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“Metamorphosis”

“You begin with the possibilities of the material.”

Robert Rauschenburg

Our first Module

Our initial module was entitled “Metamorphosis” The main criteria we had to meet, was to produce a piece of artwork “which will transform itself from a two-dimensional creation through to a three-dimensional structure.”
We were also allowed the opportunity to receive training from our technician in a range of power tools.
As a supporter of the environment I was keen to use this module to highlight the issue of deforestation.
I actively collect and salvage objects that I think will become useful. I had already collected some large chunks of wood from a team of council workers. Having left them dry out in my studio space over the summer holidays and was keen to make use of them.

After an initial period of thought about how I wanted the key elements to work and link together I began with the “wall” element of my construction.

I was able to repurpose a large piece of plywood to act as my canvass. I used transparent gesso to seal the wood, enabling the grain to show, but to hold the paint without it bleeding. I built up the strands of colour, mixing each one individually.

After instruction on safe handling and some practice pieces I initially used the hand plane to take off the most intrusive ridge on my roundel. I was able to smooth and level it further using the power sander.
Over several days I built up layers of a selection of wood polishes and varnishes to achieve the depth of colour of wood I desired.
I altered my initial design of a perfect circle on the face of the wood and decided to follow the curvature of the perimeter. After measuring and marking the shape I desired I then used the electric router to produce the shape and depth I needed.

I used silver and gold leaf on the routed surface, adding three layers of leaf to get the desired level of “shine” I required before removing the sprue with a fine sandpaper.

As part of the test phase of this piece I made a small desiccated “tree” from off cuts of wood, wire and mod rock. I used this along with a branch of a tree I practiced cutting with the electric saw to make these images.

Paper Making

After ripping up bits of paper and mixing it with the off cuts of wood I sanded from the roundal I let the mixture soak overnight. After giving it a thorough mixing with my hands (I did not have a food mixer) I tried to “float” it on the mesh I had been given ( I did not have a mould and deckle). In the end I just had to scoop the mixture on to the mesh. I then placed it on towels to rollout the water. I then left it to dry overnight. The result was not great! the paper was very fragile and quite lumpy. It was sufficient for my purpose to highlight the insufficient nature of our current attempts at recycling. I have since obtained a recycled food processor and bought a mould and deckle and will try making paper again…I may even blog about it.

My final Installation called “Descent of the Forrest,” * comprised of the following pieces.
The large 2d “canvass” made using some repurposed plywood.
The descent of the tree in five parts;
The large trunk, unaltered except for the addition of gold leaf rubbed into the surface of the bark.
The untouched roundel.
The worked roundel, planed, sanded, routed, varnished and detailed with both gold and silver leaf.
Old newspaper, crumpled and thrown on the floor, highlighting our current ethos of the disposable society.
The handmade paper, made from newspaper, toilet roll tubes and shavings and dust from the worked roundel. Displayed on a background of paper incorporating gold and silver leaf in a frame outlined in paynes grey.
The miniature watercolour landscape, showing an idealised landscape, except with the removal of all trees. Shown in the corner of the display space, draped with a black ribbon.

* See later blog on Descent of the Forrest.

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Published by stweddle

Living in Newcastle I have access to great landscape; sea, urban, country and city which I am continually inspired by. Starting my artistic qualification in my 50's allows me the benefit of long years admiring others art and a burning need to create my own.

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