of “Claire Falkenstein: An Expansive Universe” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr0oUaBUkkA) made me think again about clean, uncluttered, white backgrounds putting all the focus on the works.

That said, there are some major problems with the work shown below. I did it after seeing Claire Falkenstein’s work but before writing it up, so the photo-shoot didn’t take advantage of all the input from my research. It was also a very sunny, hot and humid day in Sydney and I got tired and careless carrying things from my work area in the house out to the garage where I did the photography. I knew I didn’t have a wide enough piece of paper on the tabletop and that the background paper was hanging badly, but I didn’t do anything about it. I’ve also gone for quantity rather than quality. The idea was to give myself options, to make some kind of break through, but attention and engagement was lacking.

There are some positives. I found some thicker slabs to use as a base – cemented tiles from our crumbling front steps – and they provide interesting texture and good height. Working on a tabletop allowed me to photograph from a greater range of angles, including low and straight. I tried a few other specific ideas from the reflection on the first photo shoot (6-Mar-2016), including spacing in the groupings and trying to make more dynamic lines with the horsehair and 3D drawing.

Sample p5-35

Sample p5-35

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

This includes an idea from earlier sampling and sketching, with some resin used to suggest fluid spilled from a fallen vessel. I don’t think the (relatively) clean background works with this idea. Also the whole photograph is stretched horizontally, giving a stability that fights with the idea of tipping over. Another element in the foreground might improve things.

Sample p5-36

Sample p5-36

This photo has some elements of movement and there isn’t a lot of dead space. The resin shape almost looks as if it is pulling back after pushing the tall vessel over the cliff. The scattered black lines give a path into the image (no empty foreground). With those upright strands the tall vessel resembles an insect on its back, scrabbling to turn back over. Scaling of the photograph has resulted in some unpleasant stepping in the lines of some of the plastic horsehair, but a printout of a higher resolution version would address that.

Sample p5-37

Sample p5-37

The change of sample on the right is not an improvement. It almost seems to have its back turned to all the excitment, and that single almost vertical hair has a quite disproportionate effect in stopping movement. Perhaps something playful would work here – I’d like to trying piling things up, have them cascading down.

Sample p5-38

Sample p5-38

There’s a little bit of zig-zag going across the image. I decided to explore this a different way, desaturating the image and “tidying up” some of the distracting background.
Sample p5-38 b
Sample p5-38 b large version

Sample p5-38 b large version

One difficulty with showing what’s happening is web delivery and managing file size. The thumbnail version to the left will open a large version of the photo, without those nasty judders from the scaling process. If you expand it to full size (probably bigger than your screen), you can see detail down to a few beads of resin on horsehair strands from the lower vessel, complete with matching bubbly shadow. I’ve printed this on A3 glossy photo paper and I think it makes an interesting image.

Sample p5-39

Sample p5-39

I expected to really like the long diagonal through this photo, but it feels static.

Sample p5-40

Sample p5-40

The same stack of concrete is getting tedious, but I like this image. The vessels look like a couple of tipsy party animals. The background paper is gathering creases and I prefer this – more interesting but not distracting. It’s slightly away from the centralised positioning which seems to be my default – need to watch for that. Having the lower vessel slightly obscured is more interesting.

Sample p5-41

Sample p5-41

More interesting, or just that at least I’ve tried a different angle?

Sample p5-42

Sample p5-42

The arch of black is effective and there is a sense of depth in the photograph. The background works for me. It’s fine – which is damning with faint praise.

Sample p5-43

Sample p5-43

The black lines in this are great. The small vessel seems on its way out of frame. A lot of texture and different places to look.

Sample p5-44

Sample p5-44

So many near misses. I like the hint of orange on the background paper – visible in some of the earlier photographs, but I only noticed with the tall vessel leaning in towards it. The blunt line of the tips of black in the foreground jerks my eye as I look around the image. I wish the foreground vessel was in better focus. The different lines don’t quite work together.

