Sunday, 28 April 2013

Three more weave samples. The one I really like is the white one. The warp is a spun silk, quite thick.  

Stitching, and stitching, and stitching today. It looks a little rougher than I had planned.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The experiments with folded wax paper made me smile a lot. Lovely slippery corners and holes.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

I made a couple of 3d figure drawings out of wax and string. I'm aiming to get them cast in aluminium next week but they may disappear so I thought I'd photograph them. I do have a passion for shadows and I think they both throw out nice lines so I'll use this as a drawing form again.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Three butterflies in my garden yesterday. A brimstone, a brown one and a blue. And this morning, a fox.
The paper bowl, which I mentioned a month or so back, is out of it's plaster mold. It isn't really a bowl any more, which wasn't a surprise as it had collapsed as the plaster was poured in, but the texture of the geranium paper is clearer, and that's before cleaning so it may be more remarkable once that's done. And I think this piece may be worth giving a patination if time allows. I'm going to really miss the uni workshops and fantastic technicians, particularly Jim in the 3d studio who is a generous and patient teacher, and David and Neil in the textiles studios.


The samples are an inch to two inches wide. Each one is threaded up differently but the lifting plan is the same, a basic twill.  The warp is sand coloured Connemara linen, which is quite thin, and a little stiff before washing. The crossing threads, weft, vary, I've used spun silk, viscose and a cobalt blue Connemara linen. It is striking how different they are to each other. It's a small, simple adjustment but the capacity to tweak a design and completely, or slightly, alter the result is gratifyingly huge. And, although, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I'm a little anxious about the quality of my show work, I am pleased I have taken the time to try out this idea because I feel like my design skills are stronger for beginning this project. 

Friday, 19 April 2013

I've been weaving ribbon samples. I wanted to understand, really understand, how threading up the warp changes the material that I weave. The results are so-so which is unnerving at this stage of my degree, and at a time when other people on my course are making amazing pieces of work. But I have to remember that my degree has been for me about learning, about finding out and building a core body of skills that I can then draw upon post graduating. 
The ribbon samples feel like the beginning of new project. I often find that as I explore a brief, ideas begin to flow and I am drawn on to explore new paths. It's my adventure I guess. Stitching, and unpicking cloth, and weaving threads may not seem very adventurous but I find it really exciting and wonderful.

Feeling breathless, the final portfolio hand in, and the build for the end of year show is upon us. One month, well slightly less, to go. I have too much to do so blogging may take a back seat, or, may be a way to calm my nerves, to follow and log my process, my progress. 
So here goes with some of my latest bits. My intention for the show is to set up a low stage with a step ladder on and a long piece of worked linen falling from ceiling to floor and cascading over the steps which will have samples on them. I've been thinking about different levels and directional focus, high, low, face forwards, face back. Also movement. My tutor suggested having the ladder half toppling or upside down, which I'll admit I hadn't considered. I'm glad he suggested it because I like the idea of making the ladder more active, but I'm not sure about that for this exhibition as I think I'm hoping to create a point of stillness. Stillness that feels like a last deep breath before my time at uni comes to a close. My hope is that it will all fall into place and that as I sigh out that last breath I will know I am finished and ready to move on to the next thing.

Friday, 12 April 2013

More puppets with my grandchildren. This time, Dogs Don't do Ballet It was very funny, a pantomime puppet show. My little grand-daughter, nearly two watched in rapt silence, and my grandson, who is nearly four, loved it.  


Friday, 5 April 2013

Went to see a children's puppet show this morning with my daughter and grandchildren. The story was called Cloudman, and described a whimsical journey to the top of the mountain to make a childhood dream come true. There was a wicked twist to the story towards the end, but it finished happily ever after.  

Monday, 1 April 2013

The other things that I have set up for the most recent bronze pour at uni, were a series of samples of folded paper coated in wax. These are a follow-on from the paper bowls. They are made from run of the mill watercolour paper and some wax that I had kicking about at home as these materials are cheap and accessible. I thought it would be interesting to see in small pieces how the bronze poured into the folds. I don't mind if they go wrong. I am often most interested in how to engineer flaws into my work. And if, they magically cast exactly as they are, then "ta da"  I have learnt that that is possible too. On the advice of the Jim, who I mentioned in an earlier blog, I used kebab stick sprues to aid the flow of the bronze. 
As our easter holiday draws to a close, and the likely craziness of the final term gets closer, I am excited to see how these small pieces work out.



The bowl that I had cast earlier hadn't really worked out well. It is very solid. I had wanted it to be lighter, visually if not physically, like the paper bowl that it was initially formed from. I had another piece of the geranium paper in my sample stock so I decided to make another bowl to see if I could get the affect I was after. The paper bowl came out prettily, I wondered about putting a coating of shellac on it to help it hold it's shape. I decided not to, this was a mistake as it was too fragile to stand up against the plaster as it was poured into the mold. But one of the things I love is sampling, and although there is an "ouch moment" when a sample goes wrong, there is also an "aha, not like that moment" to counterbalance. And a feeling that I know a little bit more about the materials I'm using, what they can and cannot do, the boundaries against which I am pushing. The photographs are the remains of the paper bowl. I have no idea how it will come out of the pour, flat and a little sorry for itself I suspect. However I liked it's form in paper, the holes and shadows and how the light cuts through it and this has inspired me to do more paper work.