Paper makes books without which life would be a lot less interesting and enriching. Even in this digital age I still like the feel (and smell!!) of a new book. Nothing beats that excitement of physically turning the next page. Electronic books have their place, but call me old-fashioned, I still prefer actual books.
One book that I have come across recently is Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts. It discusses all those forgotten places, neither town or countryside – the in-between areas. These places often get overlooked when in fact they can be of great interest. The chapter on canals was interesting to me for obvious reasons; I love their description of canals as being the historical equivalent of motorways. Although used more for leisure than for transporting goods these days, the book does refer to the idea of canals as a network – ‘a set of connections between towns, cities and villages’ and how this network can be utilised today by burying fibre-optics under the towpaths. This all ties in with the underlying thread of my work – that we are all connected by lines.
Paper was also the main material for an exhibition I visited over the weekend at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham. Entitled ‘The First Cut – Paper At The Cutting Edge’ all the works in the exhibition were made from paper of one sort or another.
Some were made from plain paper, whilst others were made from books, catalogues, maps and money. I particularly liked Andrew Singleton’s ‘Stellar Spire in the Eagle Nebula’ along with work by Mia Pearlman and Andreas Kocks. The patience of the artists and the delicacy of the work – Rob Ryan’s paper cut is a case in point – is amazing. Looking round at all these wonderful works makes me want to get back to ‘hands on’ creating – at the moment I seem to have done a lot of work on the computer (Maya, Final Cut Pro) and lots of emailing and trying to source materials. I know it’s all for a good cause and the bobbin installation will look great when it’s done – I just want to get on and do it!!
Research day today and whilst (metaphorically) flicking through the internet I came across this installation that was shown at Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire in 2005 as part of the Co-ordinates Art Exhibition. It is by an artist called Sabine Jeanne Biele. Not only do I love the colour, I love the way that the changing light alters the patterns on the yarn and the architectural space. It looks to have a sense of rhythm and movement to it – only wished I had seen the real thing. Have a look at her website for more wonderful installations…
Well at the weekend I collected 350 bobbins of various sizes and materials; some wooden, some plastic, some cardboard, some with thread on – you get the picture! Good job they are not heavy or the car would have complained! Actually having the bobbins here, albeit in a pile, really makes the installation feel more real – and it certainly hits home about how much work is involved in suspending each and every one of the bobbins.
This week has seen me grappling with the issue of copyright. To make sure I don’t infringe any laws when playing the recordings of the extracts and poems I contacted our university advisor on such matters – she has been a great help. The long and the short of it is that as long as the author has been dead for more than 70 years then there is no issue; if not you have to obtain their permission. So I have been emailing people and so far so good; only one person hasn’t replied. Although it has been time consuming it is a good learning curve and something I will be much more aware of in the future.
Amidst all the backwards and forwards, collecting bobbins, emailing etc. it was lovely on Saturday just to get out in the countryside, in the sunshine to recharge the batteries and put all thoughts of assessment and degree shows to the back of my mind…set me up nicely for another week!
As promised a quick update on how my meeting went at Cromford Mill, Derbyshire…Well I am happy to report that the organisers were very enthusiastic about the installation and were keen to include it in their Discovery Days Festival held over the October half-term. In fact they said that I could exhibit it until the beginning of December. They were also keen for me to do some ‘Meet the Artist’ sessions – something that at the moment seems very exciting yet daunting at the same time!!
It’s funny how this work has come full circle – I based the initial concept in this very space never thinking I would get to actually exhibit the installation in it. Just goes to show you never know what lies in store…
My blog has fallen silent lately, not I hasten to add because I haven’t been doing anything, but because I have either been trying to source material and equipment and also because what I have done all takes time!! Have once again been in contact with Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills, Working Textile Museum, who have kindly agreed to loan me 350 bobbins – which I am due to collect this coming Sunday. That’s one weight off my mind – if I couldn’t have sourced these bobbins, I would have to have had a serious rethink about the installation! I am also due to attend a meeting this afternoon about the possibility of the installation being exhibited in October – will keep you posted as to how the meeting turns out.
Over Easter a colleague of my husband agreed to record some more of the sound tracks for me. He is from Yorkshire and therefore has more of the type of accent I wanted for some of the readings. I am now in the process of inserting the soundtracks into the virtual 3D video of the installation. Once again a big thank you to CS – that’s another load off my mind.
As you may have noticed from earlier postings, I do quite like the machines in the textile mills – I like the contrast between the industrial machinery and the thread/cloth it produced and I wanted to try and reflect this somehow. Although I accept that time, technology and innovation moves on, I do feel it’s a shame that today’s machinery focuses on functionality (again I do understand why – I am not a total Luddite!) – some of the older machinery was so ornate and beautifully crafted. I wanted to try and recreate an aesthetically pleasing piece that paid homage to the craftsmanship of the past, the grittiness of the machinery and the delicacy of the thread – at the same time utilising the technology of today. This is the piece I came up with. It is based on an outline drawing of a spinning mule, that has been plotted using AutoCAD and then laser cut from a sheet of metal. (Thanks to everyone who helped me with this!) At the moment I am undecided as to what to do with the finish of the piece; leave it as it is, start to rust it as a reflection of the fact that this machinery is becoming obsolete… I also think it would be interesting to play around with the positive and negative images as well as the shadows it creates. So much to do, so little time!!