Sample p5-45

Sample p5-45

The negative shape formed under the uppermost piece is interesting, but none of the samples are displayed to good effect here. Ho hum.

Sample p5-46

Sample p5-46

Much, much worse. I was thinking of the interest of looking through things, as seen in the video of Claire Falkenstein’s work, but this is very bad.

Sample p5-47

Sample p5-47

This isn’t as bad. Perhaps a V movement would be better, instead of this invitation to any viewer to tip their head to the right.

Sample p5-48

Sample p5-48

The orange line reaching out of the image is great. I now have time and attention to see the vessel on the left, which displays quite well at this angle. There’s a sort of horizontal zigzag across the image. Altogether quite effective.

Sample p5-49

Sample p5-49

The placement of the foreground vessel on the right is good and starts to make use of its central void. The whole thing seems a bit flat and low, and the orange line has lost some of its personality.

Sample p5-50

Sample p5-50

This is fun and quirky. One of my favourites. There’s a bit of imbalance, a bit of crawling movement, a range of interesting shapes and space.

Sample p5-51

Sample p5-51

I need to move that dratted concrete around more. This is another close-but-miss.

In my next attempt I want to bring things together, fewer photos and learning from samples so far. The plan is to go back to the concrete floor and rusty shelving backdrop, but using the concreted tiles where I want to get height. I like the low viewpoint, which might take some flexibility and manoeuvering. I want to refine or develop some of the more successful compositions achieved so far. I also want to return my thinking to three dimensions, rather than just flattened photographs, so will attempt a video as well. That will be tomorrow morning all being well – another lesson learnt is to use times of lower temperature and higher energy.

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Second photo shoot
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Second photo shoot

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – Claire Falkenstein

I tripped over a reference to this artist and wish I had known of her work at the beginning of this Assignment. Falkenstein’s work is included in an exhibition opening in a couple of days in Los Angeles – Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 – 2016 (link).

In her oral history Falkenstein talks about the vocabulary she developed – “the never-ending screen, the sign and the ensemble, topological structure, lattice structure, and then the combination sometimes of any two or any three”. She later explains more about each: “a topological structure in the sense that all of the curving parts of the tubic structure makes the idea of penetration and then surfacing”, and “the surface becomes the interior”, with constant motion; “the sign in the ensemble, because the sign is the sign of the “u” and it’s in repetition over and over, which would be causing the ensemble”, by which I understand the sign is a chosen unit, and then multiples in a pattern or rhythm or continuance form the ensemble. Interval, harmony and relationships are important. The never-ending screen is a lattice Falkenstein developed which has the movement of topological structure and also allows vision, transparency. Instead of a single visual focus there could be innumerable moving focal points in an expanding space. One of the exciting things about this form is its ability to move from quite shallow to very three dimensional.

Claire Falkenstein  Villa La Saracena Pubic domain: source http://www.archidiap.com/opera/villa-la-saracena/

Claire Falkenstein
Villa La Saracena
Pubic domain: source http://www.archidiap.com/opera/villa-la-saracena/

Falkenstein found freedom in looking within for inspiration and meaning, using external models as a point of departure allowing her to express what she felt about the model, rather than attempting to represent its form. Feeling and expression – definitely not copying. While influenced by the wider world, by looking within she was able to establish her own identity.

I find Falkenstein’s explanation of her vocabulary and the importance of looking within fascinating. These fed her creative energy and direction, and she was still working actively, continuing to explore, excited about her results, in her eighties. I also was struck by a description of some of her works “which explore motion, by either rotating, falling, sliding, turning or interlocking” (Larinde, p. 51). This seems to link to some of Eva Hesse’s work in not-exact repetition, and also reminds me of methods of developing designs for continuous fabric patterns.

Falkenstein was experimental in her use of materials, such as aluminium, plastics and welding, and in her forms and techniques. This seems very relevant to my current course – although unfortunately a little late to take too much advantage.

