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.

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Screen Printing

To ensure I get the most from my time at the college and to expand my skills wherever possible I took advantage of a screen printing induction that was being held in the print room. Surprisingly I was the only one that showed up but decided this was only a good thing, enabling me to ask as many questions and to take as many photos as I wanted.

Screen Stripping

The introduction talked us through how to strip a screen, making it ready to use for printing.

  • To begin with use the mask, gloves and apron provided as the chemicals used may be harmful to your skin.
  • Next use the small bucket provided along with a sponge to gather the screen stripping solution and use it to wipe down the screen.

  • You should be able to see the emulsion breaking down almost instantly and after 3/4 mins it will be complete.
  • Make sure the blue light on the wall is off before turning on the switch of the power hose.

     

  •  Use the power hose to wash down the screen


And now your screen is reclaimed and after being left to dry is ready to have your chosen image that you want to print transferred onto it.

Applying Your Image

I chose to use an image of my company logo which I wanted to screen print onto some canvas bags as well as boxes used to sell my products in. The logo itself, which I created through photoshop, is quite simple which I thought was a good place to start whilst I’m still getting used to screen printing.

So I went to the print room with two versions of my image, one large one small, printed off onto some plain paper. The first step was to photocopy the images onto acetate.

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Once they were on the acetate it was time to transfer it onto my screen which had already been coated in the chemical solution, needed to burn the image, by the technician. I placed the screen with the acetate laid on top on the self contained exposure unit. It is important to make sure the side of the screen that would face the material intended for printing is facing downwards whilst being exposed.

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Then I closed the lid and used the clips to lock it…

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And pressed the ‘vacuum’ button to start the process…

You can then see it creates a vacuum around the screen…

And then you just need to wait for the counter to count down to 50.

Once the screen has been exposed it’s important to take it directly to the sink to be rinsed so it’s best to leave it in the exposure unit until the sinks are free to be used.

So when at the sink it needs to be washed down to reveal the image…

Then once it’s nice and dry it’s ready to be used.

Using the Screen to Print

I was really nervous about printing with my screen as I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, especially getting the image central, luckily with a little bit of measuring I managed to line everything up.

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Then I used the squeegee to apply the dye, holding it at an angle as I firmly pulled it towards me and over my screen.

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There were some casualties along the way, the longer I was printing for the more dye got everywhere which resulted in one or two smudges but overall it was really successful. I did manage to get into a routine though which meant I achieved a lot (20 bags and 15 boxes) within my allocated time slot.

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I feel far more confident now and am eager to try more complicated designs and to experiment with different colours.

Creating Samples and Idea Deveolpment

Samples and idea development

Our next project that followed on from this was to create a range of samples, using only paper and inspired by any number of words taken from a selection we were given. We were paired up for this task and were each given a role of Design director or Assistant. I was paired with Byron and given the role of Design Director which involved me having creative control as well as the responsibility to talk through our ideas and concept to the group.

I knew that working with Byron would be a challenge, but one I was keen to take on, so we discussed the idea of having as much variety in our samples as possible whilst focusing primarily on the words ‘grid’, ‘boundaries’,

These are the majority of the samples I created. I attempted a box pleat with definite, sturdy looking folds which was a contrast to my fan like sample that showed curved, waves. They were both inspired by the word ‘contour’, demonstrating how much variety you can get from the same starting point.

These samples are mainly Byron’s, my favourite of which was his experimentation with ‘boundaries’ which involved him putting the paper in his mouth to scrunch it. Although his method seemed doubtful at the time (and still needs modifying) he managed to create an amazing texture and depth. It reminds me of scrunched taffeta, pictured bellow.

Here you can see I used a map to create a woven grid like sample. I love how the image which was once made using precision and purpose is taken apart and the reconstructed in completely nonsensical and random fashion. (As well as the fact that it would make a great coaster.)

The samples that where chosen by Sarah (our client in this scenario) where the scrunched up paper by Byron (on the provision he used his hands and not his mouth) and the curly paper samples of mine shown bellow.

Garment Construction

The final stage of the project was to recreate our samples on a larger scale and then use them to create a dress by pinning them to a manikin. Again I was absent and so I missed the opportunity to finish this with Byron but I continued it in my own time at home. I began by using large petal shaped pieces of scrunched paper to construct a skirt. As you can see I layered them up to create body and volume, using extra bits of paper in between to extenuate it further.

For the bodice I took another piece of scrunched paper and marked out the bust point and added two darts using pins, giving it the shape needed to fit to the mannequin. When I attached it the top corners folded down naturally which I felt worked really well and so I decided to leave it like that. I had originally decided to use the swirls as a way to add detail to the bodice but was satisfied with the more simplistic yet stylish (despite being made from paper) look the dress had taken on, so I opted to leave the bodice plain.

