I am very happy with the outcome of this project, especially how it links so well with the dissertation research I have made. Researching a site’s history is very important in my work, but it also has to have a link with contemporary issues, socially and culturally; as well as a personal connection and understanding. I am not happy with accepting things on face value, I feel the need to dig deep into the effects and circumstances of a site. In the book One Place After Another, Kwon explains the importance of context in site specific work; a point which is best explained, I believe, in the failed works of John Ahearn and Richard Serra.
I felt that even though the site is a great marvel, especially having survived so long. But for me it just prompted a load of questions, such as who owned it, why is it here, who worked at this site, and why are there no birds nesting in the space now. I found out that is was the Buckley’s owned the land and built the dovecot, as well as a deer farm, for food, and as a show of stature and wealth in the area. More than likely the stock of nesting birds were looked after by hired help, who were more than likely very poor. I imagined that the birds must have lived better than the workers, lured to stay in the space with food and nests. To me it seemed that now the lure of food had gone, birds no longer nest at the dovecot. Therefore, the site was giving me mixed messages, one of long-standing culture, and the other of freedom. The installation has come to represent ‘barriers’ to freedom.
Did my 230 casts!!! and got to try the projector, had to borrow the college projector as the little one I had did not make much of an impact. With the large projector, it can throw the video right through the five hanging pieces, and with the lights switched off in the room some fluttering of the birds’ wings can be seen, and there are fantastic shadows all around the room. Hopefully I’ll get time tomorrow to record it all…..
Artist statement done, proposal form typed up, and a list of all the work done. I am sooooooo going to enjoy a wine tomorrow night.
During the week I have been busy making more of the plastic bag hangings.
The room is now ready, to set up all the other bits and pieces. Need to project the video I’ve made on Monday, and make about 200 plaster casts ready for the floor.
I need to decide how to present the artwork tomorrow, I took this photo in order to do some drawings, and to help visualize it in the space. I should consider whether its going to be a wall piece, or off a frame on the ceiling??
Its going to get bigger, or, I have also been considering making four or five lengths of similar size all hanging from the ceiling like Eva Hesse’s ‘Contingent’ work:
‘Expanded Expansion'(leaning against a wall)
‘Aught’ (hanging on the wall)
A little something added to the research bundle.
One week to go and the pressure is on. Took my plastic bags out to the site today, and a few other places, just to make sure I had explored as many avenues as possible:-
This was interesting the car approached and stopped until I moved it out of his way, and the man standing to the right of the car, he and his wife went out of their way to walk around the piece, but I missed that photo opportunity.
The man who looks after the place is usually in the shed. Must have been his day off! I’m glad he wasn’t there, I felt more comfortable taking photos. Though I think I made everybody else feel uncomfortable.
It was very interesting taking these photographs. The amount of people who stopped and said things like: “I’ve got to ask, please dont take offence, but what is it your doing?”
“Somebody is very festive, can I ask you what your doing”.
“I had to stop and ask you, what is that your carrying” – reply “Art”, “Oh that’s OK, I thought you had been collecting them along the road”!!!!!!
“Oooo you frightened me, I’ll come back later”.
Me, “Shall I take this down so you can take your own photos,” reply “NO its ok we’ll come back another day”!!!
The prints turned out well.
A few clay sculptures
and some of the cast I had done yesterday
These were done with molding Gel – its even got a bit of the bird food stuck to it.
The plastic bag project is growing. Need to get it really big. I would like to make a structure, or installation with it eventually, something I can walk into. I am metaphorically comparing it to my life, there is a kind of self identity in the work. Its all very repetitive, which I am enjoying, it reminds me of all the knitting I have done over the years. Its also growing just like knitting, and there is also the same sense of satisfaction with it. When I’m imagining it as an installation, I feel that for some it could represent a form of restriction, or barrier, but then when you realise that you can also walk into it, it becomes a container, or vessel, or even a womb. The way it looks has become an important factor, I keep looking at the squares, undoing the knots and re-doing knots, a bit like my emotions these days, one day I feel fine and the next its all unravelled again, and then becomes all knotted up again.
Made some prints today, by PVAing plastic bags to a cardboard box. Gave it a few goes…
I chose cardboard on purpose, because I wanted the lines in the background, in this one I can even see the indentations left by whatever was in the box before.
Tried to make a mold of the bird food packages today, got to wait until tomorrow, when their dry, to see what they look like!
This one had dried enough, but it needs a clean. Need to find a better way of getting the same effect though, not very happy with the outcome, but I’ll see what they look like tomorrow. I think I’ll just pour some plaster into a plastic bag.
These are just clay pieces with a mesh texture on them, I might fire one of them. I’m going to take my pottery tools in tomorrow to see if I can improve of the pattern, I quite like the big one thought, because its fairly abstract. Decisions, decisions…..
I was fairly happy with the prints I made today, so I’ve prepared another one for printing tomorrow.
Today I decided to carry on with the plastic bags. The only problem I couldn’t get hold of the same colour, and smell! I started adding my ‘orange’ smelling bags, and decided the work around the yellow ones. I’m enjoying the process, its a bit like knitting or crocheting, repetitive and satisfying. The yellow is becoming a bit figurative now.
