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Archive for the ‘Edinburgh College of Art’ Category

first weavings of the semester // the high mill

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Weaving on October 15, 2015 at 6:37 pm

It’s been a busy, blog-free, fewe weeks. Somehow it’s October. I finished the metadata weaving I started a while ago, I’ve started writing my dissertation, I’m about to buy a knitting machine, and I’ve been working with LEAPS for the last week, so I’ve not been in the studio a whole lot (except at odd times). We were down at the Heriot-Watt School of Textiles yesterday and, minus the incredibly vomit inducing coach trip there, it was amazing. I’ve never seen so many looms in once place. AND SO MUCH YARN. I think I was far more excited than any of the students – we had a machine knitting workshop yesterday, hence the sudden buying of one. It’s super amazing. And my data-weaving can be translated into data-knitting, because I’m going to buy one that uses punchcards and it’s all about numbers and oh my it’s so good. Punchcards! I can’t afford a loom that uses them, but I can knit with them! I’m considering trying to get a second supervisor for my (hypothetical) MPhil from Heriot-Watt, becasue they have an amazing weaving studio and I could do with the technical advice.

Anyway. Pictures from yesterday, then weaving.

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A lot of time has passed since I started writing this post…as in I started in my lunch break and it’s now 18:35 and I’m hungry. So I’ll do the long explaining thing some other time, maybe tomorrow morning. ALSO, Martin Creed is doing the Friday Talk tomorrow, how good is that?! So here we go, a traditional pattern, and my own pattern made from making the other pattern.

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I got a loom sized table made. Life is so much better and more comfortable.

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Right. The first rather dark cycle home of the year, and food.

Hello, final year

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art on September 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Somehow it’s September. Somehow it’s 2015. Which means next May/June it’ll be degree show and in the summer I’ll graduate. I’m decidedly not counting the months – or days. In terms of introductory things it’s probably the least stressful year, because we’re all in denail and avoiding even mentioing the words ‘degree’ and ‘show’ in the same sentence. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

It’s strange to be back in a studio, I’ve been in and out the art school all summer working at degree show/masters festival/open days (last open day of the year on Saturday…), but now I have a space again. A pretty huge space (perks of being a final year). Second years are off doing something else, and I’ve no idea where the third years are. I’ve seen more first years in our studio than anyone else I think. It’s kind of nice, but it’ll be a shock when they all come back in. Because there’s a lot of second and third years (us class of 2016 is a relatively tiny year, which I imagine has a lot to do with the sudden increase in tuition fees – given that probably the majority of students here are not Scottish/European). Anyway. Stuff on a wall, stuff to weave. I don’t have project space/research presentation for another six weeks.

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Our timetables are alarmingly empty, which was terrifying until I realised I much prefer working to my own timetable. So I’m blissfully happy now. And so far this week I’ve done everything on my timetable, more than can be said for any other year. We’ll see how long that lasts. This semester will probably end up being stupidly busy, it’s taken three years but (at the moment) I’m employed thrice by the university. I’m the ECA web writing intern for this semester, events assistant still and until Sunday working at the main library as a general advice point for freshers (favourite, and very common, question: “so are there books in the library?”). Which, very excitingly, means I have a pension – I’ve never felt like such an adult.

In other exciting news – CARGO TRIKE. I cycled the loom in yesterday – terrifying and I got a few odd looks. This morning I cycled in wearing my glorious cape with a rainbow and last bits of sunrise behind me. Yup, I came in early today.

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I’m having a break from reading (it started raining and it looks miserable and I did get quite a bit done this morning) and fiddling about with things to submit for a few bits and pieces. I’m waiting for Groundings Ancients to release their new themes for the year, I’m hoping I can re-use my visual culture from last year that I actually liked. I’m set on the extended/40 credit visual culture option, and I submitted my proposal a lot early. So now I’m twiddling my thumbs really and hoping what I’m doing is alright, we don’t find out our supervising tutors for a few weeks yet. I have been working on that propsal since May, so if it’s not alright I’ve wasted four months.

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Freedom… But not really.

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art on May 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

We’re done for the year. That’s very, very scary.

Much has happened. I’ve shown work (in two places simultaneously…), almost caused serious injury weaving a lot in very little time and I don’t know what else.

I finished the work for Stanley Mills the day before, it had to be cut short because I ran out of cotton and time and it was very painful by the end. But it’s about 18 metres long, 2.5″ wide and wove in and out of pillars on the weaving floor. I’m pretty happy really – it looks how I imagined, it supported itself (so I didn’t have to interfere with the fabric of the building – thanks gravity) and it’s not at all separate from the rest of what I’m working on (last time, for Cultybraggan, what I made was so distant from everything else it was awful).

