4 months ago today , I was hanging my piece 'Javelin Journeys' in the RK Burt Gallery , my contribution to the exhibition 'Meanwhile...' our final term project for EDAM course.
I'd found blogging about the taught elements of the course very useful, using it as a reflective journal on what I'd done and learnt. But I found it wasn't a useful tool when I was in the thick of developing ideas and started using an A5 sketchbook to capture my thoughts and ' park' things that didn't go any further at the time for future use. I'm referring to my notes there now in order to write this post.
I'd written here about my initial thoughts on the theme we'd been given for our exhibition based on travelling on the high speed train from Faversham, my 'space out of time' . I explored several ideas using different images and media including large scale charcoal drawings which I displayed in the corridor show ( below)
Returning to the idea of using OHP's to enlarge and distort initial drawings, I traced a section of a photocopy of a map of part of my route on acetate and projected onto the wall onto a sheet of Abaca tissue . In my research to find a paper I could stitch into without tearing, I rediscovered abaca in my stash - it looks like paper but feels like fabric. It's made from the abaca plant ,related to banana, which has very long fibres and gives the paper extra strength.
I traced the projected image with calligraphy pens, paying attention to marks and pressure of the pen. When folded, because the paper is translucent, the underlying marks show through and folding the paper in different ways reveals different options. I was delighted when this image was used for the back of the invitation to the Private view for the show.
And of course my experiments in couching/ stitching on the paper were carried out on my train journeys!
For my final piece I was trying to work out how I could display theses multi-layered translucent maps when I remembered I'd done something similar years ago with ' Taplow Vase' (below) using cotton organdie booklets. Not entirely successful ( it looked too much like a lampshade! )
With deadline looming for submission of photos for the catalogue , I produced booklets of traced maps on different translucent papers as well as abaca and suspended them in different ways.
We had different tutors each week to bounce ideas off - Annie Attridge had liked my large scale loosely drawn ink drawings of the train route and I'd bought some rolls of calligraphy paper to potentially do a larger version
So in my improvised photoshoot, I suspended some trial booklets from an expandable net curtain pole ( used for hanging quilts) in front of these drawings to produced the photo below.
Back in class with a different tutor, working out suspending booklets from a paper tube , initially using paper string ( but that was too clumsy ), finally came to the conclusion that the smaller booklets worked best ( and didn't need OHP to produce them ) and that I needed lots !
I ended up with 2 sets of pamphlets , of the same journey but drawn at different scales. So on my way into class I bought a set of labels from Paperchase to try and keep them in order.
When I laid them out on my table, everyone commented on how effective they were, introducing an element of colour , in artspeak ' referencing' the colours of train tickets ! So I stitched them on. They do make a big difference, it just shows how important it can be to receive feedback from your peers.
By this time I'd abandoned the idea of a paper tube and had made a cotton tube through which I could put an expandable curtain rod . I attached threads to each of the pamphlets and sewed them onto the sleeve , pulling on the threads and securing with masking tape so I could roll it up to take home
Tutor Amanda Knight had suggested I display the booklets overlapping , in the shape of the schematic diagram of the train route. The day before the exhibition hanging , I was working first on a sheet hanging up and then later with the rod suspended on wardrobe doors until about 9pm , adjusting the height of each piece . The threads kept tangling , reminding me of the perils of 3d work, why hadn't I done a nice framed piece!
I carefully rolled it up in a cotton sheet and placed it in a telescopic tube to take on the train for hanging
I'd visited the gallery the week before and had already chosen my preferred slot across one of the corners of the downstairs gallery. Nothing could go directly on the wall, we had to use the clip system on the hanging rail but rifling through the lengths of monofilament I luckily found a couple of short pieces . It was the first piece to go up and then work on the walls was placed around it
Although the gallery space was quite dark, because of the spotlights , the shadows produced were wonderful , not just an artwork but an installation!
It was a fantastic experience, and I've had so many positive comments I'm encouraged to experiment more with mapping, using paper and 3D structures. I'm rather sad though that the course has finished , lovely inspiring people to work with and share ideas ( and frustations). It's not the end of my City Lit learning though , I'll be starting Art in theory : Space and Place soon and ' Surface, structure, Stitch' in January. And of course my #trainstitching is ongoing!