Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Fabrication in progress...

The metal has arrived at the fabricators and they are getting ready to cut our panels.

I had a call today from the technician who prepares the drawings for cutting. He is very experienced with complex designs like ours and seemed to be totally unphased by the scale and intricacy of the work. I was also pleased that he hasn't found too many errors in our artwork thanks to advice from Natasha of Grace and Webb. Emma and I spent hours spent tidying up our files and curving every little sharp corner in the 39 panels that are being cut for the installation. He picked up on a few blips, but nothing major.

I'm now hoping that the very complicated document I sent this evening showing how all the panels will be fixed on the wall doesn't scare him off!

We plan to visit the fabricators to see the first few panels being cut and should be able to post pics on here next week.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

What next? Designs.

It's been a while since i've posted on this blog, so I will try and update you on what Emma and I have been doing since the workshops ended.

A lot of very strong and interesting work was developed during the workshops using a wide range of media and processes. It was always our intention to use many different techniques. The artists from the homeless community who we'd met prior to the workshops had a range of creative interests, and they also wanted to learn new techniques. Whilst we wanted the process of developing ideas to be as open as possible, and we had no idea what people would produce during the workshops, we had a specific process in mind for making the final artwork to enable us to bring such an eclectic portfolio of work into a cohesive design. This doesn't mean we had any idea what it would look like!

So at the end of the workshops, Emma and I organised all the artist's work into portfolios, selecting a few images from each artist to try out in our design. We spent hours tracing and photographing people's work, importing the images onto the computer and then adapting some of them further so that they would be suitable for laser-cutting. 

This was followed by many more hours working with the images, finding ways to integrate the various designs, layering them, playing with scale, repetition and the relationships between images. Some images didn't work and we went back to the portfolios to look at alternatives, starting the process again. 

At this stage we started to become more hands on with creating our own drawings and designs to add to the composition. We began to see what was still needed, both compositional and thematically. I went back to the  University botanical gardens to make drawings, tracings and photographs. Emma happened to be in Edinburgh where there are fantastic botanical gardens, and looked at microscopic images of palm leaves. These were the final pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that brought the designs together.

                                          Tracing from microscopic palm detail

We presented the designs to the steering committee and after a few tweaks the design was approved for fabrication.

Edinburgh Museum

During a recent visit to Edinburgh I visited the newly refurbished Museum. I wanted to have a look at the Natural History section to see if there was anything inspiring which I could use for additional design ideas for the laser-cut piece. I was particularly intrigued by the range of corals. I really like the shape and the details. I found a huge brain coral (Susan fron Oxford Natural History Museum ) had brought a smaller one in to one of our sessions for the participants to look at. It reminded me somewhat of labyrinths and one of the participant's work who came to one of the taster sessions.
I did a drawing of this - not looking at the paper, just at the object.

This was a highly polished stone (sorry I can't remember the name), it was about 5ft tall and about 20cm thick. It was an incredibly tactile piece, however what caught my eye was the clusters of pattern. The shapes were irregular and almost reminded me of cellular structures.

Another rock with similar patterns of clusters. This reminds me of the patterns on a giraffe!

Fan-like coral, this has lots of movement and I love the delicacy of it. I can see this working well as a laser-cut piece already.

More coral structures

Ingrid Calame Exhibition

During my trip to Edinburgh I took the opportunity to visit some galleries whilst the Arts Festival was on. There were many exhibitions which resonated with the work which we have been doing during the workshops. This artist 'Ingrid Calame' was exhibiting at The Fruitmarket Gallery.

Calame traces individual stains, cracks and markings from specific sites and translates them into her work. The tracings made me think about the proces which were were using to develop the artwork, picking out certain areas and building a bigger pieces from smaller images. This pieces was made by painting enamel paint into large sheets of tracing paper, I culd imagine the laser-cut work having a similar effect.

Calame  combines and layers her drawings into what she calls a 'constellation' a layered arrangement of tracings.

Calame uses coloured pencil to trace onto Mylar on a large-scale. You can see the layers of tracings overlapping each other. We have used a similar idea with layering the laser-cut pieces.

Rauschenburg Exhibition

It was a privilege to get to see this unexpected Rauschenburg exhibition at The Edinburgh Botanic gardens. I was particularly interested in the way in which Rauschenburg had used the materials. Many of the pieces were screen-printed onto mirror finished aluminum. I liked the effect of layers which occurred as you viewed the print on top and then saw the depth of the room through the reflection in the metal.

