Friday, 25 October 2013

First stage - book structure and presentation sheet

In previous modules the last three blog postings before approaching my resolved piece see me contemplating and collecting ideas and making small samples that help me explore further in the last push before completing my final piece.  
For this last chapter the picture, left, of Oysters by Jason Houston,  who has kindly agreed to allow me to reproduce it, has  pushed me along a track I began when I made the shell paper in Chapter 4
As well as going through my sketchbook I enjoyed going through pieces rejected from previous chapters to see if they make a last call on my imagination. The picture,right of a grid pattern found as a path on Hadrian's Wall had a certain resonance to how my thoughts were progressing. I also looked at my pinboard to see if something was lurking behind the plethora of notes and reminders - it  helps me clear my workspace which by chapter 11 is somewhat overcrowded! So here are the evolving thoughts for the final sample. 
Perhaps before I go into my concern regarding the fact that the sample must have an A4 piece of fabric for the cover I should talk through the background concept of the piece.
Ref 4.11.1
Ref 4.11.2
The concept of the fan and shell remained an image that I wanted to investigate. Ref 4.11.1 shows simple fan shapes that could become books one using a screw bolt, bottom left, to secure the papers but it was the concept of an accordion flag book , bottom middle that appealed to me.  The fact that the inside flags gave a rhythm and interest while also showing an 'E' shape held a certain irony.  My thoughts played on the theme and in 4.11.2 I considered how the flags could be elongated with handmade paper flags and attached with buttons. The strips of paper also appealed as I wanted to use favourite sayings in the finished book. The scale of the piece needed to be resolved as the large plastic fan shape, top right, seemed cumbersome.
Ref 4.11.3
Ref 4.11.4
Drawing the shell shape onto a piece of A4 paper - not very evenly -I could see how the piece could be made but would I be cutting away too much of the fabric in the shaping to qualify the piece for a resolved sample? Ref 4.11.3.  The accordion fold could be placed in the centre of the two shells and attached with sticks or shells to the covers.  I thought square board covers would be needed for stability of the piece so that the book could stand open. To this end I made a sample with thick card and an additional accordion ridge for the flags thereby allowing 18 rather than 9 flags to be included (just 9 flags are shown in 4.11.4) but the idea would be for longer flags.  I also noted that the accordion needed to be as long as the cover boards to ensure stability!! A decision would be needed as to the material to be used for the accordion ridge.  The ridge needed to be stiff  with a clean folded edge to hold the flags - could bond webbing fabric on the 160grm paper I was using be the solution? 
Ref 4.11.5b
Ref 4.11.5a
I considered making the front cover- seen on yellow felt in 4.11.6  as a three dimensional shell shape which would be achieved by machine stitching threads and wire onto water soluble fabric and molding it over the shell 4.11.5a.  Becoming playful, 4.11.5b  shows  letters that could be visible under the shell and would incorporate the random letters of the title of the piece that had been playing through my mind, Pearls of Wisdom  - a title I had used previously in a commemorative bowl to my mother using clothing and her pearls.  It would be timely to revisit the theme and give a new twist.

The concept is still to be worked but has been roughly placed and unworked in 4.11.5a.  The letters could be stitched in place on a piece of hand dyed fabric.

Ref 4.11.6
The reverse cover, shown on green felt on 4.11.6  could be made as a flat textured surface, reflecting the ridge shape of the front cover placed over hand made paper.

Hopefully the piece has a resonance with the theme of Module 4 and the rough drafts of my idea are acceptable for the final workout!  I have many of what I used to call 'wise oneliners' it will be lovely to sort priority ones into this book.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Artists Module 4

