- I had never heard of this artist before- I saw a post on Instagram of one of her fabric sculptures and decided to drag my friend along on a whim
- a really surprising breadth of work
- paintings ranging in size, large fabric sculptures, an installation of a living room filled with these strange, vaguely human fabric shapes, drawings
- I’m not usually that wild on paintings but I really love the use of color, layering, and the suggestions of shapes and figures that blend into each other seamlessly
- the fabric installation was really unsettling and creepy- loved it!
- The exhibition was curated really well- the use of color walls to highlight certain pieces was very effective and I enjoyed seeing a deviation (no matter how small) from the standard white walled gallery space
Process photos from screen-printing my illustration and poem piece “An Ode to My Vagina”. So far I only have the one finished print which I put into the Human Manifesto exhibition at CSM, ran jointly by the ArtsFem and LGBTQ societies at UAL, but I intend to print a limited run of this colour scheme, and others, to sell as prints. The illustration was drawn in pencil then gone over in pen, and scanned then cleaned up on Photoshop before I took it to the printmaking studios, and the poem (originally written on my phone) was also handwritten, scanned, and edited on Photoshop before printing.
These photos show the piece being put up in the exhibition, and a few shots of the piece surrounded by other works in the show. Overall I am very happy with the presentation of my work, and of the response I got from attendees, so I would consider this a success, even though the text is slightly off centre on the illustration (something I will correct when I print more copies in print making).
This piece is deeply personal to me- as a non binary person I have always struggled with accepting my body, and in particular my vagina. For most of my life I hated it and wished it didn’t exist, and only saw it as existing for the pleasure of my sexual partners, not myself. Over the last few years I have been trying to accept, and eventually love, my body the way it is, which is very difficult when you have a lifetime of self hatred and self loathing built into your brain, and as part of this I started masturbating. Previously it was something I viewed as disgusting and dirty, something unnatural, but at the same time I felt broken for having no experience of it, so gradually discovering my body and coming to terms with my vagina’s existence, and my own independence (free of the burden of sexually gratifying others) has been a long journey. Many non binary people, trans men, and cis women have similar struggles with their bodies, but with this piece of work I speak purely for myself, and my own body.
notes made during the workshop:
- accessibility of art/museums/galleries
- how to engage multiple senses for those with different impairments and those without impairments
- tactile works- 3D? How can we make 2D works (i.e. pictures/books) more accessible?
- watch that speaks- tells you the time, watch that is tactile- you can tell the time by feeling it
- paperless braille memo pad systems- has memory and can be connected to a PC for reading or storing notes
- braille has limitations- education needs to learn it and use it
- computers have made things more accessible, but to get qualifications in other languages you still need to learn braille
- braille requires more space than text and specific printing techniques- meaning it is more costly and less accessible
- we need to make braille/sign language/deaf-blind sign languages more widely available for everyone to learn so that it is easier for impaired/disabled people to get on with their lives
- translating the visual information into tactile information can be difficult- can we do this the opposite way round or is it better to give both equal importance at every stage?
- using disability as a framework to develop better educational systems
- translation as an act of creativity, using creativity to solve communication issues- there will always be more than one interpretation or version
- when translating visual information into tactile information how to you put across the emotions/feelings?
- light as heat- rather than seeing it it can also b felt, modern lighting gives off less heat than before, and makes less noise than ol fashioned lights
- engaging other senses- not just sight and touch in artworks- this can benefit more than just disabled/impaired people
- layering sounds/smells/textures/air/temperature/light/ect
This workshop was fascinating- I have been saying all this time that I want to make my work more accessible, and it was vital for me to learn what is can be like for people with impairments different to my own, so that I can be more considerate of this in my own work going forwards. It has made me think much more critically about the choices I make in my art, and making sure that my goal is genuinely to make it as accessible as possible, rather than just pleasing token people.
Some photos taken of the process of casting with glass wax- the melting glass wax, the casts full of glass wax, and photos of the failed jaw bone casts and brick cast. Casting the brick hollow with glass wax is proving troublesome- the wax is very brittle and the sides of the cast keep breaking as I try to de-mould it. I will try one more time to cast it hollow but a bit thicker and if that doesn’t work I might have to cast it solid instead. The jaw bone pieces kept failing as the glass wax is too thick and not hot enough to flow all the way through the moulds- I will try to get it hotter next time, but I have to be careful in case the wax gets too hot and the colour changes.
Video demonstrating the properties of glass wax and the casting process.
I wanted to explore the properties and materiality of glass wax, and these are the results so far.
Clip 1: the chunk of unmelted glass wax, demonstrating what it looks like before it is melted and cast- you can see how the light refracts and passes through it.
Clip 2 and 3: the glass wax as it melts, showing the viscosity and how it stretches and flows much like real glass when in molten form. It is very different to other waxes I have used in the past.
Clips 4 and 5: the first attempts at casting the jaw bones in glass wax- as you can see the wax didn’t flow completely through the moulds as it was not hot enough and cooled too fast. I will try again but with the wax much hotter so hopefully it will flow through the moulds properly.
The rest of the clips: the other bone casts in glass wax.
These photos show the second attempt at casting the jaw bones in glass wax (still not hot enough), the glass wax casts all together, the broken hollow brick cast (the details were captured beautifully, it’s just a shame that the sides broke), and one of the glass wax casts lit by Jonathan’s phone torch- as an experiment to see how light travels through them. I think going forwards I would like to photograph the glass wax pieces with a light source beneath them like this, but using a more professional set up.