I had only used one technique instead of two so I decided to incorporate the swirls subtly by using a pencil to curl up the edges of the ‘petals.’ The idea derived from an ornamental bowl that I spotted on my worktop and embraced the petal/flower element of the dress.

Originally I had purposefully curled the edges inwards but prefer this more dainty version.

Both the scrunched paper and curled edges were aspects of the garment that I wouldn’t have used if it wasn’t for my collaboration with Byron and the direction given by Sarah and yet are key components in it’s creation. This is a great example of how we need to use outside influences to develop our work and to enhance our ideas.

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Sewing Machine Introduction

Introduction to the sewing machines

I was not in the morning session where we were inducted to the sewing machines and advised on the health and safety aspects of using them, fortunately as I have attended the college previously this is something I am already aware of and am confident when using a sewing machine. However here is the handout of the health and safety guidelines:

During the morning session the group had been experimenting with the various settings on the machines and getting to grips with them by sewing onto paper. As I wasn’t in I attempted this at home on my own machine but ended up opting for scrap fabric as the paper was ripping and clogging up my machine.

It was a great opportunity to experiment with all the settings that I don’t often get time to use, such as more intricate patterns. I also enjoyed the fact that I was sewing with no purpose or direction. As someone who is constantly thinking ahead to the completed project, which is something we are discouraged from doing, it was good to just see how it developed.

I began with an orange thread and tried out a few different types of stitching, finding that with more complicated stitches the faster I went the poorer the quality was. I then layered it with a mint green, but in the picture it looks white and then finished it with a ‘x’ border using a combination of orange and green in the bobbin.

In this close up you can see the detail better, in particular the wavy line that gets thicker and thinner which is my favourite. This task reminded me of the map work we had been doing as the stitching was going in different directions, crossing over in places. It’s familiar to lot’s of little journeys differentiated by each type of stitch.

Fine Art

What is fine art?

Fine art is a broad art form that integrates a variety of disciplines from new media to installation and even performance.

When practising fine art it is important to consider a range of factors in order to create a well structured and thought provoking piece. The  formal elements, for example, are still relevant even when traditional drawing methods aren’t used as they still exist within all objects and materials that we do use.

If you keep an open mind the process of developing your work can can be a constant influence, something unexpected or accidental can take your work in a whole new direction. In some cases it’s the process itself, possibly captured through film and photography, that becomes the final piece.

When looking for inspiration you can draw from your individual experiences which not only makes your work personal but adds meaning. Some artists use politics and media, especially those making a statement, but your work could relate to something from your daily life that may seem mundane or trivial and yet still be effective.

Mapping Journeys

For this task we had to retrace one or all of our journeys whilst paying attention to details we would otherwise miss. This was in preparation for our final task of designing and constructing an installation. We were encouraged to collect objects, take photos, make rubbing’s, to sketch and to record our journeys in whatever way we could think of, but to also be selective and focus on the simpler smaller things instead of instantly thinking big. I think this was an excellent way to encourage our work to progress and develop from a smaller concept through to our larger finished piece, helping to refine our creative process.

It was difficult to not indulge the instant flood of ideas that entered my brain and to stop myself from focusing on ‘what would make a good installation…’ but in the end I was glad that I kept my mind open long enough to explore different avenues.

I began by retracing my journey from college to home, listening to music as I often do. Music influences a lot of my journeys, how quickly I walk, if I catch a bus or not, whether I walk a slightly longer route in order to fit in another song. This in itself seemed significant to me and so I logged the idea of incorporating the music into my work.

I tried to pay extra attention to where I was walking, hoping to notice something that I usually miss, however it was then that I began to realise how much I take in when I walk. I naturally examine the floor, taking note of cracks, wonky slabs, plants, surrounding buildings and signs. Because of this I began to struggle to pick up on anything that felt new or worthwhile.

Something that did draw my attention was the amount of abandoned items, mainly furniture like mattresses, chest of drawers, clothing. These were all things that I have seen before and acknowledged, as I have been known to find some rather useful and amazing things in back alleys and taken them home with me, but I felt like this could be relevant to the project as waste is something that I feel quite passionate about. I decided to take photos of the items so I could refer back to them for the next project.

As well as abandoned items I began to notice how much litter there was which is something else that frustrates me as I find it to be unnecessary, selfish and lazy. It made me wonder if I could use these ugly crisp packets and empty cans that were cluttering the streets, bushes and gardens, to make something beautiful.

I also came across some intriguing images, one was a replication of the pattern of a railing, as it was indented into the pavement bellow the railing I was interested to know how it had come about and so I took a picture along with one of some mysterious marks on a pole.

By this point I felt like I had enough scope to help initiate my thought process and begin working towards a final idea. I browsed my pictures and bits of rubbish I had collected and thought through the various avenues I could go down.

