Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas has been and gone, but this module still lingers...

My work is still not finished! And it's driving me mad!  I really had so many high hopes for this project, and in the beginning I had so much determination to get the best of it, but instead, it seems to have got the best of me.  Here is my plan for the next 16 days!
  • Before the new year I want to have at least 3 long panels finished and ready to be watered.  This is so I can wet them once hung as a full wallpaper on one of the panels in Studio 11.  It takes about a day to fully stitch, seed, leaf and moss up my wallpaper, so this should give me just enough time.  I want to make each panel long enough to fit the length of a panel, but this makes it very difficult to work with, so I might have to change it to 2 panels for one length, just so i get a better finish.  This will mean one being the top, with leaves and a seed with the roots beginning, and then the lower part just being roots.
  • The college opens on the 4th January so my plan is to sign-out a moving image camera and tripod(x2, one for my digital stills camera) to record and shoot:1, my plants growing by photographing them every few hours, and 2, to record the process of them being put up, the reactions of the audience and them growing all in one moving image shot, which will then be played as part of my assessment piece.
  • Hang my wallpaper, water it when needed, whilst filming for different parts of the day, photographing the growth and possibly the audience's reactions to its constantly changing body.
Another crazy artist I found who works with seeds is James Buhler, check him out!

Thursday, 16 December 2010


So here is the beginnings of my situations work.  It's still work in progress but it's slowly coming into a finalised idea.  My time plan is to get the basics finished before the Christmas holidays, including watering some seeds and beginning the molding process, and then over the holidays and the last 2 weeks place the grwoing cottonwallpaper in different situations.  These situations have yet to be discovered and decided upon but I want places indoors and out, public and solitary, rural and urban, filming putting the pieces in place, and also documenting the decreation, fluctuation and dynamic change through photography and again, film.
 I saw work by Sybille Hotz which inspired me to try and do some interior work of a plant as my main sewn image onto cottonwool, but I'm still unsure.
 About a month ago I tried to start my moss graffiti project by growing my own moss, This is how it ended up, pure mold pretty much, colourful though, although I don't know how good it is for my health with it being in the kitchen!
 Tree roots, my favourite so far, I would love to incorporate the thickness, overall shape and form in with the texture of the cottonwool once worked over. 
 The beginning of a seedling with a large group of roots, using multi-coloured cotton sewn root systems, stem, leaves and seed.
 My first attempt of a complete tree.
 Cow parsley, easy and effective.
 A full seedling, with first leaves coloured with green and black thread.
Place of piece and work, sewing and sowing!
Over Your Cities, Grass Will Grow
Anselm Kiefer

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Artist research:
Ghada Amer
This image above is made by Amer sewing onto a dark surface with cotton and leaving the threads loose.  I love the effect of the final piece without looking at her concepts, just looking at the piece aesthetically.  They immediately reminded me of roots, and spurs me on to continue with sewing and not worry about getting bits wrong, nothing is perfect and if I can incorporate this type of idea of roots and cotton, like some ideas I had for the last module but was unable to grow off it then, something could come of it now.

Susie Macmurray
This is a photograph of Macmurray's site specific work, a piece called Echo.  It is made up of 10,000 hairnets all weaved with violin bow-hair.  The way she's made it fit in with the site, by the colours filtering in beautifully, and how it makes the photo almost seemed aged or like a painting.  She produced this work with the idea in mind of a cloud, which the virgin mary is traditionally taken up to heaven in a cloud.    She is also shown with a hourde of angels all playing musical instruments, hense the violin bow hairs incorporated.  The hairnets all gather together like droplets creating a cloud.

Catherine Bertola
I've had Betola's book 'Lost Narritives' out from the library for a week or 2 now, and it covers this piece of work which, has to be my favourite of her work.  I love the way it's a very ordinary, everyday 2D wallpaper, and she's made it come alive, just by changing its dimension.  The contrast of the shadow on the cream background is brilliant.

Good morning, anyone for a cuppa research?...

Ok, so I realise I've been a bit disheartened and slack on getting on with my situations project.  After getting a lower mark than I aimed for with my last module, and being side-tracked with Christmas just around the corner, visiting Berlin and other family commitments, I've now taken it on to kick myself up the butt and get on with it.  I'm getting a sewing machine out from college for a few days from this afternoon, and this morning I went to the library and got out loads of relevant books to research a bit more.  I have a good idea of what I want to produce:
  • A wallpaper made up of natural materials, the base of it being cotton wool, 
  • sewed into with cotton stitching on the sewing machine, maybe layering with
  • fabrics and recycled material, and
  • different types of seed and bulb laced into and onto all this, 
  • the only thing I'm still undecided on is the pattern of which I can work with, it's between a large free-hand sewing machine stitched tree image, possibly repeated in pattern, or an old-school wallpaper pattern...still unsure.
I want this to portray my concept, my proposal being:

To create an ephemeral, dynamic and fluctuating environment, by creating a living wallpaper using mixed media that constantly fluctuates depending on its situation.  Making a few different experimental pieces (but all quite similar) that can be positioned in different situations  These situations with be different so as to affect the growth and process of the piece.
This project is to research the living element of the piece's response to changing situations and how this changes the final pieces themselves.

 The use of mixed media is for me to broaden my horizons in art practises and processes, as well as adding to the aesthetical side of the piece.  The main focus will be on the growth and change of situation and time-lapse on the living parts of the wallpaper.  I hope to include different shapes and sizes of seeds that germinate at different rates, and produce different size, shades and colours of seedlings.  Possibly bulbs, I still have to experiment with timings and water content with these.  I would like to try using some mushroom spawn and possibly using different cultures like yoghurt mold and moss etc, the cultures and molding thoughts will fit in with the ephemeral side and be another new process.  I would like to see if it becomes a symbiotic relationship which, in turn with create my dynamic and fluctuating environments.
I realise the constraints on this project, I think these have been what have also held me back on starting this project properly already.  The most obvious being, it is winter and trying to grow alot of the seedlings in a warm inside environment is fine, but then trying to move the pieces to the situation I want them in, possibly outside will kill near to all of them.  Time constraints hold me back on using certain plants and seeds as you cannot hurry a plant!  TIME, CLIMATE and SEASON all seem to be against me, but instead of letting it defeat me, it's all about incorporating it.

Monday, 6 December 2010

motivation, only when I can be bothered...

I seem to be doing a lot of thinking and having a few different brain waves with this project, but it seems to be just thinking and not much doing, so this week, I am aiming to get doing!

First things first, I want to keep researching artists, all the way through this project, i doint think it does anything for me but improve my thinking time and imagination with what people can do with horticulture and art.  It's also quite s specialist area of fine art, that it's difficult to find a lot of artists I find iconic and influential all at once, so it does take a lot of time and effect for the research to pay off.

I also want to start sewing my seeds!  I have a start point this week of what i want to do, it's to buy a few roles of cotton wool (it's a natural, grown material, that retains water for seeds to grow in, and something I can sew into which will help it structurally and aesthetically) and grow different kinds of seeds in it, to see how they take and how they grip to it.

Aswell as cotton wool, I would like to briefly try out a few other materials, maybe a mixture of wallpaper and muslin cloth, a thicker material that can be water drenched to help seed/plant growth.

I need to continue to practise with a sewing machine, so actually getting hold of a decent one that doesn't rip my material and cotton would be lovely!

Also on my travels around the internet I was lucky enough to come across Mosstika