Today I actually got to use the laser cutter (thanks Nadia!) - unfortunately we couldn't work out how to cut metal, but I decided I had to use it for something so I've cut the triangles-leaves I'd prepared for one test ... used card, now to work out how/whether I can form the card into shapes and glue to create a sculpture for the exhibition. I was surprised at how long it all took, but great to have some results at least!
You can see the cutter in action on my FB page: http:/
The metal has finally arrived! Next week I'll be cutting out my first patterns and seeing if all the work I've put into the Illustrator files actually translates to what I want out of the lasercutter ... but my mind has been racing ahead and I'm already thinking through what i want to do next, so given how long it took to get the metal sheets I'm looking at a much smaller test so I have more metal left to cut out other experimental materials for making further spheres.
That's a thought, while I'm here and just textually exploring this stream of consciousness - I haven't mentioned why I'm making spheres ... Its where I started when I first began creating the wire weaves and again when I began work on the Pine needle forms - a sphere is a very 'complete' form for me, encompassing science from the smallest particle to the largest, the universe itself. It also has resonance in mythological understanding of our world, and in terms of pure sculptural practice its a good test format to see how materials and processes work structurally and visually.
I rediscovered recently, while talking to Dee, Abi and Kezia (my fellow AA2A artists at University of Bedfordshire, Luton) that where I work is really important to me and my art practice.
Its not really the actual physical space that I find important. I currently work in a shed (which I gloriously title my studio), part of a garage, bits of my home, even in a marquee in the garden when I need more space or am doing particularly messy sculpture work, and when I can I work direct in a local forest.
What is important is that I get to spend enough time in the space to make it 'mine' ... my energy, my creativity - building a rapport between me and the physical environment I'm working in. Thinking about it as I write, this is totally connected with how I see, and what I want to express in, my work - the whole scientific/mythical connection with the world around us and how we explore, explain and relate to it is also wrapped up in my relationship with the creative environment I'm working in.
This is a rather unexpected and potentially awkward thing to rediscover at this stage in my residency. I really want to commit time to spend at the Uni in Luton, but I can't just pop in and out and at the same time be creative - it just isn't me.
I've realised that I need to order my time - some spent at home (like right now) working in a familiar zone on unfamiliar things (bringing my graphics experience of Adobe Illustrator into my art practice), but also making sure I spend some very concentrated time in the studios at Luton, actually working on weaving the sculptures and developing my ideas ... this will be much easier once I have the materials (see the lasercutter blog post).
An unfortunate and negative outcome of my thoughts on working in the studios in Luton - my work and that of another AA2A artist were taken down from the space we were working in. Apparently a misunderstanding but no communication directly from the Uni and it has made me feel even more unable to make their space 'mine' ...
It has been a slow start, what with sorting out how to access the equipment, who, where and when to arrange everything but I finally feel like I'm starting on the residency and I'm really looking forward to getting the metal sheets to test what I can cut with the laser cutter - my plan is to cut a series of small 'sample' patterns which will hopefully provide a new form of 'wire' to weave into sculptures.
If it works as planned (and lets face it things rarely go to plan but its the happy accidents that tend to move my art practice forward) I will be able to incorporate both science and natural pattern elements within the wire.
So in anticipation of the delivery of metal sheets I am working on the Adobe Illustrator files, which I'm creating at home at present, as its a lot easier for me to work here ... and this brings me onto another aspect of my art practice - where it takes place, but I think that's a whole new blog subject so I'll try to start one for each aspect (laser cutter, 3d printer, how I work) ...
Once I've worked out how to add images here I'll post some of the patterns I'm working with at the moment!