One idea was to compile a sculpture from the trash I had found, turning something ugly into something beautiful. Another was a series of images of abandoned but useful/functioning items with again, some kind of sculpture made from said items.

I finally decided to revisit the concept of incorporating music into my work, it was then that I realised that the one thing I hadn’t thought of trying was to try my journey without it. When I did I discovered that what I don’t normally experience are the sounds around me and the more I realised this the more amplified the sounds became, crunching leaves, car engines, even my creaky back gate.

It was at this pointed I concluded to create and atmospheric experience, I wanted to record and play these sounds whilst using lamps, stencils and shadows to enhance it.

I spent a day attempting my stencil/lamp concept but eventually realised that it simply would not work in the time that I had. I ended up not showing my work that day but looking back I could have kept it simple and used just the recording.

I cannot upload the sound file to this blog due to compatibility issues but I shall display the dictaphone with my final work for assessment.

 

Deconstruct/Reconstruct

For this assignment we were required to select an item from a given list that we would then spend the next 6 weeks examining, de constructing and then reconstruct in a whole new way.

I knew that I wanted to work with textiles because of how much I enjoyed the previous textiles project and felt like this would be a good opportunity to indulge myself in what is the field I want to go on to study. The only textiles item on the list was a jumper but I didn’t think I could get as much out of it as I could other items so I decided to bend the rules and hunt through a charity shop to find something that would give me more scope.

It was in the charity shop that I came across a suit jacket which I instantly wanted to work with. The structured form, bold lines and masculine connotations gave me my first insight into what direction I wanted to take this project. Through exploration of gender stereotypes within fashion and the history behind this I was going to de construct this traditionally male garment and reconstruct it into something delicately feminine. This project would not only push the boundaries of my textiles, fashion design and pattern cutting abilities but also my contextual and research skills which was a challenge I was eager to take on.

A history of  the suit

During the 1920’s menswear became more casual, in comparison to the previous era, with sportswear being introduced as acceptable daytime attire. A shorter suit jacket, popularised by icons such as Charlie Chaplin and Al Capone, began to phase out the frock jacket that had been fashionable since the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The jacket was often teamed with a waistcoat and could be worn for daytime or business dress. Despite the changes that the suit jacket saw over the following decades it is the style of the 20’s that modern suit jackets are based upon today.

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A 1920’s advert showing the style of men’s suit’s that we still use today

The 1930’s brought the dawn of the golden age of cinema and with it came a wave of influential role models plastered across the screens and billboards. It wasn’t just the women wanting to look like movie stars, the men also strived to recreate the styles they saw on the big screen with icons like Clarke Gable and Henry Fonda. The ‘drape cut’ or ‘London drape’ suits became increasingly popular with their looser more comfortable fit, tapered around the wrists and ankles.

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An example of the looser fitted 1930’s suit

Expectedly the second world war impacted the world of fashion in the 1940’s greatly. With rationing enforced there was no room for expansive garments consuming more fabric then they needed and so the wider styled suits of the 30’s quickly got nipped into sleeker styles. Tightly fitted with straight cut lines, these minimalistic suits were often made from grey flannel which was very popular at the time. This trend of suits was reinforced by stars like Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.

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Fabric saving suits of the 40’s

The 1950’s meant the end of the war and of rationing and so the comfortability of looser styled suits came back into play. This allowed for freer movement and easier dancing to the popular swing music. With fabric once again accessible suits became double breasted with wide shoulders and turn up’s were introduced  to the bottom of baggy trousers. Designers indulged themselves by using richer fabrics, in particular velvet for the breasts of suits worn by ‘Teddy Boys’.

Wide shoulders and turned up trousers

Moving onto the swinging 60’s where The Beatles rocked the mod look of skinny suits and drainpipe trousers. This era was one where the working class and the newly found ‘teenagers’ were centre stage and it was very important to get the look just right, even if it meant carrying a comb with you wherever you went.

The influential band The Beatles in their tight fitted suits

The 1970’s and the era of Disco brought us something brand new in the form of flared trousers and exaggerated lapels along with bold and vibrant coloured suits. Some may say this is not necessary a good thing as this era is among the most criticised for it’s fashion choices but it was an important one as it pushed boundaries and allowed for maximum experimentation, something that star David Bowie took full advantage of.

David Bowie embracing the opportunity to experiment with fashion

Opposing the power-dressed minions of Wall Street, Giorgio Armarni used the film American Gigolo as a platform to launch a new silhouette of men’s suits. He did this through removing the lining and padding and by using softer, more flexible fabrics, instigating a new trend of suit for the 80’s.

