I started this exercise with some salad tongs. My first thoughts about this exercise is why I am I doing this? When I researched Judith Scott, I was more fascinated by her story than her actual work. I enjoyed how she found her way of expressing herself through finding and collecting objects and hiding them as she wrapped them in found materials and threads. My first reaction to this exercise is that I am not going to enjoy it. Maybe I am to closed minded? Maybe too stuck in my ways. I can see why we are asked by our course to do this exercise as the whole point of mixed media is to try different techniques and media, as the course name says ‘mixed’ experimental in other words. I think where I struggle is with my over developed sense of styling things, wanting to make everything “pretty”. In my eyes wrapping: what I have seen other artist like Judith Scott or even Anton Alvarez do is not pretty. I can see that it can change the context of an item and even the overall look. Wrapping can strip the identity of an item and change it. So with all this in mind I start the exercise.
I start with some wool in different tones of oranges and reds. I evenly start wrapping until I get to the wider bit of the Wooden fork. The wider area gets a bit trickier to cover. I have to use the pointy parts of the fork to weave the wool so it stays in place. The result is a texturised colourful fork. In this case the wrapping has changed the identity of the item – it is still a fork and it looks like one.
Above: I used lace to wrap up the fork. The lace is wider than the previous wool that I used previously. This meant that I could not thread it around the spiky area which meant it changed the identity of the fork, it now looks like a big Wooden spoon wrapped in lace and pearl beading. Funnily enough I am starting to enjoy the look. I think is because I have mixed different textures of threads and materials and this is adding interest to the object. I wondered what it would be like if a wrapped it with other strips of fabric like organza. Organza seems light and easy to mould and if need be to stretch. Wrapping with this material is easier as it covers the surface well. The only problem is that it’s sheer and transparent but I suppose I can use those qualities to wrap other items that I don’t mind showing. A peekaboo effect maybe?
Above; wrapping with plastic. This was easy as the plastic is easy to mould. When wrapping the item and tying the plastic tightly it creates areas with bubbles which distort the shape creating what could be interesting texture. I would need loads of plastic for this. I can imagine this effect being more interesting in a larger scale. I don’t know, I am still not convinced that wrapping is my thing!
I continue the exercise experimenting with copper mesh and ribbon to keep the mesh in place. I like the metallic shine of some of the areas of the copper mesh. But the overall look doesn’t excite me. I can see that I need different thickness of dreads an materials to tie and to keep the thread/materials in place so I am able to cover the whole surface.
Above: I re-wrap the salad Wooden fork with a fluffy wool thread. This sample reminds me of “monster’s ink” it appears to be the same texture. I enjoy the tactile feel to this sample. At this point I feel like maybe I need to go a bit wilder and maybe not think so much about the overall look or outcome, So I do.
Below- the outcome is wilder and more relaxed. There is a mixture of materials used: cardboard, copper mesh, foam, paper, fabric. I remembered Judith’s work “everything goes” every thread and every material matters. Just go fo it! See what happens. Loosen up Lorna! I think this sample demonstrates my attempt to loosen up and experiment but I still don’t like the overall look and I suppose that’s ok. Not everything I do has to have a beautiful outcome. I added some foam to change the original shape of the fork. This sample is all about the different textures and their contrast: Coarse, smooth, shiny, opaque, sheer, hard soft. I am able to see the different textures I can create if I tie the plastic cord tightly on the shredded cardboard.
Actually; thinking about my last report from my tutor were she suggested that I should; 👇🏼
So I concentrated on the area of my sample that I found of interest and I drew it on my iPad. I concentrated on recording the different medley of textures. I am still getting used to sketching on my iPad but I find it useful for recording my findings.
In the sketch above I have simplified the lines. I enjoy how the rich in colour copper wire -which feels course to the touch, is touching the plain smother cardboard. Two contrasting materials wrapping and forming a different texture. So randomly and effortlessly!
In the sketch bellow I have tried to record the materials in more detail. In this sketch you can appreciate the plain white slightly squished white foam. I think the colours are more like the real thing too. The orange really captures the feeling of copper.
