Critical Review – TRACE – re/thought – re/mapped

 

TRACE: re-thought/re-mapped

 

The collective theme for my current body of work, TRACE, is an experimental and explorative journey into the broad and more abstract interpretations and definitions of the subject. The initial objective was to simply track and record my daily activities and subsequently respond to the visual information to inform my creative practice and re-inspire future work, thus creating a constant exchange of information and ideas between artwork and sketchbook recordings. Each one to inform the other resulting in a personal and unique outcome that explores and exploits the traces of information between visual notes and the creative output. Throughout this daily practice more significant ideas have emerged, ideas that transcend the first logical definition of TRACE in the existence of physical marks as evidence of a past activity and more abstract and sophisticated interpretations have developed. Furthermore, consideration has been given to my own personal use of sketchbooks and I have begun to analyse the exact process that I have adopted when recording and translating 3D information into a 2D distilled version. They present as abstract representations of passing moments in time recording colour, texture and pattern, a visual review to record a particular moment or place. They are not representative, although the similarity can be seen, they are textural translations. It has occurred to me how selective I am with this visual information, quite unintentionally, by only choosing to document the highlights, the key points, the most significant and informative parts. Much like a map does, a document to communicate pertinent information, the images in my sketchbooks are similar in their approach as they serve as visual path communicating the principal points of visual data.

Concurrent with analysing my own sketchbook behaviours and creative evolution I began to question the practices of other artists whom also, in my opinion, map their environmental inspiration and started to compare this in relation to my process to determine any similarities or similar starting points but perhaps alternative journeys and destinations. My underlying objective was to ascertain if a new trend of information gathering whilst walking as research was emerging and if the verb “mapping” is gradually being adopted into our artistic vocabulary ,a process by which to plot and record our surroundings and generate ideas for creative work to evolve with a particular focus on geographical locations and characteristics.

In this body of writing, I intend to review the work of a selective group of contemporary artists from different disciplines who use walking as a starting point and to look at the interplay between walking to experience their surroundings and their methods of research and information recording habits. I will analyse and collate examples to discuss my theory in relation to my understanding of mapping when used in this creative context.

 

Redding,P (2017) – Example of sketchbook page to demonstrate how I translate visual information to map my surroundings. Recorded as a photograph on the left and then the sketchbook response. Unpublished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mapping, as a true definition can means many things. As an artistic interpretation I feel it can mean a similar outcome. Dictionary definitions statea process, a particular course of action to achieve a result” (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mapping [n.d] )

Also to “sketch, or plan, outline representations of surfaces, areas or facts” and whilst a map itself is described as a “diagrammatic representation of the earth’s surface …of natural or artificial features such as roads, towns, relief etc in their respective forms”. Looking at these accepted definitions, we can apply their meanings to the creative approaches of artists and determine a similar process. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mapping [n.d] )

 

Considering the work of artists in other fields is valuable to question my ideas and so I find the artistic method of recording environmental features of Denise Lach particularly interesting as she uses the ancient craft of calligraphy to “write the landscape”. Inspirational recordings from natural structures, alongside human trace marks, are transcribed with the use of calligraphic lettering used as mark making techniques to map the geography of the land.

Like myself, Denise uses photography as a tool to capture images to either inform at a later date or to provide intricate details and highlighting textures that might otherwise go unnoticed. In my practice this allows me to abstract these images into pattern and colour but Denise looks for the repetition of form to create pattern to draw the transcripts. By only using black ink to create a monochrome pattern, Lach does not have the advantage of colour to add interest to her works and so the mark making must explain the narrative alone relying on variance of scale, tone and repetition to convey the information.

 

Lach, D (2009) – Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration. Page 142/143 . Thames and Hudson. Photograph. Redding,P.

The above example depicts the use of calligraphic lettering to translate the translate the strata lines in rocks using only scale, repetition and tone to convey the information

Looking at the portfolio of Dorothy Caldwell, her work explores environmental inspiration and ideas concerning man’s presence upon the earth and how humans leave marks and shape the land. The large-scale textile works are abstract recordings of her researched surroundings translated abstractly with an initial bold graphic feel which then reveals more intricate hand stitching to convey the information she wishes to pass on.

Sketchbook recordings collate information from different sources, physical collections of organic material, papers dyed with plant matter and a visual logging of mark marking techniques to create personal shorthand of shapes and patterns to later inform print and stitch patterns. To my thinking, these graphic marks are reminiscent of the symbols most commonly used in topographic maps to indicate key information so perhaps its true to say Caldwell has also chosen to map the environmental landmarks in a similar way to my own sketchbook process but with a different visual language.

Caldwell, D – Sketchbook recording as a visual language of dots and dashes that subsequently translate to stitched marks. Image ref – https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/39054721740224803/ [n.d]

Caldwell, D – Map without words. 2013. Detail showing how sketchbook recordings translate to textile works. Image ref – http://fibrequarterly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/of-earth-looking-at-dorothy-caldwell.html [n.d]

Caldwell herself has described her work as a mapping process ‘The marks we make record time and human energy’ ( Caldwell,D. http://dorothycaldwell.com/Page1.html[n.d] ) and ‘My work is a map of land and memory’ (Caldwell, D, http://dorothycaldwell.com/Page1.html[n.d]) ) resulting from a depth of research having experienced a landscape and utilizing materials at source. This method is apparent when we consider her process when eco-dying cloth in a remote area in Australia for “Looking up, Looking Down”. The piece directly records the colour of the earth by using it as a pigment found at a water hole that contained a pool of iron oxide, using this to inform and dictate her work. She simply worked with what the land had to offer, mapped its location by using source materials at the very point they were discovered ‘Everything needed was at hand … water to make earth washes and concentrated bright yellow/orange iron oxide in a depression between the rocks …’ (Caldwell,D. https://insituinplace.wordpress.com/dorothy-caldwell-hastings-canada/[n.d])

