5 December 2016
Projects 1 & 2, Stage 4 – Storting
Before writing up, I reviewed my samples from all of the exercises and selected the following:
- Stand-out favourites
- Samples with potential for development
My favourites samples were easy to identify: 5 from project 1, and 2 from project 2. These were samples which worked visually as stand-alone objects.
Samples with potential are always more difficult to correctly identify, however, I have chosen some individuals and groups of samples to discuss. I will explain why I have chosen them, and how I envisage they might be developed.
I noticed that my stand-out favourites have one thing in common – they are all three dimensional. I am drawn to geometry and pattern, and in particular, I tend to find samples which can be viewed from different orientations more visually exciting. I have also noticed that most of the samples I have selected from project 1, have a joining method which is visually unobtrusive, and does not directly contribute to the aesthetics of the piece.
Project 1, exercise 1, sample 6
The shapes and shadows created by the knots are fascinating. However, this is quite a basic sample, and would need more development to make it worthy of becoming a finished piece. One option would be to join several pieces in this way, so as to construct a more complicated 3-D shape. I could also consider introducing colour and texture. One element I would not change is the string, because that’s what gives the sample it’s distinctive character.
Project 1, exercise 3, sample 4
Usually, I choose contrasting rather than harmonious colours, but in this instance the colour scheme is perfect, as it does not dominate. The simplicity of the circle elements allows the more complex shadows to be appreciated.
This is a sample which can be configured into different structures, or potentially joined with other elements into a larger sculpture. Although the choice of material and colour works very well, it might also be worth investigating using semi-translucent plastic instead of cardboard (perhaps with a print suggestive of texture?) However, care would have to be taken not to upset the balance between simplicity of the sample, and complexity of the shadows.
Project 1, exercise 4, sample 18
The sample is very simply formed from joined semi-circles of cardboard. It is the three-dimensional shapes and tonal variation across the material and within the shadows which provides visual interest. Again, this sample has the appeal of being able to be configured into different structures.
An obvious development would be to introduce colour. I am inclined to think that a single hue would work best, because different colours would add complexity, and the subtlety of tone and geometry could be lost. As an alternative, the sample could be placed against a patterned or coloured surface, or box. Experimentation would be needed to establish whether this enhanced the sample or detracted from it aesthetically.
Project 1, exercise 5, sample 8
This sample was derived directly from my sketchbook work (pages 33-34). The appeal is in the 3-D shapes, tonal variation across the surfaces and tonal variation and mirroring of shapes in shadows. I can imagine it being scaled up as a gallery installation (I’m thinking at least 1m diameter circles). Surface texture could be introduced (for example an ‘orange peel’ effect, or ‘hammer finish’ of some enamel-type paints). I can imagine it working well with “perfect” finishes (I’m thinking of the “finish fetish” style of Judy Chicago’s early work). Another idea is to use contrasting textures on the different surfaces – maybe a very shiny reflective surface like a mirror or enamel paint, contrasting with a soft matt, long-pile velvet.
In my sample, I have joined three shapes, but I think that the structure would probably be more impressive with five. I wouldn’t want to include any more, because I think it would be important for the viewer to be able to walk around it and see all the surfaces. The card sample is rather unstable and tends to “collapse”, however I’m sure this could be rectified by using thicker material and by gluing the joints.
Project 1, exercise 5, sample 9
This sample, using Möbius strips, was a development of project 1, exercise 4, sample 14 (see below).
Sample 14 from exercise 4 was basic, but I felt very strongly about it’s potential. I therefore decided to do some sketchbook work (pages 35-38) to guide me in preparation for making another sample. The idea of duplication and making a surface proved effective. There are many more possibilities for exploring alternative materials, shapes and arrangements. I can imagine it being suitable for translating into a large textured wall panel.
Project 2, exercise 1, sample 7
This sample was supposed to be part of a simple exercise in straight wrapping, but it’s success came from the fact that I got totally absorbed in the process and overstepped the brief. I included weaving and tying which added depth and interest. The colour scheme is exciting and the textures are fun and playful. Together, they suggest a variety of emotional responses and analogies (as I found when I asked for a critique on the OCA discussion forum). I am also very happy with the balance and composition of the sample. The use of different texture, colour and colour accents make it dynamic yet harmonious. I think it works as a sculpture in it’s own right.