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It now looks like this. If it was comfy I’d use it as a cushion, but it’s pretty dense cotton. So it’s just a thing on the bookshelf of things.

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The other thing was for the first interdisciplinary ECA 3rd year show (bit of a mouthful), in the same place where we had our end of first year interdisciplinary show. Loops and loops.

Fabric from the Dryad loom (I couldn’t save it to continue weaving) and text. I even titled it (rare I know) – Loom of Destiny because I have a terrible sense of humour. I’m going to be a crazy weaving spinster with a lot of cats, and eventually someone will have to cut my last bit of weaving from my loom.

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Theoretically I’m free until September now. Realistically there’s a lot to do. I’ve taken over the living room as a studio (there’s a loom permanently out and three more in the cupboards), it’s quite nice really. Much cosier than the actual studios and I get to look out at trees. I’m catching up on patterns i didn’t get a chance to weave and (once some books arrive) I’m going to attempt to master doubleweave. Which is pretty much two bits of fabric at once. From what I can figure out without having read the books… you can do much more 3D things, and it’s apparently possible to weave something double the width of the loom. Which would be REALLY useful – that’d be about 30″ wide! Assuming that a) I can  understand how to do it and b) somehow translate that into my own patterns. We’ll see.

This is the last thing I did, it’s only small but it’s the most complicated pattern. There’s no repeats in the warp and each weft repeat is 111 threads. So this is one repeat, which with the wool I was using is about 28x13cm.

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The numbers are from when I was weaving the pieces for Stanley, every 10cm I’d write down the length and time. So this is all the data from weaving from 6m piece of fabric. And then when I do a full length bit of this (a couple of metres) I can take the measurements and times from that and make something else and something else and something else… In fact if I can’t figure out how to get doubleweave to work with my patterns, I can do the same thing with that. Weave a beautiful bit of ‘traditional’ fabric and then do the data from the bit of fabric and have them together.

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Post its of data.

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One repeat.

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I got distracted from the ‘everything else I’m meant to be doing’ part. I’ve sorted started dissertation research already, might as well use the next four months… I think I’ve decided to go for the longer, extra credit option (when I get it right, my essay grades are more reliable than studio grades and if I’m planning on applying for the MPhil course – more later – a longer thing will be more useful). I’m going to have to go through my essay from last semester (the object biography that went well) and pick some things from there, but I think it’ll be thread related. I’m looking for a very, very, very small ‘gap in existing’ knowledge that I can dig out. Also applying for things, I sent off an application for Selected 2015 this morning (I’ll be amazed if that ends well, but worth a shot).

I…think I’m going to apply for the art MPhil, to start either the September or January after I graduate. (No, not entirely because I don’t know what I want to do with my life…). In some ways it’s the best time to do it (because I’m here, I’d still have somewhere to live, if I find a nice little gap in my dissertation I can go wild with that), and in some ways not – I’d be going straight from undergrad to postgrad with four months gap in between (hence maybe January). We’ll see how that goes anyway. All the funding application deadlines are early next year, so I’ll have to have applied by the end of December at the latest to be able to apply for those. Advantage of having four months semi-freedom, I can start preparing now… (I’m not kidding, the application guidance notes are printed and stuck to the fridge). So that’s that. Lots of researching to do.

We found time to see some art though… Where Language Ends was really, really, really beautiful.

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Insert suitably punny comment about looms here

In Collections, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling, Weaving on March 7, 2015 at 1:10 pm

So I got…some looms. Three. I wasn’t expecting three, but that’s the joy of eBay. They came yesterday, very impressively all fitting into one box. A huge box.

I thought I’d got a slighter bigger table loom (although with less shafts) and an inkle loom (for weaving bands), turns out there was a rigid heddle loom in there too (it looked like a pile of sticks). It was a job lot of stuff, so there’s some random bits of crap (most of which came in two cat food boxes), some acrylic yarn that I probably won’t use and a lot of diy-ed stick shuttles (I don’t much like stick shuttles), and two pieces of fabric woven on the table loom. And the inkle loom came with the most rickety table, it’s more annoying than useful really. Think it’s just going to be easier to have it on an actual table.

Not many pictures because I was too busy a) going oh dear me what have I done and b) figuring out what belonged to what and c) cackling at the stack of knitting magazines that I didn’t ask for but got anyway. They’re brilliant. I’ll have to do something with them.

This is most of it.

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Also note the new warping frame – it goes up to 11m long! The rigid heddle is off at the side somewhere.

