Trip to Looe, Classic Sculptures

Our trip to Looe to recreate classic sculptures

“The Discus Thrower” Anon

We gathered in our group and were instructed as to what we had to achieve. The task to me seemed a daunting one as it was a large scale project unlike anything I had done before and as we had been given ‘The Discus Thrower’ by Anon we had a challenging piece to recreate. It was clear that it would require a level of accuracy and attention to detail that was similar to, but not quite as in depth, as that found in the piece “Sun Tunnels” by Nancy Holt.

Despite all this I was keen to give it a go, unfortunately a few of our group were also eager to get stuck in but with little communication were doing different things in a rather scrambled way. There were people pouring buckets of water on the sand, people digging to get to the  wetter sand and people levelling out the surface but right next where others were digging their holes. The rest of us looked on a little confused so I suggested that marking out the space we would need to work on would be a good place to start. I was upset to find I was ignored several times before another group member repeated my suggestion and finally it was acknowledged.

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As we were marking it by using peoples actual feet two guys with similarly sized feet began counting out steps, one doing the length, the other the width. This gave us a rectangle but it was a rather wonky one. I advised that the person who had measured the width re walk the 8 steps several times along the length of the rectangle, this way we would be able to get the two lines of the length parallel to each other. Again I was ignored, several times, but after another team member picked up on what I had said and repeated it the guy eventually did this and we were able to get our rectangle.

By this point I was left feeling slightly disheartened, and a little stressed, as I felt that I was unable to contribute to the group and so I decided to take a back seat and let the two dominant members to continue to lead the way. Meanwhile the group next to us were using a plank of wood to smooth the surface of the sand. This seemed to be an effective method and so we asked to use the plank after they were finished. As they were also using it to mark the lines of their grid it was taking a while and a few groups were also waiting to use it so I saw the opportunity to be productive and went to find another plank to enable us and all the other groups to use this technique with less of a wait.

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I returned triumphant with my plank of wood to find we had finally been passed on the original plank and it was being used to smooth our surface, I double checked that we would no longer need it and was told we wouldn’t, so I gave it to another group. After our space was level the original plank was also passed on but without the lines being marked. This meant that our hand drawn lines of our grid turned out wobbly and quite uneven whilst all the groups around us had very neat looking grids as a result of using the planks. I tried to rectify this by reclaiming a plank and going over to straighten up our lines but it was still far messier then it had needed to be.

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People started to mark out the outline of our figure whilst myself and Byron dug a hole nearby to create a pile of wet sand to use to make our sculpture. Then as the outline was completed we opted to all take a section of the figure to build. After Myself and another girl attempted the face and found it challenging we decided it was time to take a break to be able to return to our work refreshed.

After my break I found the face that I had been working on had been destroyed as the other members who had continued working weren’t happy with it. I felt annoyed that they couldn’t have waited and talked to me about it when I got back as they all had other areas to keep working on. Nevertheless I carried on for some time but kept finding it was out of proportion or not at the right angle, I also struggled with keeping the sand wet and so it was prone to falling away. We had other issues with the proportions of an arm, a leg and the torso. We all thought that the angles the sculpture was positioned in was what was making it very challenging to translate into sand. After a while we realised that standing back to take it all in as one was a good idea as we had been so focused on our own little areas.

Eventually I conceded and offered the face to someone else, I didn’t feel that I had the ability to get it right and as it was one of the last parts left uncompleted and time was running out I thought this would be the most beneficial thing to do. I then began to focus on the presentation: clearing the surrounding area, digging away, levelling sand and giving it a tidy up. I encouraged other group members to help with this who weren’t already keeping the sculpture damp or involved with still working on their chosen areas.

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I feel that If we had begun with a more accurate grid that it would have made this stage easier. Also if we had assigned roles to people as specific ‘sand dampeners’ and worked from one end of the sculpture to the other, rather then individual areas, it would have looked more consistent. Aspects such as whether the edges were curved, which is and integral part of a realistic sculpture, weren’t really talked about and were done at the last minute. Overall I think our problems were a result of a lack of communication and a non effective team work.

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As the judges came around we stood back and took a look at our finished piece, I then had a look around at the other work around the beach. I thought that ours was not as aesthetically appealing as the others, I particularly liked the Venus De Milo and how the shapes created by the folds in her robe worked well in the sand, also Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant sculpture caught my eye with it’s smooth, rounded curves. It was impressive to see all of the finished pieces spaced across the beach, so much so that there were a lot of members of the public gathering around and inspecting them as if they were in an art gallery. The completed sculptures reminded me of Robert Smithsons ‘Jetty’ and how using natural materials can enable the work to blend with it’s environment.

