In Residence

My first couple of days working ‘in residence’ in the library provided a really focussed period of work on the project. I brought the starting points I had developed, along with sketches, photographs and notes to show any interested participants or members of the public. The ‘big book’ was brought down from the collection to sit on my worktable and provide an important proximity to my working process.

I continued to work on the book units, having now identified the exact dimensions to make. I wasn’t working any differently to how I would in my own studio, but being in the library itself provided a focus and impetus to my making and thinking. The library had been asked to collect together any papers or books that would have been otherwise discarded so that I could potentially incorporate them into my work. The range of these was slightly disappointing, but was enough to start exploring possibilities. The lovely library staff found me a tin of old library stamps and some inkpads, which I played with on the surface of some of my book units.

About a month later I had a second residency session, again working in the library in an intensive way and exploring further the use of withdrawn publications in my book units. This time in the library also allowed for participants in the project to visit and talk about what I was doing, as well as the development of their own work for the project. That sharing of process, thinking and development between the artists involved is a key part of this whole venture. Those discussions are so important for artists to have with their peers or mentors, partly as a means of over-coming problems (that you sometimes didn’t even realise were there), but also in a spirit of support and understanding. Even just describing what you are doing or trying to achieve to someone else can solidify things in your own mind and provide a way forward or even just a confirmation that the approach you are taking is right.

 

routine

Alice Fox studio wall sectionThis is a section of my studio wall at the moment. I’m really enjoying the routine of working in the studio and at home. My diary is relatively sensible at the moment so I’m making the most of it. I’m working on a number of small projects, although they are all linked in some way (perhaps the link is me!) and some may grow to be much bigger: one thing really does lead on to the next idea.  I enjoy the experimenting stage of any project, probably more than making the final work, which can be daunting for various reasons. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the ideas and all the things I want to try – the sketchbook becomes incredibly precious as a repository for thoughts and ideas. These are some of the things going on at the moment:

Alice Fox stitched washers and nail

Alice Fox samples on studio wallAlice Fox oak leaf collagraph printsAlice Fox stitched linen with bottle topAlice Fox small stitched samples

progress

My little tapestry weave samples are progressing slowly. The next stage for these is to be left outside for the winter weather to play its part and see how the rust marks the cotton.

I’m hoping that the rust will seep its way into the thread and stain the cotton in a similar way to my rust prints on paper.  I haven’t yet added any agent to help the process as I’d like to see what the elements will do on their own.

>test

>A conversation last week with my friend Claire, about light fastness, has prompted me to test some of the things I’ve been working with lately to see how their colour stands up to exposure to light.

I’ve taken snippets of samples of the naturally dyes papers and fabrics I’ve produced, sewn them to paper and then split it into two similar strips.

 One to sit by the studio door, in the light…

And one to sit in a drawer, in the dark.