Monday, 23 April 2012

over here, over there, over where?

A new version of Over Here, a site specific piece made from multi coloured fishing line was installed at Jupiter Artland in Scotland a couple of weeks ago, replacing the original damaged work. 

The piece which was knitted using shetland lace technique and includes the words 'over here' in its pattern, is installed on the brow of a hill in a woodland in West Lothian.  It prompts the viewer to look through the eye of the web and take an extended look at the panoramic view near and far as you walk alongside it.

Find out more about this work and Jupiter Artland here.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

tools for schools

The last few Saturdays had me go back to school, and a much better experience than the first time around it was too! I worked with teenagers who are thinking of applying to art school. To give them a taste of what lay ahead for them, I planned a drawing workshop where we made our own drawing tools and produced 3D plaited and assembled constructions which we then displayed in the studio. Producing a big mess was an essential part of the creative process. Isn’t that what art college should be all about after all?

Using pencil, charcoal and paints, we started by drawing objects with our eyes closed. The aim here was to focus on the act of drawing itself rather than the image produced. This helped us figure out the kind of tools needed to make further drawings in this manner.

The final stage of the workshops involved cutting the drawings into strips and weaving with these in combination with our tools and other materials to make sculptural objects.

The workshop had us reconsider drawing as much more than a 2D activity, and one involving the whole body, not just the hands, eyes and heads. While students have no trouble taking pencil to paper (though drawing with your eyes shut initially a challenge!), it’s all too common for them to think they have no ability in making. Hopefully the workshops went some way in convincing them otherwise and be better equipped for their further studies at art school.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

launch at last

I can hardly believe it’s over a month already since the launch of Practical Basketry Techniques. I meant to post images here right after the event; blogger’s block or being really busy, I can’t really say why I’m so late doing this, but here they are at last.

The installation at the launch included outcomes of projects in the book displayed amongst a number of other ready made and customised baskets, some of them previously installed at the Hybrid Basketry project at Origin. The display aimed to illustrate the wide range of materials and techniques introduced in the book, as well as its re-use and recycling ethos. One of the aims with the publication was to take basketry ‘out of the countryside’ and make it relevant to an urban context, while also appealing to a broad readership of artists, designers, makers and non makers. You might not have a garden or be able to source willow locally, but inspired by projects in the book, you’ll seize the opportunity to use green waste collected by a neighbour, or hack into discarded objects for materials to weave with.

Twined and coiled hedgerow baskets using bindweed, buddleya, dogwood and grasses.

On the night of the launch, I was thrilled to see people come early (even if it was just to get their free copy of the book!), and from then on we had a table full of people making in the meeting room at Siobhan Davies Studios. Sadly we got no pictures of this, everyone being too busy plaiting at the time.

Thanks to Davida Saunders from A&C Black and Katy Bevan from the Crafts Council for introducing the book, Ranbing Gong for leading the plaiting workshop, Siobhan Davies Studios for hosting the event, as well as all of you who made it to the launch, it was a wonderful evening.

Plaited constructions using banana fibre, newspaper and edition of Crafts Magazine (top), 'Broken China' basket included in plaiting chapter of Practical Basketry Techniques (bottom).

Hacked IKEA lampshades using grasses, yarn and coffee stirrers (top), Penny Pot included in twining chapter of Practical Basketry Techniques (middle), lampshade using wire and crystals included in interlacing chapter of Practical Basketry Techniques (bottom).

Gathering baskets included in stake and strand chapter of Practical Basketry Techniques with paper strip interlaced construction and balloon (top image).