Friday, 1 November 2019

EDAM Exhibition "Meanwhile ..." : Javelin Journeys

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 ! 

So  I  took  photos  of sections  of  OS maps  from Faversham  to Stratford International   and  printed them out in black and white on A4 paper . I placed sheets of Abaca  over the top, traced   the trainline and other features , couched  black thread along the trainline,  then folded them in  pamphlet structures. It took ages!! 

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!    

1 comment:

Sally said...

This is absolutely fantastic Mags. It’s inspirational, instructive and so enjoyable to read about your process and the results. I really appreciate the blog.