Both the inkle and table loom came with warps on, I tried using the warps on the inkle loom but the tension was so knackered it was pointless (so I very quickly strung it up and did a tiny little band, IT’S GREAT). With the table loom it looked like someone had just wrapped some thread around it in the hopes of making it look like it was working, what actually happened was the back apron (which is literally an apron on this, a piece of canvas and a stick that the warp is attached to before threading) had been cut off for some reason, and everything wound to the front apron. Untangle it all and you find a piece of weaving, I have plans for it. Again, it was acrylic and not worth saving to use again because it’s just not very nice to weave with.  (The pink thing on top is what I did on the inkle loom.)

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It looks like/was sold as a Dryad loom, but there’s no label thing anywhere that I can see – so who knows, and goodness knows how old it is. If it is a Dryad one that’s…freaky – Dryad was based in Leicester, that’s where I’m from innit.

I have absolutely no idea why someone thought screwing two bits of mismatched wood to the base was a good idea, wasn’t even level! The amount of dust and crud that came out when I took it off… There is absolutely no reason why you’d do that, it’s not like it was holding it together or anything, it was just holding crap in. The reed was pretty grim – in fact all of it was pretty grim, it still needs a bit of love. That yarn must have been on there a long time. But now it’s cleaned up it looks to be fine (which is good, I didn’t fancy trying to find a reed that’d fit). The shafts are a little on the rusty side, and the threads could probably do with being replaced, but they’re functional for now. I’ll need to diy something to stop one of them popping out of it’s track though. I’m going to need to get more heddles – but that can wait a while, simply because putting heddles on is going to be a nightmare (I’m going to have to unscrew the castle where the shafts sit and then somehow unscrew each shaft to get the heddles on). It doesn’t fold up like the first loom, but I should be able to unscrew it into two pieces.

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Theoretically it might be possible to have an extra four shafts made up to make it an eight shaft loom – there isn’t much space at the back, so it’d probably have to be two in front and two behind the existing four. It’d just make it a lot more flexible, and I could do more complex patterns on a bigger scale. It’s about 21″ across (instead of 16″ on the other one), so not a whole lot bigger, but noticeable. I really don’t have the sort of brain to figure it out (3d things aahhh!) but it should be possible…

I’ve come up with a solution for the missing back apron using a stick, a ring binder clip and lots of string. It’ll be fine.

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And this is the rigid heddle loom which is, in principle, very similar to the inkle loom (although INKLE what a word). It’s an old Spears one as far as I can tell (furious googling last night). Although you can use inkle looms for card/tablet weaving, which means text is possible! I can make labels! How nice would it be to weave title labels for bits of work…? Just me?

Anyway. It’s far less flexible than the table looms – there are only two options, up and down. For the inkle loom heddles are made from string and attached one by one as you wind the warp on, on this loom it’s just that white thing which also acts as the reed. There’s dents as in table loom reeds, but also holes, so lifting it up or pushing it down when it’s threaded changes the shed/gap you weave into. But you know what that means? Dot dot dash. I have no idea if threading it using morse code would work, but worth a shot. I can’t use the software I have to write drafts for the inkle or rigid heddle loom, so it’s going to be interesting…

I’ll leave you with a kitten.

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more weaving/craft is not a dirty word

In Edinburgh College of Art, Stanley Mills, Weaving on February 1, 2015 at 10:29 am

I’m doing a research presentation on Tuesday, the last one was terrible. And ended up being ‘what you’re doing is hobby, not art. Craft, not art. Why are you here?’, which kind of… sucked. So this one is angry. Well, not much. But it starts with Keith Arnatt.

It is slightly better than the last presentation – because last time I forgot to make my notes big enough to see in the dark. DUH. I just really do not like talking to people at all. My solution to ‘are you even an artist though’ is an ‘I don’t know’ disguised as INTERMEDIA. Think it’s safe to say I’m working in the space between disciplines here – blurring the boundaries between art and life, art and craft, craft and life. If it goes even worse than before, never mind.

Enough. More weaving.

finally got the full version of the weaving software I use – I can save files now. I’ve lost so many things in the last five months because I couldn’t save. So that’s pretty great. I’ve had a mad spree of making up drafts from anything and everything, and actually titling them (which is novel, since when do I title things?). It’s more I’ve been at home ill (our studio is very cold) and making drafts makes me feel like I’ve done something productive. Although I did go and weave a sample of one of them yesterday.

The intermedia micro-residency this year is at Stanley Mills – I wasn’t going to do it again because Cultybraggan was so stressful, and so much extra to do and there’s more to do this year. But it’s at a cotton mill. How could I not?! So I’m weaving the fabric of the building. I really love threads/fabric/textiles in language (my essay last semester was an object biography of a blanket – called A Stitch In Time. I was so proud. No, you’re not reading it), and the fabric of the building is a weird one. And it makes me so happy that I can actually do that.

