Stage 4: Sorting Part 4

In this section I intend to consider Part 4 leading to selecting pieces that have really worked for me, continuing to be tight with my choices as per feedback previous to this part. Furthermore, I intend to clarify key influences for this section of my work.

Firstly, I made a dramatic change to how I record thoughts and ideas and turned to a journal. I wouldn’t say this transition has been easy and at points has marked a separation and discomfort with my process and progress. However, I can understand the need to simplify the blog for assessment purpose, but I have felt myself as someone cut off from the usual poetry and philosophy that emerges when I consider my thoughts through the medium of the blog. I would also say it has made the coursework seem somewhat impersonal and too consciously formed. Therefore, I continue to work on how to resolve a happy medium in this matter. Notably, I have found instagram a useful resource for brutally selecting which works I share with a wider audience and which remain for the blog/sketchbook/journal. It has been much easier to sort my visual responses with this tool. Now, I need to consider what resources might help me sort my written thoughts more concisely.

Commencing Part 4, I was able to put into use a very recent workshop on using the gelliplate as printing plate. I love this process. It is fluid, immediate, rapid, uncomplicated and immediate. I experimented with positive and negative images, a variety of found objects and early on I believe I was using the gelliplate to undertake collatype (more on collatype in a moment). Furthermore, over the course of this part I attended a workshop with Cas Holmes that again reinforced and introduced new ways of printing with found surfaces and materials and embellishing this with stitch (which I have loved and continue to investigate). It is important to add that I do recognise the key difference between the ex3 collatype is its ability to be reproduced – you are creating a printing plate from which many prints can be take – the collatype style process on the gelliplate is more likely to create monoprints – ironically at the start of this course I do not get the point of a monoprints – now (except for the painting on a plate which I still don’t appreciate fully) I most certainly do; it is this spontaneity, chance, fluidity and surprise that I search for.

In amongst the significant successes there has been monumental failure and I have had to work through the disappointment and disillusionment that accompanied Project 2: collatype using filler and pva. These methods did not work for me. As detailed on these parts in my blog they were an almost insurmountable dislike and I was confronted with a total inability to surprise myself – the unexpected being something that I look for in my work as necessary.

I think what was a blow too, was having to work through exercises just as I had found a combination of print and other processes which were enabling me to create intuitive and expressive work and thereby providing me with a fascinating line of enquiry. I very much hope to resurrect this abandoned strand of ‘Not All Wounds are Visible’ in Part 5.

The printing part has been timely in that my local area holds a print festival over the Summer, which enabled me to enrich my visual knowledge of this field. I attended a number of galleries to seek inspiration. As it was, the best inspiration emerged from my prints themselves.

The key question that I’ve been exploring has been a development from part 3 where I was asking: ‘What if I cast the inner surface of me – what would that be like?’ in this part I’ve modified it to ‘What if I print the inner surface of me – what would that be like?’

The first piece that begins to investigate this concept with the added value of ambiguity as well as developing in process skills, is the green heart that I posted for crit on the forum. After this piece and the pushing of it further and further for depth, the printing exploded as I printed using brusho on acetate combining layers- finding that the usual single layer for print surface did not offer me enough of a platform to say what I was trying to feel.

This was a joy. The work was evolving and finding its own momentum. New lines of enquiry in research opened up and coalesced – I learnt about visceral wounds, the impact of trauma on the physiology, Porges research into the polyvagal nerve and I was excited and animated and enjoying the experience of creating, then putting the work out to speak for itself and convey its own message interpreted by the audience at will. This work led into a far more in-depth study of the monoprints of Tracey Emin and she has become a significant influence as a result of this, her sketches have led me on to look at the drawings of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt as well as trying to redress my intense dislike of the prints of local-t0-me artist Billy Childish (unsuccessfully I may add). My other inspiratrice Elzbieta Kazmierczak continues to encourage and challenge me with my expression and healing. She has kindly responded to my work by email, exploring the concepts and conditions with which this investigation of my inner surface has taken me. I continue to respect and admire her work and words (thank you Elzbieta). Working alongside Cas Holmes again in workshop, has reassured and reinvigorated my exploration of the surface and I owe Cas a huge dept of gratitude for teaching me how to free-motion embroider on the machine and furthermore how to change the weight of yarn in the bobbin (thank you Cas) which I immediately employed in the next ‘wound’. As a result of being reacquainted with my machine and free-stitching with different weight yarns it occurs to me know that it might be possible to use this surface as a print base for further works in part 5. Lastly, Louise Bourgeois. Ever on the perimeter, ever fading in and out of focus in her influence.

