After lots of research input it was time for some output. I wanted to go back to using the simplest resources I have available (refuse packaging and paper) to begin this exercise.
I’ve been internalising the research from Nic Webb and Kathryn Wightman and all the other artists I’ve been studying in this part. Now was the time to see what they had influenced in my making.
I played with layering and alternating papers, some smoothed, some crumpled by stitching together with a simple running stitch, ensuring that layers overlapped one on top of the other – those onion layers, the building up of the glass surface, almost like a cut-away in a geological section. I like the interplay between the print and plain, the translucent and opaque. Whilst these neutrals normally require an invigorating burst of colour to satisfy me, it was clearer to see the edges by removing this possible addition. When I looked back through my sketchbook I wanted to see which input had impacted this design and noticed the Nic Webb image – I added threaded through sections of raffia to mark the resemblance further.
I loved the threading through feeling of the raffia, it almost felt like tendrils of a story reaching out for the reader, or the story growing roots or shoots and continuing to thrive beyond the page. I liked that the addition of these tendrils broke up the vertical lines of the main part of the sample and added far more movement and visual interest.
This sample used burlap to imitate the peg tile construction of Kathryn Wightman’s work ‘Embellishment’. I joined the pieces with an irregular star of a stitch, somewhat lie a cross-stitch in construction. Looking at the back there is that trace of the construction, like a map of its making or a constellation of its own. The upper surface (burlap sewn to brown paper) is pleasing in its irregular repeats – this is probably the closest to symmetrical that I can find comfortable. I love that it has an appearance of a geometric construction yet that secret map behind tells a linear and less direct creation.
I’ve been doing some additional work in my sketchbook on the glass domes/ glass stretched lace bubbles concept and having got myself a book on Louise Bourgeois, as a result of my tutors prompting in feedback to part one, I noticed its thought-relation in her pieces ‘Germinal ‘ and ‘Avenza’.
Perhaps these bubbles are a cocoon, or hat, or astronaut’s suit… perhaps the outside surface is important to consider but so is the interior – is this where the viewer would be, or could the viewer be on the outside looking in – what would be seen then? Like looking down a domed rabbit hole! Perhaps the joining that’s being practiced here in this part, isn’t just the acquisition of technical skills, but the interrogation of what it means to be separate and joined and the nature of that connection.
Can you be connected behind a thin membrane of separation? Can osmosis be connection – could a moving sculpture – a flow of colour or material across a structure be seen as connecting overlapping edges? And how could this be realised?
Then of course there’s sound – the overlapping of conversation – how it can interlock and lap forward and back with a friend, how the meaning can spiral over and around and through and the sound meets and joins. Could a sample be made that shows sound – could it convey a piece of dance music? conversation? How exciting would that be to make a piece that showed the overlapping architecture of sound/speech/ story/ music. Come to think of it we would call this a musical or narrative composition. I’ve never made this connection before – from the Latin ‘componere’ to ‘put together’ – any compostion is therefore a join!
I agree with Baudelaire:
“What would be truly surprising would be to find that sound could not suggest colour, that colours could not evoke the idea of a melody, and that sound and colour were unsuitable for the translation of ideas, seeing that things have always found their expression through a system of reciprocal analogy.”