I’m using all the key years in the history of the mil – opening, closing, take overs, fires etc. The fabric I wove yesterday was all the dates, but I’m probably going to do several variations using the same warp threading (all the years) and then just picking out one or two to use for the weft.

The warp is just grey wool I have a lot of (the spool is the size of my head), the orange and pink are cotton because y’know… cotton mill. And the blues are wool, just because I can’t not put blue in things. The fabric I’ll weave for the exhibition will probably be coloured cotton warps with a white cotton weft, and probably won’t be much wider than the sample (or even the same size). The mill wove thin bands of fabric – that’s the width of one pattern repeat (56 threads).

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Turns out my favourite sketchbooks come in A4. So I have scaled up (as I’m told to do very often…I like small…).

I’ve kind of run out of time, we’re meant to be leaving to go to work now but my flatmate is being slow as usual. So I should probably stop and do the other drafts this evening – my current favourite is called Fuck You Hermes. It’s the tracking number of a parcel they failed to deliver. I got angry and made a draft.

Data weaving/why weaving can be art

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Rambling on January 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm

If art school has taught me anything, it’s what I like.

Data, numbers, information
Recording and visualising mundane/useless information
Graph paper
Cats (…nah, I knew that already)
Making things for a very specific audience (usually one or two people)
Making ‘ambient’ work/things not intended for a gallery/white cube – things to be worn/used/lived in and with
India ink pens
Lines.
Threads.
Things that fit together perfectly. More so if they’re not made for each other.
Colour coding
Mindless/mindful pattern making

Weaving is all of those things (except cats) in one way or another. It’s perfect. Too perfect. The best bit is that weaving is a series of numbers that describe the way threads/lines fit together perfectly to become a surface. I MEAN WOW. Lines. Fitting together. Because of numbers! Aaaahhhh!

I use an eight shaft loom (you can get sixteen!). Weaving drafts are just a series of numbers. The threading pattern describes which shaft each warp thread belongs to, the lift plan is which shaft(s) to raise to make a gap in the warp threads to pass the weft thread through. Changing the gap (shed) over and over produces fabric. Lines squished together into something solid.

Any series of numbers can be altered to fit within the 1-8 range (yes, ideally it wouldn’t have to be altered. But I can’t really afford a sixteen shaft loom..). You just use multiple threads to make up the number. So, dates, coordinates, phone numbers, temperature, monetary values, ANYTHING NUMERIC can become a pattern. Anything. Isn’t that amazing? I could weave the fluctuations in the currency markets if I really wanted. And the best part – the fabric doesn’t look like the input.

I can’t reliably draw drafts by hand. It’s complicated and I can’t visualise that sort of thing very well. But there is software. And it’s amazing. I can only get a trial version of the one I love, because it’s a decade or so old and seemingly impossible to get ahold of the full version. Doing the drafts digitally (whilst quite removed from the whole handmade-ness of the rest of it) is really really really useful. Takes no time at all to come up with a useable, stable pattern.

I say stable, until recently I hadn’t figured a way around using drafts that repeat the same number consecutively. Turns out that was already a thing – overshot weaving. Between each line of the pattern you weave plain weave (under/over) so you’re making a piece of fabric and a pattern on top of the fabric. So you have two shuttles going at once, which got a bit tangly. But it means I can do even more things, and more textured things…

This is the draft of what I’m weaving at the moment – it’s mine & Steph’s birthdays 14219942071994 (but then reflected back to make a longer pattern). I tried it with other people and this was the nicest looking, clearly we were meant to be. Each little square is a thread. In the warp that I wound there were just under 200 threads (it was quite thick yarn) in 6″ or so. It’ll be a scarf for me, seeing as I haven’t made one for myself. And I’m using pretty much every colour and type of yarn that I have – so merino wool, wool, wool blends, cotton, recycled cotton, recycled sari silk, recycled linen and mulberry silk. Because the yarn is quite thick the finer details of the draft aren’t quite so visible.

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I got a bobbin winder for Christmas (AMAZING), so it no longer takes half an hour to wind a very loose bobbin. Always a good thing. It came with a load of bobbins and another shuttle (the wooden thing the bobbin sits in), so I can actually do overshot. Which is good. I bought a raddle too – I’d made a really shit one. But it was just too shit. And now the raddle matches the rest of the loom and will be pretty much indestructible.

More weaving…

A scarf for Em made from her date of birth…

 

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That was the longest (and probably the best) thing I’ve done so far. And the most recent finished thing.

Before Christmas I wove this…thing. I’m going to sew it into something eventually. That draft is based on the molecular structure of dopamine (long story, lets not go there…). Things have people have said about it: it looks like a tea towel, it looks unloved. I’m going to come back to the pattern I think. Different yarn.

