Art · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt2 – Pj1 – Research – Part 3 

I was given a ‘joining’ gift by the seaside the other week. A wonderful friend invited me to stay at her flat in Colwyn Bay, I had the days to myself and in the evenings we chatted and knitted. Oh, and ate cake!!

It was interesting being forced to be alone with time to spare. I spend quite a bit of time on my own but I don’t always use the time productively. I sneak out and sit in cafe’s, I meet up with friends, I go shopping, I drink a glass of wine in the garden. It’s all about staying with the pack and hiding from actually doing something. In my mind I want to sit outside and draw, I want to take interesting photographs but I’m too embarrassed and it’s easier to not draw attention and work sheltered in my room.

The weather was good so I went down to the beach, I felt strange being there on my own, I was the only one and sat quietly for a while with my headphones on. After a while I decided to go down on to the sand and have a look for shells, all the time expecting the beach police to tap me on the shoulder and ask me just what I thought I was doing stealing from the sea.

The coast line in Colwyn Bay is beautiful and quiet, it’s a very underrated part of Wales, the beach is very clean and stretches for a good distance. It also has a very interesting but sadly decaying, neglected pier. It’s a photographers dream! The fence around the pier is underwater at high tide and when the water retreats it leaves small pieces of seaweed holding onto the metal. 


I felt more relaxed after I taken a few photos of the fence and I set out across the beach past where the promenade is closed for repairs and came to a very makeshift fence put together with bits of scaffolding. 


I had plenty of time so I took lots of photos, again waiting for someone to tell me to move along, I was nervous but I carried on.

The joints were amazing, all enhanced by barnacles, lichen and seaweed. 


When I got home I printed off some collages of the photographs I’d taken and cut out some colour snaps to do some colour palette practice.


Then I had ago at doing some drawings and paintings of the images.


Finally I made a few mixed images with the left over bits of photograph. 


All very comfortable and not out of my comfort zone if you ignore my slight awkwardness at being alone on the beach but I really did have a good time and I do love the photographs.

Art · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Part 2 – Research – Part 2

I don’t think any journey into the world of art that has joins as one of its main features would be complete without looking at the monumental work of El Anatsui. The scale of his work captures your attention first and the patience that must be required to built up such vast expanses of tiny pieces joined together with wire is enviable. 

Another amazing aspect of El Anatsui’s work is his ability to maintain balance and beauty in his composition at this scale, it’s hard to stand back and look when you are working with metres of metal ‘fabric’.


Again I had found an artist that uses found and repurposed materials, it’s as if joining and re-cycling goes hand in hand. 

Is this because you are:-

  • Building
  • Displaying
  • Changing the purpose of the found item
  • Lifting / attaching heavier items?

Could it also be because the artist wants to display as much of the individual items as possible? I had a quick go at putting this thought into practice in my sketchbook.


Throughout this research exercise I had been gathering words and I decided to lay them out on a mindmap and then because I really want to extend my vocabulary I looked up the words in a thesaurus and added the similar words and a few ideas for materials. I think these should keep me going for a little while!


My last foray into joining research led me to Ali Ferguson and her ‘patchwork’ made with wood and embellished with delicate sewing items. It’s not to my taste but I admire her choice and her ability to make such beautiful work with such a solid, functional material.

Art · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Part 2 – Initial Research – Part 1

When I started looking for makers, designers and artists that used joining as a main feature in their work I thought I would have to search very hard, but in reality it was relatively easy to find some amazing and inspirational work.

My Pinterest board OCA – Joining & Wrapping soon started to fill up. I had a look at some of the links in the course materials and then I used the links to look up and investigate more artists.

Firstly I looked at Pippa Andrews, her use of spacers is fascinating and allows her to work with both structured repetitive and formal designs and more organic and chaotic constructions.

4718c0f2b060654d5aecd4c58d255faf

I chose these keywords from my notes:

TUBES – SPACERS – SHELLS – MESSY – FOUND OBJECTS – CARDBOARD

Pippa’s cardboard work lead me onto looking at Ai WeiWei’s amazing installation of joined stools. I just loved the tumbling, otherworldly feel of it along with Peter Le Couteur’s piece Ivory Tower 1 with its use of piano parts and cable ties. How do you decide what should go where? Even more random and remarkable in its making is the design put in L’Eclaireur’s Paris store by Studio Arne Quinze. It’s well worth looking at the Arne Quinze website, his wooden structures are breathtaking, the individual elements, chunks of old wood are not particularly attractive but when placed and joined with such talent and consideration they make visually stunning structures.