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-33

Sample p5-33

The phrase “enclosing space with line” (Larinde, p. 52) had me thinking of sample p5-4 (31-Jan-2016), suggesting ways of developing the strong lines of stitching and the voids and semi-transparency of the distorted organza. It also fits with original intention of exploring space with the presentation of my collection. Possibly a few samples, such as p5-33 (6-Mar-2016) move towards that goal, but I think a re-focus may be necessary.

Falkenstein made a number of fountains, and I find Larinde’s description of the approach interesting: “a form that forced her to think in terms of the unity of structure and the flow of water so that there would be no dispersion, no separation of the liquid from the fluid metal” (Larinde, p. 53). Earlier this week I had an invigorating conversation about the possibilities of photographing my pieces in a flow of water (thank you Claire!), but so far I haven’t come up with an idea that seemed workable and with bearable risk to equipment.

Of great interest to my presentation concerns is a video of an exhibition presented by Jack Rutberg Fine Arts in Los Angeles, “Claire Falkenstein: An Expansive Universe” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mr0oUaBUkkA. A still of that video is shown below.

Claire Falkenstein  An Explansive Universe

Claire Falkenstein
An Explansive Universe

Claire Falkenstein  An Explansive Universe view 2

Claire Falkenstein
An Explansive Universe
view 2

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

The objects themselves feel almost familiar to me. It feels presumptuous to write that Falkenstein’s Topological Form reminded me of the curves of p2-18 (19-Jun-2015). The presentation of works in the exhibition dovetails with my early imaginings of what I wanted to simulate in my work. Finally the video itself, the way it presents the collection of works in context with each other and then examines each one from a distance and closeup is inspiring – although entirely beyond my equipment resources and skills.

Resources

Larinde, N. (1980) ‘Claire Falkenstein’ In: Woman’s Art Journal 1(1) pp.50–55. [online] At: http://doi.org/10.2307/1358019 (Accessed on 10 March 2016)

Oral history interview with Claire Falkenstein, 1995 Mar. 2-21, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [online] At: http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-claire-falkenstein-12659 (Accessed on 10March 2016)

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

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Tentative first steps

My last post ended “I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next” (28-Feb-2016). True, but not complete. I’ve been writing and thinking about this Stage so much now it comes to doing I’m a bit daunted. Still, the structure remains – research, sample, record, sort. I don’t have a predetermined result, I’m working in a terrain of uncertainty. I’ve got what I said I wanted.

There’s a lot of cross-connecting going on between research, sketchbook, general thinking, and initial sample-making. This post is going to outline progress to date, with some detail included in later posts. It’s a jumble – welcome to transparency and the inside of my head.

Research has started with Eva Hesse. That’s ongoing. The critical thing at the moment is seen in the sketchbook.

p5-sketchpage 061 20160227

p5-sketchpage 061 20160227

Hesse made serial art, deliberately using a form repetitively with some kind of progression or permutation. Above is my sketch and a photo of Hesse’s sketch for Repetition Nineteen. There are nineteen vessels, similar but not identical, which could be arranged on the floor. Brigitte Kölle writes “Paradoxically, it is precisely this principle of ‘similar-yet-different’ that intensifies the impression of the repetitive. And it is the repetitive character that emphasizes the small variations and alternations that much more clearly” (Kölle et al, pp 31-35). It brings a sense of temporal duration, and can cause unease in being regular yet not. Reading Kölle took me on to George Kubler and a “history of things”, “reunit[ing] ideas and objects under the rubric of visual forms” (as compared to ugly ‘material culture’) (Kubler, p. 9). I wonder about the “usefulness” of my sample vessels, in what I understand of Kubler’s sense that all made objects must be useful in order to be made. Plus there’s the attraction of the power and the theoretical underpinning of repetition. Have I chosen a less satisfying path?

Sample p5-11 series

Sample p5-11 series

I used gimp to create copies and small variations of sample p5-11, to simulate a possible series. I can imagine that path as enjoyable and with attractive results. But I don’t see it as very risky.

