T1:MMT; Pt 3:Stage 4 Sorting

In this section I need to show that I have made improvements given my tutor’s previous feedback. I need to consider selecting pieces that have really worked for me being tight with my choices. Furthermore, I need to pinpoint influences that are really prominent in my mind.

Firstly, I chose my materials and had available plaster of paris; clay and a paper based air drying clay that had some flexibility. In Project 2 I added resin and wax to these. Whilst there are still many materials e.g. latex/silicone to investigate I feel that I really wanted to invest my time and energy in the results that were emerging, particularly from the use of plaster and resin, and later the heated plastic filaments of the 3d pen.

There have been many failures, or not-gone-the-way-I-anticipated results. These are by no means dead ends and have often provoked a far more interesting result in following pieces. It has been a steep learning curve using all these materials and following (or not) instructions on how to prepare them.  There has also been a considerable change of pace where work cannot be produced instantaneously and preparation and purchase of resources is necessary. Not all has been as expected and I’m glad really. The direction this project has taken as I’ve attempted to slow down and enrich rather than speed forward sampling has taken quite an unexpected turn into the world of asemic writing. This is predominantly due to a timely visit to the Turner Contemporary at the start of this module seeing the works of Henri Michaux and Turner reconsidered and re-presented by Joachim Koester. There have been defining moments and epiphanies – over the nature of drawing, trying to discover how to ‘write’ the inner workings of my mind, as well as the use of a 3d pen to facilitate investigation into these lines of enquiry. I have also realised that for me, ‘personal voice’ in my artwork is about finding the question that lies at the heart of me, being truthful to this enquiry and investigating it, sharing my findings and discoveries however I can, and learning techniques to accompany the communication of this.

My significant influences have been the visual and written works of Louise Bourgeois and Henri Michaux. These have led me to other inspiring artists and I have hopefully shared this in the Bibliography. Without the philosophies and practices of these two artists I feel my work would have been the poorer. Furthermore, I owe much to the ‘inscape’ and ‘instress’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins that continues to inspire me to find the ultimate defining gesture of our very being-ness.

The key question that I’ve been exploring has been: ‘What if I cast the inner surface of me – what would that be like?’

The first piece that begins to investigate this concept as well as developing a process is the t-shirt sample from Project 1.

This was a joy. I had no preconceptions as to how it would turn out and peeling away the t-shirt revealed a clarity and sensitivity to texture I could not have anticipated. Every detail, scrunch and seam had remained in the cast. The piece was fragile and strong and felt that it held a moment of very much human inhabited time. Temporal and corporeal.

This encouraged me with the use of plaster. The next sample I would select (initially discussed here) is the failed plastic rope and plaster cast. The crochet had failed to leave a cast as the fibres of the rope had pulled the cast to shreds yet in using the camera to sketch this sample I noticed how much it resembles an ice-scape. Piercing its surface with sea-smoothed glass and binding this together brought previous modules to bear, helping this project feel less separate. The piercing and cutting with glass and the shattering of the plaster into the hole created a somatic response in me, allowing me to feel I was responding to that question. These shards of glass hurt to gouge in, yet remained bluntly immersed like splinters of pain, though they allowed the light in/out of the wound. This sample also revealed to me the possible exploration of the rough and smooth sides as metaphor for internal/external.

This concept of the surface of the cast being the surface of my mind evolved into the developed sample of another cotton/jersey plaster cast. This piece is the first sample that I explored further (shared in detail here) manipulating the surface with poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins considering the mountains of the mind on the rough t-shirt cast side, but supported on the smooth side with personal writing concerning my previous hiding in silence and invisibility – a smoothing off of myself so nothing would stick.


This opened the door for securing the writing that was being developed. What would the language of my mind look like if I had to write it down? I knew it had to be free of the page which gave the purpose for moulding using resin. Whilst this project directed you to mould the inner surface, this is exactly what I was trying to investigate, but not of a given object, but me. I chose a plastic bottle as the container, I am the vessel, with all the symbolism and metaphorical narrative  that I could read and which has been pointed out to me by others.

I was at first a bit aghast that the heat of the curing resin had caused the writing to melt and re-fuse and float to the surface. But on consideration this has been my most rich sample and I return to it again and again to sketch with my camera and sketching app and with more traditional sketching materials.

The pieces above would be my chosen samples for an exhibited collection of this module.

For my own selection I would like to highlight the following samples as still containing properties, processes and concepts that I would like to investigate singly and in combination at a later time. I anticipate they may be ‘threads’ that are picked up further on in my studies. I am currently continuing to develop my drawing and sketching in the light of interests that are emerging: notably how to present what it looks like inside of me, my inner surface, and whether delving into that can take me to the universal language at the very heart of being human.

6 thoughts on “T1:MMT; Pt 3:Stage 4 Sorting

  1. I like this focus, showing the connected story of your work.
    Interesting that both of us experienced productive “failures” with the exothermic curing of resin. A material property I would like to explore.


    1. Ah…that’s the proper term! It gets jolly hot! Now I understand how your bags ‘failed’ and revealed the dribbles and resulting forms to you. I love the resin but I’m feeling guilty about putting this ‘plastic’ into the world? Anything you could advise on this?


      1. The resin I use is claimed to have “eco” credentials – less resources used in manufacture, less fumes. I’m not using huge volumes. But really it’s true – my presence and actions have an impact. I’d guess below personal average of people living in my city, but above global average. Our new car is a hybrid – do you focus on “new” (although the first in over 20 years) or “hybrid” so more efficient?


      2. Good question. I asked my other half about the resin and he explained it is a by-product of the petrol industry. It would exist for as long as we demand petrol. Pour a capful of this base – without catalyst – into a river and it would kill swathes. Drop the cured resin formed from the base+ catalyst and the damage would be lessened.

        I’ll have to look into this, but both your and his points have me thinking.


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