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“Alison Lapper Pregnant” Recreated by PCA Students

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“Venus De Milo” Recreated by PCA Students

When the judges announced we had come third I was genuinely shocked, I still don’t necessarily think we deserved this but I think they must have taken into account the complexity of our figure. I was exhausted after the long day that had been consistently hot throughout and was glad to be finished. I hadn’t realised just how achievable yet stunning working with sand could be and so although the day hadn’t gone as smoothly as it could have sand sculpturing is something I would love to try again in my own time, in a more relaxed manner.

The Way Things Go

For our first assignment we had to work in a group of around ten to get a marble or ping pong ball to move 3 foot using various materials. This project was inspired by Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s collaborative project ‘The way things go’ or in German ‘Der Laufder Dinge’ from 1987. The artists harnessed the energy of twisted cord and a bin bag to initiate an entire sequence of objects to move, burn and react with each other.

I think this was an appropriate task for our second day in college as it forced us to interact and get to know each other as well as see what ourselves and other people could bring to the group. In the same way the Fischli and Weiss did we collaborated with other artists.

It was a daunting task to begin with especially when working with new people and not knowing who was comfortable with what role. A few of us tried kicking things off and so we got started.

We decided to begin by gathering materials as this seemed like a sensible place to start and also in case the best stuff was taken by other groups. Each person who had found an item had come up with an at least vague idea of what we could use it for and so this helped us form a rough outline of our structure. Then there was the list of criteria that had to be covered such as the marble or ping pong ball turning left and right, making  a mark, making a noise, change of speed and going up; half of us discussed this and how we could incorporate these things whilst the other researched other artists who had also done similar work. We managed to get the marble to go up by creating such a powerful down motion by rolling it through a diagonally placed tube that it could go up a slope, the sound from it dropping into a tin like material and the turns by using a round plastic casing to guide the ball

As we neared completion and with most the criteria met we decided we wanted to make it more interesting.  One group member who had been researching had come across a YouTube video where they had done a similar thing using the vibrations of a mobile phone. We thought this would be a great way to start of the process as it meant the movement of the ball could be initiated without us touching it at all. Unfortunately though it didn’t see to work with the phones we had as it is the older models that tend to vibrate hard enough to cause that much movement.

Another thing we tried which worked during our practice runs was to have the marble go through a plastic casing we had found then just as it comes out have it stopped by hitting into a cardboard tunnel. Inside this tunnel was the ping pong ball which after the cardboard was hit by the marble was nudged and the rolled into a plastic tray. The idea was that the marble would go in and the ping pong ball would come out without people seeing the change over making it more interesting to watch. Also for the making a mark part of the task the ping pong ball was covered in paint which then splattered onto a piece of paper in the tray.

In hindsight if we had each had a more specific piece of the criteria to work on each then perhaps our structure could have been more elaborate. There were members of the group who were a lot more withdrawn and less comfortable getting stuck in and despite our efforts to include them didn’t seem interested. Perhaps if we all felt more comfortable this wouldn’t have been the case. After seeing the structures made by other groups we also realised how small and restricted we had made it. This could have been due to our workspace and the fact it was slightly smaller making us think smaller with our project. We could have also used a better range of materials in order to make it more interesting.

Drawing Space

Day 1:

For this assignment we were given the option to be tied together as a group, we thought that it would be worth trying to see how it would impact our day and our attempt to complete our work. Before we had left the building I was regretting it. Even a simple task such as gathering our materials to use for the day became a struggle.

We made our way to the park and the group settled in the centre to begin drawing. As I gazed around at our surroundings, looking for something to draw I felt that it was all far to similar. A lot of trees and grass (not surprising as we were in the park) but all fairly uninteresting to me. As we were still tied together I couldn’t leave the group and so had to settle on something so I chose to draw a tree that stood out to me. It was smaller then the others with fragile looking branches complemented by delicate leaves. I initially began to draw using a pencil but soon found it to look quite plain so I opted for charcoal instead. This was a great medium to use to create the texture needed for the leaves as well as being far more flattering for my unskilled drawing.

IMG_5789Our initial spot to sketch

I began to feel the need to get up closer to objects in order to be able to touch them and inspect them further to in order  to draw. Having the group in such close proximity made me feel distracted as well as the sun becoming too hot for me to sit in. As the other group members weren’t finished yet I had to stay were I was but eventually I decided to untie myself to be able to get more work done. I walked around the edges of the park to take some rubbing’s of stone, trees and leaves but found my paper too thick to get a good image. I noticed a lot of dry crumpled leaves which had a lovely texture to them so I stuck them to some masking tape to add to my page of textures.

