Looking back to my previous assignment and subsequent tutor report these were my reflections at the time –
‘The general feeling that I am working along the right lines, but to I now need to dig deeper whilst remaining mindful of bringing some kind of coherence to where the actual work is, in order to come up with a solid proposal for the major project. We did also talk about whether I am spreading my investigations too wide, but Michelle suggested that at this point it is quite good to do that.’
Words that stick in mind were-
- Umbrella to harness work under
- Proposal- shape it a bit more with clearer description
- Research- who’s going to swim in my pond?
I have continued to work in a similar experimental vein and as I look back at what I have done since my last assessment there are a number of threads-
- Drawings and mixed media works informed by willow.
- 3 dimensional works made from willow.
- Investigating, collecting and recording aspects of willow.
- Reading and research relating to my work (Contextual work).
Pinpointing ‘where the work is’, feels to me quite tricky. It all has an interest, and one area informs another. In fact it is this idea that has struck a cord and why I was keen to read Tania Kovat’s book, ‘Drawing water- drawing as a mechanism of exploration’. It is her investigation of her subject, water, through a wide range of sources, and brought together with her own work, that is both 2D and 3D. The exhibition, ‘Oceans’, that was originally in Edinburgh is going to be show at Hestercombe soon (close to me) and I have been able to book a place on an afternoon conference where she will speak along with Tim Knowles. I was also struck by comments by Briony Fer in relation to the works of Eva Hesse around pieces that may previously been referred to as ‘test pieces’, but Fer has reinterpreted how they might be viewed which gives them relevance to contemporary artists. I’m starting to think this may be the direction of my critical review. I will try and go into it further with Olivia.
Works since last assignment-
Drawings and mixed media work informed by willow.
3 Dimensional work made from willow.
Second course plan.
Words that come to mind, particularly around the drawing and mixed media works I have done. Working along various threads seems productive and seems to help inform on a number of levels.
My plan is to continue working with willow to inform my work.
I will continue to investigate, collect and record aspects of willow.
I will work in 2D’s and 3D’s using a variety of materials, often those to hand, in addition to those that are willow based.
I will use photography as a means of recording more ethereal works.
I have a group of 8 living willow sculptures, along with 2 others, ‘3’O’s’ and ‘Top hat’ that have already been the focus of some works- my intention is that’s these shall form the focus of a series of more ambitious works.
There are issues around time to consider as, for example, some of the experiments I am making require several months- staining from roots and leaves. Another aspect of time is the changing season and disappearance of some of the organic materials I have used, like leaves. In a way a little double edged in that I am trying to collect what I can for now, but it also means I can look at other things, like the root drawings I have been meaning to do and experimenting with willow ink (see talk with Jo Lathwood).
The exact nature of my final works I still do not want to pin down. At the moment I envisage a bringing together of different aspects of each tree that I have recorded- could become a collage of sorts, but due to the nature of what I have been doing there is an uncertainty around what I will have to work with.
Revised-Provisional artist statement.
Goldsworthy’s words ‘Learning and understanding through touch and making is a simple but deeply important reason for doing my work’, have a resonance for me.
Willow has become my vehicle through which I can try to explore my world. A piece of willow is a line and its natural inclination is to make a circle. These are elements I can see in my work. Along with the physical nature of working with the willow, it is has a repetitive nature with a sense of rhythm, it is intuitive and very much led by the material itself and the outcome is always uncertain.
I have very much tried to focus on the doing, responding intuitively and spontaneously to my creative activity.
I have worked with willow, both living and basket makers willow, I have made studies and drawings of various aspects /details of the willow work, I have also used photography to record the willow, but have also photographed drawings that I have then manipulated using photoshop. These observations could be viewed as a way of trying to understanding the process, but possibly also to transform them into something different.
The living willow sculptures add a different perspective to consider. In contrast to the observation of nature, it requires a negotiation with nature- the form I can achieve has its limitations that are wholly led by how the willow grows. A way of working in collaboration with nature that requires an element of nurturing and the out come will be reflective of how well that is done, which in turn requires an understanding of its needs. The nature of these works is also slow. Dependant on the turn around of the seasons, when in the winter months the new growth can be tied woven back in.
Through my work with willow I have come to focus closely on the natural world and its natural cycles, in particular the uncertainties and challenges it poses us.
In a wider context I can relate my work to concerns around the natural world and the need to try and create a more sustainable future.
I have only changed this very slightly at the moment.