Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Print Preview..

Here's a quick sampling from my final Applied Arts module, sticking with the theme of 'everyday objects'. Not that the bulk of my work particularly responds to this..

I thoroughly enjoyed the image making process as a chance to embrace my Illustrative streak. I'll admit my motif's are far cutesier than anything I've produced before, but I'm pleased with the energy and character from cutting and pasting abstract mark marking. I've never generated imagery in this way before, and it's certainly something I will try again! It was a challenge at first, but some printed textures and brush strokes lent themselves perfectly to the subject matter.

I've since completed my 6 tea towels, although am currently lacking in photographic evidence. These are my merely printed papers, with view to collaging together layouts for patterned lengths (croquis) later on. This was also a handy way of familiarising myself with my colour scheme.

I got rather sick of my tortoise pin cushion towards the end of the module! Gazing inanely up at me with oh-so-quirky mismatched eyes..! The 'shell' was collaged from printed patterned wall paper, and the needles from fork prints.

Check out the button hinge detail!

Tumbling safety pins motif; I'm fond of the contrast of line work from collaged paper cuts and chinograph pencil drawing.

Final dyed linen and cotton grounds.

And two whole days spent in the dye lab trying to obtain those shades. Fun Fact- 'The Dye Lab' is an anagram of 'eternal despair'. Suffice to say, mixing dyes is a trial and error and supremely demoralising process!

Seriously, I nearly dyed in there..

My heart's not in it..

Presenting, my 'fibre arts' module! I didn't take it terribly seriously initially (well, who does in the contemporary gallery..?) however with a little inspiration and a healthy dose of obsessive compulsion I was rather taken with the medium.

Initial samples of knitting, weaving, braiding, coiling, knotting and twining..

I finally learnt some fancy crochet stitches! These were an absolute job to whip out, far less intimidating than they look, thanks to Debbie Stoller's 'The Happy Hooker' (I can't recommend the 'Stitch 'n' Bitch series enough, great instructions for beginners!). My coach driver remarked on my sampling "I cannae believe you're sat there crocheting!", to which I naturally replied "Yes, while listening to heavy metal". Small things, yus?

A few early visuals- first time I've incorporated collage in this manner, pleased with the effect. Though at this stage I was very aware that my vision was rather exceeding my skill base..

This sheet was more of an excuse to get my handmade dip pens a whirl. Knitting lends itself rather well to line drawing.

The finished organ! Having designed these complex, juicey, knotted forms my actual work seems very tame. My tutor and I discussed scale- she envisaged an entire environment made from these visceral organ/ plant hybrids. I would have liked it to have been much larger, with braided trailing tendrils, however time was very much an issue, as was my actual competence.. I was horribly aware that I could only produce knitted squares and rectangles, which is why the majority of the forms are crocheted in the round. However, a knitted rib was perfect for suggesting a trachea-like structure. I would love to continue this theme in constructed textiles, possibly creating wearable art.

The actual assembly was a typical 'Kat' style 1 hour before the deadline job, I was absolutely terrified I wouldn't be able to pull it off! The magic happened as soon as I'd pinned the pieces together.. admittedly I wasn't expecting the finished piece to be so damn cute!

It turns out there is a fair amount of anatomical knitting knocking around! This piece is from an exciting Graphic Designer (I know! 'Exciting' and 'Graphic Design' in the same context!) and Art Director by the name of Sarah Illenberger. Be sure to check out her sex survey 'Die Sex Umfrage' for some witty visuals and darn right ingenious use of cacti.

Knitted brain by pychiastrist Karen Norberg- anatomically accurate and colour coded this majestic creation resides in a museum for educational use.

Ben Cuevas is an incredibly talented man! He exhibits his knitted pieces as installations, often accompanied by sound and video pieces. The skeleton deserves a closer look..

D'aaaaw who thought a digestive tract could be so darn cuddly?

I feel the need to hold this heart as a newborn child.. or perhaps a pair of bagpipes

Monday, 28 March 2011

Got wood...?

'Outcomes', or developed experiments for my Visual Studies module... whatever that was supposed to entail. My understanding of the project was as an experimental drawing unit with the theme of 'kitchen' and 'shed'.. so naturally, I flirted with both. I LOVE tools- stop sniggering over there..!- and it was with great satisfaction that I purchased my very first tool box complete with soldering iron! Ahh, Wilkos..

Next purchase- electric drill for experimental embroidery!

I seemed to get very mixed results with the iron.. On one hand I was able to achieve a surprisingly delicate marks and subtle gradients, and yet the blades on the grater are somewhat clumsy and naive by comparison. More on cheese graters soon..

With an hour before hand in I was looking desperately around my room for something small to put in the corner- a bottle cap, excellent! Unfortunately, my fine taste in beverages left me with the ultimatum of the Hobgoblin mascot, or some fiddly script with a Celtic motif.. The grain of the wood made it tricky to put in subtle curves and convey the weight of line as I would have liked, but I don't think it was a bad attempt, considering I am terrible at most forms of Calligraphy..

The nail and thread drawings were inspired by/ shamelessly ripped off the incredibly talented Debbie Smyth.. check out her installations! I love the organic flow of the loose threads, this would be fabulous to translate back into a line drawing.

Another pyrography sample.. Not a great technical drawing, terribly composed (check out the collision with the handle of my Swann and Morton) but I'm still amazed at the level of detail I was able to achieve. If I wasn't in such a hurry to get this handed in I would have chalked in guideline and drawn a few preliminary sketches.. I've got so lazy on the design front recently, slap on the wrist!

