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I’m finding myself waning a bit in enthusiasm for carving the same shape and pattern over and over again with the basket heads depicted in these new works. I probably shouldn’t say that! But it is pretty tedious work, 11 odd hours to carve the rabbit head one, and I’m on an even bigger ‘tail-head’ currently, with another to do after that… It just saps away at what is otherwise a really interesting project. But at least it is only a small section of the whole work.

I get a lot of time to think though, and having created so many disparate components of human figures and animals (woven) I now wonder if my final piece will change?

My intention had been to create one complete figure in a landscape, reflecting on its own origins of wood engravings via live performances in Bristol and in Scotland… But now I wonder if the material itself demands a really different approach. Perhaps seeing components that go well together alongside others that really shouldn’t! So that the intention of a ‘standing figure’ is lost or becomes monstrous in a more contemporary way.

Throughout the process so far I have made it clear in the carvings that the figures are me dressed up and wearing animal heads, feet and tails made of wicker or similar. But this ‘reveal’ of what is behind the ‘monstrous’ almost cries out to be messed-with further! I’m imagining gravity defying poses, multi human headed, legs attached only to other legs etc. Perhaps creating a set or collection of giant prints rather than a single chosen piece.

Only through this kind of approach am I going to be able to really challenge the content as well as the medium. Importantly though I will preserve the ‘innocence’ of the blocks I have made and I don’t intend to make any more for this project as yet. So they will feel more like genuine attempts at standard realistic standing figure compositions, that have been ‘cut-up’ and repositioned.

(love the way this image looks like an upper body carving an upper body)

Either way, I’ll have these baskety-critters finished by the end of the week (I hope!) and then its time for phase 2, rudimentary press elements…

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