I wanted to explore making drawings using tarnish from metal objects. Silverpoint drawings have a beautiful, delicate quality to them, and also cannot be erased in the same way pencil can. I decided to experiment with making basic marks onto paper prepared with acrylic medium and white acrylic paint. I wasn’t sure if this surface would work as it was not a specially prepared metal point ground, but I used a steel paperclip and this allowed me to make some faint grey lines onto the surface.
Whilst making work I have been thinking about the idea of spaces between things. For example, cracks in old photographs/paintings/postcards/folds in paper. I have been thinking about destruction vs preservation, and deterioration as a result of time passing and traces of wear. The creases and rips in old postcards are traces of human handling over the years.
We visited Butley Mills Studios, Asylum Studios and Old Jet Studios This allowed us to have an insight into the diverse works and processes used by Suffolk artists working closely together in shared studios.
One of the highlights from the Butley Mill’s Studio visit was being able to see the bronze casting process in action. I found the casting process fascinating to watch, especially since it is a very traditional process which has not changed over the years. Personally, I am interested in process, so I found the many stages and methodical approach to creating a mold and pouring molten bronze into it, more fascinating than the actual sculpture! Seeing the process in action definitely made me appreciate the skill and labour required to produce such sculptures.
As well as the artworks themselves, I also found the mangled metal objects and corroded rusty surfaces very interesting. The wooden workbenches had many layers of wear and tear, chisel marks and indentations, revealing traces of the hours of skill required to produce sculptures.
After researching Michael Landy’s Breakdown, primarily for my dissertation, I have become interested in unpicking everyday objects. I found the processes Landy used to order, catalogue, destroy and document all of his possessions intriguing. I especially was interested in how he kept items of most personal sentimental significance on the conveyor belt the longest- not wanting to part with his father’s sheepskin coat until all of Landy’s other possessions were dismantled and destroyed.
I am interested in the way objects have a history, and act as a witness to the past. I was given this old telephone by another art student, with the intentions of it being dismantled and destroyed. Whilst I methodically peeled back the layers and component parts of the telephone I couldn’t help but wonder how many conversations it had enabled, all the words and secrets which were carried through its’ circuit boards and speakers. A part of me also felt deflated- once the phone was separated into the components, the magic of how it all works was lost. In a way it was a reflection on the way in which technology has influenced our everyday lives, the telephone itself no-longer became the most important part, but the relationships, stories and human communication it kept alive was. Had I instead decided to dismantle a brand new, unused phone, I don’t think I would be as intrigued by it.
On 23rd September 2017 I visited the Tate Britain to see an exhibition of Rachel Whiteread’s work. I have been interested in the processes behind the making of her works, particularly the way in which ordinary objects are cast and transformed.
The negative space is solidified and inverted to create unusually minimalistic forms. Untitled (One Hundred Spaces) is a series of coloured resin casts from the underside of found chairs. The wear and tear and traces of use are cast, solidifying the imperfections of everyday objects. I am interested in how Whiteread’s casts are sometimes transient and temporary pieces, for example, House which was demolished along with the original Victorian house which it was cast from. Consequently, documentation has formed a crucial part of the processes involved in Whiteread’s works.
In my own practice, I am interested in exploring casting of everyday objects and also linking this with destruction and temporary works. I am considering casting objects using ice so that the cast is a temporary piece not designed to last.