Next I began to look at the graffiti on the walls as I thought I could use it for the text part of the project but then I saw some tiny and far more simple writing which simply said ‘sorry.’ This writing intrigued me as it seemed so sad and lonely. It made me think that whoever wrote it may not have been able to apologise to the person themselves or they had and had the apology rejected. Another thought I had was that perhaps it was to say sorry for the much larger Graffiti next to it. Either way I found myself far more interested in this then the original work and so I copied it onto the paper.

After we had a break for lunch we all concluded that we needed a change of location, by this time we had all abandoned the idea of being joined together as it wasn’t practical. We settled ourselves next to the art college which provided a view of some pubs, the shopping centre, traffic lights as well as passing cars and far more pedestrians then in the park. We were now equipped with a diverse range of images including text from signs, landscape outlines of cars and a contrast of modern and older buildings.

WP_000039  The Roundabout pub – an example of some of the older architecture

We we’re even able to obtain our image whilst moving by getting members of the public to walk across paper to get their footprints.

IMG_5802The public’s footprints

By the end of the day I had a wide selection of images to begin the next part of the assignment with, but I was left feeling disheartened with the quality of my work. I struggled to accurately sketch what I saw although I had attempted various styles . It showed my how I need to learn some basic drawing techniques to allow me to create more accurate and professional work. Although drawing is not specifically part of my future plans I feel that if I could better understand the fundamentals it would help enhance my design process for fashion or crafts as well as to improve my overall creative confidence.

Day 2:

After looking through everyone in the groups work we selected a few images that stood out to us all as being the most prominent and that would give the best results. The initial piece we used as our starting point was an image of a tree because of the strong arches of the trunk and branches.

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 Image of trees we used as initial inspiration

The area we were given to work in didn’t have any wall space which is what we had originally wanted to use to attach our wool to. Instead we decided to establish the centre of the sculpture by using a ladder to compensate for our lack of wall space and began to add branches that we had gathered the day before. Unfortunately using the ladder was against health and safety and so we had to put it back.

IMG_5809Our first attempt to begin our structure

Luckily this was still very early on and so some of the group rummaged around the studio and found a large round tube which became the foundation of our work. We then added the branches which we had collected the previous day.

As we were basing our work around the image of a tree we decided to create what would be the leaves using the ‘abstract drawing whilst walking’ image as our inspiration for the shape which was particularly good as the it looked similar to the texture of the wool. So we began to loop the wool around the tree branches, throwing it up and over the pipes around the ceiling of the studio. This left a lot of the sculpture up to the chance of where the wool fell and after a while we could see it come together.

WP_000068                                              Abstract image created by drawing whilst walking

20130903_113520The wool hanging from the tree branches

The sculpture was now fairly sizeable and had our interpretation of a tree trunk – the round tube, as well leaves – the wool wrapped around the branches and looped over pipes in the ceiling. We now wanted to recreate more of the images that we had gathered throughout the previous day. One group member had taken a rubbing of a drain cover which installed using the wool as a 3D box.

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Rubbing of a drain cover depicting a grid image as well as text

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The drain cover rubbing recreated in 3D

Another member wanted to translate his drawing of the lines of wood that was on one of the older buildings onto the ‘trunk’ of our sculpture and he did this by using string. He used white string and stapled it to the white trunk. I would have opted for the black wool so that it stood out more but I still think he conveyed the image well. It’s straight uniform lines was an excellent contrast to our wavy wool and otherwise spontaneous work.

WP_000061Uniform lines on the sculptures ‘trunk’

Meanwhile I was focusing on the text that we had recorded, I began with the word ‘sorry’ which I had found as well as ‘Caffeine’ simply because almost the whole group had copied this from The Caffeine Club. I found the easiest (yet still tricky) way to go about this was to use the white string for the lettering as it was sturdier then the wool and so held the shape better and was clearer to spot in between the black wool.

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Image of the word sorry created with string

We also decided to add to the leaves by cutting up some of our drawings into leaf shapes and attaching them to the structure. We liked the mixture of mediums used within the piece making it more interesting. Also our once purposeful drawings now cut into leave showed glimpses of the original images making them abstract lines and shapes which I thought was an interesting effect.

WP_000097One of our paper leaves

The last part of putting our piece together was to use the projector to display more of our drawings around the sculpture. We used various white pieces of wood in different sizes placed on easels and rested on the sink behind. This was my favourite part as it gave a more professional edge  to the project and with the room only lit by the projector it created an atmosphere to accompany our work. Also the way out work had evolved meant that each angle showed something different, parts where decide on and made as a team and other parts were our own individual contribution.

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Our work projected around the sculpture

I thought that the day had gone well, as we were working with the same people as we had the day before it meant we were more confident to get involved and express our opinions. We worked well together and all had an input into making the project complete.