Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 3 - Sample Making · MMT - Research

MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Making a Plan – Rough Draft

Drawing? It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘can I?’, ‘can’t I?’ stresses of drawing. But, when you start looking you soon see that many of the great sculpture’s and architects start their designs with very simple, energetic and gestural sketches.

I first came across this on a visit to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and my first introduction to the architect Frank Gehry.

Inspired by Gehry’s very expressive early design sketches, I researched a small collection of designer/makers that used similar techniques and even had a go myself at translating some of my ideas into quick, simple renditions of how I envisage my final piece(s) to be.

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

MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Research Visit

Attingham Park Research Visit Notes

Large amount of woodland, easily accessible but very busy.


Historic venue, very well maintained and has hosted sculpture events in the past. Including How to Survive in the Coming Bad Years,  This was a large structure built by artist’s Heather Peak and Ivan Morison made out of mud. Remnants of this building still remain in the park.


Plenty of fallen and cut down branches and interesting hollows and backdrops for displaying/complementing my potential art pieces.

Lots of interesting shadows but not a huge amount of variation in the colour and the shapes of the natural environment.

It’s gentle, cosy and comforting, there is some drama created by the tall trees and the density of the plant growth.

It would be difficult to work with so many people using the park, permission would be needed to go into the more secluded areas.

Colours are predominately green and brown with blue sky so would provide a consistent back drop to bright flashes of colour. A less natural composition in my pieces would probably work best.

Could rubbish be collected from a nearby location and then included in the work to highlight the choking effect of plastic on our natural environments. Our motorway slip roads are full of abandoned plastic, Juxtaposition? Ring-fencing nature whilst all around the plastic mess builds, or is this too obvious? A little hackneyed?

The environment is already creating it’s own wraps and structural constructs.

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

OCA – Developmental Sketchbook Day

Just home after a fabulous day at Manchester Art Gallery with OCA tutor Priscilla Edwards.

I’m really hoping that OCA will hold more of these types of days. It was an excellent mix of gallery visit and practical workshop.

It all began with an hour spent looking at the Kate Haywood exhibition with our sketchbooks making marks and recording the elements and attributes of the pieces that appealed to us personally.

The space was small but that didn’t stop us from spreading out and frantically scribbling away!

Kate has used bold shapes for this body of work, expressed in a very limited colour palette which has been very sensitivity hung and displayed against solid walls of bold colours. The lighting was very subtle because of this the pieces created some beautiful shadows.

In my sketches I sought to capture some of the shapes and their surroundings using quick free drawing and then more solid renditions of the negative spaces.

Following on from this session we returned to the on site art studio to create a variety of manipulated and decorated papers using not just the materials we had bought with us but also with a variety of tools kindly brought along by Priscilla.

The process of painting paper with wax and then folding, crinkling and handling was something I really enjoyed.

When I coupled this with back drawn mono printing it gave me a couple of interesting pieces, folding the wax added some strong lines and interesting contrasts. Puncturing the papers creates delicate circles that I used to break up the dramatic vertical lines.

Just in case we were starting to get too comfortable Priscilla asked us to select one our papers, to rip it into three and then swap 2 of these with 2 of our companions.

This gave us the basis for our first design sample.

I hadn’t got any glue (I did borrow some Pritt – thanks Ros) or any scissors but I did have a craft knife, but no cutting board so making the shapes was quite a challenge. Ros kindly let me use her scissors but I did try to make my circles with a knife.

Our next challenge was to make a sample with an edge as the guiding principle.

The yellow paper in this piece is very delicate and the wax totally changed it’s essential properties. It made it easy to rip and to fold. It now holds its shape rather than just simply bouncing back like very soft fabric.

My 3rd sample is based on the T shapes that Kate had handing down from a collection of interlinked circles. It’s my most representative piece and the one I like the least.

Luckily I like layering and the new shapes created by mismatching the circles.

It looks better on its side because the eye is drawn to the circles and they are complimented rather than over shadowed by the square.

Close up there are some pleasant lines; random and web like, and then some gently layered circles.

Finally we made a 3D or reversible piece.

This structure creates very nice shadows and has a very satisfying tactile quality when handled.

I would like to redo the wire couplings, they are a little scrappy and I think they will complement the waxed paper and fabric better if slightly thicker and smoother.

In conclusion this was an excellently creative and productive day.

It was brilliantly presented and guided by Priscilla and I whole heartedly hope that OCA will approve more similar days.


Art · MMT - Part 4 - Mono and collatype printing · MMT - Pt4 - Project 2 - Collatype Printing · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Pt4- Pj2 – Collatype Printing – Research

This is going to be tricky (I’m not always such a pessimist, I promise). I don’t have a huge amount of time, I don’t want to spend any money and I don’t like polyfilla.