A recent thread on the OCA student forum led me to a TED talk by Luke Syson (Link).

The “useless” vessel that Syson discusses has nothing in common with my explorations, until he makes a link with the fantasy of London’s skyline. An element of fantasy and imagination – I’d like to think that my pieces exhibit some of that. Variety rather than repetition can make its own impact.

Following up an earlier idea, and wanting to explore and celebrate some of my fantasy shapes, I used the 3D pen to “sketch” sample p5-7.

p5-sketch with 3D pen in progress - sample p5-5

p5-sketch with 3D pen in progress – sample p5-5

As in previous use of this pen, it really had me focusing in on the shape of the sample.
p5-sketch with 3D pen - sample p5-5

p5-sketch with 3D pen – sample p5-5

The end result is a series of interesting shapes, which may be useful in later compositions.

Sample p5-10 detail

Sample p5-10 detail

Sample p5-10 (14-Feb-2016) surprised me with distortions in the plastic horsehair when heated. I decided to try the 3D pen as the source of heat, and ended with some little fantasy flowers.

p5-sketch with 3D pen - fantasy flowers, with p5-11

p5-sketch with 3D pen – fantasy flowers, with p5-11

These make me smile. Using one of my vessels as a normal vessel – a vase! Outlandish.

p5-sketchpage 062 20160228

p5-sketchpage 062 20160228

Sketchbook work included some ideas for composition (rather literal and drab), plus a potential knot of corrugated plaster and/or resin which I think would be really interesting but not on topic for the current stage.

Finally I decided to simply start experimenting – find an interesting spot, put together some groupings, record. No pressure at this point, just seeing what happens. There’s a lot of photos here – in fact this could be my series of small variations. I’m going to number and show each variant attempted, with some later sketching thinking about potential further steps.

This set was taken on the concrete floor of the garage, with natural light from the doorway. There’s some distracting background in the beginning. After a while I found some rusty metal shelves to provide a background.

Sample p5-14

Sample p5-14

Although a couple of samples are balanced at an angle the overall effect is very static. The eye simply moves in a circles around the central part of the image.

Sample p5-15

Sample p5-15

Possibly taking the photo from a lower vantage point would help. No positives here.

Cropping adds impact beyond simply getting rid of a distracting background. There’s a bit more movement.

Sample p5-17

Sample p5-17

p5-17 variation

p5-17 variation

Although the tiles create differences in height it is not apparent. A change of viewing angle would help. More chunky layers are called for.

Sample p5-18

Sample p5-18

p5-sketch p5-18 variation

p5-sketch p5-18 variation

Again angle and thickness of layers would improve the result. More exaggeration in tilting of samples should be attempted.

Sample p5-19

Sample p5-19

Static, however I like the slight reflection of red/orange that can be seen in the glossy black of the lower sample.

Sample p5-20

Sample p5-20

There are some interesting lines in the horsehair plastic in this photo, but the overall arrangement is bland and the background distracting – although I like the orange of the wheelbarrow. Perhaps that could turn into a prop in some way.

Sample p5-21

Sample p5-21

p5-sketch p5-21 variation

p5-sketch p5-21 variation

How far can I push the tilt of the different samples? This is the first photo with the rusty shelving background. I like the texture.

Sample p5-22

Sample p5-22

The addition of an isolated element works quite well, making my eye move back and forward, breaking up that tight circle. There’s some interesting negative space beginning to develop.

Sample p5-23

Sample p5-23

Back in a tight circle. I need to avoid this.

Sample p5-24

Sample p5-24

p5-sketch p5-24 variation

p5-sketch p5-24 variation

Ditto.

Sample p5-25

Sample p5-25

Not the feeling I’m looking for, but I like this photograph. There’s some good depth and a swirl beginning to happen.