I have tried to bring forward processes from previous parts to continue to explore them in different context: e.g. burning, suprasemic writing, use of the 3D printing pen, multi-layering surfaces, using a plaster cast form from part 3. I believe I will take these forward again from here. I haven’t included resin during this part but that does leave it open for exploration in part 5 if I wish.

Overall, if I were to exhibit based on this part I would chose the following pieces for their voice, use of printing technique and potential for development.

Although I had to end this part on a down note after struggling with exercise 3, by sorting through I can focus on the learning and progress that has actually occurred and which I will reflect on fully in Assignment 4.

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.

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?

T1: MMT: Pt 3: Pj 2 iv

This is going to be a very hard post to type. Somewhere between here and my previous sample I have made an exponential leap in purpose and context. I cannot work out how to reasonably summarise what has happened?!

I suspect the most effective way would be to create a visual timeline.

When I started my textiles course with OCA, my introductory assignment feedback pinpointed an emerging use of text in my work and my tutor encouraged me with: ‘it may be worth delving deeper into the combination of text in your work. This is a significant element for this submission and I would like to see it develop.’

When I struggled with collage in a later submission it was my own handwriting that I resorted to create my monochromatic paper in a somewhat subversive tone. My tutor’s feedback commented:’The collage takes off when you move into the stitched work. As mentioned earlier the colour is not so personal in the initial collage work – don’t be afraidto paint over and change the colour of your found materials. The black and white ‘doing my head in’ piece is the strongest because the composition is not interrupted by the recognition of stuck down paper – it takes on an unfamiliar texture and the writing relates to, and enhances, the stitch.’

There’s the first ghost of a whisper: ‘it takes on an unfamiliar texture’

The writing effects the paper and the stitch and is in turn effected by these, but now we’re talking WRITING not ‘text’.

Then creating yarns inspired by collage I wondered how you could make a secret capsule yarn, that would keep a written secret safe and hidden within a central core. this developed out of my idea of an interactive yarn which you could move to respond ‘yes/no’ in a window. The hidden core yarn emerged, safeguarding a handwritten message within its very heart. This time my feedback recognises:‘Here you really begin to compose with your techniques. The drawing and the making merge. Your use of text also brings meaning and concept more clearly into focus. These pieces almost make the stitch look like handwriting –as if looking at a foreign language… A very strong collection of samples.’ Now the ghost of a whisper is a clear call: ‘text brings meaning and concept…stitch look like handwriting – as if looking at a foreign language’ Now text and writing are attached to meaning communication beyond the graphical – there’s a barrier between comprehension – here emerging as something awaiting translation.

In the first part of MMT, my tutor noted in her feedback: The   printed  pages  once  folded,  conjured  up,  a  sense,  that  the  text  had  been  reduced  into   a  code.’ Here, in an apparently unconnected exercsie the text and writing theme emerges again. In part 2 it has eveolved further with the emerging interest of the boundary between things concelaed/revealed. With the support of my tutor I was able to navigate a trickly brick wall with wrapping and came through to develop work that invites a response from the audience, as tutor feedback for this part explains: ‘this opens the narrative of the hurtful words perhaps being transformed or transported.’ Now transformation enters the picture, noting further that with one specimen I can ‘reveal or conceal as much information as desired – the position of the viewer is in your hands’ – communication and meaning now become integrated with composition and expression.

This all sifted back down into my subconscious until this project and it has emerged with quite a punch. Combining ideas of expressive line emerging in my drawing, aiming for something beyond abstract expressionism, bringing that internal vocabulary, that internal language to life and the current project of casting the inner surface of a vessel I have stumbled upon something very exciting and inspiring. Something I really want to investigate and importantly now I know why!

In order to push the boundaries of a creative field or domain the rules/skills of that particular domain or field have to be fully known and integrated in order to be subsumed and innovated upon. The only thing I feel fully competent in is handwriting. My personal handwriting developed when I was 14. I finished an exam with an hour to spare and knowing there was nothing to do, nothing to correct and I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the exam hall with anything I decided to use the extra paper you could have to redesign my handwriting. I may not have been able to leave with anything physical, but I left with my own script designed by me, breaking various rules of what you should and shouldn’t do whilst maintaining the requirements of legibility and fluidity. I think it was my first ‘really me’ expression in paper. It has nothing to do with calligraphy or cursive script rules or copperplate, it just made me feel good to write it and look back at it. It did take a few years to settle into a mature style, but that was the beginning.