I was going to have to rely on good source material and texture.

Art · MMT - Part 4 - Mono and collatype printing · MMT - Pt4 - Project 1 - Monoprinting · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Project 1 – Monoprinting – Research


Pinterest : OCA – Monoprinting

I particularly like : Barbara Rae

Books (WordPress won’t allow me to add links to the books but they can all be found on Amazon)

Marking your Mark by Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan

Creative Printmaking – Rosemary Firth

Print Making – A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes – Beth Grabowski & Bill Fick

An absolute bible for printmaking, full of clean information and artist’s profiles.

This is a tricky assignment, it seems to focus on technique but what you print has to be interesting and meet at least some design principles!

I looked to:

Painting Abstracts by Rosina Van Vliet’s, and

Nicolas Wilton’s Art2Art videos.

Art · MMT - Part 3 - Molding and Casting · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

MMT – Part 3 – Molding & Joining – Research

Ann Goddard a member of the 62 Group.

Grompies, Brendon Carlin.

My Pinterest Board for Molding & Casting includes most of this research and references.

Dynamic Form in Nature, Li by David Wade

Irit Ovadia Rosenberg, article from Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine.

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

Wrapping – Strangely Satisfying

Snow day, stuck inside so it’s a good time to get up to date with my blogging.

After all the Joining the next project in Part 2 is Wrapping. I’m not going to rush ahead to blog about my wrappings but follow the course layout and talk first about my research.

Research Technique

Thank God for Pinterest, it’s so much easier to research images and artists using this platform rather than trawling through all the information on the internet.

I’m continually updating my boards but this one is specific to this part of MMT, OCA – Joining and Wrapping

Using Pinterest does make my research rather random, it is image focused and I don’t always look too closely at the artist unless their work totally blows me away.

What Do I Like

I gathered lots of images and then sorted them into groupings based on what appealed to me about the images.


Firstly, I was drawn to packages with a clear purpose.

1. Those little fibrous bundles are transitional, they will only be around until they are opened to reveal the magic made as the natural dyes soaked into the fabric and thread wrapped round them. Perfectly organic and spontaneous.

2. I can find very little information about the bundles and wraps that look like intestines or strange alien vegetables. These are about the reaction they generate in the viewer; the mixture of white (bandages), red (blood) and pink (flesh) are sure to make most people wince. Art often employs being edgy to keep it modern and contemporary and I like these pieces because they are that but they also have a look that makes you think of Victorian medical models and displays.

3. Again there is very little information online about the little story board wraps. A word or two (sorry the photo is upside down) is pasted to each piece that I can only assume was used to influence the selection of items.


1. No Wrapping research project would be complete without a piece by Christo & Jean-Claude. Their work is majestic, huge, brain twisting and beautifully elegant and ethereal. I’m pretty sure the photographs do not do them justice.

They are remarkable but I don’t actually like them, they are too showy, they cover rather than enhance the beauty of the object wrapped. I have kept them in my research log because of their largeness, they take the artistic element of scale to a whole new level.

2. Anne Gates‘ wrapped eggs are far more appealing. I put them with the trees because of the similarities in shape and colour and the vast difference in their size.

Complete Coverage

In contrast to the virtually transparent approach to Wrapping used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude I chose 3 images that represented heavy, almost complete coverage of a base object with wrappings.

1. Sheila Hicks is the master of the tight, repetitive wrap, gems to be gained from looking at Sheila’s work are her ability to balance colour across a wide range of colours, her skill at maintaining interest when working with limited tonal changes and, the one I most envy her ability to take a stack or pile of objects and lay them out so they look like a piece of art not just a pile of cast offs.

I have a friend that can place seashells on her bathroom shelves so they are elevated to the status of interior design ornament whilst my attempts to do the same look like something the kids have dumped after a trip to the beach, or some litter that needs to be swept up into the bin. Sheila and my friend Allyson are both amazing.

2. I actually had to drag myself away from the Modern Eccentrics blog, there is some very interesting stuff on there.

This big bundle is another natural dye project. On one hand I feel sad that this wrap no longer exists but fascinated by the fact that somewhere it’s contents have been transformed and are now part of some other considered pieces or sitting looking scrummy in a pile of fabric brimming with potential.

3. Our course materials focus on wrapping with thread, paper and other hand held items you can twist, like wire and elastic bands etc and this image from Eva Hesse opened my mind to the possibility of using more fluid elements to wrap (dip) with; glue, thick sandy paint, plaster of paris, fibres (dog hair – I think I might have a supplier!) mixed in glue, concrete. The possibilities are endless!

Mixtures of Natural & Manmade

I’ve just come to that point when I think I might have picked too much to write about but I’m going to plough on, unlike the rest of my county of Shropshire that seems to have leap on the idea of a snow day like hyenas on a fallen gazelle. I bet there’s not a loaf of bread to be found on the shelves of Waitrose.

