Rounding up Project 2

So where am I now? I think I’ve come to a stop with sample making for Part 3. The final sample – the frozen water bottle with 3d pen has been completed. The 3d pen survives freezing without any visible changes and when the ice melts it appears unaltered. The big difference is the freezing process does not cause the writing to float to the surface it remains in the centre of the bottle:

Here the survivors of Project 1 and 2 are assembled:


I’d like to spend a little longer developing threads that are hanging loose so they have a bit of strength in them should I like to revisit them in a later part or module.

Today I selected which pieces I will post to my tutor and also refined my selection for The Chosen Pieces for this part. But, I’ll detail these in a later post. For now, samples that still hold potential and further exploration:

Samples that speak of Part 3 for me. It doesn’t seem very much but as I said I’ll explain my thinking and choices in a separate post. I needed to take the sorting mood while it had me (it doesn’t happen very often). Sadly, the sample on the left is now in a few pieces…so I’ve saved it into my sketchbook (little mishap with washing line and not looking where I was going).

For tonight, I’ve been pondering on Judy’s sharp eyed comment on my last post, ‘A trace of a gesture is not a mark? It seems important to you to make a distinction.’ I’ve been thinking about this all day. Yes, I suppose it is important to me. If this is so I ought to be able to qualify and reason this.

I did some making to help me get to a clearer answer. First, converting music to a long piece of unwritten writing – a whole room long. Then it demanded I paint the undertone with a small brush and orange/red paint. This was the hidden message, the underneath and semi-concealed thinking that goes on just below the surface. The black was with a large household brush and black poster paint and it marked the music as it moves inside me. The effect is somewhat calligraphic and incredibly uniform and organised. there are even some identical moves and ‘letters’. As I painted I was thinking how it felt inside and shut my eyes moving along the paper, opening my eyes every few seconds to top up the brush with paint. I kept my eyes open for the red writing. Even though I painted it flat on the ground, from left to right, it demands looking at vertically. Interesting.


I played with shadow drawing of some of the 3d pen sketches.

For me mark-making is leaving a pigmented surface behind – the change being predominantly coloured (including monochrome in this assertion). The painted marks above were gestures – bodily, muscular – but they were not traces – the shadow sketches are traces of the 3d pen work. Although there is a clear design and line, the trace is something other than mark. It is an impression -the cast: thinking wormcasts, cast shadows, a channel in a surface that is left from the passage of something other- a trace of a smile, a tracing (an impression, copy, echo) trace fossils – the original traced can be absent. Whereas a gesture is the body’s movement and this can be secured with a mark – this is the boundary where body meets surface and leaves a stain/pigment/colour. A tool can be part of this translation – here the paintbrush was the tool to translate the gesture representing the inner movement of music in my body. So a trace of a gesture would be the impression left behind, not the mark remaining on the surface. To put this another way, if someone constantly raises their arms threatening to hit, the trace of that gesture is left as fear and flinching. When the hit lands on the body it leaves a mark. That’s a marked gesture. Hurt is mark of a gesture. Harm is the trace.

Henri Michaux was aiming to create the pre-gesture – mapping the very mechanism of the mind on the page. I’m exploring writing the language of my mind. Soul-writing. If you get to the very heart of this inner language where there is an archetypal mind, there must be archetypal marks and traces! I wonder what the archetypal language looks like when it’s recorded?

And note to self: message in a bottle – make one and see what happens. I’ve decided that a suprasemic message needs to go on a journey from here in a bottle. My only wrangling is the bottle – plastic will float – but I don’t want to put any more plastic in the ocean?!

Update 18.5.16 We had a reflection shared at work today that was all about healing and curing. That’s interesting in the light of my differentiating between hurt and harm, trace and mark. I wonder if it is a workable investigation to develop these apparent pairings?

4 thoughts on “Rounding up Project 2

  1. I thing it is an interesting route to look at your pairings – to go to the extremes of either end of mark and trace to see what lies there and in between. I see in the floor drawing large/small, colour/non-colour other pairings. I particulaly am attracted to your shadows drawings – maybe also after reading about Claude Heath, who did some topography work that looks so much these works. Interesting how you record inner/outer worlds.


  2. I think we’re following different trains of thought. Catching up on a backlog of blog reading, it seemed to me you were privileging text and language above above gesture and mark. To me writing is a poor means of communication, of expression. It is a restraint on gesture, a projection of the multi-dimensional internal world onto a two dimensional plane.

    To me a distinction between mark and trace is not useful where there is personal agency. “Mark making” shattered “drawing” and “sketching” for me, liberated me, and I’m not going to put on new constraints. My marks are my expression, my communication, my transformation / selection / observation of worlds interior and exterior. The marks may be pigment or scratches or sculptures or decomposing pages blowing in the wind. They may be ephemeral, captured in film or memory. They may include text or text-like forms and rhythms. There is the trace of the shadow, but what is it when transformed by being captured in a photograph? I should say, noticed by you and captured in a photograph.

    In the end all these words are means to an end, and all have different ends. We each need to find what works for us.

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  3. oh wow. The paintings look like oriental scrolls to me. I love the frozen 3d writing too and am somehow satisfied to know that the writing didn’t sink or float. If it was me I’d be tempted to try it in a jelly too, you could get it to move, or show something inside a jelly bunny…. I’m always bad at knowing when to stop however. Love the variety and imagination in your work.


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