At the end of this project the course notes advise completing with a series of five or six samples developing what you’ve done so far.
The obvious starting point is ARC WELDING! I could get a little obsessive about this – I want to get better – in the same way I was when I learnt to knit – each time I come to it I can see something new that last time was invisible to me.
After the last samples have been focusing on corners and angles I decided to push this further with welding the steel at all manner or angles, using a combination of flat and cornered steel. Mr Man got me a welder’s helmet that is about as heavy as a baseball hat and that made an immediate impact facilitating easier movement. The welder’s gloves, being man size, are still rather unwieldy and cumbersome but essential. Having left last night’s post saying corners do not have to be perpendicular – well there’s lost of perpendicular and 45 degree joins today!
I am becoming more accomplished at the flat joins, or where I am welding the concave surface of a join. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to welding convex joins and right-angled seams. Nevertheless, in the photos I can now see the blue on the steel that I couldn’t before. This indicates good penetration as the heat has moved this far up in the steel. i can now feel the moment I hit the slag with the chipping hammer whether the weld is a goodun or not. the slag comes of in great flakes where I have been most effective, but powders off in the least successful welds.
Why welding as a development? Because I can introduce considerable scale. I can increase depth, breadth, strength in other words structure, more quickly and solidly. If I’m considering the architectural appeal of textile forms then this gives me some engineering to frame.
I would somehow like to work towards being able to combine glass and steel and crocheted silk – silk being stronger than steel.
I have a lot of learning to do before I reach this. But it’s an idea that continues to germinate.
I want to be able to create textile pieces that are interactive, touchable, in-on-and-through-able! I want surprise and adventure. I want intrigue and play. I do not envisage making works that are so precious they have to be held imprisoned behind glass. Perhaps I might suspend a fragile piece within glass or resin, but I want that to be touchable.
This leaves me with choices: wearable art – fabric design, fashion design, costume design; liveable art – soft furnishing design, wallpaper design; stage designs; then there’s some kind of structural installation…
In the meantime series sample a:
This picture illustrates the blue I was talking about. Also, while I was in my own little world of sparks and melting metals someone came into the yard. When I stopped to check my work he came over and remarked how unusual it was to see a woman welding. I explained I was simply learning and I was told that ‘this bit is very good’. I take that as real praise since: 1) it’s unsolicited from a stranger 2) from a man who looks like he knew welding 3) from a man driving a farm truck 4×4 beast thing – not usually taken to effusions of praise.
Therefore, I give you my first public exhibit:
Oh the fame and the glory – best not let it go to my head!
(And I am not so secretly in love with all the photo reveals as visual food – bubbles, ripples, iridescence, scratch lines, pooling, shine and shadow).
The following boards hopefully show the range of angles and corners that I have been creating as well as the way I have pieced them together into a single structure – since there is no way this piece is ever going to be posted!! The photos show the good and the bad, the successful and still someway off – but all of these have a visual appeal when I look at these as raw visual material rather than simply viewing in terms of a slowly improving process and technique.
I have videoed the piece to give a 360 degree view – but it needs improving as it made me feel seasick! When the piece has cooled I can collect it from the workshop and put some time and calm into making a better clip.
Next time I’d like to have a go a welding curved pieces and rods. Not sure whether there’s any of those hanging around spare but I’ll get on the lookout…