Cas Holmes
While walking it has become a habit for me to pick up pieces as I journey along.  Something that started in childhood when treasures were put on a nature table (the coal bunker) this must have inspired a friend to give me the Cas Holmes book Found Object. The book inspired me to incorporate these treasures in my work and on reading more about Cas Holmes one realises that she inspires many people with her involvement in community projects as well as personal recollections of a moment in time.
The wealth of techniques she uses lies beneath an apparent simplicity of line.  The design details behind the images pulls you into her story, journey or treasure hunt. Holmes values the use of recycled objects - giving a refreshing insight of personal associations with the object rather than setting off into the 'purchase list' culture.  Imaginatively looking at what you have, surely, adds to the authenticity of the finished piece and gives something you have valued to someone else. Holmes has fellowships and major awards that recognise her skills in the subject that she teaches at Middlesex University: Environmental issues and Art Practice.  While studying for this module it was a bonus to watch her ‘field studies in Australia' through her blog.
The images selected from her work  provide resonance and inspiration to the themes of Module 4; These booklets, Breakwater on left allow an intimacy on each page which can also be opened, as in West Dean Mapping, to a panoramic view.  The layering of fabrics and papers in the pages of the booklets give textural interest and the contrast of framing of pictures in Breakwater are a contrast to the more free flowing images of West Dean Mapping.

In Slate Book, right, the use of natural 'book ends' not only gives contrast in texture and weight but replicates the shape into a dynamic third dimension.  Without actually see the piece the folding of the 'papers' appears to give a strength to the internal structure allowing it to become a sculpture. One also suspects that when all of these books are closed the nature of the outside covers and the ability to see an edge of the inside layers encourages you in to opening the book.  Perhaps the saying you can't tell a book by its cover takes on added meaning!

While the dynamics of Holmes's story telling are clearly shown in her series two of her larger pieces also show the value of a narrative behind a piece of work, Counting Crows, left, and Indian Journal, right even though its not a book form it can be read as you pass by the 'pages'.

Lois Walpole
The three dimension objects produced by Lois Walpole hold the challenge of mastering a design where recycled objects take on a dynamic new look.  In many cases she chooses to celebrate the original objects, rather than disguising them, presenting a sense of fun and imagination in the process.
A weaver by nature, basketry techniques featuring heavily in her design work.  She is the author of several books on the subject. I have selected the following images to show in this precis.
Gallery 5 20005 – present day. Fishing floats and ropes are used given a new utility to the pieces and presenting an object that has found a new purpose for these discarded objects as well as telling a story of their origin.  The colours and energy in the piece give a sense of the tides and flow of the sea and the flotsam that these items had become.

Willow, wire and rubber form on the right and Beer and wine muzzles on the left are from the same period showing circular grid patterns that gave me a further incentive to form an embroidered piece worked over a ribbed structure.  This complete circle could be the answer to making a shape that could be folded.  Her use of shell designs attracted my interest as the shell made during the paper making process had caught my imagination. I was, however, getting bogged down in the practicalities of how I could make it for the purpose I wanted.
In Gallery 4 her work from 1999 -2005 she uses books as her components as show her  in Something Wonderful Can Come Out of Books piece. The structures are bound together in a variety of shapes and colours that when joined complete a series of patterns that bring a new life into being.  The components  show, even celebrate, their original form but come together  with a delicacy of detail in the wings that attach to the strong , central body of the butterfly. 
As a pieces that had relevance to the shape I was considering for a resolved sample I had to include these images.  Lois Walpole exhibits and conducts workshops across Europe and the UK with her furthest extremity appearing to be the Shetland Isles. While I have taken most of my pictures from Lois Walpole's web site I have included her blogspot address as it shows some exciting new directions and would encourage you to read Looped and Found posting in May 2013.  As a collector of china pieces that I constantly dig up from my garden this is an inspiring idea - I have woven mine into pieces of jewellery Lois piece is far more monumental and she has collaborated with a potter for this piece on the left.

Alice Fox
I become aware of Alice Fox's work after starting my Distant Stitch course.  While researching artists on the internet for earlier Modules  one is overwhelmed by the plethora of artist, images and ideas that abound.  It was therefore with some relief that I found images by Alice Fox which stood out in their clarity, simplicity and authenticity.  Following her work through her blog invites the reader on a journey where her value of the place and the objects she finds during her work is as interesting  and informative as the series of mark making she makes.  