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And the piece of fabric I made on the course… mindless pattern!

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I started an Etsy shop selling data scarves (you give me numbers, choose your dimensions and yarn and I weave you a scarf), I’m waiting on the yarn to arrive for my first order (eeeeekkkkk!). If I get a spare day at some point I’ll probably do a pre-made one to sell too (either more traditional weaving patterns, because I do love that zig zag, or something I’ve written myself. Or both.).

I got given a lot of merino yarn (factory seconds) and it’s so beautiful and soft. And came in skeins. Approximately 1kg skeins. To be wound by hand. I still haven’t finished winding the last one. I’m using the grey as the warp for my scarf, so far there’s only been one thread that likes breaking (it’s done it twice, the same one!). It doesn’t look too weird either, because it’s space dyed I was a bit worried it’d look odd in something that it wasn’t made for.

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I think that’ll probably do. Once the yarn comes for the next scarf I might do a more detailed ‘here’s how I do a thing’ thing. There’s reading to be done (three quarters through Wolf Hall, started 2015 with a bit of a Tudor theme. Two books into the Shardlake series).

Yup. Still here.

In Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Weaving on January 17, 2015 at 10:10 pm

I just forget how to write sometimes.

A lot of the time.

Well. The good news is that I didn’t fail last semester. The bad news is this week started with a talk containing the sentence ‘THIS IS YOUR LAST SEMESTER OF FREEDOM’. That was terrifying. (But true, this time next year… let’s not go there).

So. Stuff happened.

I spent one evening a week from September to December learning how to weave. I had to buy a loom because I loved it so much. And now I pretty much just…weave. (Conceptual weaving, it’s a thing now).

Before all that though… Otto.

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The loom came in a very small box. For something that takes up most of a table, it’s a very small box. And even though it folds flat-ish it isn’t exactly small (it does however fit in the flat, there’s a gap between two bookshelves in the living room that is just the right size. Although we probably need to get a new bookshelf to go there).

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It took days and days to build. Because me and instructions that are almost entirely pictures and no text is not a brilliant combination. BUT IT WORKS.

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Although when I say it fits in the flat… it takes up the entirety of the coffee table and/or dining table.

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It’s 16″ wide, so I am quite limited by size. Which I guess is good. Although I’m already going ‘oh the things I could do if I had a 24″ loom…” (blankets! that aren’t patchwork!). The length is less of an issue. The warping frame I had made up goes from about 1.5m to 3.5ishm.

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I’ll save the rambling explanation for another time I think.

wee small hours / wax of varying states of glass-ness

In Camp 21 - Cultybraggan, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things, Rambling on December 2, 2013 at 11:02 pm

There’s a lot to write about. I’m not sure I’ll fit it all in, but we’ll see. I’ve not been very good at writing this year have I? Makes sense though, when you live alone there’s a lot of time for writing (and it’s less weird to stay in the study for twelve hours, or something similarly stupid, when there’s only an empty flat). I don’t know what I’m talking about, oh dear.

Friday I stayed awake all night – for the sake of art. But really I’ve probably stayed awake all night for the sake of art before, but staying awake all night in a gallery is quite bizarre. It’s impossible to sleep surrounded by art-things, especially Insomnia Drawings (there’s a weird guilt – how could you sleep when they exist because of not-sleeping?), impossible to sleep in a gallery because…they’re places where you go to feel all awake and inspired and ‘I wanna go make work now!’, or hopefully. Poetry and readings and music and I have no idea what else, I wrote and drew a lot and watched cars go by and stared at drawings and it all merged into this continuous THING. Which was great, there was whisky and tea and croissants, so what’s not to like? But it’s completely ruined my sleeping. I spent Saturday completely out of it and slightly hysterical watching films on the couch, possibly dozed off, saw it was 4 and dark and immediately assumed it was 4am and I’d slept for hours and hours. Nope. If only. Maybe I’ll sleep properly tonight. I stupidly wrote my evaluation for the last project on Saturday afternoon, it probably makes no sense but it seemed like a great idea at the time.

So some sketchbook pages. There’s a picture of me writing on the Fruitmarket page, which was a bit disconcerting to see. I write a load of nonsense in the night. They gave us a red pen and books and a pink notebook! Couldn’t contain my excitement. My seminar notebook is full of circles like that, only thing I can draw when listening to things.

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So that was that.

The glass wax. In varying states of glass-ness. Started on Friday with a kinda mucky melting-pot-thing which was terrifying because I’m not exactly good with hot things that might catch fire or something awful, but it melted and I didn’t burn myself – or set fire to things. But the wax got contaminated from the murkiness of it all, and it’s very hard to not get air bubbles in. Glass wax sets amazingly quickly – even when it’s fairly thick it doesn’t take long. So as soon as it comes off/out of the heat it starts solidifying, which makes pouring/ladling…hard.

