I feel like I should be making solid decisions about my work, the final pieces, have some resolutions etc as the time is coming to an end but I kind of feel Im only just starting... Im conflicted because I feel like that suggests I havent put enough time in at college but I dont think thats the case, Ive been in most weeks and have really benefited from the facilities/ support/ community/ time to research and consider. I know I keep going on about it but Ive really struggled with the technical aspects and to remedy this I have to switch between two different computers at home (mac and pc) to make any progress which is very time consuming and not very portable which I think is why Im concerned about spending too much time at home working.
Anyway. Im working on my image pairings. the basic idea is that the picture shifts between two images as your perspective on the image physically changes, as mentioned like kids gimmicky traidng cards/ lunchboxes/ dvd boxes these days. Ive made some new images in the studio but have moved onto the idea of pairing up some of my older images in a kind of recontextualiseing thing. I dont have much experience in this but feels really interesting at the mo so im going to persue it. Im trying to get away from crude pairing eg angel to devil just as an example of extreme contrasts and looking at open landscapes to drop small idiosyncrasies/ splashes of colour to make the viewer look again and reexamine a familiar space. Even though im keeping sketchbooks i get quite confused as to what Im doing at what time and how to progress and end up going in circles but after a few more experiments with the process Ill have a better idea of what works visual and to get my ideas across.
I thought I would gain confidence as a result of being selected for this scheme but because Im trying something totally new to me that i dont know will evn suceed I think im struggling a bit as i want to have something really good to show for my time here but it could all end up being nothing like i was aiming for. oh well, without sounding unbelievable cheesy i guess thats the risk you take.
This project has been about process - and the possibility that the processes might not work!
I completed 100 hours of practical work making various large-scale hollow felt shapes before Easter, and now feel confident that my initial, making-processes do actually work.
The equally important final shaping & finishing processes have been tested on a slightly smaller scale, and although the full size pieces may be awkward to physically handle, I don’t think it’s going to be as difficult as I imagined it might be.
I’ve solved most of the difficulties of doing the final shaping and finishing so that my hollow forms should retain their shape. It’s early days with this, but I have gained so much more confidence in working large-scale, that I’m sure that my ideas will work!
I feel I’ve been very dogged with this involvement with ‘process only’, but I feel that it’s paid off.
I’m so much more aware of the time required for each of the processes of large scale work, that I can now get pieces to a point where they can be safely left overnight, to be finished next day, or can be carefully wrapped up and taken back to my own workspace for completing there.
Unfortunately, this highlights the lack of space in my own space!
This project has provided a fantastic opportunity to ‘test to the point of failure’!
If things don’t work, then I know exactly why.
I would never have done this much, and tracked it with notes and sketches and photographs on my own – and I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to commit either the time or the money to it.
Apart from finding out how to use an Embellisher, and creating dozens of samples, I’ve created several large, test – pieces of hollow felt.
A plastic template is required for each shape and I’ve cut these templates in direct response to the lines and shapes in the sketchbook I’ve been using for this project. This has allowed me to work in a very free way. I’ve just gone for making the shapes without blocking myself by thinking too much ahead as to what problems could arise.
Some shapes work better than others, and having worked each of them by hand, I’ve been able to gain a much better understanding of why some did and some didn’t work.
I’m also conscious of my time at HSAD running out, and that I need to reach some decisions as to what the final pieces will be.
This project has been all about process – how to create large scale, hollow felt.
It’s been totally absorbing, and I’m now confident, and hopefully competent in the processes of laying up the felt fibres over the plastic templates I’ve devised. Problems of turning them to lay up the other sides have been resolved, but the actual felting was a hard physical slog.
I’ve found that lightweight acrylic roof sheeting with its more deeply ridged surface is the best surface to give quicker and very even felting on pieces this size – most recent piece is 2.10m x 0.5m.
However, I still needed something to wrap the felt round, so that I could roll it back and forward on the ridged acrylic to get it tightly felted and shrunk to final size.
Discussing this difficulty with a friend and fellow artist, we came up with the idea of making some kind of roller. He has resolved the problem and made me a couple of rollers from differently sized plastic plumbing pipe, ridged with plastic beading pop-riveted at regular intervals. They work brilliantly!
It's fifteen days says the blog in which case a phenomenally swift 15 days!!
AA2A has afforded me time to think and I noticed this week that while the college was so studentless that I really did miss the activity and atmosphere of production amongst the quiet and the still works in progress.
Last week made collars for the stand. Used bore drill,band saw and sander which emphasised the ease of access and the lack access to equipment outside the college.... and thought about how to run this over the summer. Also gave talk and now think should have advertised it here but was too worried would be disappointing which just shows how long since I delivered a talk because everyone very appreciative!
I'd decided a few weeks ago to put all the components together in studio at home as also needed to see what happens when indoors as well as out.
Since other commitments have eased have been able to deal with aspect of camera image making.
- am amazed how allowing time for experimentation also lets in many other equally diverting ideas. Examining the question why make an image photographically or why make it through an etching...begins to help consolidate the activity. The journey began at the conception of the idea two years ago in Scotland on the residency there. It began as a cup that glowed under water and with trying to marry various facets of my activities in the one idea.
From crochet to dusters - a talk to students last week - really brought my own thinking together. Skills and process key to narrative in this case - etching produced to experience the action of carrying an image through a series of tones,and with the photographic imagery, to see whether if knowing more of the process I will enhance or confuse the content...hope now to spend the summer assembling all parts ready for exhibition in September. All this has enabled me to take the thinking forward - feel that have regained confidence through experiencing a range of activities that haven't done for many years in fact treated the place as if it were an arts school ie life drawing, etching, photography, fashion design,3D, presentation and sketchbooks...... here begins the artist and years away from that environment can erode the ethos of working hard to sustain the necessary immersion needed to fully engage with the artwork out in the world beyond. . A real luxury to not have to tick boxes and to allow the experimentation to lead rather than be determined. I'd recommend AA2A to anyone who feels not only sure of their chosen material or equipment but those who are also at a crossroads or who need an injection of fresh thinking. It's been great. Am in next week I hope though will avoid being in way and will finish the following week - really can't tear myself away...........
AA2A has received funding from Arts Council England so that we can deliver more than 120 AA2A placements in 2011/12.
The grant has come from their Lottery 'Grants for the Arts' fund. This follows on from the previous GftA grant which allowed us to set up AA2A as a social enterprise organisation dedicated to delivering and developing the AA2A project.
So a big thank you to ACE and to all of you for your support.
Full steam ahead for next year!
After a fab weekend trip to London to see my new works on show at the Curwen Gallery last week was a return to the studio.
Finally got round to producing my colouring book. A series of what will hopefully be an edition of 50 featuring 12 fun filled pages of Topless Octopus action to colour or interpret in any way one wishes.
All screen printed by myself - next step is to get the cover printed and bind the books together for sale. And now it's back to thinking about the ceramics. But first its time for a holiday to Wales for some relaxation and walks in the countryside.
In other news - looking to find a space for a post AA2A expo and checking out a location today.
See a sneek peak of the colouring book before its bound @ http:/