I searched artists who worked in a grid like fashion:
I love this image.
© A. Rodchenko & V. Stepanova Archive, DACS 2009
© A. Rodchenko & V. Stepanova Archive, DACS 2009
Decided to play around with the boxes, which had fallen off the wall by this week, with what I enjoy doing, which is to stick needles into things especially when its got coloured string threaded through it. But unfortunately, this didn’t go down too well with the tutors: colours are wrong, my story behind it is all too contrived, its not free flowing enough. But what I was doing was just playing around, to see what would come out of it, I bit like using a sketchbook – but the sewing is my drawing.
…. therefore, it was back to the drawing board – literally.
Even now, I’m trying too hard…
Referred back to Phyllida Barlow’s drawings…….
…. sooooo, fluid, fluidity ……. wwwwwww this would make an interesting structure……
... and this
Tomorrow, I’ll have a go at casting a few of these fat balls and then place them in and around a structure…..
Ended the day with one of these….
…. a plastic bag ripped open, knotted and nailed to the wall. I didn’t consciously take such a dramatic photograph, its just the lighting in my studio space!! Happy accident?
I went to the Dovecot at Penmon over the half term break, and these are a few of the photographs I took:
dates back to the 1600’s.
This is looking up into the roof space, and the hole was the way in and out of the dovecot for the birds, which were pigeons, that were kept for their eggs and meat.
Having visited the site, it brought a feeling of entrapment and I wondered whether the pigeons that resided here once, were there of their own free will? Or were they trapped by the promise of food and a nesting home, in exchange for their meat and eggs? Birds should be a symbol of freedom ……
This is some work I have done in response to the Dovecot site :
My studio space this week:
Remnants of a venetian blind, weaved and hung on the wall – a bit too close to the other piece unfortunately, but I just wanted to have a feel for the piece – to see where I want to go with these items that I collect.
Further work done of this piece, by adding some more blanket stitching, and a wool covered twig. I am enjoying working with these minimal pieces, and taking time to consider whether they need any more added to them – or maybe removing something.
This is a take on some drawings I’d done in my sketch book. I painted the forms much bigger and cut them out (Matisse influence from his show at the Tate Modern this year) then blanket stitched them onto the bamboo structure. It reminds me a bit of a child’s wig-wam. A way of adding colour to a structure.
Before and After – I love bits of thrown away MDF, looking at adding colour to these pieces of wood to see what it brings to the work, I consciously started with darker colours of emulsion, then progressed to a lighter shade of the same colours, leaving one piece without anything. I think I’m just looking at the various ways we try to preserve things around our homes, and questioning whether it makes any difference – doesn’t it all just get thrown away and replaced.
Why would anyone throw this away? Very intricate work that someone had done on the college cutter – which I picked up from the trash (maybe they wanted the other piece!!!) and just added some yellow wool to it. I think the wool has changed the piece into something quite feminine, and eventhough the yellow was quite stark on its own, it has worked well with this piece of MDF
A religious feeling. Playing about with pieces of found wood. The main cross pieces were still attached to the end pieces, so I hung this on the wall and then added the left/centre downward pieces. I used some found yellow wool to make a very large blanket stitch down the pieces and just left the ends of the wool to dangle to the floor. Down the right hand side is a length of crochet that I made using my thumb and again left it dangling there as I came to the end of the length of wool. I bought the arched piece of dowelling wood and added it to the piece. While its been hanging on my studio wall for a few days, I have added some orange string, a piece of paint wood, and a piece of laminating paper which has an invisible ink print of my hand on it, but which you can only see under UV/black light.
Ah what to do for the Mostyn………… read a lovely poem by Lewis Carroll, ‘All in the Golden Afternoon’, about a day he had spent in the company of the real Alice and her sisters on a boat trip from Oxford to Godstow……………
Sun Etching – These are cheap shelving planks bought from B&Q, which I then covered with parcel tape. I then cut out the random pattern with a sharp knife. Left it on a window sill all summer. I was going to peel the tape off but as I started to, I realised how much it reminded me of the ‘preservation’ theme I’ve been looking at over the summer. I reminds me of peeling paint on an old building – and how it reveals some hidden treasure beneath. Its a good job I have no windows in my studio space, otherwise I would loose it all.
Playing in the Studio – another way of reclaiming used materials – this started off as a found used canvas. (just like below) but I thought I would work into this one a bit further by adding bits of clothing tags, sticks, pencil shavings, a drawer knob and copper ring I made at Glyndwr. I used orange emulsion paint on top of the pale blue and used crackle finish between the layers, them some metallic paint and some bees wax. I like the fact that I can still see parts of the original drawing and how the added sticks and copper wire then throw shadows over it which gives makes me unsure of what I am looking at – is it a drawing or just all shadows.
Recycled canvases – charcol picking up some of the still visible markings from the previous painting, and gold depicts the history; reminds me of an image from the Old Blind School at the Liverpool Biennial. Its my shadow on the wall. I love the many layers of old paint peeling off this wall and then I catch sight of my shadow on it. It makes me feel that if I was to peel away that paint, there would be gold (history) to be found in the crevices.