It’s quite hard to describe because I’ve never seen anything like it. The only wax I’ve used before is for batik and that’s just hot and wax-y. But this stuff is strange. It melts a 115C, but pours at 120-140C, there doesn’t appear to be any useful information on it beyond that anywhere. It’s used in films and whatever as glass to be broken, it shatters easily, very brittle. Even when it’s melted it’s possible to handle (obviously not in the pot, but once it’s been taken out), it can be shaped around things before it sets, squished about. Before it melts fully you can pull a blob out and make beautiful thin threads with it, kind of like dental floss or icicles. It dries clear – when uncontaminated – and smooth and shiny, it sticks to everything. It’s pretty nice really, albeit difficult to work with in some ways.

Anyway. That happened. Some murky wax coated/set/cast/embedded objects. I was meant to be doing cubes of them, but they came out too perfect. Apart from the imperfection of the colour/air bubbles, but y’know. So I was dipping things straight in instead, and using the threads of it.

In it’s magic-crystal-esque normal state

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Objects waiting to be waxed. They’re and odd combination of things – things I don’t like, things I love, things found and things bought, things I’d like to get rid of and things I’m entirely indifferent about. And some things that I’d expect to feel something about but don’t. None of that made sense did it?

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Objects in cube moulds

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A very waxy spoon.

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I got annoyed with a cube and tried to see if I could get the objects out (I could), it was amazing to smash up. Seeing as it’s special effects stuff it crunches/breaks in a very satisfying way and without much effort. I keep breaking/throwing things…

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The hotter the wax the thinner the thread you can pull from it, and as long as it stays warm you can manipulated it however. Which is how I managed to get it into the jar. The other bit is a piece of glass that was wrapped once the wax was cooling, so it’s thicker and less move-able, so it breaks off incredibly easily. But I kind of like the fragility of them, I’ve broken so many of them. Really beautiful things have been destroyed by putting it down onto the desk or something.

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And then I started gluing stuff, ‘cos why not. And suspending things in water and sticking teeth in jars. Again, why not? I love those types of jars, they’re great. The sand is sand I picked up when I walked north in April. The shell is from a beach in Berwick somewhere. I like sticking everything together, they were kept quite separate in my room. But in the list form and as wax-things everything is just there and it doesn’t matter so much anymore. It’s nice.

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I bought a wax melting thing on Friday, came on Saturday, so I was using that today. It has a temperature control (but no temperatures, just numbers…it goes to 135C so you can kind of guess though), it’s shallower but having less sides means I can’t burn myself all the way up my arm. It works anyway, I was using that today and the glass came out clear and lovely. I didn’t pour anything, I’m guessing that to not have the air bubbles you’d have to pour like you would with resin (so tip the whole pot from a few cms above the mould and at an angle I think, I don’t know might have made that up, I read something about some special pouring technique with resin). But the things I want to pour into now are quite small, bottles and tins and what have you. So it’s easier to grab it and stick it in by hand/bradle/ladle/stick. I’m kinda happy anyway, although it’s the sort of happy where it’s ‘I’m starting to get fed up with working on this, I just want to play with wax and make thread but I can’t exhibit bits of shit thread I’ve made because they’re impossible to keep whole’. But there we go.

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I don’t know what I’m doing with them, or why anymore. They’re objects that stand out for some reason, and I’m either protecting and preserving them or making them completely useless. Or just playing with them. All of the above. I…I just want to handle them I think, to ‘know’ them all again. Because I decided to keep them for a reason, but keeping them for so long I don’t know why anymore. I’m talking crap again. I’ll sleep soon, promise. Not knowing is good and all that, but hard to justify for actually talking about what you’ve done…

But that’s those. I bought a spice rack for them last week, I’ve been keeping objects on it in the studio and rearranging things on it as I make them. Nice to have around. I’m backing it with graph paper at the moment.

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Ehm what else. There was a castle trip this afternoon for Cultybraggan stuff (a free castle trip, might I add). Which was good, I hadn’t been before. But kinda just wanted to be in the studio so didn’t stay overly long, some interesting bits and pieces (weird uniforms, nice posters, good quotes) but I’m not really a huge military kinda person so hard to stay overly interested in killing people and guns and whatever else. Some bits I’ll probably end up using, not quite sure where that work is going. Maybe I’ll write about that tomorrow, got caught up ins ewing things the other day and morse code and survival. Bit strange. Good views up that castle though… you can see our studio.

