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AP1: Practical research - textiles

To explore my ideas I wanted to test how different materials and making processes might change the artwork.

I wanted to explore textiles as a way of representing the series of discarded stones and concrete I have been collection over the past months. I felt like this could be a playful contrast by presenting weighted and hard objects with a soft and lightweight material like fabric.

This was a very new process to me as I have rarely experimented with textiles, however I do have a lot of interest in printing processes so I was interested to see how this would translate onto fabric.

To prepare the images I booked the photography studio with Luke as I knew that I would need very high quality images in order to print in such a large scale. I was able to use a professional lighting setup with 3 layers of diffusion to achieve a very even light and minimal shadows with accurate colour replication. I also used a 90 degree photo mount to achieve a perfect above view. Photographing them on a white backdrop allowed me to easily cut out the stones in Photoshop using the quick selection tool and removing the background entirely as I was only interested in printing out the objects as I intense to cut out the background.

Shooting in Raw also allowed me complete range in editing the images in Lightroom classic as I was able to improve the colour, highlights, shadows and add sharpening effects.

For the print we encountered some problems in setting up the program as it was the first time the machine had been used. As the programme was running very slowly a used a JPG compressed file size as we believed that would run quicker through the machine. Whilst this proved to print faster and was still a very high quality print out, we discovered that larger file sizes were able to be processed and as such for the next pieces I will use the uncompressed files to achieve the best print.

As I wanted to explore and draw attention to the fragmented form I chose to cut the fabric to the edges of the print. I had to use PVA glue to seal the edges to prevent them from fraying allowing me to easily cut around the design with scissors and the more detailed sections with a scalpel.

I liked how the fabric pieces reduced concrete and stone (something heavy, physical, tough, hard ad textured) into something lightweight and flat but with the visual illusion of 3d and texture.

Test installation to create terrazzo aesthetic

Initially I planned to install a number of the fabric pieces on the floor making reference to terrazzo. However I found that this did not work - the pieces were too different, not a cohesive colour scheme, varying sizes and shapes that did not match, also felt like they were too small or I didn't have enough.

Felt that the pieces did not function on their own - requited an additional intervention. Proceeded to test various displays, additions, referencing processes of assemblage.

I began considering the pieces as a platform, a kind of plinth for staging work. I wanted to incorporate the original stones and fragments of concrete but include a material that contrasted to the fabric. Chose tinfoil as it created a jarring metallic texture next to the natural stone. I was interested in sliver plating some of the stones as a way of giving worthless found objects a perceived value.

- played with placing the objects on the fabric, precariously balancing, sitting off from the object. I found that the pieces functioned better in a set of three, building more of a relationship between object and space.

- still did not feel that it was resolved. The tinfoil felt too space age and science fiction and felt like more of an aesthetic decision that did not link with my interested in process and materiality.

Final test:

I wanted to link the work back to my research in materiality with my aim to disrupt the natural materiality of the fabric, and play with ideas or status, and action.

Looked at series of actions, suspending, draping, hanging, pinching, wrapping

Suspending with metal. Enjoying ways of using fabric as a sculptural device through a process or draping.

- felt that the piece was not large enough, fairly limited on shape I could create, felt too restricted.

These processes allowed the fabric to be activated in different ways. I was interested in combining materialities - adding iron bars to evoke a more industrial aesthetic - interest in the material surface - reflection of flight - deviation between reflective shiny surface and developing rust.

Tested different orientations of the fabric - how it would sit if completely suspended - if it built more of a dialogue with the work half suspended and half draped on the floor

I aimed to be more playful and freely experiment with different types of display in the aim of revealing ones that were more successful.

By wrapping the fabric around the stones it created more weight, preventing the pieces from becoming lost. It also referenced research into geology, informed by the shapes and molecule structures of stone samples at Pitts Rivers archive.

- however, presented as floor sculptures I felt that the pieces became lost against the wooden surface

In order to allow the pieces to sit away from the floor I played with the idea of platforms - quasi plinth without being a traditional white box plinth

I used paper - disrupting the surface through actions of folding and bending - this definitely helped set the piece apart from the floor but the harsh bleached paper seemed the wrong material.

Moving forwards I think this work is something I will come back to, possibly incorporating sheet metal to provide more structure - possibly playing more with space and the orientation of the object and the flow of fabric.


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