Thursday 31 October 2019

Daily Drawing: October

 Autumn fungi, wildlife,  fruits and leaves:  Train Journeys;  expeditions;  Matthew Harris  course at Lund Studios;  Mexican pine leaf basket; Anthony Gormley inspiration.   

Thursday 24 October 2019

Back to Front and Back Again: Matthew Harris Workshop at Lund Studios

 Two weeks  ago, the final day of 3 day workshop with Mathew Harris   at Lund  Studios   was drawing to a close  with a review of what we had achieved.  As with Matthews previous course in Puglia it was challenging, thought provoking  with unexpected   results  and some interesting techniques and thoughts to take forward. 

It was pleasure to be back at Lund Studios for the 3rd  time,  with  lunches from Teehee , Steve's excellent coffee and apples from the  trees  just outside. 
 I was staying  again at the George in Easingwold , food as  wonderful as ever ,  they adapted the salmon dish for me  (  without the seafood)  and the apple mousse  with bramble sorbet was a work of art ( and tasted delicious).  

  Matthew  gave a fascinating talk on his  work  , both inspiration and processes  and he had a work-in progress pinned together so we could see how it did it.  He has work on show  at the Bluecoats Gallery in November 
 The  ' drawing and making' workshop  was entitled ' Back to Front and Back Again'  with the quote from John Cage  " Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make  " 
The idea behind it was to explore the potential of  scraps  of image,  mark and shape   from an initial starting point of individual imagery . 
 We had been asked to bring  a series of abstract images ( like the  material for ' Window' workshop mine were based  on  my drawings from my 'Javelin Journeys'
 We drew from our images  with Indian ink  on a strip of thin paper  which was then  painted with melted wax and ironed to  give it both translucency and some degree  of rigidity. This was then  folded  to make new connections between different areas. The idea was not to produce an artwork in itself but that it would form the basis  to draw from  

 We then repeated the process on a much thinner more fragile  Japanese/ Chinese paper ( 3 sheets glued together)

  We were then asked to respond to  these structures, to  make responses in other paper and materials

 At the end of  Day 1 I had created a range of   fragments  using torn handmade papers  and cardboard with a variety of  different scale marks , a lot of  them with  inked raw edges . 
  We'd been warned at the start that it might be a bit of a rollercoaster ,  with panic setting in  when you didn't know where things were going   but were advised to work through the process , to be open and experimental  and not to think  too much about what the original starting point  was or what the end point would be.  Still,   Day 2 was   a bit of a struggle.  I started out  combining   2 or 3 fragments that interested  me or seemed to work together , placing them  on small sheets of paper.
 Mathew  suggested  I worked directly on the wall rather  than on  paper and that  I started to overlap the pieces , showing me the catalogue of collages by Francis  Davison . Inspirational , especially his work with envelopes !

  So I spent most of the day  moving fragments around , taking photos what I'd done ( this is only  a small selection showing how it morphed from  fish to  duck to  running shoe! )

 Towards the end of the day , thinking about  how we would move into textiles if we wished  I started  painting/ inking some bits of fabric  with similar marks.  I managed to trip  on a step while carrying coffees  and banged my knee badly  so I needed a bath and  lots of wine that  evening  . 
 Lying  awake  during the night   meant that I came up with a plan of what I wanted to do the following day.  Firstly,   that I would repeat the process  of the first day in drawing on strips of paper this time using the Abaca  tissue  I'd brought with me , one already having  map drawings on it. I waxed one of them  and they're currently on  my design wall  waiting to be folded and manipulated
 Secondly , that the fragments as a whole composition wasn't working for me , that I would take them all  down and  work on making smaller compositions  using both paper/cardboard and  cloth ( thinking  in part of the work of Peter Sacks)

 I found this tiny compositions  very pleasing, both individually and placing them  together.  Discussing  with Matthew how to combine cardboard and fabric  with stitch he suggested  imitation of   the lines of the corrugations   by pleating /folding the fabric and using kantha stitch  and waxing paper to give it fabric like qualities.  

 My journey home  the following day  involved a rattly bus  going through torrential rain and gigantic puddles with spray up to the roof leaking through the windows  contrasted with  First Class train with table to myself and  wine to help with the knee and train stitching .
 I'd layered  5 pieces of  painted cloth   of different qualities from canvas to silk to  gauze   and stitched them  with lines of quilting thread ' referencing'   corrugations of  cardboard 

 I can't remember  now whether it was Helen  Parrott  or Matthew that talked about stitching through layers resulting in an  integration that you don't get by any other means.  The photos  don't do it justice  but   that's what happened here, with  hidden marks revealing themselves and additional texture from the rippling.  Very satisfying and something I'll be experimenting with further.