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I think that’s everything, oh dear this is long. There’s another out of site project thing, but I think doing two is probably too many, and it’s Wed-Fri, I have exhibition set up on Thursday and I’m in the shop Friday. It’s all mapping and everything exciting like that, so annoying. Hm. Mid-session review a week on Thursday, no idea how I’ll show things for that but it can’t go any worse than the last one, and exhibition on Thursday… Stuff to do. Fake bacon to think about eating.

pack/teleport/unpack

In Camp 21 - Cultybraggan, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Rambling on November 15, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent somewhere, which probably isn’t so bad. The sound and video things I was doing weren’t really going anywhere, and there was a bit of an artschoolitus moment (it’s been going round…), which was mostly an intermedia crisis (official term there). I hadn’t listened to the sound things for a week or so, and they now sound better, but they weren’t really going anywhere. And the video things were just frustrating.

So yeah. I got told to do something I enjoy. I love organising and sorting and colour coding and making lists, so I’m sorting everything I have here in Edinburgh, packing it all into boxes and making a really huge list of everything (in minute detail, naturally). It’s fun, but really really strange to be packing things away and not moving. I’ve only got a few boxes packed at the moment, and only the things I actually need will be kept out, but I’m going to keep everything packed as long as possible. Because unpacking things from storage after several months was brilliant, I’d completely forgotten things that I even owned. And the, very tenuous, original point of this was throwing things away. If I keep things packed for long enough, when I unpack I’ll be able to throw things away that I don’t actually need. Which is the majority of what I have.

The super massive list is already on its fifteenth page, and I don’t know where so much of this stuff came from… Scary. I like being surrounded by stuff, I love objects, but it’s kind of claustrophobic to be sat amongst it all every day. I cleared a space in my room this afternoon to teleport things away and standing in the empty space was weirdly happy, I could spin around and not bump into the clothes horse or a bag or a pile of books or work. Unsettling to see the rest of the room though, because it was a bit on the chaotic side.

Anyway… teleporting. The sound isn’t mine, because my voice recorder is M.I.A, and came from here and here. (Direct influence of living with people that – picking out sound effects for R’s projects is always fun). I’ll probably make my own sound up at some point, because it doesn’t seem quite right yet. But there we go. All my stuff just magically disappeared.

My research is good fun at the moment (but when is it not…), I spent last night looking up Dr Who intro themes and TARDIS noises, there’s a website that has everything! And then watching the Brian Cox thing was totally research too… He says beautiful more than I do.  I’m embracing the bad-but-good sci-fi look. And also the fact that I’m (apparently!) quite direct, evidently a Slytherin trait. Once I’ve finished the super massive list I’m going to play about with a bit, start making it less factual and more fictional, write myself into someone else. I might do a mock up of a mail order style catalogue thing of my possessions, so if you ever needed 1 ball of orange string made from plastic bags or 1 moon on a stick (for a prop, a show, a piece of work, anything) then that’d be filled out and sent to me and I’d send out the thing. I just want forms, really. How sad.

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It’s fun having to describe things in the most succinct way possible. Especially because I have pieces of work in my room and it’s quite hard to describe a lot of them in one line. Like the chalkboards from a first year exhibition, where I got people to roll dice and pick a book and a line and write whatever that was onto the blackboard, so they are described as ‘2 blackboards covered in chance writing’, which was the shortest way of saying that. But some of the things sound kind of poetic, or just plain absurd – like ‘1 medicine bottle containing 5 bells’. And there’s odd combinations of things next to each other, objects that’d never otherwise be in the same place, because the list is just being written as I get to things rather than categorised just yet. So there’s toothpaste next to books next to records next to paint and so on. Quite strange.

And I’ve just noticed zooming in on the zoomed out images looks a bit like those morse code drawings I was doing for a while. Mm pixels.

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Cultybraggan stuff is almost entirely drawings at the moment, because I’ve been stuck on the other project and focusing on essay writing… so some drawings. I’ve got kind of focused on paranormal things, Glasgow Paranormal Investigators went and did an investigation there a few years ago and supposedly heard things in German and English, which is kind of interesting because when we went it really didn’t feel…sinister in at all. But it wasn’t night. And there are a couple of people that want to stay there overnight, so maybe I’ll do that. I don’t know. It’s also weird that my great great grandparents actually lived in Comrie…didn’t know that until I came back. So I might write a few letters and see if anyone can remember them there, that’d be strange.

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Hmm. What else. Apparently I have a tutorial on Monday with Sara Barker, which is a bit… ‘agghhh must become coherent!’. Tomorrow there’s a Mark Dion talk (oh my god, excitingexcitingexciting) at Talbot Rice. Hm…kinda everything I think. I need to write a statement thing for my exchange application, before the week after next. Prague still gets first choice, but for some strange reason (I’ve completely forgotten why now, I think it sounded nice) Belgium made it onto the list and very possibly Iceland. Oh decisions are hard.  I’ve got essay to write and tea to drink and a long and complicated article about John Cage’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra to read.