Sample p5-26

Sample p5-26

p5-sketch p5-26 variation

p5-sketch p5-26 variation

The resin sample in the middle provides stability – which I definitely don’t want. The sample on the left really seems to be sliding away, which is the precarious movement / moment that I’m looking for. I have some plaster shards that could be added to enhance a sense of danger. Cropped out of the sketch is the idea of breaking one of the samples. That will have to wait for later in the process, given it removes as well as adds options.

Sample p5-27

Sample p5-27

Changing the resin sample and its placement is an improvement, but it’s not exciting.

Sample p5-28

Sample p5-28

p5-sketch p5-28 variation

p5-sketch p5-28 variation

The sample on the left hangs well over the edge of the tile, but it can’t be seen. As already noted, I need to work on the layering material and the viewing point of photographs. I probably also need to be braver about placement of samples, or else introduce some discrete safety measures.

Sample p5-29

Sample p5-29

The resin sample doesn’t have huge impact, but I like the see-saw effect that is suggested. The roughly vertical lines of the shelving in the background accentuates tilt – I should take more advantage of that.

I think this is worth developing.

Sample p5-30

Sample p5-30

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

p5-sketch p5-30 variation

Better lighting to emphasize voids would be good. The background shelving curves down on the right and I think that reduces the effect of tilt in the sample.

Perhaps I can add something that appears to have poured out of a tilted/fallen sample.

Sample p5-31

Sample p5-31

A close-cropped version doesn’t really help. All of these photos were taken with me sitting on the garage floor along with the samples – clearly an issue.

Sample p5-32

Sample p5-32

I like the stretch of the sample on the left. Perhaps with lighting or angle I could make more of that.

Sample p5-33

Sample p5-33

p5-sketch p5-33 variation

p5-sketch p5-33 variation

Exaggeration of slide and angles is called for. There must be ways I can use plastic horsehair or something else to create additional movement and interest.

Sample p5-34

Sample p5-34

Not what I want, but I like this grouping of samples.

A couple of general observations:
The rusty shelves provide a good background – I want to work with these more.

Sample p5-12 - two views

Sample p5-12 – two views

The tall p5-12, although not considered a strong piece on its own, proved very useful in group combinations. I didn’t have my full set of objects with me, so will need to make sure I have all options available at the next shoot.

Angle of viewing is important.

I need an alternative to the tiles to create different heights and angles.

Reference
Kölle B., Roettig P., Gaßner S. (Eds) (2013) Eva Hesse: One More than One Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag
Kubler, K. (1962) The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things Yale University Press

T1-MMT-P5-s6 Tentative first steps
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 6: Prototype/maquette-making
Tentative first steps

T1-MMT-P5-s5 Sorting

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

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

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

Part 5 samples

Part 5 samples

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

Sorting - extended set

Sorting – extended set

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

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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

T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – El Anatsui

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

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

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

El Anatsui

El Anatsui

El Anatsui Imbroglio

El Anatsui Imbroglio

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

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

El Anatsui Waste paper bags

El Anatsui Waste paper bags

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

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

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

El Anatsui  Drainpipe (detail)

El Anatsui
Drainpipe (detail)

El Anatsui  Drainpipe

El Anatsui
Drainpipe

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

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

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

p5-sketchpage 049; 20160214

p5-sketchpage 049; 20160214

Sketch 20150601b

Sketch 20150601b

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

p5-sketchpage 050; 20160216

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

p5-sketchpage 051; 20160217

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

p5-sketchpage 052; 20160219

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

p5-sketchpage 053; 20160219

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

p5-sketchpage 054; 20160222

p5-sketchpage 054; 20160222

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

p5-sketchpage 055; 20160223

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

p5-sketchpage 056; 20160223

p5-sketchpage 056; 20160223

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

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

p5-sketchpage 057; 20160224

p5-sketchpage 057; 20160224

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

p5-sketchpage 058; 20160224

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

p5-sketchpage 059; 20160225

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

p5-sketchpage 060; 20160226

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

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


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