T1: MMT: Pt 3: Molding and Casting

I’ve been doing some reading on semiotics of design by Elka Kazmierczak and was struck by one particular line that seems poignant to what I am trying to achieve with my ‘Big View’ intention as well as for this particular part that I am opening to commence.

Kazmierczak says in her paper, ‘Shortcuts to meaning, or diagrams and making sense out of image-text de-signs’, ‘By giving shape to our experiences we make sense of them.’

I am going to keep this at the forefront of my mind as a way of finding some freedom within another process/technique led Part. This way I may find a means of conceptualizing my thought into the design. Or more significantly if the surface, the shape of the molding and casting can convey my meaning.

First, I have to experiment with the materials and techniques!

But before that, I have wished to continue sketching with a sense-expression attitude.

I started with some exercises: what type of mark do different drawing media make? Is there any mark here that speaks of me?


I liked the feel of the aquarelle and the glass nib and ink, I also felt, surprisingly, that the biro and 2H pencil kept a sharpness of line that I liked. The charcoal pencil was too movable, as were the pastel pencils.

Next I moved on to exploring oil pastels and colour. I chose pastels, closed my eyes and tried to draw what I could feel in me as I drew. I was interrupted by the door bell and tried again (the left hand side being after interruption, the right-hand side: before).



Although these are abstract, they need no explaining, they are simply improvisations on the page and what I am looking at is when I close my eyes and take that judgement away am I creating a more true line for me – is the sketch showing more personal quality of line and if I can get to this how can it be brought to play in this part on molding and casting?

Next I took series shots of building up a more developed sketch that involved an initial blind drawing, then changing colour, more blind, some eyes open, change colour etc.:


Those carousel colours have been working their magic in my subconscious:


This has been a curious experiment as all I was drawing was what I could hear and feel in the everyday normality of things. No music on, no Big Feelings, no particular expression other than the expression of me being here in this moment breathing and sketching ( with some rain in the background and my children up to their own thing just “off camera”).

It was useful to have had the camera to record the steps taken. For my next experiment I played with working in series, but taking away rather than adding to at each step. This time I created a whole new sketch for each step, rather than removing by obliterating the first sketch (though this may be a worthy investigation).


I really appreciate what I have learnt here – that sometimes a sketch can become more complex the simpler it gets, and several steps in series may need to be taken before the essence of the line speaks purely – no more and no less than is needed.

Final sketch rotated sat adjacent to first upright:


Intermediate sketch and final:


Whilst I was picking out features I could see dinosaur backbones, curled up cat x-rays, novelty yarns – it was a surprise that the final sketch slimmed down to become such an ethereal feathery wisp. But it seems to say more by showing less?

I have discovered that:

I cannot create the free and expressive lines that please me when 1) I am sketching sat down; 2) I am working with a hand driven tool rather than a whole body/whole arm wielded household paintbrush; 3) I use A4,A3, A2 paper- I need bigger paper and an unlimited frame – the brushstrokes need to define the scale and dimensions of the sketch rather than the paper.

I returned to reading the sensorial sketch book which advised another blind series of the 4 elements. All you were to do was improvise on the page what you felt change in you when you considered each element in turn. Water and Earth are almost too embarrassing for me to share as they are so formulaic and predictable and dull.


I hated using the pastel for the first drawing: earth, so moved to work with aquarelle from my late Granny’s collection – still working beautifully. I hated how illustrative and tame the lines were for water. then I moved to fire. The improvisation was beginning to become more free and it was here I recognised that what was neutralising the energy and stultifying my work was a lack of scale and bodily movement.

I finished with air – the most ephemeral, invisible, intangible gave me the greatest ease of delivery. What is that all about? There is a nebulous quality to this that could be enlarged and expanded in any which direction – this is not the enveloping circle, this is something other – there is a shift here that I haven’t quite grasped, but I suspect it is something to do with purity: this last sketch is less self-conscious, less contrived, more free.


I wonder whether you could cast and mold air?




Elka Kazmierczak:


2 thoughts on “T1: MMT: Pt 3: Molding and Casting

  1. Beautiful and mesmerising work, Lottie. I absolutely love the carousel-coloured images, what movement and energy. And also the grey/black arc – so graceful yet eloquent. Takes my breath away – again.


  2. Do you ever catch yourself thinking, ‘That came out of me?’ How different the sketches are – how much stuff is inside us that we have yet to discover!


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