New projects and what not

In Camp 21 - Cultybraggan, Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art, Interesting things on October 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm

So… There’s two sets of things to do, one is sort of a continuation of the extraordinary object things, the other is…not. But before all that, feedback came out (gotta be the quickest ever that). All niceness and nice things.

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Continuation of stuff, kinda has nothing to do with boots or clay or anything except from throwing stuff about at the moment. But we’re doing fun things still. It’s more a list of things to do than things I can show as having been messed about with. Anyway.

intermedia methodologies:

we would like you to continue working from the point that you are now at. You may still be working in a very direct way with your ‘object’ or your working process may have moved you into working with possibilities other than those with which you started. These differing positions are all fine points to be at. What we will be looking at in the next 5 weeks are the different possibilities that video, light, sound, and performance can introduce to your working processes

These processes are most associated with Intermedia as they directly allow for the blurring of different phenomena with an artistic experience. In the last week of the project, you are asked to exhibit your work as a group in the project spaces; showing work that communicates your thinking over the Semester. Normally artists aren’t there beside their work to explain it. How can you share with a stranger you’ll never meet, an experience that allows them to see the world in a different way?

I’ve been videoing stuff (it is technically video week at the moment…), dropping and throwing things to start with and then going through everything on my desk at home to see what I could throw away. (I separated stuff out but haven’t thrown it away yet). Here’s some shoes falling very slowly.

I’ve put film into my Lomokino so I can do some stuff with that, even if I don’t scan it in (because that was a complete and utter pain) I can film the viewer thingy, or try. Hopefully it’ll work this time… Slightly hit and miss that camera. I’ll do more digital stuff and what not, but something more physical might be nice.

And the other thing is an intermedia off site micro-residency in the middle of nowhere – well, Comrie, which is in Perthshire somewhere. We’re based in Cultybraggan, which is an ex-POW camp which is now being re-used/developed, they have allotments… We’re staying there overnight on Monday and then again next semester before installing stuff.

This is a unique opportunity to take part in an exciting off site project, undertake a residency in a significant historic site and produce work for a public exhibition/ live event.

Background
Cultybraggan Camp is one of the one of the three best preserved purpose-built WWII prisoner of war camps in Britain and lies outside the village of Comrie, in the southern Highlands of Scotland. It is a rural situation yet only an hour’s drive from Glasgow.

Comrie is a historic conservation village recognised for its outstanding beauty and history and is also situated in a National Scenic Area around the river Earn. It is a thriving local community with over 50 local groups covering all ages and many interests. Situated on the Highland Boundary Fault, the village experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else in Britain.

Cultybraggan was originally built as an WWII Prisoner of War camp to house Italian and German prisoners. Subsequently (until 2004) it was used as an army training facility. Comrie Development Trust bought it through a community right-to buy ruling in 2007 and is currently developing it as a sustainable community asset. Allotments and a community orchard are already in place and some of the original 100 Nissen huts (many of which are A and B listed) have been refurbished and let out to local businesses. A Museum about the camp is under construction and there are plans for a cinema in another of the huts. Cycle tracks and play facilities are underway, and the Trust is open to viable suggestions for other usages and amenities for the site.

Cultybraggan was built in 1941 to house around 4000 prisoners. Named PoW Camp 21 it has a fascinating history. It housed many German prisoners classed as ‘black’: committed Nazis and often high ranking SS officers.

In 1944 many of the ringleaders of the Devizes plot (a plan to break as many as 250,000 PoWs out of camps across Great Britain and attack the country from within) were sent to Camp 21. These included a prisoner who was sent by mistake and who was openly anti-Nazi. He was lynched, and five of those responsible were hanged at Pentonville Prison for his murder, the largest multiple hanging in the 20th-century Britain.

Many older residents have memories of German soldiers arriving in Comrie, marching and singing through the streets and thereafter partaking in village life. Nowadays when visiting the camp, it is not difficult to imagine the Nissen Huts surrounded by barbed wire, military trucks and the assault course, all reminders of what man can do to man and the horrors of war. But there are also many examples to hear of the triumph of the human spirit and stories about what man can do for man.

Exciting, no? Like a bit of history every now and then… We had a meeting this afternoon which was largely ‘what food/booze do we need…?’, which is always a good start really. We’re going up Glen Lodnock on the Tuesday, so I’m having a bit of a ‘must by lots of stuff’ moment. Including a stick, because my balance is crap.

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