Project 2, exercise 3, sample 5
I used a similar technique and style to the sample above, but I actually prefer this one because it’s larger size allowed a wider range of textures to be used. The use of complementaries also contributes to it’s success. There are repeating elements (for example the pipe cleaners), clusters of colour (e.g. tangled patches of polyester and embroidery threads), elements which add continuity (e.g. the bobble fringe wrapped around the whole piece), and colour accents. It took a lot of effort ,but I am pleased with the depth and textural interest in the piece. I see this as a stand alone item which it works well as a textile scuplture. It is my favourite sample from this assignment.
Samples with potential for development
Project 1, exercises 1 & 2 (straight flush joining, and joining with a gap)
I purposely allowed my sampling to be very basic in the first two exercises. I wanted to use them for fact-finding, so that I could learn about the materials and how they behaved. As a result, it has not been particularly easy to see potential for development.
From exercise 1 and 2, I was surprised by the visual interest which came from joining methods which used hard items (such as staples, pins and safety pins – see below from left to right; sample 1 from exercise 1, sample 5 from exercise 1 and sample 1 from exercise 2).
A blog post by fellow OCA student Nina O’Connor (O’Connor, 2016), made me realise that great results can be achieved with these simple ‘hard’ joining techniques. Her use of subtly patterned pieces or card, different shapes, and complementary colours helped to elevate her work from sample, to an item of real visual beauty. I would plan to develop my samples along these lines taking inspiration from her work.
Project 1, exercise 3 (joining curved surfaces)
Sample 5 (made from offcuts of sample 4 of the same exercise), is muddled and complex. At present, I don’t like it quite a much as sample 4, although it is still very engaging. However, I can imagine this sample working very well as a sculpture made from plastic. It has connotations of industrial waste, and recycling, which I like. I think this theme could be developed, maybe exploring other shaped offcuts too, perhaps fabricated from metal, foam or rubber?
Sample 6 (above) was made using the offcuts from samples 1 and 2 of the same exercise. I think it would work very well as a print design for fabric. It is a versatile pattern which could be used for clothing, homeware or accessories.
Project 1, exercise 4 (overlapping)
Sample 8 (see above) is made from sewn together paper tissue and organza strips, and is exciting because of it’s transparency and suggestion of movement. It would need to be used as part of a textile concept; for example, as a constituent in a piece of clothing or textiles sculpture. At the moment I do not have a clear idea of what that might be, but the sample is sufficiently engaging that it is worth bearing in mind.
Sample 16 (above) is fused from pieces of plastic. As a technique it has many possibilities. It can be used alone, or to be used in conjunction with paper or fabric in layering techniques. It can be used or make a mosaic. It can be distressed through the application of heat. It may be sewn onto (either decoratively, or as a joining method). Holes or flaps may be cut into it for added textural interest. The only problem I can envisage is that most plastic bags are biodegradable, so there could be an issue with longevity of the artwork.
Sample 17 (above) is an idea that I developed from the work of Machiko Agano. It is a very effective approach to revealing and concealing parts of an image. It is an idea which could be expended and developed with other imagery and in conjunction with semi-transparents.
Project 2, exercise 1
In addition to the multi-thread wrapping, I also loved the simple textures created by wrapping wooden spoons in a single thread type.
I was so taken with them that I sketched every single one before unwrapping. In my sketchbook (pages 40-41), I have examined a possible use for one of these drawings, which relates to sample 17 of project 1, exercise 4. I would like to develop my sketched imagery further with other ideas – maybe printing parts of the sketch onto fabric, contrasting textures and joining these together in a journal or concertina book.
Project 2, exercise 2
Through my exploration of the Japanese aesthetic (samples 5-8), I feel I have learned both techniques and sensibilities associated with the culture, which I hope to incorporate within my future practice. I have always had affinity natural materials, so I feel that elements of Japanese traditional packaging could form a useful strand of my artistic development.
Choice of samples to send to my tutor
I chose to send a selection of samples from each exercise, including those which I found most interesting, and samples which explain a progression of the development of ideas.
O’Connor, N. (2016) Adding drawings to MMT 2. At: https://ninasoconnor.wordpress.com/category/coursework/part-2/project-1-joining/#jp-carousel-4994 (Accessed 4 December 2016)