Notes on glass wax:
- Properties- melts differently to waxes I have used in the past (i.e. the green and orange waxes used in uni, soy wax, paraffin wax, beeswax)
- As it melts it goes quite stringy and is still very thick and viscous, can be stretched into glass-like threads that look like nylon thread
- It sets VERY quickly and needs to be quite hot to pour well, but you have to be super careful not to overheat it as it can make the wax change colour
- You can add oil paint as a pigment to glass wax, but I’m more interested in how it looks originally- like a translucent glass
- I might do one or two in colour just to see what it looks like, but we’ll see
- It is quite brittle- I tried to make a hollow brick cast and the sides shattered (like glass) as I tried to remove the cast- if I retry this I will need to make it thicker
- It picks up detail really beautifully and I’m definitely impressed
- I need to redo the jaw bones in glass wax as the wax wasn’t hot enough and as a result didn’t flow through the moulds properly
Was out of action yesterday, so here is my plan for the rest of the week.
- Use glass wax to make casts using bone moulds
- Redo herculite hollow brick cast, as first attempt broke
- If pos- do herculite casts from the jaw silicone putty moulds today
- I have work 3.30-10pm, so I don’t expect to get anything physical done, will upload photos from Tuesday if pos
- De-mould everything from Tuesday
- Bronze pour- assist where possible for my bronze rose mould (digging the sand pit, moving the moulds into sand pit, securing moulds in sand pit)
- Make sure all photos are uploaded
- Reflect on progress
- Foundry is shut- I should use this time to research and start planning my presentation for 7th March
- I have work both days so I won’t have time to do physical work, may do some research before or after work
I am putting the leaves to one side for now, they have been dipped in wax so they should stay in a usable condition over the break. The above photos show the process of prepping the wax dipped roses to go into a plaster mould- Lindsey was showing me how to do it in a different way from how I have previously made moulds with Becky, essentially working the opposite way round- you can see one of the roses attached to the cup, and the cup attached to the board. Once all three roses have a system of runners and risers they will be attached to the cup in the same way. The next steps will be to degrease it all, put a cylinder around the whole structure, and pour the plaster mix into it to make the mould for the kiln.
I have decided to focus on the roses as I realised that the roses will go beyond simply being a gift to my mum and my nan. I began to think about the ideas behind preserving something that is normally fleeting- roses die and dry out quickly, yet the bronze casts never will. Not only will they outlive any real flower, but they will outlive myself, my mum, and my nan, too. I was inspired by my classmate Gabby’s documentation of her family, and I think I would like to photograph each of us individually with a rose, and then as a group, to capture the moment of gift giving in time, much like the roses are being frozen in time by being cast in bronze. I have also been thinking about how, in time, I will end up with all three roses- my mum and my nan will at some point no longer be around- so it is almost like I am loaning them to my mum and nan, knowing that one day I will get them back. It is a reminder of our own fragile mortality, and also raises the question of who will inherit them when I die. I chose roses as they have a particular significance to my mum- they were my dad’s favourite flower and since his passing she has always bought yellow roses for special occasions, and when she is feeling low, as a way to feel connected to him and his memory. My nan and I frequently buy my mum yellow roses when she is feeling down, and it is my intention to try and patinate them a yellow colour, if this is possible.
- discuss the idea with my mum and nan
- get the roses into a mould ready for the kiln
- ask Gabby for some photography pointers, if she has time. I really admire the sentiment behind her projects, but also the way she executes the photographs is really beautiful, and I am not very experienced with photography so I want to ask her some technical questions about lighting and such
- look at Louise Bourgeois work- her work often deals with her feelings surrounding her own mother, and a lot of her work is also sculptural so it is a relevant reference
Process Video: Using an Engraving Tool from Kat Outten on Vimeo.
This short clip shows how I have been using an electric engraving tool to work details back into the surface of the brick wherever it was lost due to the casting process. The shiny parts are where I have used an angle grinder or Dremel tool previously to get rid of runners, risers, and other imperfections on the surface of the bronze. I have to take frequent breaks when using these tools, and swap hands often, as the vibration from the tool makes my wrists ache, but otherwise it is fairly simple to use. As always I follow safety protocol, wearing a visor, ear protection, dust mask, and gloves to protect myself, as well as having the extractor fan on and handling all tools safely and responsibly.
Some blind contour studies done in Leicester Square whilst waiting to meet a friend
Video of my work in the show, including close up clips of each finished bronze piece, and a clip of the whole display.
The two photos above show the set up for the exhibition, and one of the visitors interacting with my objects. The back row of objects are the real bones that each bronze was cast from, with the cast displayed in front of each one. I chose this format as I wanted to see whether viewers would be more likely to pick up the bones or the bronze casts, and i wanted it to have an almost museum-like feel to the display. I did put in the artwork description “Please Touch Me” but as it wasn’t very visible not many visitors did pick up or interact with the objects like I wanted. As well as the label not being very visible I also feel that the gallery space, as a concept, probably contributed to the lack of interaction- in most galleries and museums the audience is highly discouraged, if not prohibited, from touching the artworks. This is something I am very much against, and want to challenge with my work, so going forwards I think I need to make it clearer to the audience that they can and should pick up and touch my work. I will probably do this through larger and clearer signage, but I will have to see what happens at our next show, and what is possible with the space we have.
The feedback I got from people who did pick up and touch my work was overwhelmingly positive- I was asked about my walks and how/where I collected the objects, I was questioned about the process of casting, and about the ideas behind the project. Although my display was simple I was very pleased with how it looked, and I thought that it fit well with my classmates work, although our work was quite different nothing looked out of place and it was visually cohesive. I did find it difficult to stay in the room for more than five minutes at a time though, due to the combination of sounds from my classmates work. It was quite overwhelming so I found myself frequently wandering around the other spaces in the exhibition whilst invigilating.