Friday, 28 March 2014

Blog posting 1 - RESEARCH

Research is an important part of any project, but as my work and drawings tends to include a lot of detail and collaged elements, I wanted to get lots of visual imagery to work from. I found the trip to Taton Park very inspiring, and the grandeur of the building was the key inspiration for my baroque theme. I did lots of sketches as we went round the building and I was most interested in the immense amount of detail everywhere around the house, from the architecture to the furniture and objects within the interior. The archives were very important for furthering my ideas, as it helped me to gather plenty of baroque images including gilt frames, lace work and jewellery. I was also really intrigued by the random collection of ‘miscellaneous objects’ in the archive, and would like to work this imagery into my work somehow.

One of the most important things for me in this project has been the chance to learn about other disciplines in the art school, and to think outside the realm of textiles. This is where all the lectures have been rather interesting, and very much helped with my research. I have particularly enjoyed learning more about ceramics and 3D design, and would like to see how techniques and ideas can be applied to my own textiles prints. It has also been very interesting discussing ideas with students from other courses, such as illustration and 3D design, as it has helped me to look at how I research and work in a different way. I was surprised at how interesting I have found the content of the 3DD course, and would be interested in working with them in the future – I really love the finished quality of glass and glazed ceramics. My research into the products that the National Trust shop sells has also been integral, as its important to see what they already sell so that my product is suitable but also fills a gap in their product range.

I already knew of Paul Scott’s work, but I found his talk extremely inspiring in the way that he talked about historical blue and white plates, and the amazing patterns involved. I already use a lot of collage in my work, but I liked the way Scott blended motifs together in such a coherent manner by using all one colour or line style – something I would like to reflect in my own designs. From looking at collage in a baroque sense, I looked back at the work of Timorous Beasties to bring my research back to my practice, and think about how traditional and more modern imagery could be combined in a print. All the detailed lace in the archives made me think about using my paper cutting skills, and led me to research into the intricate paper works of Andy Singleton and Elsa Mora.

It would be very easy for me in this project to just do drawings and make a print collection, but I wanted to push myself and so I wish to experiment more with techniques. Talking to students from other disciplines has made me want to think in a more 3D sense, so I hope to use paper cutting and wire working techniques alongside my drawing, so help create motifs for my digital prints. I hope that working with different materials will help me to think differently about my work, and inspire me to create something innovative and new for the shop that is still inspired by the beauty and grandeur of the properties belonging to the National Trust. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014


In this project I wanted to push myself out of my usual working style, and begin the project by experimenting with other ways of 'drawing' and making images, other than using my favoured pen and pencil, which turned out rather well.

Wire work - I really want to try using the idea of using wire as a continuous line drawing, which was rather fun. I saw this technique of using nail varnish to look like enamel on an online tutorial, which I think works so well. It was really difficult to do as you have to stretch the varnish over the gap to create a bubble, so I quickly learnt that it was easier to do on a small scale. Above was the most successful piece, a simplified version of some of the baroque frames I saw at Taton Park. I like how using wire over pen as a continuous line means that you can actually create a 3D object, curving the objects to reflect what I was inspired by in the architecture at Taton.

Paper cuts - Here I took some of the details from my moodboards and brought them together in this spontaneous collage-style papercut, bringing in elements where I felt they fitted best. This was such a good way of freeing myself up, as even though you have to be neat, you some times just have to go with the flow of the knife - unlike drawing, you can't rub something out if it goes wrong so you just have to work with the line you create. As painfully slow as it was to do, I was really pleased with the amount of fine detail I managed to get into it. It was also really nice when I showed it to people in the group and they thought it had been laser cut - the time I took to do it clearly payed off!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Paper cuts

Looking at the lace on the archives made me think of papercuts, so I decided to do some artist research to further inspire me and to help me think of more modern and graphic ways to use this technique. As much as I love the work of Rob Ryan, I thought it would be good to look further afield and discover some artists I had never heard of before.

Elsa Mora is a multimedia artist from Los Angeles, who also does painting and illustration alongside these incredible paper cuts. I like the pretty, fairytale feel to her artwork, she almost seems to weave a story into her imagery. What really impressed me was the way she curls and shapes paper to create 3D pieces, a change from the usual flat paper cuts. The use of two contrasting colours is also really effective in making her work stand out.

I saw some of Andy Singleton's work at Manchester Art Gallery last year, and aside from his amazing use of scale (he often does enormous artworks that are several metres high or wide) I like the way that his pieces look like abstract patterns at first, and then when you look closer you realise that it is actually an image, such as his view of the London skyline above. I hope to incorporate some of his patient attention to detail in my own paper cuts.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Misc. objects

After trawling through the extensive archives on the National Trust's website, I discovered a section called 'Household/miscellaneous objects' that was full of a bizarre mix of items. I really like the fact that among all the items you would expect to see recorded, such as sculptures and paintings, there was these often seemingly worthless objects, such as blotting paper, envelopes, buttons and other household objects. Above are some of the things I found particularly interesting, such as the object on the top right that was simply titled 'straw animal' (I am most intrigued to know what sort of animal it is supposed to be!). I like the fact that the National Trust see an importance in recording these items of little worth, as it gives an interesting insight to the people who lived at these stately homes. I would really like to find a way of presenting some of these objects within my work and showing them off in a grand way as if they were just as special as some of the Trust's more prized and priceless items. 


I thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Taton Park, in particular visiting the house itself. I took a lot of photos throughout the day, but I decided to reduce the most inspiring ones into a selection of moodboards to give myself something to instantly refer to during my project. The first of two things that inspired me the most was the baroque interiors, which I have managed to reduce down into just the specific details (see middle image). What I like the most about these gilt frames and suchlike, is the creative combination of swirls, scrolls and flowers. They are often based on nature and organic shapes, but I think I might be interested on doing a different take on this, and perhaps incorporating my own motifs? The second thing I liked was the architectural details (see last image), from plaster ceiling roses to iron work on gates in the grounds. I like the way 3 dimensional form in itself creates shadows and line, making its own interesting patterns.

As baroque seemed to be the thing coming through during my visit, I went through the National Trust archives looking for anything under 'baroque', which brought up a lot of lace and other extravagant gold details. The way the lace has been photographed on dark background felt very graphic, and made me think of paper cuts, this may be a technique worth playing with in this project.