I’ve been working on some small textile pieces that are part of the series of works called Gifts from the Pavement. These compliment the paper based prints that formed the original exhibition. They are made in the same way, building up layers of rust print, collagraph print (both using found objects from the Saltaire streets) and stitch, but this time on silk.
These ones have just gone off to the framers and I have a little stack to work on through the holidays.
I took down my installation at The Bowery last weekend (with the help of my small assistant). It was potentially a rather sad day as the paper pieces that I’d collaged directly onto the wall were going to have to be scraped off. I didn’t know whether they would come off in salvageable pieces or if the whole thing would break up. I had resolved myself to this site specific piece (the paper extension to my linen Spurn Cloth #2) being an ephemeral work and likened it to the erosion and change that is happening constantly at Spurn, where the pieces were based on.
Someone suggested I should have filmed the process of putting the installation up, building up the collage on the wall – great idea, but I’d already put it up when they suggested it! So I decided to record the taking down instead. Here is the result, although the quality isn’t great it gives an idea of how the pieces surrounded you in the gallery (the first half is shots taken from the middle of the room looking round the walls and then it goes back the other way tracking the removal of the work and leaving an empty gallery again.
This week I’ve been creating an installation at The Bowery in Leeds. This is based on my long Spurn Cloth #2 but sees it displayed in a very different way to the previous venues it has visited. Rather than hanging vertically the cloth is hung horizontally round half of the gallery room. I have extended it using collaged rusted and printed paper so that the band of texture and marks forms a complete circle around the space.
The paper is collaged directly onto the wall, something that I was quite nervous about doing. Having completed it, I’m really excited about how it has worked. There is a kind of freedom to this sort of site-specific work. I don’t have to worry about pricing or whether anyone might want to buy it. It can just be.
At the end of the exhibition the paper extension will then be scraped off the wall and will be no longer. Just as Spurn itself is constantly changing shape, bits being eroded in one area and deposited in another, this installation has seen the original cloth extended, added to, enhanced. And then, as if by the action of an exceptionally high tide, it will be taken away again.
My work is showing alongside a beautiful exhibition by Hannah. The preview is this evening from 6-8pm (all welcome) and the exhibitions run until 5th July.
At the weekend I spent a really inspiring two days with Emily Harvey, printmaker. My printmaking experience has been bitty (kind of on the back burner for a number of years) and, although I did have some access to the printmaking room at college, I never had enough time to give to it properly. But the desire to integrate it more into my work has remained and this was an opportunity to learn a bit more and test out some of my ideas. Collage is a tool I have often used as part of my design process; here it is key to the bringing together of texture and contrast that is used to make the print.
This intensive weekend was just what I needed to confirm to me that these processes suit my sensibilities. I am comfortable with the whole routine of printmaking (more so, I have to admit, than with screen printing); I love the experimental nature of both making collagraph plates and of printing from them; I love being able to concentrate on texture and line and that the 3D element is important, even though it is a low-relief kind of 3D. And, importantly, I can see how I can integrate my use of stitch into both the making of the plates and the resulting prints (something I started in my college work but that I want to push further).
We spent the first day making collagraph plates using a whole range of different techniques and resulting in a good bunch of different ones to then print from on the second day.
There were just two of us with Emily this weekend, and it was perfect – enough energy and ideas bouncing around between us to have kept going for a week I reckon! Here is the product of our labours (a bit more colourful than I would have naturally gone for, but using all that colour was a great way to understand the different effects you can achieve):
It was really interesting to see how different the resulting print can be using the same plate but with different inks and combinations of intaglio and relief printing.
I had a go once before at chine colle, so it was good to be reminded of this technique and to see how the layering up of a different paper can be really effective. Some of my experiments with this technique worked better than others, but I had lots of ideas about using this more.
When I got home I spent a good hour scribbling down lots of notes and ideas. It was a really inspiring weekend, I just have to let it all sink in and work out how to take things forward. At a time when I’m trying to focus my work in I am suddenly faced with more possibilities than I know what to do with!