Exploratory Project 7

Other work created 12-30 April

I had a balloon flight booked which I intended to use as part of this project to look at the landscape from a different scale and perspective – from above rather than immersed in it. However, it was cancelled due to bad weather. So I had a look through some source books and made a ‘mindless’ colour sketch. By this I mean I took the rough structure from the source material, but allowed myself ‘mindless’ freedom to mark-make and introduce colour as I saw fit within that structure (on an A2 sheet).

I found this incredibly soothing. I didn’t really have any rules – so perhaps that was the rule. It took about a day to produce. I guess the only rule was to not have any jarring colours. I intended this piece to be a bit of rest and relaxation from the intensity of the collar. To look at I also find it soothing. It is more reminiscent of a quilt or pillows than of the fields it is based on. There is something comforting and sculptural about it, even though it is a flat drawing. It makes me want to jump into the middle of it. Something retro about it – because of the quilt likeness, it seems to suggest heritage, age and a cherished element to it. An importance. A solidity even though it looks soft.

I also attended the International Feltmakers Association AGM – which consisted of lectures and workshops. I intended to include the workshops as part of this project if we were given tasks that were appropriate in order to explore the qualities of felt more.

Two of the lectures were particularly interesting: Yuli Somme (particularly her feet felt project – where felted casts of feet were placed out in the landscape and recorded at regular intervals as they rotted back into the land) and Heather Belcher (member of the 62 Group – who gave a lecture on her collaborative project with potter Duncan Ayscough).

Two of the workshops were pertinent to this project and I include images from them. The first was with Harriet Hill (herself a lecture in MA Fine Art) who conducted an exploratory workshop of the environment we were staying in. This mostly consisted of little projects of in-situ art – where you left your mark in the environment – often with felt. I chased and marked the shadow of a tree for 20 mins, left felt markers in defined areas, so linking them together and reflected marks in the locality. The second workshop was making felt vessels with Mandy Nash. Although the piece is nothing to look at, it was a great chance to test the material and realise that only certain wools are up to the task of creating something so robust and sturdy, that has a flat bottom,crisp edges and holds its structure with no help, can be formed from nothing more than from water, soap and fleece with a bit of rubbing and rolling. The technique will be valuable for making 3d pieces in the future.

I very much enjoyed making work that sat out/interacted with the environment. I was not something I had considered before. It is really an installation in a public space. However I would do so again. These were all little experiments and there isn’t too much I can reflect deeply on as they were really just ways of thinking differently to test and encourage you to apply that thinking in the future.

I particularly liked the shifting shadow though and how that might be represented in layers. All of these experiments are starting blocks for something more considered down the line.

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