So there I was, stark naked, lying on the sand. I think I may be becoming an artist. Who else would decide to sandcast themself, hidden in the ceramics storeroom, out of CCTV camera sight ? I`ve plastercast the mould, but it`s too heavy to lift on my own, so the grim imprint will have to be revealed next week. And yes it was very cold & yes I travelled home leaving a little trail of grains as I went.
Anyway Happy Christmas AA2A ers everywhere, I hope Santa brings you all those lovely art products you`ve asked for. I`ve been really good, except for the nudity bit oh and don`t mention the fish ......
Pic of the Week: Sheffield Hallam University's AA2A Student Rep Josephine Gomersall's image from her album 'Paper art installation'
You can see more of Josephine's work on her Dotbiz profile
Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks):
'Don't be scared to approach artists on the AA2A scheme!' Yorgos Papadopoulos, AA2A artist at the University of Sunderland (2013-14)
Other news: Student newsletter out now and available on the website.
Look out for our New Year's e-card which should hit your inboxes when you're back from your Christmas break!
AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)
I had a great first meeting with Roger Bateman at the end of October where I learnt about his research on the Green to Gold project (using a flax PLA composite fabric that when heated, creates structured forms). It was a great introduction to the material and I got to see some examples of it's uses, most notably in the biodegradable cabinet. I came away with several examples of the basic hopsack weave cloth to run some printing tests on. The fabric is a very thick material, thicker even than the usual upholstery weight fabric I use in my own work. It is woven with a very thick thread that, when woven into the hopsack design, has a very defined woven structure. My first impression was that this could cause issues when trying to pattern the fabric so for the first tests I decided to stick to some very large, simple patterns. I chose my Thorns print, a two colour design with a large geometric pattern.
Here are the first printing tests, I knew I had a lot of thick fibres to work with so I made sure I made enough passes to drive the ink into the material.
The PLA version of the fabric darkens in colour when heated so I wanted to make sure I chose some colours that would stand out. I chose black to show the dark end of the scale and then chose a bright blue with a slightly opaque white base. Choosing these two colours also means I can test the transparency vs slightly opaque inks.
I also printed a completely opaque version of the print in white and green. These opaque inks are very different in their make up and tend to sit on the surface of the fabric more so they don't have as soft a handle.
These first print tests are to take to the Composites Evolution factory so that we can see how the pattern reacts once heated and pressed.
I've been thinking a little about my first visit to the ceramic stores at the end of November. I was really drawn to the Thomas Toft piece that they have there which I mentioned in my last blog post and this got me researching some of his and his contemporaries other work, a lot of it I am already familiar with. I particularly love slipware chargers, I seem to be heavily drawn to the charger form at the moment... it's like a ceramic blank canvas waiting to be tackled with various decorative techniques. With this in mind when I had my second visit to the York Art Gallery's ceramic Stores on Monday I was keen to unearth a selection of chargers and plates. I was interested to find out if they had any majolica or Delftware plates. I was in for a treat as I dug around in the mass of plate boxes and pulled out some of these inspiring chargers...
YORYM:2000.2674 - Delftware charger, King William III on Horseback
YORYM:2000.2672 - Delftware Charger, Queen Anne holding Royal regalia
I've uploaded a bunch more images to the York Art Gallery album. I've also just searched google for 'English Delftware Chargers', this interesting quote has come up on Wikipedia...
Blue-dash chargers, usually between about 25 and 35 cm in diameter with abstract, floral, religious, patriotic or topographical motifs, were produced in quantity by London and Bristol potters until the early 18th century. As they were kept for decoration on walls, dressers and side-tables, many have survived and they are well represented in museum collections.
