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By: Rebecca Strain

It has seveal meanings some of which being:
a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network
in Geology; a major range of strata that corresponds to a period in time
in Astronomy; a group of celestial objects connected by their mutual attractive forces


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# 109 [7 June 2011]

Making is in progress.  Today I hot pressed the paper sheets, made form paper boluses and then coated them with liquid light emulsion. It took up half the day but it's done and all I can do is wait.

Wait for the paper to soak, wait for the paper to dry, press the paper, coat the paper, wait for the paper to dry again.  Tomorrow I will develop the images from the film.  I'm nervous because if the results are unsatisfactory I will have to begin the entire process again.

Would it be so bad though? And then what is satisfactory?  A fine print.  If I follow the steps and take my time it should be okay.

I will need to collect my sketchbooks because all my notes for making are there.

# 108 [6 June 2011]

Results are in!

Stage one complete.  But I must make a distinction between eating and masticating.  I think even since hand in I have sorted this out in my own head.  I've also been watching All Watched Over By Machines Of Love And Grace which I feel runs strangely parallel to my activities as an art machine.

I'm looking forward to getting my study plan together to include some of the philosophers and scientists referred to on the show. 

# 107 [3 June 2011]

Three days until I find out if I have a qualification in Fine Art. In the meantime I'm going to get on with making.

# 106 [2 June 2011]

Some of the MA group are off to Venice so next week our class has been postponed - our results will be emailed to us on Monday.

At the studio I have completed my the first phase of the process of making images so I'm waiting for paper to dry.  I've been pinning over the lost of my sketchbooks and so now that I will have to wait for another week I've decided to take myself off to London for the day to see what's happening in the art world there and to distract myself. 

Maybe it's the break but I feel exhausted, broken down and lost.  It's hard to keep going with the blog but I've committed to it so I will continue.  To get me out of this period of inertia I have also committed to making a drawing everyday.  I began yesterday, I await brain movement.


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Hi Sam, cyanotypes sounds like an excellent plan - now we have dry sunny weather we need to take advantage. I'd thought about experimenting myself earlier in the year but somehow the plan got smothered by books and other ideas. photography can be magical - I'm going to get started on it this week.

posted on 2011-06-03 by Rebecca Strain

I can really relate to how you're feeling right now. When you put so much of yourself into your work, your art, it's like a crash when it all stops, even if just for a break. I think the London trip sounds like a good idea. Though wouldn't Venice be awesome? Wish I could go. My Foundation course and Show have just finished. It hadn't occurred to me that I'm not officially a student at AUCB anymore (as I'm going back onto the BA Fine Art in September). I can't use the Library, the darkrooms.... I feel cut off. I'm trying to carry on with some projects at home to keep me going. Making cyanotype prints in my front garden and developing them in the bathroom - it's good fun.

posted on 2011-06-03 by Sam Brightwell

# 105 [1 June 2011]

I've been making sheets of paper from the paper boluses.  There are around thirty sheets to be made and the process is repetitive.  Today I took note of the process.


To make a sheet of paper

select jar

walk to sink

pour out water (but not paper bolus)

2/3 fill wide mouth jar with water from vat

add paper bolus

place empty jar on floor

select couching cloth from bucket

prepare and flatten couching cloth

take yellow cloth and wide mouthed jar and walk to power source

blend three times (covering with yellow cloth)

return to work table

empty contents of the wide mouthed jar into vat

squeeze excess water into bucket

take mould and deckle

form sheet of paper, dip three times

place mould onto couching cloth

press out excess water with yellow cloth, repeat three times

remove mould

move couching cloth and wet paper to drying board


This no longer exists except as a photograph

This no longer exists except as a photograph

# 104 [30 May 2011]

Its the break before the beginning of Phase Two. I've been struck down with inertia.  I miss my sketchbooks, they are in the hands of the university for assessment as is all the research since October.

Today I dragged myself to the studio.  I tidied up and moved things around and then I began the process of making paper from the boluses.  There are 32.  I have photographed each one in its jar of water.  It is becoming a book in some way.  It is a collection.

I am watching the TV series All Watched Over by Machines of love and Grace.  I wrote on my book I AM ART MACHINE in November 2010.  I expect that the possibility of mechanical actions will inform phase two.

I should look at presentation but this will be a less important strand for me at this stage.  I want to contine to focus on process of making.  Documentation should rise in priority.  Photographic images will appear as objects rather than theories.  It will be a period of making.


# 103 [17 May 2011]

End of Phase One


I'm so tired now.  Tomorrow I am going to Ireland for a few days.  It will be an research free zone before I embark on phase two of the MA.

# 102 [16 May 2011]


I had a call from Carla Moss today who is curating an exhibition at Greenbelt Festival this year.  The theme of the show is text because it is the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version Bible. She called to find out if I'd like to exhibit a piece of work I made a few years ago.  Unfortunately the work vanished in transit some time ago so we were back to the drawing board.  When Leigh Clarke critiqued my work he joked about me eating the Karl Marx's Capital Volume 1 which I've been reading.  So I suggested to Carla I ate the bible.

I have been looking at paper as a material that symbolises the drive to create, to attain perfection, specifically looking at how I can this medium can be used not just for it's intellectual messages but also as a way to understand and communicate concepts through the body.  This has led me to begin the process of becoming a human paper mill.

Alongside this I have been researching how we document and present ephemeral artworks especially those created by the body.  I've begun to use pinhole photography to capture light.  I want to create a truthful image of light that allows for the imagination of the viewer to interpret the image.  I've always feel that art does not exist without the presence of the viewer and images created by pinhole cameras come into a real existence through the eyes of the viewer.

The idea we have discussed for Greenbelt and the celebration of the 400th anniversary of King James Bible is that I select a passages from the text, read and consume it. During the process I will document the action with a pinhole camera.  The negative image within the camera will then be developed and transferred to positive onto paper made from the chewed Bible passage.  The resulting artwork will be a photograph of the action on the material used to create the action.

 The title of the work will relate to the chosen passage, which I have not decided on yet.  The obvious choice is Mathew 4  It works perfectly with the concept and goes on to talk about light and shadow which is what we see in a photograph.

I don't think I would have had the confidence to propose an idea like this before I started the MA.  I feel confident in my ability to embark on a challenging piece of work that I will be viewed by such a diverse audience.  I'm excited and I'm only a third the way through the course.


Rebecca Strain.

Rebecca Strain.

# 101 [12 May 2011]

The space has been altered and I have made a place to communicate.  The conversation begins with me warning the viewer of the hazard of darkness.  The door is opened and they go into the space I have made. They will see what they choose to see.  Messages attempt transmission but it is up to the viewer to choose which aspects of these messages to pull into their consciousness.  It is a collection of documents within a collection of documents.  It the medium for an encyclopedia but it is undefined.  There is evidence of text but it had been destroyed. By being present the viewer destroys the text further.

When they choose to exit the viewer is presented with a sheet of hand made white cotton paper and and a black pen asked to record their experience. My input into this conversation ends here and the viewer continues with their life.  Maybe what has happened to them makes sense when they recieve a document outside of the context of the gallery and they remember our conversation.  I await my next writer.

# 100 [10 May 2011]

The show is almost ready.

Rather than displaying images I have chosen to create an experience for the viewer.  I've blacked out the windows and covered the floor with found photocopies.  Tomorrow I will add the unsettling sound of paper chewing and the experience will be complete.


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Rebecca Strain

student of Fine Art