Make analysis of selected pieces from portfolio – consider the fundamentals that influence the message and meanings.
Proposal for finished conceptual piece – consider;
- connections – previous work / personal
- creation of meaningful/evocative outcome
- significance of colour and texture
- sensitive use of found item – if appropriate
- notions of heritage
- notions of cultural identity and/or current issues – social/ political/economic
- sketchbook work – consider significance of colour and texture.
- study Sue Lawty/ Louse Bourgeoise
- story boards
- model for proposal
- samples for proposal
- more resolved sample
- documentation of ideas and concepts
When I first read this outline for this exercise I knew I needed to invest a significant amount of time into research and also allow my ideas to evolve to make the connections and to solidify the concept. I personally don’t like the nostalgic aspect off adding photos of bygone years to an old dress for example as I find the “ah factor” of the trip down memory lane distracting and perhaps a little too obvious. I wanted an idea with more depth.
The sketchbook shows the colour exercises relating to themes and I tried more than one story board to find an idea that offered good scope to encompass all the criteria.
Some research into the affects of colour…….
Lost and found, the title of my work, reflects the way the English language has changed over time and continues to evolve with the introduction of new words through various means – some perhaps not so welcome. We have lost, or are losing the ways we once spoke and communicated and we have found new ways and new words.
I was really excited to use this as my message as it was so multi-faceted and interesting to research the etymology of words. It is, however, such a complex and substantial subject it was hard to extract the elements I wanted to portray in small samples.
My research included
- Speaking to teacher friends for opinions and relevant education press articles
- Post on social media to ask friends ( and parents) for comments
- Old words – words that Chaucer and Shakespeare used and introduced.
- Modern quotes relating to how English is changing
- The etymology of English
- English grammar – in particular compounding
- Creation of new “buzz” words – Facebook / Necknominate, how they have been created through combining words together to make new words.
- Street /Gang slang
- SMS text words
- Gathering of newspaper articles
The heritage aspect has 2 angles. Our heritage, the heritage of English use in society today and my personal heritage. My grandfather carried a small dictionary in his waistcoat pocket and also kept a heavier one in his study (both can be seen in the storyboard). It was then logical to use an old dictionary as a found item to include in the work using the pages as a substrate on which to work, the old words being the substrate for the language that we use today. He also used this dictionary to press newspaper clippings before he stuck them in a scrapbook. ( I only discovered this recently when sorting out my mother’s things and found both the dictionary and scrapbook – the scrapbook being a fascinating read dating back almost 100 years) thus making another connection to use relevant newspaper clippings from “today” in my work.
I envisage the old book to be the bridge between the old and new, the lost and found so the concept would be the encapsulate this to make it static in time but allowing the pages to move. I had thought in an exhibition environment this would be installed high to be viewed underneath with the 2 sides draped either side and with a gentle periodic breeze over the top to move the pages indicating the shifting in language use. I created a model of a book cover to convey this and also a scale plan to see how the idea might work but mainly to gauge how fabric pages may fall and how long they would need to be. I did this as I wanted to see how much of a timeline I would have to play with, the past side being the longest.
Sample how how I envisage the book bridge looking when encapsulated in resin.
The sampling was approached quite methodically to give myself a collection with which to work with for the more resolved sample. I was looking at ways of preserving the paper of the dictionary pages that I had found both for practical reasons as well as making the connection to preserving the past language – old paper is quite unlike modern paper and doesn’t stitch well. I tried several products including resin and wax and really liked the effect that the encaustic gave but it also presented problems. (See note at end). I also trailed ways of creating the text to convey the message of the idea. Ideally I would have preferred to screen print the black text but it wasn’t realistic for the sampling so I made use of acetate. For the sampling on the new side that’s not a problem as it’s a modern product but some understanding is needed for the old side! For one of the sketchbook samples I used gesso pulled through a thermofax screen that I had used for another project, the words are not relevant so couldn’t be used but it gave good results on a sheer fabric so useful for future ideas and if I ever developed this idea further.
I gave good consideration to the colours, texture and visual texture. The past side encompasses whites and creams and visual/textural references to fading, delicate, loss, fragile (indicated with loose threads and devoree fabric) using old Chaucer and Shakespearean words. The bottom being the oldest most fragile part moving up the time line to my Grandfather’s era and the phrases he used to say, some no longer said, therefore reflecting heritage and my personal desire to preserve the memory. Then moving through the dictionary to the modern day part of our language. The colours of this side are more saturated in newspaper text colours, the overall feel is more complex and busy, and densely erratic still suggesting the pages of the dictionary as the substrate but less prominent and new pages of language developing (indicated by fabric pages)
The samples are large but are still only a fraction of time and I needed to make 2 to show the contrast. The final piece would have several metres on either side.
Overall I am very pleased with the concept and the creation of my thoughts. I don’t consider myself to be a conceptually artists, as much as I would be as I find the ideas behind such works extremely clever but I feel I have worked through the complexity of this exercise well.
What would I do differently…
My biggest error was not acting fast enough with gathering newspaper articles. I wanted to include real newspaper clippings to make the connection back to my grandfather but I didn’t gather enough quickly enough. Of course, news moves on quickly so I should have collected every single newspaper on every day and in multiples to give me enough resource to use. The lesson – time is of the essence if the concept is based on current issues.
Anything else that it might be useful for your tutor to know
I have been interested to try wax paper for a while and have mentioned it previously so this gave me an opportunity to kick start this investigation. Until now I have been reluctant to use wax as I was not sure how it would affect the paper of the sketchbook. Would it be messy? Would it melt etc but I bought a book called “Encaustic with a Textile Sensibility” by Daniella Woolf and discovered that encaustic wax , or rather medium only melts at 160 degrees Farenheight. I don’t have any encaustic equipment so relied on my concentration levels to use this in a foil dish on the hot plate. For sampling this was ok but if I was to take it further I would need proper equipment to avoid any accidents as it is wax with a little resin so very sticky when hot. I have started a separate sketchbook with results of wax paper trails for future use and ongoing research and plan to source some more Japanese papers for this purpose. The drawback of waxed paper and/or fabric is that I don’t want to machine stitch it afterwards so I will always need to plan ahead with such projects.
Link to book – http://wp.me/p40GFx-lN
Part of this exercise was to look at SUE LAWTY and LOUISE BOURGEOIS – this is the link to a seperate post.