I loved writing. I love words. I wrote poetry. Very self-conscious and teen-angst driven until I discovered the word, of etymology and then words themselves became whole narratives – lives captured in a sound, I was hooked as to how words acquire their meaning, how this meaning can be corrupted and destroyed or made fixed and sacred. Later the world of semiotics opened for me with a unit of learning on linguistics. But rather than pursue something wich actually awakened my curiosity, something new and invigorating I left it alone and pursued the study of poetry: from the first poetry in Old English, through the works of Middle English poets up to the Surrealists. Words were pouring into me and pouring out of me. Words that transformed in front of my eyes, words that became shape and form: not just sound and voice. Words became free of the page. I believe one of the things that stopped me going completely crazy and losing all hope during the dark days was the amount of poetry I knew off-by-heart in my head. I could tap into the mystical, the spiritual, the profane, the humourous without letting on a blink. I could escape with the slave poets, I could fly above it all with the ancient makeres. I could be afraid of Grendel instead of the reality in front of me. All this internal language, all this inner wealth. I could philosophise with Hopkins and Stevie Smith. Ezra Pound and Walt Whitman could get me to wake up and see through the moment to the living beyond.

How impossible it is for me to believe that I silenced myself for so long. That the fight had been frightened out of me. I put nothing on paper. I said nothing. Out of fear I trapped all those words.

And now they’re spilling out.

All these messages in a bottle that I keep missing until someone else points it out. I can’t  quite track how I leapt from realising I was trying to make my writing do something other than just be writing: may be it was the 3d pen experiments? May be it was what happened in the resin? May be it was all those years ago when as a teenage I wanted my writing to do much much more than just transcribe?

I looked back at Henri Michaux. I feel a real understanding of where he was in his head and what he was trying to do by exploring the trance states and trying to transcribe his experience. The research I did yesterday, hinted at in my last post has been a true epiphany. Here were other artists trying to making writing do something else. Make writing not writing. Then I discovered the term asemic and all these pieces of life that I’d thrown up in the air at various points in the living started falling to the ground and showing me what I was looking at but had never seen: the semantics, the handwriting, the poetry, the philosophy, the feeling of things that shouldn’t be felt, the seeing of things that should be heard, the hearing of things that should be seen…the impact of music on my internal space, the aim to see myself as the vessel in this project and what my inner surface might look like. It is all part of one picture. All pages of the map that I have been missing.

I cannot talk of all that has made me into who I am today. I am wiser, stronger, more tender, more aware of my inner resources. Communication was stolen from me and yet I survived. No-one heard me when I did speak up. My words meant nothing. My words became simultaneously my life-preserver and my greatest enemy.

Asemic writing has now got me in its grip. Yet Michaux, I thank you for your lifeline, sent out at the hands of Joachim Koester. It was timely. Now I pick up the baton and I’m running, it’s hard to keep up with myself.

What if writing could carry more meaning than the words themselves. What if it became for me both noun and verb? What if writing were a map of my inner meaning and inner surface dictated through gesture? What if this writing spoke with its own voice and that voice could be heard differently and directly by each person? What of this suprasemic writing? Where next?



T1: MMT: Assignment 2: Reflection and Review

Here’s the plan to improve on my last attempt at reviewing and the previous attempt at sorting of Part 2, in order to make improvements based on my tutor’s feedback. 

Part 2 in 10 seconds: Strongest Lines of Enquiry:


Broken Barbie:

Sketchbook development:


Louise Bourgeois:

‘For Bourgeois, art was a means of “survival,” not a free career choice, and there was “no escape” from it. The “catharsis” or “sublimation” that it brings may be personally therapeutic, but its “vibrations” reach beyond herself to “universal” emotional situations. “Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.”                                             “How do we deal with our wounded?” is how she formulates the challenge of an artistic vocation.’

Learning Log:

See Bibliography for reference above- I have now added this page to my main menu on the blog- which I hadn’t realised I had forgotten to do too even though I’d been dutifully keeping it acting on feedback to Part 1

Part 2 in 10 minutes: Developing review of strongest lines of enquiry


For joining it has to be sample 5. This piece has 3d form: sturdiness, suggested depth and view through a space, yet also a fragility. There is the beginnings of later samples’ bridging space- joining being much more than simply uniting. I was able to extract much more visual inspiration from this piece by altering photos and playing with ink sketches and tiling selected views in my sketchbook. There is a pleasure in tearing masking tape as well as the semi-translucent property of this resource. There is also a sense of spine and ribs and I wonder if this played into the later mummified wrapping of Broken Barbie.

