Monday, 22 August 2011

Commission, Commission....

I've just begun making a private commission for a lovely garden in Kent, based on the Death by Jumbrella piece I did for the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire. This piece will consist of 3 poles, 9 foot (2.74cm) in length, compared to the previous pieces which were 2m high above ground. All 3 of these poles are the same width and depth, roughly 7 x 4.5cm and will all be wrapped in the plastic lacing.

I am very excited about making these pieces, especially as they will be so long and colourful, but for the moment I am concentrating on filling the holes (mostly where sections of the knots have fallen out). I am using a delightful material called "Joy - Plastic Wood" which is apparently "applied like putty - dries like wood". I've never used this before so I'm intrigued to see how it goes, and what happens when I try to sand it down! Some of the holes are really deep so it's going to take me quite a few layers to fill them in! Watch this space....

Also, due to the length of the poles (3.6m) they're a bit difficult to fit in my room so I'm currently having them over my bed, held up at one end by my desk and the other leaning on some storage tubs and a box! It's like an unwanted room-divider! I think I might even have to sand and varnish them like this too as the weather is so bad at the moment that I can't really leave them outside like I did previously! The weather was far better back in April when I made the original piece. Here is a photograph to demonstrate my new room-divider and an image of the potentially wonderful plastic wood:

Yes, my "studio" is in fact my "bedroom". For the moment at least.

It's going to be interesting sleeping with these poles over my bed and trying to switch my alarm onto snooze in the morning....

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Two pretty sights from Brighton....

Here is a lovely piece of street art/ graffiti that I came across the other day, I was really drawn to the bright colours on the grey background:

 I'm afraid that I didn't notice the name of the artist but I can see it in the bottom right-hand side now!

This was a lovely sight that I came across on one sunny day last week, although I'm not sure that it translates so well if you weren't there, but the colourful houses looked great against the sparkling sea:


As I have now finally finished my Boom Bang Storage Stool I have begun thinking about my next piece(s) for Origin, and at least one of these involves flowers, so here are some photographs of nice, simple flowers that I have been looking at as imagery for my next works:

I have no idea what they're called but I really like the flowers at the top with the 4 petals (I like the way the petals almost make a square) and the flower with 5 heart-shaped petals is quite sweet too!

Going back to the Simple Shapes.............

For the past two weeks I have been working on two Simple Shape pieces for the On Repeat show which runs from 8th September to 5th November at Flow in Notting Hill. This has meant revisiting the working style of the final year of my BA, which was 5 years ago now so it has been a bit strange undertaking these pieces instead of working with my usual driftwood! The two working methods are very different even though they can both be very repetitive.

The first piece, One thousand and twenty-seven, is made from cork and consists of 1027 pieces of hand-cut cork and poly-cotton shapes. The second piece, Five hundred and seventy, is made from clear and white polypropylene alongside poly-cotton pieces. Here are a few pictures taken whilst I was cutting out the simple shapes (I didn't realise that the cork piece had quite so many pieces in it!):


Unfortunately I have run out of the olive and khaki coloured fabric for the cork piece (I only need 5 more little pieces of it!) so I'm going to have to make an emergency materials trip to London this week in order to finish this one off. I also need to buy backing plastic and one more bracket so that I can alter both pieces in order that they can be affixed curved to the wall. I will blog the final results once they are finished! I have been quite worried about these pieces as they're not easy to undertake, so I will be very glad once they are completed and delivered to Flow! It has also been interesting for me as these pieces are purposefully quite a bit larger than the ones I made for my BA so I am wondering if this will affect their end result....

Sunday, 7 August 2011

"Green Art", St Albans....

I just realised that I have never blogged about the Green Art Sculpture Trail that I was involved in (shock horror!).

I devised, planned and executed two series of “Colour, Wrapping and Found Object” workshops, firstly with the Transition Group from Oaklands College (16-19 year olds) and then with members of the Referral Group (more mature participants). During April and May both groups sourced a variety of found objects from a small section of the Alban Way (a 6.5 mile section of former railway line that ran between St Albans and Hatfield), including hub caps, twigs, logs, metal springs, car accessories, letter boxes and clamps.

