I have been having a bit of trouble settling on an idea for my personal project. Originally I had intended to carry on with the biominicry idea, which then changed to digital textiles with the previous section. After some proper thinking and reading the brief I then decided to focus on extending the English Language/etymology theme using an old book that I started for the conceptual piece in Part 3. It felt a better option with all the aspects that I need to consider in terms of reflecting and making references to some issues covered in the other sections.
So….thinking about old books/Old language/idioms/etymology etc – I will continue to explore sampling with resin and wax for preservation purposes really. I might see if there is a way to include some digital manipulation of relevant text/and or images. And with reference to the sustainability part – I thought I might try to patchwork paper and fabric as a nod towards the traditional craft aspect. Also, perhaps some smocking techniques. For the site I had identified using the Bodleian Library in Oxford, being one of the oldest Libraries in Europe and full of amazing old books. I had wanted to use salvaged Oxford University Dictionaries sourced from charity shops as the substrate to make the connection back to Oxford.
However, best laid plans and it turns out that it is not possible to take any photographs in the Old Library due to flash photography damaging the books. I took a guided tour there today to learn more about the history and see what photos I could get but so many areas are restricted. I know I could use images from the internet for the Photoshop visualisation but it won’t be very good as the images are small and will become pixelated and there are very few on the internet for the reasons just explained. I don’t think the postcard I bought will be of much use either. Further more I can’t stay in the library long enough to take measurements etc. so on reflection the space is just not right as hardly anybody passes through and it’s actually not a very inviting area to be honest.
The books are fantastic, super large volumes with faded leather spines and the covers protected with cardboard and bound with straps. It contains a copy if the Magna Carter and Shakespeare’s first folio from 1623 – quite staggering really. Under the library, which is on the second floor, are 2 other areas that I think offering more scope. I just need to reflect on the qualities for each.
The Divinity School – was in fact a classroom but feels like a church. Beautifully lit with sunlight on one side – this would help with the work. People pass through regular and fortunately do so to be in the space and enjoy it rather than rushing from one space to the other. It is a very large space however.
The Convocation Room – much more of an intimate space, dramatically beautiful ceilings and strong contrasting colours that would act as a good back drop to the work. My only hesitation is that it’s not used as much as the Divinity School but then perhaps if it were an exhibiting space, as it has a separate entrance, and then people would visit. It’s a little removed from the idea of the English Language and learning however whereas the Divinity School has the connection with learning being a classroom.
The third option is using the Quadrangle space and having a textile feature in the centre as this receives the most amount of foot fall. I would need to consider weather implications, sunlight as much as rain, so a UV reflective glass and a good sealant if my idea of sandwiching it in between glass would work. It would remove some of the visual texture though being behind glass but also the sunlight would highlight some negative spaces, cut outs and stitching holes.
My tour guide, impressed by my scrawling of notes and unusual camera angles showed an interest in my project after the talk and has been very kind in trying to locate images of books and perhaps the library through other resources for me. He kindly offered this help as I was “different to normal visitors” !!