And here is a lady who does a far superior job! I stumbled across Canadian illustrator Genevieve Dionne in 'Illustration Play'.. lovely book! I console myself with the fact that she has a proper tool for the job.

Hur hur, tool..

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Some life drawing of late

Life drawing is intense and immense! Unfortunately we only got two days worth with the Visual Studies project, which can't be helped, but I do think it's a crying shame. It seems that drawing the nude is one of the most intimidating tasks among artsters and craftsters, and yet if you can draw a figure with all those complex shapes in perspective, surely you can draw anything..? Perhaps with the exception of straight lines.

I guess I'm more of a sprinter when it comes to life drawing- I love the energetic, bemusing, and surprisingly accurate results when put under time constraints. Continuous line and left-handers give some rather nice results too, which would translate smoothly into stitch. That's one thing I would love to try. Must see about taking my machine into a life drawing class..

Last year I was lucky enough to have an entire module of life drawing, hence my disappointment at doing so little now. I suppose it's somewhat ironic that this was made available to BA Fine Art when they employ very little drawing in their work, but I won't start on that.. This is a sustained drawing of 6 hours, I'm pretty sure. Yes, it was a mistake to start the drapery with only 2 minutes left.

Saturday, 19 March 2011


For me, this was 5 weeks of direction-less play, and I think this is very much apparent in my designs (or, lack of). However, with it being my first rotation, I'll forgive my lack of focus. Much as I'd love to get credibly competent in this area, I don't think I have stamina for constant heartbreak. The kiln, for a start, is a thankless sonnovvabitch (check- see weird gungey colour schemes and glaze fail). One misjudged pull could loose you your first 4lb bowl (check), one slip of the turning tool will gouge a hole in the base of your beast of a vase (check). Too wet, too dry, impurities, breakage, and general squiffiness.. That's not to say I didn't enjoy working with the medium- after all, there's something deeply satisfying about plunging your hands into a ball of squelchey wet substance.

Anyhow, these are my more 'impressive' experiments-

Lily-like vessel. Lets face it, I don't do neat and symmetrical.

Not actually a jug. Deceptive, hm? Still, I convinced the handle to stick!

A delightful accident! Was attempting to make a pinched base (a Japanese technique, apparently) but did not have enough clay to fold in..

The colour work looked much more impressive pre-glaze, but there are some rather nice blues in there still. The pattern was a lazy stylised attempt at wood grain.

Vessel textured with wallpaper and dribbled underglaze for a grungey aesthetic.. a little too grungey, but never mind. I think the clean cut holes and 'blanket stitch' edging lift it a little.

My first thrown vessels! Apparently I am a natural plate thrower.. Unfortunately this means I can't make anything with any real depth. Still, practise makes better!

Kiln casualty.. This bad boy glazed itself to the firing shelf and never made it out. Devastating stuff.

Despite being ludicrously shallow, this one is actually surprisingly useful for stowing rogue trinkets on my bedside table.

Slab built plate shaped using a 'hump' mould.

Section of the same plate after glazing- this batch got 'over-fired', hence why the delightful sweet pea green turned to snotty swampy gunge. Which I guess would have been fine if that was what I was after..

Constructed Textiles

I'll admit, I was not looking forward to this rotation. Since we're not taught rug tufting and weave any more, my impression was that 'Constructed' comprised of felt making, and the odd bit of knitting. And the prospect of making unwearable jewellery of the middle aged craft stall owner variety did not fill me with joy.

I've never made felt before- the process is surprisingly engaging. As soon as I laid my first tufts of fleece down I could see the potential for painting- not making daft pictures of rolling hills with blobby sheep, REAL painting, impressionistic portraits, giant abstract canvases.. There's something comforting in the tactility of the medium.

Having a good ole play before deciding where to place the pieces..

The bodice was made from silk fibres bonded with wall paper paste, and too delicate to support the felted pieces, serving as an excellent excuse not to stitch them permanently. I'm still debating what to do with them.. perhaps create a mobile, or stitch them into a wall hanging, or a spherical object..?

Colours and forms derived from an antique printing block. I really ought to have spent more quality time with it sketching- the graphic potential is astounding!

Three-dimensional manipulating of felts using needled felting machine to create 'pin tucks'. Scared of catching your fingers in a sewing machine..? This beast has MULTIPLE needles. Silly Kat forgot to put the presser foot down.. Silly Kat had bits of shrapnel fly at her face. She learns fast, this one..

Section of a felted panel with needle felted fibres on top (they won't bond unless they're over 80% wool content)

Wet felted sample with set fibres. I'd be intrigued to cut lots of this up and collage/ applique in with some textured drawings, newspaper ect..

Attempt at felting three-dimensional shapes using resist techniques (essentially creating a soggy soapy felt envelope around a sheet of plastic). Why is everybody convinced I don't do colour..?!

Felted braid and rolled samples.. with a few California rolls in the background.

Yeah Kat, why don't you do cool things with your degree?!

Return to the land of the living..!

Yes, it's been a while. And no, that interim was not spent conjuring puns.

Truth be told, I am terrified of blogging. There are a number of factors contributing to my frigidity, most predominant being lack of assertion as an artist. Any pride I take in a piece suddenly vanishes the moment I upload it for the world(/6 Blogspot followers) to see. As some of you may be aware, my art education has been somewhat fragmented over the last two years, and it's only recently that I'm starting to feel comfortable with what I do.

And secondly, Blogger is a total arsebandit to operate.

So feast your eyes and binge upon my creative endeavours of the last few months. Hope it's not too arduous :)