A possible additional sample from joining would be the wire and organza sample (ex2 sample 6). This piece takes the suggested ribs of the above sample and starts bridging the gap with these. The joining takes place away from the surface at the apex of the curve. The quality of space within the piece is still very similar but the joining has a levity – it is as though the join lifts the surface – the join could pick that organza surface up and fly away with it. Whereas in sample 5 above the joining seems to be giving a backbone – a rigidity, a strength to each element of the piece.

Whilst many others samples were innovated, these two pieces seem to offer further potential for exploration. The wire thread seems to be emerging as a strong feature of this part, mimicking the quality of line that results from biro and blindsketching. There is a freedom and expressiveness in this material.


The final sample that I would choose from joining for selection and reflection is the above soldered sample for ex 5 (ex5 sample f). Whilst this is  a first attempt at soldering and I discovered I could not get the solder to adhere to the waxed paper surface, a surface brought forward for samples in Part 1, I think the result has a visual impact that is worth experimenting with. I need to discover a way of ‘annotating’ the surface with this wiry thread- I wonder having experimented with the 3D gun currently in my studies fro Part 3 that I am unearthing a possible means. I like the contrast between the contours of the paper and the rivulets and droplets of the solder. I especially like the questions that the piece leaves – what is this landscape, where is it? With the way my developing creating is going (into the landscape of the mind) I don’t think this sample is exhausted of possibility. Thus I select it in.

On to wrapping!


This was successful as it marked a radical change in my understanding of wrapping and allowed me to break free of the restrictions of my previous sampling. It was a conceptual change and a symbolic change. Choosing an object that speaks to me symbolically and metaphorically was very important – and it also marked a departure from sampling that followed course notes into sampling that followed my intuition and need to express. This sample also open the potential dialogue between create and object, object and audience, audeince and creator.

Broken Barbie (see above for images)

Broken Barbie built on Flint. The piece moved wrapping of the flint into many layered wrapping, again obscuring the chosen object within. It has layers of form as well as layers of meaning and layers of symbolism. This piece allowed me to connect a real cry from within into and onto a piece. The wrapping became a process of communication rather than a technical process. this was another fundamental breakthrough in my understanding and creating. It also teaches me that not everything has to be shared! Some things can remain hidden but these can add to the poignancy and message of the piece. Layers of wrapping are like layers of a story, every time we come to it we might notice something new, everytime we revisit it we bring the place we are now in along to communicate with the layer that now speaks.

Grit and Pearl:

This piece pushed layering further, wondering how far this process could be explored. This is important for me as I was having to generate new but along a specific line of enquiry rather than generating and innovating another apparently unrelated sample. This piece has taught me that sampling can evolve in series. At the start experimentation must be broad and wide-ranging, playful and experimental, then when the trail is picked up this line should be pushed further and further to see how far it will go. This is a journey from my starting point of wrapping, rather than going back to course notes and staring another road out. A new door opens with this piece: what is the potential of an artwork to transform, heal and transport wounds. Back to Louise Bourgeois’ concern over the challenge of artistic vocation: ‘How do we deal with our wounded?’

Sketchbook work:

I am beginning to feel more confident in my use of the sketchbook. Interestingly although I have asked for all my work back from the assessment for ATV, in actual fact given the choice now, all I really require back are the sketchbooks. If I keep this in the front of my mind it helps me understand the purpose and importance of these to me, and ultimately to an assessor. On reflection I feel I have tried to include sample-making in the sketchbook this time, building on previous feedback from my tutor (part 1 feedback). I have also gone beyond the confines of the sketchbook sketching to a me-size scale and exploring intuitive and expressive line-making. If I had to select the one are of the sketchbook that is integral to this part it would be these works  (also shared here) and most importantly the angry sample that woke me up to my own psychological limitations as well as the potential for expressing myself in a language other than words.