Armarni’s trend inspiring suit from the film American Gigolo

The minimalistic era of the 90’s led to matte black, sleek suits with white shirts and skinny black ties. This was encompassed by the film Reservoir Dogs and embraced by many teenage boys and young men wanting to recreate this ‘cool without trying’ look.

A well know scene from the iconic movie Reservoir Dogs

Women’s fashion tells an intriguing story of their fight for independence and equal rights. We can see this through the development and adaptation of fashion in response to politics and sociological changes.

Historically a women’s role, particularly within the upper class, was one of looking pretty and drinking tea. As this didn’t require much physical activity their outfits were often constrictive and impractical. Corsets were used to enhance their womanly hourglass figure, but came with there own complications and in some cases even led to fatalities. As you can see from the image bellow the corset underwent a series of developments in order to modify a woman’s silhouette in accordance to what was deemed fashionable at the time.

Vintage corset fashion -Timeline

From the start of the 20th century fashion began to adapt to more simplistic designs, but it wasn’t until the revolutionary decade of the 1920’s, led by fashion designers such as Coco Channel, that men and women’s fashion really began to evolve. Freed from the constraints of corsets women embraced new boyish silhouettes and expanded their wardrobes to include shorter skirts and trousers.

1920’s women embracing their lose fitted dresses

Examining my item

I began to look at my item, photographing it from different angles as it hung of the mannequin showing it’s own natural form as opposed to being manipulated by the person wearing it. I noted the angular frame and defined edges.

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My next step was to see it being worn so I enlisted some ‘volunteers’.  I wanted to seen it worn by people of different sizes, shapes and genders in order to gain the best understanding of it qualities.

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Formal Elements

The formal elements are used by all artists and by getting to know them, there properties and there uses will allow us as artists to add depth and variety to our work.

Line

A line can be used to outline a shape, create texture and depth, to shade. It is indeed the starting point of the formal elements.

Terry winters takes particular advantage of the use of line as you can see by this example of his work, a very chaotic image created by repeatedly layering lines over lines. In places the lines, created with oil paints, have been layered so much they have created a bock of colour.

This conveyed the chaotic, scrawled look that was suited to the essence of my small crafts company ‘Rough Designs’ and so I  incorporated it’s style into my business logo.

Terry Winters, Internal and External Values

Shape

A shape, enclosed by an outline, is created through the use of the other formal elements such as line and tone. Although similar, it differs from form as it is always a 2D image rather then 3D.

Shapes are often a prominent component of traditional African art, whether it’s a part of a mosaic, textile piece or painting. Patterns such as the one shown bellow have become the inspiration for fashion prints in recent years and even spilled over into nail art and other accessories.

Designs like these are actually quite simple but with the use of colour they appear more complex. They remind of the work by Bauhaus artists such a Paul Klee who rely heavily on the use of geometric shapes.

The patterns shown here are something I could see myself using when screen printing allowing me to increase my skill level by experimenting with a variety of colours.

Form

Form uses mass to create a 3D object. This can be done through the use of any combination of materials and not always those which are usually associated with Art.

Tone

Tone is created with shading, colour and the contrast of light and dark. With the right level of skill it can be used to create some wonderfully realistic pieces. Here is an example of the incredible work it can help to produce.

Sail away: An elegant ship appears to be sailing through a sea of white paper sheets in one of the artist's creations

Here you can see the artist, Ramon Bruin, has used shading to give the illusion that the image is 3D when in fact it is simply a 2D drawing. Although this is inspirational I could not hope to relate this to my own work as I simply do not have the skills needed.

Space

Space can be made up through positive and negative space, positive being the space that is used and negative the space that is left unused.

An illusion of space can be created through perspective drawing. You can see how effective this can be from the street art pictured bellow where it actually looks as though there is a deep hole going down into the floor.

Streetpainter-Hell_in_London. Click for large version.

Texture

 

Colour

Brining The Formal Elements Together

Although most artwork combine a number of the formal elements I felt that this haunting piece by Chiharu entitled ‘Silence’ brings them all together nicely.

It demonstrates the use of form by building a web like sculpture using lines of black thread around a grand piano and chairs.

I found it difficult to stop looking at this piece, from the beginning where the thread rises from the floor, entwined with the objects, all the way up to the top left hand corner and across to the right where it looks like layers of pencil drawn lines.

To me the association of cobwebs create an illusion of age and time and although there is little negative space the empty chairs and unused piano manages to leave the room feeling empty. These things combined gives the piece an edge of sadness.

It creates shapes of triangles as the threads cross over and the change of intensity creates tone.

Although I cannot feel the texture from just seeing a picture I can easily imagine what the threads feel like, this could be altered by how taught they were but in order to create a structure like this they wouldn’t have much slack.

And so that just leaves colour from this particular piece by Chiharu although she has created similar work using red thread.