One of the most popular decorations on the blue-dash charger was a representation of Adam and Eve with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, produced from the 1630s to the 1730s. "The challenge of rendering the anatomy of Adam and Eve was inescapable, and as the subject became more and more freely repeated by painters of less and less competence, most of the anatomy gave trouble, particularly Adam's abdominal muscles, which eventually became grotesque and could not be wholly covered by his fig-leaf." In later examples, "the images had declined to the level of coloured graffiti; Adam and Eve were cave dwellers, the Tree had become a mere cipher and only the serpent and the fruit proved simple enough to survive debasement."
Funnily enough it's the naive style I seem to be drawn to in these chargers, I'm becoming more and more inspired by folk art and the naive style as well as outsider art.
Took out the stone from it's mould today and the plaster opened beautifully. Will see what the latex has picked up and the soap cast looks like. I brought in two more objects today that I got from people I interviewed about how they feel about their current home. They feel very precious to me as they are all lent to me and mean somthing to their owners in their home.
The first one is a tricky one; a Newseeland bird inside a frame; both frame and bird are made of thin metal sheets. After a chat with the Joe we decided that a press mould is probably best because I don't want to take the bird apart and make each part individually as I 'd never get it to look like the same after welding it together again. I need to try it out and see what happens. Another member of staff from the ceramics department entered the conversation and she wondered about using soft play dough that children use as it might pick up more details and is easier to press an object into it.
The second object is a plaster Mary and will be a more simple two part mould. I've started with that one today and the three layers of latex are drying now. I made the mistake of shaking the container with the latex and as a result got lots of air bubbles. I went ahead anyway an see it as a test mould. I was only there in the morning today and it was really worth while.
The interesting thing is that every object is a different shape and made of a different material therefor offers a different challenge. I want the moulds to look good but I also need to keep in mind that it is not the most important thing to make a perfect object. It's what they mean and the soap as a casting material matters as it is an every day material, one most people can associate with.
Over Xmas holidays I'll try out the bird mould.
Glad to say I've now met and chatted to all the AA2A group, David Armes, Jamie Barnes, Bonnie Craig and Benedict Rutherford, and I am happy to report that they are a lovely bunch!
I'll be posting details of their developments over the coming months.
Have a great Chritmas and see you in the New Year!
When I got to the workshop at College today it was really busy, in a good way. My latex layers where dry and a put on two layers of Pop Rox which dried very fast. I could take out the small stone easily from inside the latex mould after cutting in half the Pop Rox layers. The bigger mould I left till next time as it is still quite damp. I met the interior design teacher and the jewellry teacher who where helping students. Also, the first student approached me today asking what I was doing which was nice and we had a little chat. She also told me about her latest project. I also chatted to some students who were fund raising and sold sweets and neclaces made by students. They looked lovely and I'm thinking of buying on next time I'm there.
I have decided to just make the moulds at the College and do the soap casting in my studio. This way I don't have to carry soap and soap objects back and forwards. Storage is an issue too as I haven't got anywhere wher I can leave stuff. Joe is very kindly trying to free a trolley that I can use to store a limited amount of things. I'm now ordering some latex with thickener and Pop Rox so I can get on with making more moulds next week. Also, need to collect a couple of objects from people I interviewed in about their homes. Will be interesting what they are.
Pic of the Week: York College's 'AA2A Plus' artist Ian Kirkpatrick's sculpture 'Tetramorph', made with card & PVC
You can see more of Ian's work on his Dotbiz page
Tip of the Week from AA2A artists to students (as featured in our self-employment talks): 'Find a network of artists/designers you can talk to, be active on social media & keep showing people your work!' Alex Brady, AA2A artist at De Montfort University (2013-14)
Introducing 'AA2A Plus': Our Pic of the Week is from one of our 'AA2A Plus' artists working with York Art Gallery's Collection of Modern Ceramics and York College. This exciting pilot scheme gives two of York's artists 5 days paid work through York Museums Trust. You can find out more about the pilot on our website and follow the progress of both 'AA2A Plus' artists Ian Kirkpatrick and Karen Thompson on their Dotbiz pages.
AA2A Team (Wendy, Georgia & Jo)