Learning Log/Context:

I have continued to hunt for contemporary artist whose work speaks to me, and to document this research. I have shared some of this research in my blog, maintaining a Bibliography as a new page (but only realising today that it was not apparent on my menu – hopefully this has now been rectified). With my tutor’s feedback sharing that it is not always easy to work out exactly which artist really inspired me it is important that I take more care sorting between reviewing an artist’s work for my own research and interest, and reviewing the IMPACT of artists that have really inspired me. In this part the most prominent artist has been Louise Bourgeois. I initially came to her work in ATV, but as is now apparent, didn’t really engage with the concepts behind her work, nor did I fully stop and engage with her pieces in order to understand what I was looking at. With the publication of the text ‘The Return of the Repressed’ I have discovered an artist from whom I have much to learn, especially the context of her work. The inner landscape. Psychotherapy and Art. She is my key artist conceptually for this part. As for artists who have impacted my sample making in process I must acknowledge the key piece of Nic Webb’s ‘Bound Form Bay’ and ‘Shared Vessel Poplar’ and Megan Singleton’s ‘Eight Thousand Daughters’. There is a direct link between their use of chosen medium and what I tried to make my samples do.

In this new review and reflection I hope to have shown that with the timely guidance of my tutor and her constructive criticism I can begin to select more effectively and clearly. I still have a lot to learn.

I must remember to allow an idea ‘to fully bloom’. There is enough summer in me.

T1: MMT: Pt2 Review following feedback

I have been reflecting deeply on my tutor’s feedback. She has made some incredibly astute and constructive points. Positives that I can continue to build and grow: e.g. ‘thought-provoking creative works…connected with the process…exciting dicoveries…it is wonderful that you push the parameters of an idea or concept.’ All very useful pointers that show me how to build on success. I’m also interested to note how many positives have evolved using related terms: ‘three-dimensional structuring…depth, movement…fragilitity…entangling…organic, sculptural form.’ I had never considered myself to have any 3-d skill at all. I hated pottery at school as couldn’t make the clay move the way I wanted, I had no access to wirework or metalwork or any 3d design beyond the construction of a garment which in my mind is piecing together 2d pieces into a 3d form. What I have been discovering in MMT and the latter part of ATV is that I like forming abstract structures that play with different materials and processes and space – so I take my tutor’s comments on these as a nod that these avenues are worth exploring further.

When I consider the overall feel of the feedback the impression I am left with is that ‘the work’ is going in the right direction but I don’t always record it in a way that is explicit to another, or traceable for someone who wishes to see how everything holds together. This seems to boil down to my lack of skills with selection.

I completely accept this.

I overwhelm myself sometimes. I input all this research as I love discovering, learning and then it all gets fed in, then something comes out many samples later and the line of inspiration is not so easily traced. But, if this were for my own makings and myself as audience this wouldn’t matter so much. What does matter is making it clear to: my blog readership: fellow students, tutor and assessors. Selection (and clarification) is important to learn – although it feels another world, what would happen if I had to present an exhibition no matter the venue. My tutor using this analogy really helped clarify where I have been getting in a muddle. I’ve seen It All as The Course or The Work or The Process.

I’ve been so worried about making samples that show I’ve got enough of ‘whatever it is’ to warrant being on this course. I’ve been worried about grabbing every moment to create out of fear that if I stop it will all dry up and never come back. I’ve been researching and gathering more to show how passionate I am about this chosen course and how excited I am at finding a whole world to discover. I’ve been experimenting and innovating as if my life depends on it. It has not been exhausting. It has been invigorating. It makes me feel alive. If I stop what happens then?

I’ve been afraid of not doing enough.

Not being enough.

What if I stop and look and discover…there’s nothing to see – nothing to me.

There it is.

I knew it would come out if I just trusted to this process of thinking on the page. Now I can see the problem I can work towards a solution.

Somehow caught up in the process of selection, I’ve muddled my neuroses in to make a kind of ‘if-I-select-too-much-I won’t-be-enough-because-people-won’t-see-enough-of-me-so-I’ll-be-invisible-again-and-my-work-will-therefore-not-matter- so-I-don’t-matter-therefore-I-am-as-I-always-thought:-nothing’.

Now to get over that and get sorting. I think I have a plan…




T1:MMT: Pt3: Pj 1: i Moulding from a surface

I leapt straight into sample making as I figured the samples would take time to prepare, make and set. I don’t always have that time. I can snatch research time in small chunks, but making plaster and letting clay dry is not a small chink activity.

I have chosen to use plaster of Paris as it sets really hard and inflexibly, air drying clay that has a polyester compound (I think) – it’s second-hand clay to me – a left over black back from someone else’s fails! I also have some paper based air-drying clay – not quite paper clay but almost and this has a certain flexibility but a long drying time. I also have a black bag full of shredded paper for making either paper clay of papier-mache should I need – but it has currently been commandeered by our newest arrival post-op (we have rescued 2 one year old cats). I mention this because I was having a funny conversation with my children about hand-me downs: without the generosity of neighbours in my last village clothing three ever-growing girls adequately could have been quite a challenge – so we are not averse to second-hand: second-hand art materials, yarn, furniture, the list then grew: second hand books, second hand car, second hand house, second hand cats… molding has a second hand feel to it – the object is handed down into the material: be it clay, plaster and then an impression of it is left from which a new way of using it can be formed.