Part of my still developing voice is my use of colour so I wanted to stay true to my voice and experiment with brighter threads. I found these threads in the equivalent of a pound shop in Spain while visiting my family. In retrospect I should have filled a suit case as they were so cheap. I used pink and orange just because I like that combination. It is a bit more tricky with this thread as it feels more like satin so it’s more slippery and slides against the wood of the salad fork. This time I have to use knots and think about how I intertwine the thread to keep it in place. It is even harder because I want to be able to take the thread off once finished this exercise without waisting my precious thread. I know what your thinking, first world problems but I value my well travelled thread. With this sample I thought about the combination of colours. I used the pink thread as the base colour and the orange and yellow as an accent colour. I think visually this sample is more pleasing on the eye but do I really like it or is it the best of a bad lot?
I don’t think I know the answer to that one. I am trying to stick to my course manual and not think to deeply.
To add more interest I added some glitter thread in a two toned colour: pink and orange. I think it adds a layer of interest, more texture!
Below: another iPad drawing, I enjoy these as they are fun little illustrations. These illustrations will not always work as they can become too smooth and polished. Sometimes it’s more interesting to use acrylics as they can translate texture better. For this exercise and for the purpose of me learning to draw on my iPad these are exciting to me. I am trying to keep up with technology and there is the added bonus that is less messy and I can draw wherever I go.
So I carried on; this time wrapping an old coffee grinder. I started with string in a neutral colour attempting to unify and see if the overall look of the coffee grinder changes. I tried to keep it simple by wrapping the string in a straight motion. This way of wrapping reminded me of back in the 70’s and 80’s wrapping string around tins and jars and using them as pencil holders and plant pots. I don’t think I liked them then so why I my doing it now? I suppose sometimes you have to go back to what you know and touch base to then venture to the unknown and the more exciting. I am thinking that this technique would work better with pva glue to hold the string in place.
I found the previous sample a bit bland and boring so again I added some colour. This time I experimented trying to add some geometric pattern with a contrasting pink thread. It is very controlled and premeditated not so organic but there is nothing wrong in that (I think) I enjoy some order. But then I wondered how could I create a pattern.
Above: wrapping around the coffee grinder thinking about where I have placed the thread instead of just doing it randomly I think has been more successful. The overall effect is more interesting. I enjoy the contrast of hues and the use of an accent pink. Reflecting on this sample if I had to do it again I would probably play with the direction of the thread almost like a weaving technique.
So I thought about the idea of maybe once wrapping my coffee grinder with thread using a base colour and then placing some pins in some sort of order so that I can weave the thread around the pins with the right tension and create some sort of pattern – similar to what Debbie Smith does (not as professional but you get the idea). The idea is that I am drawing with thread and creating a pattern while I wrap. To get this right I would need loads of practice and planning and of course the right thickness of thread. I get a feeling my thread is to thick but for the purpose of experimenting here I go.
Below: I started by sketching my idea. I usually just start doing things before I sketch the idea first. I am consciously trying to change the way I work and do more planing and reviewing.
This is a rough attempt but I think although it could do with some refinement (for example: the thread being thinner) the overall effect is more interesting than the sample with the brown string. I went back to my iPad and sketched some more ideas of possible wrappings.
I ended this exercise going back to my research on Alice Anderson and experiment with doing what she did, I wrapped a pencil in copper thread to change the texture and look of the pencil.
I like the texture and aesthetics of the copper. The copper thread looks like a messy doddle completely changing the smooth texture of the pencil. If I had more copper thread and more time I would like to experiment wrapping an item in straight ordered lines. I would probably start by covering my item in PVA glue to keep the copper in place.
I practiced with cotton thread and a pencil. This time I kept the thread straight and ordered creating a pattern with colour. You can still see that it’s a pencil but it’s become a more decorative pencil.
Wrapping in a straight orderly way takes more time and the tension of the thread needs to be tight to keep the thread in place. Interesting patterns can be achieved. I prefer this way of wrapping although it’s very time consuming. I enjoy the minimal look specially when using metal threads. I also like using accent colours and different proportions of colour to create a pattern. PVA glue works well for this method.