It was only when I got all the work I’d made for this module that I realised how much I’ve produced. There seemed to be little bits everywhere. I reviewed my work in chronological order, this seemed the best way to approach this, looking at every item produced and consider its potential for future work.
The course notes suggest that we should be looking for “any ideas you had or techniques you found particularly stimulating.” There is also a mention of a final piece or group of items. I can’t even begin to think about that so have focused on the samples I felt worked well, techniques I enjoyed or any surprises that popped up along the way.
I have listed below the samples that meet that criteria, I have not included any notes on samples I felt did not work or why, this exercise is to pick out the most successful samples and ideas and take those forward.
All work was compiled in a book which can be viewed here.
Part One, Project Two, Exercise Five – Creating flaps
I enjoyed cutting the shapes out of these sheets of paper and pushing them in different directions. It was possible to make a sheet of almost identical shaped incisions and have them face forward or backward to cast shadow or let light through.
Layering these samples also resulted in shadows being cast between the sheets of paper used.
I only used paper to form these sheets of cut-out shapes so there would be a possibility to use other materials to repeat this exercise. Also I only used white paper and some small areas of text. Again this would be an area that could be expanded to include colour via transparent materials or coloured papers.
There is much potential to layer sheets with holes, possibly as glass or a fabric hanging.
Part One, Project Four, Exercise Five – Scratching and embossing
Scratching the surface of thick lining or watercolour paper yielded some interesting results. Working out how much force to use to tear, but not destroy, the papers surface was an interesting exercise. The surface beneath the paper was also as important, a hard surface gave shallow results whereas a soft surface under the paper gave slightly deeper, more untidy scores in the surface.
Further surfaces, materials and tools could be explored here. Perhaps moving to harder surfaces such as plastic or stone.
Part Two, Project One, Exercise Five – Extra samples
After cutting out sections of paper in Part One, I then revisited those samples as part of the work for Part Two, creating further samples as part of Exercise Five.
Suspending a contrasting paper in to each aperture gave a solid overall look to these samples. The conscious use of the same number of stitches to attach each piece of paper gave an interesting motif that could be picked out and repeated through various other media.
Again, I completed the sample in this exercise using only paper. There would be scope here to move to other materials such as wood or plastic but also to include colour in the spaces created in the initial surface.
Part Two, Project Two – Wrapping
I found the act of wrapping items with small pieces of fabric or yarn very meditative. These are the few samples I produced in this module that contain colour. Each item took its own direction, despite my best efforts to lead it in some sort of way. These were really the only samples to date that I felt I didn’t have complete control over. I like the idea that only I really know what is underneath all that wrapping.
There would be a possibility of wrapping lots of small items and then attaching them together, or displaying them individually as a large group.
Also the linear patterns made on the surface of each item could also be used to form patterns for prints, or printing from the item itself.
Part Three, Project Three, Exercise Two – Casting the internal space of a vessel
This exercise did not inspire me when I read it and got progressively less exciting as I was completing it. However the unexpected success of pouring plaster in to ice cube bags really did surprise me.
Once the plaster had set it was quite hard but the ‘ice’ cubes produced looked very soft. Repeating this with Plaster of Paris gave a set of white cubes that had the appearance of little pillows. Piling up the cubes I had produced gave, what looked like, a little pile of insects.
These cubes are not completely square, some have a rounded surface, some areas of linear pattern and are all similar but not exactly identical. I think that there is more to come from these little cubes.
Part Three, Project One, Exercise three – Moulding from a surface
For the whole of part three my impatience to allow things to set and dry out was being highlighted. I needed some samples where the result was far more immediately visible. Air-drying clay gave me that.
Similar to Fimo or Sculpy, the polymer clay could be rolled out, pressed in to an item and on peeling it back the texture of the item it had been smoothed on to was retained in its surface. This had to be left over 72 hours to dry out but I could at least see the results of my efforts straight away.
It had become apparent that I found texture appealing in the samples I had produced. However I was struggling to make casts of the texture of some items due to the limitations of liquid materials such as plaster. Using clay meant that interesting surfaces that were vertical could be easily sampled, also that good resolution was retained in the air-drying clays surface.
After producing these squares I wondered if it would be possible to print from them. They have textured surfaces but would the clay be too delicate, once dry, to print from.
Part Four – Mono and collatype printing.
I enjoyed all of Part Four of this module. I have produced a large volume of work looking at many aspects of both types of printing. By far I was most impressed with the collagraph plates made from fabric or fabric and stitch.
I worked mainly in black ink, letting the items chosen for the collagraph plates do the work. This has given me some interesting reference plates, what types of prints different fabrics can give, and also some scope to build on this work by using further samples, stitched marks and more colour.
When looking at all the samples produced I keep returning to the plaster of Paris ‘ice’ cubes. They were produced in a section of work where I wasn’t expecting anything, and these small items really lifted me. I would happily make hundreds more, leading me to look at installations of many small items in my research in part five.
I also think that I got a good feel for the collagraph plates in part four. I think that I could explore that technique further though, possibly incorporating stitch into the plates and adding a little colour.
I would also like to return to the ‘ice’ cubes and look at little more closely at their surface. I think that they could be used to generate pattern from their surface, both by drawing the cubes and printing directly from them.
I still have no clear goal for a finished piece but my initial thoughts for research in Part Five are as follows.
Installations where large numbers of small items have been used – items used, approximate numbers, sites of installations.
Printing from non-standard surfaces such as air drying clay, ceramic, plaster, fabric etc. – Has anyone tried this, are there any obvious drawbacks.
Stitched collagraph examples, if any – Is this a recognised technique, if so who uses it.
Combining materials on collagraph plates – Almost anything can be printed from, can it be combined with other surfaces though. Look at found objects, a wider range of possible surfaces.
Examples of contemporary drawing – I do not have a go-to style for drawing, investigate recent styles and techniques and attempt them.
Printing on to fabric, technical details but also different methods – I didn’t print too much on to fabric but it would be interesting to find out some more about different techniques.
Current colour trends – Little colour used in this work so few samples to choose a palette of colours to work from. Review current colour trends or find another source of colour reference.