Stitches complement found objects, printmaking and dyeing processes also use these objects  but it is in the joining together of these techniques  that her work shows simplicity and integrity to the original pieces and  the places were the objects were found.  Her involvement with specific areas, often as an Artist in Residence, adds to the relevance of her work.  For the viewer it  brings a meditative experience to the pieces and the place even though one may not be seeing it 'on location'.
Her work as artist in residence at Spurn Point National Nature Reserve during 2012.Textures of Spurn :  an 80 page book on the project is available .
She was also Artist in Residence at Farfield Mill, Cumbria, July 2012.
Fox's recording of her work in a series of hand made books and publications are a valuable resource.  Recording as well as making is something I am beginning to value in my on work - its amazing how one forgets the intensity of feelings and process that go into pieces of work. While wishing to live adventurously and move on to new projects and ideas reflection can often show new potential or new paths to follow from  pieces of past work. The deisre to move on can leave some questions unanswered and the reading of notes at a later stage may well inform and unearth unfinished business. 
For  me the following quote  from Alice shows the value she places on exploring a wider audience  and sharing her work, “I have an intense interest in the natural world and in the detail of organic things. Spurn provides so many possibilities for developing my work. I’m very excited about being able to focus on this special location and to then take something of the experience of Spurn to other audiences through the gallery tour next year."

Earlier work that Alice produced reflects the depth of her exploration and the recognition of her skills. Joint winner of Quilters Guild student bursary at Festival of Quilts 2011 she went on to enter the  European Art Quilts VII : Festival of Quilts, NEC: 2012 .  Alice is a Licentiate member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.  

Producing series of pieces to narrative her chosen subject I have given links to her various projects in order they may be enjoyed as complete a complete series:
Fabric of Building and Tidemarks: colour palette shows exciting twists in:
Fifteen Images: where stitch detail has been converted to digital images also includes a sound and visual video:  Sense of Plac:,  music  again relates to images:

Book type structures

Investigating book structures in preparation for my finished item I visited structures that had been completed over the years before embarking on new  samples specific to Module 4.  Hope this is acceptable! Ref 4.10.1 shows a shape I made for Module 1 

Sample 4.10.2 shows Button Book made in memory of my mother and father.  Using a tapestry made with my mother I made calico 'pages'.  Each page contained memories that my sister and I shared of them.  Linking the idea of 'pressing buttons' on different subjects i.e. music they liked, their hobbies and interests, places and journeys etc we shared together a collection of photos and memorabilia.
Over the years I have used origami books to record key memories of a year, business cards of inspiring artists, ideas from Christmas carols for making Christmas cards, diaries of a specific holiday- somehow a small piece of paper to fill a day is less intimidating than a large sheet of paper. Here are a some of the pieces:
Memories of 2010                Business card holder

                                  ' Outside In' exploration 2009,paper and fabric/board cover
Inspiration, 'In the bleak mid winter' lyrics, coloured threads, images

A month's diary at Woodbrooke

And now for some ideas not tried before:

Ref 4.10.1a and b above The stick, attached with rubber bands, was rubbed with bronze 'rub on' to match the acrylic painted and crunched magazine paper.  The inside Lokta papers chosen to give a feeling of nature.

Ref 4.10.2 a and b.  Using magazine paper that had been folded and glued to make a firm cover to black papers the book was held in place by cardboard letters and rubber bands.

Ref 4.10.3 a and b Magazine paper again folded and glued this book was stitched using a button hole stitch in a fan shape and thread to replicate the tree structures.  In side black paper was interleaved with tracing paper in varying sizes.

Ref 4.10.4.  Using an offcut of coloured newspapers from an earlier module this booklet used tissue paper to make the inside papers with a normal running stitch used on one seam and a knotted stitch used on the other seam to add interest.

Ref 4.10.5 a and b. A black and white theme inspired by this cartoon simplicity seemed the key with just a three hole joining stitch to alternative black and white pages.

Intrigued by the theme of this module I had decide to take a break to Burnbrae, Nr Kelso to sign up for a course with Mary Sleigh.  The book cover seen in sample 4.10.6 a and b and the final samples shown in 4.10.8 are the pieces made during a truly inspiring two days.  The book leaves shown in 4.10.6a and 4.10.7a, b and c were made on returning home and while they are not to be used in the book cover shown they were a trial run at how I would approach completing the project.

                                  Ref 4.10.6a cover and papers      Ref 4.10.6b inside book cover
Ref 4.10.7a, marking up to ensure holes were in correct position through all pages
Ref 4.10.7b and  4.10.7c ribbon looping with rayon perle - not the best thread to use as very slippy but colour was right and it was a very old thread that I had had for years!

And last but not least a book dedicated to the inspiration of Gudrun and Mary completed at Burnbrae.