The mirrored aluminum reflecting the room

Screen-printing onto the metal. Is this a technique which we could use maybe?

This pattern reminded me of some of the designs; especially some of the rubbings which Dennis was working on.

Interesting marks and shadows

A look at some of the art work created

An experimental piece. The paper was wetted down and pushed into the bark of a tree and left to dry. The paper took on the patterns and form of the tree bark. Rips were forced into the paper as the paper was sponged into place on the branch.

A mono print looking closely at the detail of a poppy flower

Mono print of poppy flower

Mono print of a rose flower

observational drawing of a plant hanging outside the workshop window.

An impression of lily pads on the pond surface. Looking at clusters and round shapes repeating.

Observational drawing of leaves. Beautiful line quality and confidence of drawing is expressed in this image.

Drawing of hanging plant, I like the simplicity and the composition.

A very textural piece made by taping paper around the tree bark and taking a rubbing using soft pastel in various tones.

A stylised impression of a leaf. Close observation of the detail of the veins can be seen.

This image is a progression of the tree rubbing. A thick pen was used to select lines which were important.

One of the pieces lying on the ground. I captured this shadow of some seed heads blowing in the wind and thought it worked well with our theme and ideas!

This drawing is reminiscent of a 1950s/60's fabric print. repeat pattern was researched and this idea developed into the final piece. The original leaf shape was made from wire mesh and modroc.

An interesting collagraph print taken from the drawings of tree bark.

A rubbing from the tree bark putting different pressures onto the pastel to create some interesting line qualities.

A large-scale spray painted piece. Stencils were made and cut out from a previous drawing. The stencils (both positive & negative) were used to build up layers of pattern. To create a sense of movement the direction of leaves was considered and spread across the paper from a thicker areas drifting off into just a couple of leaf shapes.

Re visiting the Old Fire Station

View looking up at the wall from the ground floor. You can see here how the wall is rather like a patchwork of finishes, including the old brickwork, new rendering and boxed-in areas.

We had another opportunity to visit the Old Fire Station. The last time we saw the space, it was mostly covered by scaffolding, so we didn't get a good look at it. On returning, the scaffold has been removed and the space was clear. It was useful to see the wall after just working from the architects drawings up until now. It gave us the chance to visualize our finished artwork on the wall and to see if where we had decided to place things was going to work.

 This is the left-hand side of the rendered area on the ground floor. 

This is the section which will be viewed immediately after entering the building. We have two layered pieces here. The lower one which is a sand-blasted finish and the one slightly higher will have a mirror finish. We decided on this as the mirror finish is more high maintenance and is likely to pick up fingerprints and grease much easier. We also made such that these lower pieces were to be fixed flat to the wall as to prevent any potential sharp edges sticking out.

 The view from the ground floor from a lower eye level

The meeting was also an opportunity for us to meet the technicians who will be installing the work; Matt and Adam. It was useful to discuss with them in detail issues such as the scissor lift, PLI, the type of brickwork and where the artwork will be positioned.

Being able to view the space we noticed other areas which we thought might be intriguing places to hang the work too. Such as the space on the first floor by the glazed window area. We liked the long space and thought that maybe one of Connor's pieces would work there.

 We really like the industrial feel to the building. The exposed areas such as the piping and the metal railings. The skylight window also provides a good source of natural light.

 This wall is to the right of the main wall. We thought it would be the perfect place to hang Robin's long trailing piece as it allows the piece to have more room. We also think that having artwork on different walls will lead the viewer's eye around different parts of the building.

 View from the third floor. 

The artwork will be viewed from different angles. We are hoping that at different times throughout the day, shadows will be cast on the wall behind.

 Third floor tea area

Initially we were planning on hanging Robin's piece here and also another smaller piece lower down. However when we saw the space we didn't feel that it would work well here. We thought that the cupboard would be a distraction and the length of the wall didn't provide the piece with enough space. Instead we have decided to hang it on another wall (see above).

 The Art Room

This is going to be the Crisis Art Room. This is where art classes will take place and it will also be the space where we will put up the exhibition of the work which was done in the workshops. It is a great space, lots of natural light and cupboard space with tables in the centre of the room. The Art room opens out onto a roof top garden! It looks as though it is going to be a very inspiring space.

Rachel in her hard hat!

Both Rachel and I are very excited about getting the finished artwork up on the wall. We are now waiting for the fabricators to start cutting the metal. Hopefully we will be able to visit during this process and take some photos.

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