I chose these keywords from my notes:

Cable ties – variety – jumbled – confused – piled – tumbling – balanced – repurposed – jagged.

After this assault on the senses by the use of large scale installations I went onto to look at the more delicate work of Julie Dodd. This ladies work blows me away. She translates natural forms using repetition making delicate but also robust structural pieces.  Like Arne she likes to recycle discarded materials, she works mostly in wire and paper but has ventured into fabric.

I particularly like the way that although Julie uses repetition she varies the size and shape of the elements and pieces in her structures.

The blood cells body of work draws my attention because it is such a vast assortment of different objects, there are 3D structures, pictures, pods and installations.


Keywords from my notes:

DELICATE – NATURAL – REPETITION – RECYCLE – PODS – WIRE

Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

Mixed Media for Textiles – Part 1 – Selecting the exercises to complete.

The first assignment for MMT is similar to the one for ATV, it’s mostly limbering up and an opportunity to show your skill levels to your tutor. There are a large number of possible exercises using different paper manipulation techniques and you choose 10 that catch your interest. 

This is the page from my workbook showing my simple selection process.


After I had decided which exercises to complete I decided to think about the papers I would use. The techniques are very simple so the paper will be my vehicle for creating interest.

This is the page from my workbook with my preliminary ideas.

Art · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

Edinburgh – A Visit to the Dovecot Studios

I never go to Edinburgh without making a visit to The Dovecot Studios, and as always, yesterday’s visit was wonderful. 

If you’ve never been I would highly recommend a visit, but go on a Thursday or Friday after 12 so you can climb the stairs to the viewing gallery and walk round looking down at the looms and work in progress of the Edinburgh master weavers. 

My friend Lindsay and I slowly completed a full circle of the gallery whilst a young lady and her Mom were having a tour of the rooms to discuss holding her wedding there, what an original idea, it’s a shame I’m already married! Down in the studio was a huge gun tufted rug being worked by Victoria Morton. The work required to complete this piece must be immense and the skill needed enviable, we were in awe of Victoria’s ability to translate a very complex abstract work of art into a beautiful and tactile object. 

This led us onto a discussion about ‘was this art or craft?’ We had the previous day been to an exhibition at the Fruitmarket by Mark Wallinger. The exhibition was definitely ‘art’ because it included paintings and conceptual pieces but I had been almost offended by the lack of work that had gone into the actual pieces, they were simply black paint slapped on canvas and a rather dull iPhone photograph collage and here lies the crux of our discussion. Is art about the object or the feelings it elicits?

Should art always be expected to challenge our feelings and views? Is it enough that it makes us go ‘what!’ or ‘grrh!’ Or ‘yuk!’? Should it not also make us go ‘wow!’? And can that sometimes just be a happy feeling of awe and delight? 

Where do traditional crafts fit in here? Where does the line between craft and art fall?  Previous research into Ptolemy Mann made her views on this very clear, Ptolemy states her weaving work is art and this is because of the skill required and it frustrates her that the artistic community cannot see that. 

Does the current contemporary art community have a level of elitism about it that demands that art should always be intellectually challenging? Is being pretty and attractive frowned upon? I wonder if their delicate egos have caused them to collectively agree that their work should elicit negative comments and that this was their intention all along so they do not have to work towards genuine positive feedback therefore protecting their inflated opinions of themselves. And worse still this allows them to look down and undermine the extensive work and skill that does into a piece of work that uses a craft technique as its medium. Thank god for Grayson Perry! 

So back to The Dovecot and it’s current exhibition, at the moment only one of the rooms are open, but although compact The Weavers Apprentice exhibition was very interesting.

In the centre of the room there was a loom set up with apprentice weaver Ben Hymer’s work, sometimes he is there demonstrating but not on the day we attended. Ben is working this rug from the front and the back which I found particularly fascinating.


It was very interesting to see a display of the design work that had gone into his piece Penelope. I like the fact that he worked the design from a character in a book and not a physical object.


The walls of the room were the back drop to a considered display of old and new rugs and tapestries completed at the gallery.

Art · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Research – Paper Folding

And there was me thinking I wouldn’t find very much of interest on paper folding on Pinterest. 

How wrong could I be! I’ve had to stop pinning my head is spinning.

Here’s my board on Pinterest.

http://pin.it/PTsjQIk