What I have learnt so far: mixing paster of Paris in a making frenzy just before bed can be messy and probably ill-advised, but you can’t lose the moment when it appears. air-drying anything is just too slow!! I have to wait for these pieces to dry – even 24 hours later they aren’t quite dry (but they’re dry enough for me). Polypropylene rope really hurts when you pull it forcibly out of a plaster cast with bare hands. What else? Stuff breaks. Things you think should work don’t work (the marble sample). Things you think shouldn’t work just do so breath-stoppingly (scrunched T-shirt in plaster).

This project, as i have understood it, is to use a mold to gather the surface texture from elsewhere. I have tried to use natural and man-made sources of textured surface. I have tried to use a liquid and solid based molding material, none of which have any fumes (have some polyester resin awaiting a good outdoor workday) and then there is the encouragement for using a flexible material such as latex (at the moment jelly keeps springing to mind – if I don’t have to keep the sample and can photograph the effect this may be a way to go).

However, first samples for molding:

Marbles in plaster – not successful as they were lost in the depths. possible solution – less plaster!


Flower head in plaster: can’t get it out of the lid, but creates an interesting surface!


Next: flower head next to single layer of bubble wrap from an envelope: love the bubble wrap – create many in’s and out’s and areas of interest – lay this on top of a very thin layer of plaster and pushed it down to ger this.


After that bark surfaces into clay, pressed in, rolled over or covered over to see the different effects.


Some more natural forms: shells and pine cones in the paperclay


Bark comparison between paperclay and air-drying terracotta clay:


I grasped a ball of clay in my bare hand, then wore plastic gloves and sis the same. Very little marks from my bare hand were impresses onto the clay, but the wrinkled plastic gave a more defined wrinkle.


I crocheted a circular form using a 20mm hook and polypropylene rope. Then I immersed it in plaster. Even while I was doing it I had my doubts…it was a nightmare to get out. I took millions of photos as I thought I would destroy eat with each wrench of the fabric.



After unravelling and pulling and cursing for about half an hour, the rope was free. I tipped up the molded surface to see if anything remained under the broken bits:


A landscape of mountains – not sure what happened to get the blue shot – looks almost lunar! Has it worked? I don’t know. It didn’t do what I expected it to – either extreme – it wasn’t completely obliterated by the pulling, nor was the crocheted from clearly molded – but there is still a surface that holds potential exploration (even if it is in a moon buggy!)

Then poor dismembered Sindy – she of one arm and two legs -though I’m not sure if originally they were hers?! My girls used to take the legs off to put the trousers or outfits on that they’d made because they hadn’t always accounted for ‘ease’ over hips! There’s not a lot of give in Sindy’s form! I’d wrapped her in bandage and tin foil to see what shape was left. What shape do we leave in the world when we’re not altogether or we’re gathering everything together that should make us look normal but it’s borrowed or doesn’t quite fit? What shape is left when we’ve been pulled apart and are trying to hold everything together? What shows?


What seems to show is evidence of bandaging, some wrinkle and gentle curves and a little streak of our shine left behind in the mud!

Then. I’ve saved the best until last. Tipping The Pot of Bits (I reckon every house has one of these) into the bottom of a margarine pot and pushing down the paperclay to cover and hold together. Loved this:



And the sample I assumed would fail or at least I didn’t have a clue what it would do: the scrunched t-shirt pushed into plaster. The t-shirt is now damp. The mold is divine. It was so precarious pulling the fabric away once I realised I had something great as some of the plaster had set in wrinkles and folds and I had to pull at the t-shirt millimetre by millimetre. Still, it paid off! You can hardly see the difference were it not for the solidity of one and drape of the other:


Daylight and evening indoor light accounts for different shades.

More I need more of this…no fabric is safe from me now. People better not sit still for too long…

In summary:

Much play and sampling.


Some exciting potential to take forward:


And just as I get into bed it comes to me – the link between what I’m doing in molding and my initial ramble on second-hand: Cast offs! Imagine…a whole series – all those seafinds scrapling that I used before have now found another purpose. Agh! How do I get back to the beach now…must sleep…