Back to the research.

These packages make me think of the lovely Lotta and her little bundles of found objects, her OCA journey stopped far too soon, I know it took bravery and lots of thinking to make the decision to step down and, although I’m able to keep in touch with her beautiful work on Instagram I still miss her being part of our textile group.

1. All that yummy drift wood makes me happy in Aly de Groot’s piece, it’s all be built up with a delicate considered hand.

The colour contrasts are visually pleasing and the composition tells the stories of clogged beaches and winter storms. (I’m getting all lyrical now)

2. The middle piece is a funny old thing, it was part of a hoard of similar items found in the rubbish in Philadelphia in America, no one knows who the artist was, he/she’s referred to as the Philadelphia Wireman.

The maddest thing was there were 1200 of them, now that puts my moaning about making a handful of samples into perspective. And, also fascinating is the fact they were made in the late 1970’s, hear we are thinking we’re doing something edgy, new and provocative and here are 2 artists, one famous; Eva Hesse and one totally unknown way back before environmental art became so important and influential that it got its own categorisation.

Maybe this exert from an article on the Philadelphia Wireman explains what drove someone to make all of these little packages:

“From the moment Ollman laid eyes on Wireman’s sculptures, he felt a certain energy emanating from their cores. He noticed a relationship between the art objects and Nkisi, traditional Congolese power objects dating back to the 1400s. Most commonly, Nkisi are wooden figures with nails pounded into them, sprouting out in all directions like protective, spiky armor. But, as Ollman pointed out, there also exists a history of Nkisi as handheld, abstract objects of importance, often wrapped in twine or string or wire, incorporating reflective elements.

These types of objects habitually served as means of protection — talismans — often made by a shaman. “A person would go to a shaman and say I need intervention with this or that issue,” Ollman explained. “That shaman would then make something with certain types of energy in it.” The tradition is grounded in a culture with a strong belief in animism, that all things have a spiritual power to them.

“By combining these energies you make a more powerful energy,” Ollman continued. “That’s the sense we have of what’s going on in these works.”

Wireman’s sculptures combined the tradition of Nkisi with a contemporary homage to urban life, imbuing discarded detritus with supernatural force and thus, in a way, revitalizing the famously rough neighborhood in which they were found. Ollman also mentioned the resemblance of Wireman’s sculpturesto memory jugs, also popular in African American folk art. These jugs featured a medley of random objects collaged onto a water-holding vessel, and were sometimes left atop grave sites.”

Maybe by combining and wrapping carefully selected items, especially those we gather in response to the increasingly horrifying information that is coming to us about the damage we are doing to our land and, especially our seas, with our excessive use of throw away manmade items we can gather those energies and bring about change for good. Even if it’s only the banning of straws and ear buds.

3. And after all that worrying over the future how about hiding in away in a cave made of twigs. Here’s another artist who is very skilled at gathering and placing a quantity of similar components in such a considered way as it makes a beautiful piece of art. Tracey Deep makes delicate, ethereal and thought provoking installations that uses natural and floral elements.


Items made out of wrapped items.

Before I’d got my head full of all the influences above I felt I hadn’t got enough research material so I pulled together another batch of images where the artworks have been made out of wrapped items.

1. I couldn’t resist Karen Margolis‘ cocoon. As someone who’s stash of ephemera, treasure and, lets be honest, rubbish increases on a daily basis I’m very drawn to Karen’s practice of expanding and modifying her installation each time it is exhibited.

“With every new installation I add new scraps and materials from my studio so that the installation, now re-titled “Continuum”, is forever growing and continually transforming

2. I never get bored of Chun Kwang Young’s epic sculptural works made out of small wrapped and dyed boxes. In 2015 his work was on display in Edinburgh and I was lucky enough to see it. Here’s my blog.

I can’t ever see myself having the patience to follow his process of building such huge compositions from such tiny pieces but I could experiment with making something more flat than the usual rounded or box like wrap.

3. Gwen Hedley – Embroidery, fibre art, Joyeria con Telas– jewellery, and Sheila Hicks all use similar wrapped linear ‘yarns’ as the main element in their pieces. I’ve never made jewellery, maybe that’s an idea I could explore as I develop my own samples.

4. Finally I was drawn to a sample, one made by Sophie Loughlin. That’s the beauty of Pinterest, you don’t get totally focused in on looking at famous and/or well publicised artists, it allows you to find your own little gems.

That’s enough, now I think I need a lie down before I go back over this blog and gather all the ideas and lines of inspiration that have fallen out of the gathering of research and writing that I’ve done here.

Stay safe everyone out there in first proper winter day I’ve seen for a long time.

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.