Whilst thinking of what else I could make eggs out of, our collective was starting to come together by bringing in some different materials to start a making process. One material that nearly everyone bought in was wool. I had previously made a wool and glue egg (image 1) so decided to try knitting. It tied in with my interest in the domestic and would give me something to do whilst our group was finding its feet.
After the first egg I wasn’t really happy with the shape of the egg white so I tried again… and again, and again. It became apparent that I would never make the perfect egg but the continuous and repetitive action of knitting multiple eggs, one after the other became the most prominent part of the work. The final objects (eggs) can be handled separately, stacked together (image 2) and dotted around a room to cause subtle interruptions.
The chair was found abandoned and slightly broken. I started to weave wool around the back poles to soften the chair.
I didn’t necessarily fix the chair as it was still wobbly, but I just sort of added a useless decoration. This is definitely a developing theme where I take something useful that actually serves a purpose in everyday (often domestic) life and making it so it might look “nicer” but is functionally pretty useless.
A classic childhood activity of potato printing naturally made me consider what other foods I could use to print with. I thought spaghetti would create some interesting shapes and patterns but it would need to be dry in order to be able to paint onto it. I cooked a load of spaghetti and left some to dry in piles then with the rest i mixed them into paint and left them to dry
There was just one issue I had overlooked, which was the fact that food goes mouldy. In hindsight, I left the spaghetti too long to dry as I would have been able to print with it when it was semi dry and before it had grown mould. I might try this again in the future with the knowledge I have now. On the other hand, the spaghetti covered in paint was quite successful even though it only lasted a week before it started visibly growing mould.
We wanted our exhibition to be a collaboration of work instead of just plonking our work in a room together. The idea was to swap either materials or processes with each other in the group and create a new piece of work based on this. After a discussion we agreed that the best way to do this would be to pair up with one other person in the group and swap between the two of us. The pairings were as follows; me and George, Charlotte and Freya, Meryl and Nicole.
The build up to the exhibition was centred around the conversations we were having rather than producing masses of work. Myself and George quickly discovered that whilst our outcomes may look fairly different our process and way of working were pretty much the same. Since we both make work in the space it will be shown, instead of before hand, we came up with the idea to make each other ‘kits’ of materials and objects we would typically use to create work then swap them on the day of installation. This method seemed like a good idea to begin with but we were worried that it would look like we were both trying to imitate the other person which is not what we wanted. Finally we found two racking two shelves that we both felt we could work with and would tie our work together nicely without it being too forced.
I decided that I wanted to combine both my work with food and the imagery of the ‘egg’, so I bought 45 eggs to place on and around the rack once I had put it on the wall. Although I had planned to have a couple of eggs smashed on the floor, I managed to accidentally drop one when placing the eggs on the rack so just dropped two more and left it before they all fell off. I was happy with the overall effect and liked the simplicity and precariousness of the set up.
During the private view there was (understandably) a few of accidents…
George installed his rack flat against the wall with moss compressed inside it. he also had a rectangle of moss compressed underneath a panel of glass with another panel leaning against the rack tying the two components together. I was pleased that you could obviously see a link between our work but they were also identifiable as two different peoples’ work.
I had been using the process of painting sheets of paper in primary colours using acrylic paint then cutting shapes out and sticking them on another piece of paper. As I repeated this process I changed the colours to pastel tones of the primary colours and became more and more concerned with how well the shapes fit together. Whilst this resulted in a very aesthetically pleasing outcome I didn’t like how much time I was spending on making sure the shapes fitted together.
After doing some research I realised that Henri Matisse used a very similar technique when he wasn’t able to paint due to ill health. One main difference was that he used gouache and not acrylic. Matisse also used a wide variety of bright colours and often created his collages in a large scale.
Matisse was very particular in where the shapes were placed and concentrated on creating a composition he was happy with. In contrast Arp experimented with allowing ‘The laws of chance’ to decide where he placed roughly torn squares of paper onto a larger sheet of paper. However when you look at the end result it is hard to believe that the squares just ‘happened’ to land so evenly spaced out within the frame.
Although I did stick the shapes wherever they happen to fall I did have to re drop them if they fell off the page or upside down. As I was doing this I realised it can never really be down to just chance as the person dropping the squares will have an idea of where they would like the shape to go and you can manipulate this to a certain extent depending on where you drop it from.