Part 2, Stage 3 is to record the outcomes of the work I have created and researched for joining and wrapping samples. I have faithfully recorded outcomes as I have worked on each of the projects. I feel that it is imperative to write down my outcomes and thought processes as I work on each exercise, if I leave that until later then the ideas and initiatives that led to the work and samples, would be overwhelmed or evaporated by the next project.
I will reflect here on what I have done in Part 2, using the following questions from the OCA manual to help this process.
Did you feel comfortable with the exercises?
It took some time to research artists working in wrapping techniques and then come up with my own unique interpretation. At first I could not work out the point of wrapping and did not fully appreciate what Christo et al were doing wrapping landscapes and other objects. My husband, with his science background, rolled his eyes when I told him about it. It was also reflected in artist friends comments, who visited my home, they saw my work and asked what I was doing, with a degree of puzzlement. It can be unmotivating working from home, particularly out of the UK, where students do not have access to ‘study days’ and neither have other students and tutors to interact with. Fortunately I am quite thick skinned and like other artists, I expect some knee jerk reactions about what constitutes ‘art’.
On the other hand, trying to interpret this strange art form, I did not want to simply wrap domestic objects, just to get the technique out of the way and finished and then move onto the next project. Once I had done enough research and then found my own expression for the wrapping exercises, I felt in the flow of creativity and enjoyed the process. My theme, that I am passionate about, is my driving force: Searching For Sacred.
Were there particular materials and techniques you enjoyed working with?
This question could not be explained simply with the adjective ‘enjoy’. It was only by exploring and manipulating materials and techniques over and over that I found that they worked for each individual project. I live on a small island where buying specialist art materials is next to impossible. Buying on the internet can be expensive, and may mean a long wait, and expensive customs duties. New products can be frustrating and disappointing to work with, unless I have had some experience of it. I have to know my materials to work with them, and given the unusual nature of this art form, it would mean backtracking to experiment and be playful before I could start work on a sample.
I have therefore begun to rely on materials close to hand, which usually means materials gathered from the house, my husband’s workshop, the beach, my garden or car boot sales.
The whole process of finding the right materials, took much longer than I could have anticipated and led to a drawn out process of discovery, the time allowance for reflection does not come close to the advice that this course should be considered to take approximately 8 hours a week.
How did the various materials respond to the techniques?
Research, experimentation, serendipity, resourcefulness, resolving material choices, artistic inquiry, undoing and redoing.
Were you able to achieve interesting textures and colours in your samples?
I spent a lot of time considering each sample and what I could achieve with the materials I had. I felt that my choice of materials, colours and textures were suitable for each project that I worked on. In some cases, like the purple color used for the Libertas figure, it was led by the original design idea for the Statue of Liberty and not by its eventual choice of materials. For the Cucuteni goddess sculpture, I kept to earth tones as it was a pottery and an archaeological find. For the endangered species project (the tiger) I used blood red, due to the threat of man the hunter. If a particular project didn’t work out, I took it apart and experimented with something else.
Which outcomes were successful? Which were less so- and why?
I have endeavored to explain my successes and failures as I worked on each project. I have photographed everything, the things that were successful and the samples that did not work out. I have given lengthy reports during my summing up of each one during the sample making process.
What are your thoughts on the artists, designers and makers you’ve
researched in Part 2?
I have found new inspiration by studying an array of artists, designers and makers using wrapping for this section. I did fall in love with Judith Scott’s quirky wrappings and so has the art world. Outsider art is gaining in popularity. I have also been following Jason de Clares bandaged wrapped figures that he created in Lanzarote with interest. They are now laying on the seabed off the coast of the island where I live. They are attracting a great deal of international interest. I have learned more than techniques in this section, as I study the artists and makers I have come to appreciate how each have a unique voice and the role that wrapping has to play as an art form.
I am also inspired by a number of contemporary Textiles artists, for example, I like the way Ali Ferguson joins her canvases together to form individual stories. I would love to experiment with the concept using my ‘Searching For Sacred’ themes.
How did the research you carried out inform your own work?
I had not been interested or studied artists that specifically use joining and wrapping techniques prior to working through Project 1&2. I may have been subliminally aware of this art form. But would not have had any experience or interest in following their work. The course manual asked students to be experimental and playful. It was my own theme that informed most of my work, along with the wonderful shapes and wrappings that inspired Judith Scott and her followers.