I recently attended a course with Jane Ponsford and learnt the basics of hand made paper making. We used cotton rag and in some cases, I combined this with found clay to add colour.
Khaki cotton rag
Deckle, mould and paper
Grinding the found clay
I wanted to combine the hand made paper with some of my found objects and went with some ideas in mind as to how this might work.
Rust dyed made paper on charred wood
Paper dyed with oak gall ink with found staples and fishing net
Paper with found wire
Paper dyed with oak gall ink and combined with weaving
A row of hand made paper on found wood
Hand made paper combined with found metal and wire
Having kitted myself out with the appropriate gear, I am looking forward to experimenting more with the combination of made and found to produce a series of work. The images above are all starting points rather than finished works but I have thoroughly enjoyed learning this new process. Another course beckons in the Autumn looking at sculpting, folding and moulding with paper – can’t wait!
At the weekend, I spent time with the lovely Mary Crabb at the Oxmarket Gallery in Chichcester together with other like minded ladies learning the basics of “looping.” Working with a variety of fine flexible materials, Mary weaves using adapted traditional basketry techniques to form a range of beautiful objects.
The purpose of the workshop was to explore the process of stitching to create a fabric. Mary had brought a huge range of flexible textile materials for us to play with, from fishing wire to rope, from rubber tubing to yarn made from nettles. We experimented with working flat, working in 3D, in the round and from side to side, comparing stitch variations, materials and tension. The aim was to play and to start developing individual items as to how we might use this technique in our own way.
Thicker paper twine
Samples using a variety of materials
I am particularly interested in combining this technique with my found materials. I may use the looping with actual found “yarns” such as fishing line, rope, electrical wire and so on but also combine the found with other yarns using them as a holder or as a mould. More play required! For the time being, I thoroughly enjoyed just exploring what one can do with a length of yarn!
Retracing Nature is a two person show opening on the 8th of February at Make Hauser & Wirth Somerset, I am showing a new series of vessels alongside utensils with Ceramicist Adam Buick.
“Stuart Cairns is a contemporary metalsmith using the forms of silversmithing objects, of dining and ritual, as places to explore materials and tell stories. The visual language created emerges from his immersion in landscape whether through walking, wild swimming, photography, drawing or gathering. Utilising found objects and materials collected on walks through his local landscape, combined with steel and patinated silver, Cairns creates unique, small forms, intimate in nature, translating elements of this personal journey. With this collection, conceived for Make, Cairns returns to vessel forms, set alongside the shapes of utensils and tools, acting as physical representations of a lived landscape, alive with memory.
Objects are drawn out of the natural lines of grasslands and wetlands…
Last evening, my husband and I were lucky enough to hear a talk from Norman Ackroyd at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. We are both great admirers of his work, but even if we had not been, we would have marvelled at this octogenarian so full of energy and enthusiasm for the wild and wonderful places he visits each year to study and draw, using watercolour and sugar lift printing in situ.
Born in Leeds in 1938, the son of a butcher, Ackroyd went to Leeds College of Art before enrolling at the London College of Art in 1961. He was elected Royal Academician in 1988 and Senior Fellow in 2000. A CBE was awarded in 2007 for Services to Engraving and printing.
Rather than talk about his work or methodology, Norman took us on a guided tour of many of his favourite places, depicting them with examples of his work. He spoke, not about his own incredible achievements – see www.normanackroyd.com – but about those others who had influenced and impressed him – the Poet Douglas Dunn and the writer F H White to name but two. He was such an engaging, intelligent and warm man – we felt we could have listened to him all evening. With tales of climbing, jumping, sailing, zooming around in helicopters, he is a superhero in so many ways! His passion for his chosen scenic places, the birds, the history of place were all very evident. You can view Norman talking about his work on You Tube by following this link.
If you, by chance, are not already aware of his work, here a couple of my favourites:
I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees landscape all around them – but concealed within objects rather than the obvious views around us. My eyes are just drawn to these beautiful miniatures.
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As I live near the coast, these are often captured on boats, but also on buildings, traffic bollards, windows, washed up beach strandings and elsewhere – why not get your eye in while you are walking around – you’ll see so much more!