The plaster casts of my shadow form are still not as interesting as I thought they would be! This is quite hard to admit after having spent so much of my time at Mejan producing the mould – I wonder if I need to let them sit for a while longer before I judge them too critically.
Casting the form in wax has been much more rewarding! I have not worked with wax since I was Dartington in the late 80s. I find the material fascinating, I like its malleableness. I find myself wanting to understand it, to learn how it melts and hardens, how it flows and fastens, how it forms and releases. Working with it reminds me of both cookery and science classes, as though the material spans the world of the domestic and the academic via the workshop. As children we made candles, it is one of the few creative activities that I remember doing with my father – he being a science teacher and sailor preferred more technical and technological hobbies. Writing now it dawns on me that wax has an obvious connection to light, to one’s ability to produce and control light. And then there are, of course, the old anatomical and biological wax models – were these attempts at capturing time in order to study things that would otherwise decay? Attempts to make things easier to understand, literally easier to handle? I am thinking about the wax anatomical models in the Spectacular Bodies show at the Hayward some years ago.
I continue to work with my ‘back to front’ and ‘inside outside’ ideas for casting glass. Making separate halves of the mould means that I am working from the inside out, working from the (bi-lateral) cross-section of the whole form. Perhaps it was this ‘working away from’ that led to thinking about casting the glass in a way that it would have the feeling of a “negative” (even though it is clearly a “positive”). During the initial glass workshop I cast something which was much more interesting viewed from the “wrong side”, it is this quality that I want to produce again. This early cast also contained too much glass which formed a kind of pool over the mould, it makes a really nice contrast between the cast form and the accidental overflow. The first time it happened by chance, now I want to see if I can knowingly create similar results!
In a few weeks’ time I start co-teaching the Introduction to Artistic Research course at Konstfack! It is both exciting and daunting. After a good meeting with the director of these professional courses Anna and I have begun dealing with the practicalities of scheduling sessions and booking rooms. It is not always easy as we both really want to co-teach each session, and at the same time we both have prior commitments. Hopefully there will only be two sessions where we cannot work together. I am delighted to be teaching again and am certain that it will be rewarding for me as well as for the students. Artistic Research remains a challenging subject for me, going further in to it will no doubt strengthen and clarify my own understanding. Re-reading the course literature in preparation for the first session has raised new questions and expectations about how artistic research can function.
Ideas for my application to one of the upcoming PhD posts at Mejan have been spinning around my mind. Attempts at getting these ideas down on paper (as the application requires) is quite another story! My project proposal is based on physical and intellectual work with glitter. I love the idea that I would be able to focus on that full-time for four years, and at the same time I wonder how to write something that other people are able to take seriously in a competitive academic environment. It is too easy for me to get carried away with pushing the ideas and neglect describing what I actually want to do and how I intend to do it! I guess that a good application is able to express both the passion and the competence to conduct the project …