These objects were then manipulated, drilled and embellished with thread, ribbon, wool, string, fabric and felt during workshops at the St Albans Museum. The finished pieces have recently been installed back along the Alban Way at two sites. The first site is nearby to where the objects were found and both areas form part of the Sculpture Trail situated within the green ring that surrounds St Albans. They have been combined with the products of four similar workshop events, adorning the natural environment and encouraging locals to interact with their surroundings.

Here's a picture of the materials the groups could work with:

Some of the strange and unusual items that were collected:

A brief introduction to my work and the idea of wrapping, with the demonstration pieces having been undertaken by some work experience students from the University of Hertfordshire:

Some pictures of finished works and works in progress....

A very hefty log:

We started workshop 2 by making flowers by layering up felt shapes and holding them together using small lace pins:

Some of these flowers then adorned one of the decorated objects:

A harp-like construction, very neatly wrapped:

This piece reminds me of a sling-shot:

Made with old shirts and wool on a broken terracotta found-object:

A hub-cap decorated by one of the boys:

Works in progress:

An unusually shaped wire item:


A fine example of a finished piece in the beautiful, sunny garden of the Museum:

Another lovely piece, combining a found tile with various ribbons and thread:

Me anxiously drilling and hoping not to make any mistakes!:

A lovely, complex piece made by one of the Referral Group (situated in the Museum garden):

 Two colourful pieces together:

I worked closely with Chris Blanch the Arts Development Officer from St Albans Arts Sport & Health Development on this project, and here she is nestled within our second re-siting spot amongst the art:

Who says beach combing doesn't pay.....

 Look what I found last week (complete with small bits of seaweed and water weathering):


Just got to take it to the bank now to see if I can exchange it for a slightly less sea-battered version, fingers crossed...

RSPB Old Moor family workshop...

Last Wednesday I spent the day on the beautiful RSPB Old Moor reserve in Wombwell, Barnsley. I was leading the art workshop section of their "Wild Wednesday" school holiday feature, with help and assistance coming from many of their lovely volunteers.

Indoors young children and their parents/ grandparents were making decorative objects for their gardens by combining driftwood (shipped from Brighton) and branches from the reserve with various textile media. Whilst outdoors two volunteers were helping the youngsters to wrap a selection of trees using vibrantly coloured fabric, by all accounts the visitors very much enjoyed ripping the shiny fabric to make the fabric strips (it makes a great noise and is less arduous than cutting the jersey)! It was an extremely hot day but everyone did very well and produced some lovely pieces from the materials available to them. In fact, they were so good that everyone wanted to take them home rather than leave them for the reserve trees!! I did however manage to take some snaps of a few pieces....

This piece reminds me of a rain-stick, I think it looks great with the strands of ribbon hanging down (the Mother and Son team took more ribbon home so they could finish it off):

I think this piece was a bow, complete with a scoobie strap:

This is the first piece that was made and we hung it up as an example, the combination of the shiny ribbon with the silky fabric is lovely:

This piece was made by the same girl as above (and her Mum), it looked like an insect so they drew eyes on it to emphasise this. The Mum was pretty nifty with the scoobies, creating these flicked out sections!!:

A wrapped piece of driftwood with lively colours:

The workshop participants became very interested in the polystyrene and plastic innards of the ribbon reels, which they very neatly wrapped with the lengths of ribbon:

A well executed wrap of a thin branch from the reserve:

A vibrant and feminine colourscheme:

Two boys worked together to make this one (using lots of the different materials; wool, scoobies, fabric and ribbon, and they even managed to find a purple feather from somewhere!). They hung up the piece whilst going pond-dipping and bug-hunting:

A beautifully wrapped sunshine ribbon reel:

Towards the end of the day lots of people turned to making their pieces into necklaces and head decorations by drilling a hole at the end and threading a scoobie through, this is one green example:

Lisa, one of the volunteers, lovingly made this colourful beauty. Every time I looked over at her she was wrapping away, she said it was addictive!:

The back of the same piece:

Now for the beautifully wrapped trees which looked wonderful moving in the breeze:

A massive thanks to Kate and Rob for spending the day helping with tree wrapping and a big thanks to Ryan, Lisa, Delia, John and Lucy for all of their help during the day. An enormous thanks must also go out to Julia Makin who did an awful lot of thinking and planning for the event but sadly couldn't make it on the day. Thanks guys, I hope that everyone had a lovely day!!