For this section of the manual, students are requested to cut a series of curved edges into their chosen materials, and then asked to join convex and concave curves of varying sizes in a variety of ways.
The samples are to demonstrate:
a curved edges that fit neatly together
b curved edges that create a gap
c curved edges that both touch and leave gaps
Ex 3a. Curved edges that fit neatly together….
The Vinland map (1*) is claimed to be a 15th century map containing information about the Norse exploration of North America. A lot of publicity accompanied its exposure as a “genuine” pre-Columbian map in 1965. Many experts have since examined the paper and ink and there seems to be a consensus that the ink has 19th century components. Experts are still haggling.
I cut my copy into pleasantly concave and convex edges, taking little care about boundaries and land masses. I rejoined all the curves, refitting them neatly together on the reverse of the map, with masking tape.
For this sample 2.1.1c, I used a red pen to create my own boundaries, content to reclaim landmasses or give it back like a medieval war lord. I liked the blood red colour on this map and it also made a statement about the misery, fury, murder and war that is evoked by changing boundaries.
Now the questions start to arise. How could I extend this idea? Could I stitch lines across the join? Could I punch holes into the boundaries and join them with staples, threads, or wire for example? Could I use a sewing machine and sew all the names of those involved in this ‘fraud’ across the landmasses? Could I have raised the cut areas above the original on some board and painted in my new boundaries. Can I work this idea with other maps, perhaps something more personal or in connection with my personal theme (Searching for Sacred)?
My second sample (2.3a.2) is influenced by Jennifer Davies work, I used the convex edges of cocktail sticks and also the convex edges of kebab sticks that can easily be joined by laying them side by side. I cut the kebab sticks into irregular sizes and glued them with the cocktails sticks onto 15 x 21 cm mount board. I can imagine this being taken further by laying them in different lengths to create an assemblage, another thought is to layer them across or to use as a background for further work, or perhaps painting them. Or, like Jennifer, I could wrap my objects before joining them together.
Ex 3b Joining Curved edges that create a gap….
2.3b.1 : I have begun a community art project. I am asking school children and adults of any nationality in Lanzarote to create a simple weaving on discarded CD’s. Most of the people I have asked all have a the same complaint (“I’m not creative” they say). My response has been that together we can be creative and I offer a simple solution. I have 25 completed works hanging in my hallway. When I have more time I want to find a community space for them.
I had been considering how to join them together, and they were beginning to add up in piles in my studio. It was left unresolved until I worked on this project. I had rejected stitching them together on the reverse side due to my own time constraints. A pack of brightly coloured paperclips was a simple solution and I joined rows of several CD weaving’s together quickly. I like simple solutions sometimes, I also like the way they hang, move and change with the light. Everyone who visits my home are intrigued and want to ‘have a go’.
For the sample 2.3b.2 above: I have cut paper from a diary page and created concave and convex shapes, which I then stitched together. This a quick and simple sample and I gave it little thought. There are obvious limitations to using such fragile material and it is likely to get damaged. I could glue it onto a surface and cover it in pva glue to retain the shapes. I could also use the idea with other materials like card, painted pelmet viline or felt, or perhaps balsa wood to create a stronger surface.
For the above sample I reused sample 2.3a.2. I added small convex objects and stitched them into the mount-board. As I worked I thought it may have been useful to have marked the mount-board first with intended holes before stitching. Also the knot of thread came straight through the board. I stitched a piece of fabric to the reverse, then I decided to glue it down as it kept moving about. However this did not help, as I pierced the mount-board from the back it didn’t always match up with the mark at the front. I have left unintentional pin hole marks on the board. I don’t feel this is a particularly good sample, but I have learned what can and cannot be done with certain materials. This is one aspect of making samples, to experiment.
For the sample 2.3b.4 I collected plastic tubes of varying widths and lengths and drilled holes through each end. I joined them together using aluminum wire, along with beads and tubes from discarded jewellery to create varying gaps. I like this piece and have looked around my house and my husbands workshop for more plastic tubing. For sample 2.3b.5 I used cut slices of narrow plastic tube threaded through aluminum wire to create gaps, The curve in the narrow plastic tube has created interesting distortions, there is a lot of movement in this piece. There is a possibility here for a wrapping experiment, which would give the piece more rigidity, texture and interest. It has the potential for further development.
Ex 3c : Joining Curved edges that both touch & leave gaps
I enjoyed the process of discovery for this project. I have been talking to Stone Balance artist and photographer, Matthew William Scott, who lives in Lanzarote. (I have interviewed him (see interviews above), because he was one of the exhibitors in a collective exhibition I helped to curate. There is a delicate art to his work, with balances and counter balances, where curved edges meet and also leave gaps. Occasionally the stone balances do not last longer than it takes to photograph them, but I am intrigued by the question of having curved edges that both touch and leave gaps.
Stone balances are a feature on the island, people build them as land boundaries, for fun, as a memorial to a deceased animal, or just artists simply unable to help themselves to all the wonderful stone shapes laying about begging to be made into a sculpture. Sample 2.3c.1 was my first attempt to build my own stone balancing sculpture in my garden using volcanic stone and beach finds. It does not have the elegance of Matthews work and it is difficult to view where the curves touch and leave gaps. However even the strong winds of Lanzarote and the winter rain lashing down did not dislodge it. My cat found its weak point when she decided to use the wood as a scratching post, even so, it wobbled a little without any of the stones being dislodged.
2.3c.2 I sketched the sculpture in my sketchbook
2.3c.3 I created different stone balances in the garden with smooth, sea washed volcanic stones brought home from a beach walk. The nature of the gap is minimal and fragile and could be knocked over by the wind or being touched. I used a strong glue to bond the curved edges permanently.
2.3c.4a and 2.3c.4b. Using water-colour paints, I created more sketchbook work on an inexpensive 110g paper. In 2.3.7a I used fine text to suggest shadows. to be truthful, I was a little disappointed with the murky, blending that occurred, I can redo this at some point making more of the light and dark contrasts on watercolor paper. I did quite like the second sketch and would love to rework it on quality textured paper on a much bigger scale, making more of showing the gaps.
Sample 2.3c.5. There is a harmonious quality to these stone balances, that I can’t fully articulate. So much so, that I took my crochet needle and created soft textures for these hard looking stones, wrapping and joining these beautiful contours. There is something figurative about these little balances, I can see a lower body, torso and head, like a little goddess figurine. However my crochet skills need more practice.
1* Matthew William Scott: Stone Balance Artist, my interview and discussions with him