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:

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