Caldwell, D – Looking up, Looking Down 2016. Cotton, painted with iron oxide from the Kimberly, dyed in leaf material in the Kimberly and Flinders Ranges, painted with ink washes, stitched and appliqued incorporating iron oxide rubbed cotton, studio scraps and recycled cloth, couching with cotton embroidery thread. Image ref – Caldwell’s own blog. https://insituinplace.wordpress.com/dorothy-caldwell-hastings-canada/%5Bn.d%5D

Caldwell, D – Looking up, Looking Down 2016.Detail Detail showing dyed cloth and stitching textures. Image ref – Caldwell’s own blog. https://insituinplace.wordpress.com/dorothy-caldwell-hastings-canada/%5Bn.d%5D

Similarly, contemporary artist Jane Ponsford has utilized found minerals and earth samples in her paper pulp projects to full effect. The inclusion of land-sourced materials, such as flower petals, has an historic use but Ponsford has developed the concept further and used more unconventional foraged materials that highlight geological evidence to provide directional information, much like a map, for subsequent work. In one collection of work, 365 sheets of paper were made, one each day of the year with gathered material found on that day in its immediate location. Although the artist does not directly refer to this project as mapping, the process and materials, to my mind, present as a location responsive working sketchbook of possibilities that inherently record place and time.

Ponsford,J – 365 Handmade paper sheets containing gathered dust and solid pigments made over a 12 month period and represents as a visual diary to record her daily activity and environment. Ref – https://www.axisweb.org/p/janeponsford/%5Bn.d%5D

 

Analyzing her research methods and project objectives overall, it is apparent that she does regard mapping to be part of her working process however.

‘The work emerged from my interest in place, material, time and process. Materials and collections of objects found on walks ….. . they ‘become’ part of my work rather than just being ‘things’. To me these arrangements of things are like maps. They tell me where I’ve been and show me where to go next.’ (Ponsford, J, https://janeponsfordstudio.com/projects/passingmoment/[n.d] )

Looking closer at Jane Ponsford’s portfolio of work there are strong examples of naturally occurring components in her work, found and used at source, whilst others utilize foraged items. Her “Trace” project combines such materials and demonstrates my point well as natural inclusions such pollen, mud, pine needles are combined with ash from the Icelandic Volcanic eruption Eyjafjallajokull that had erupted and drifted across in the air at the time. An interesting project as it not only recorded natural elements of the land but also traced a particular moment in time by physically mapping the ash drift zone.

Ponsford, J – Trace, 2010 detail. Handmade paper, pollen, mud, pine needles and ash. Image ref – https://janeponsfordstudio.com/projects/trace/%5Bn.d%5D

Ponsford, J – Trace, 2010 main view. Handmade paper, pollen, mud, pine needles and ash. Image ref – https://janeponsfordstudio.com/projects/trace/%5Bn.d%5D

Two other projects that are particularly interesting are “A Landscape in Ten parts” and “Passing Moment” . Similar when first observed, the first utilizes the colouring properties of environmental pigments such as clay, chalk and coal, and even utilizes collected water found whilst walking, taking environmentally inspired work to another level. The successes of this project then went on to inform “Passing Moment” which develops the interesting use of chalk pigment.

In this second piece, “Passing Moment” locally collected chalk gathered from Winchester paths was added to paper pulp to cast domed forms evocative of the microscopic skeletal remains of coccoliths that make up the ancient mineral. Historically, and quite topically, chalk is commonly added to industrially produced paper to act as filler and to give a smooth surface. An interesting twist on a traditional use, celebrating its qualities by making it a feature rather than simply being part of the process of commercially made paper.

Ponsford, J. Passing moment, 12 glass vessels with handmade cast paper elements cast grouped together and arranged to reflect a chalk landscape referring to the walks taken. [n.d] Image ref – https://janeponsfordstudio.com/projects/passingmoment/

Pure chalk, calcium carbonate, CaCo3 to give it its chemical name, has also been the geological inspiration and foundation of artwork created by ceramicist Kim Norton. In the piece “CaC03” where locally gathered chalk was used in its raw state to bring a focus on something that can often be regarded as unimportant. Chalk paste was applied to an unstructured canvas in a way to highlight application marks thus drawing your attention to its present use and to consider its hidden traditional use as forming part of the chalk gesso ground on which to paint upon. By using it in this way, it moves away from its formal uses and celebrates its properties and qualities whilst also referencing geology and geographical location.

Norton, K – “CaC03” Full length panel view of chalk paste painted panels. [n.d] Ref – http://www.kimnorton.co.uk/winchesterimages.htm

Norton, K – “CaC03” Detail showing the light. [n.d] Ref – http://www.kimnorton.co.uk/winchesterimages.htm

 In a similar way to Ponsford with her gatherings and handling of materials, the exploratory work around soil and clay soils around London that Norton led for a conceptual piece for “Lines, Levels and Layers “ investigated the processes connected with clay. The foraging of materials and analysis formed the basis of her research, her physical sketchbook as it were, resulted in the soils forming part of the displayed works culminating in large scale roughly cut canvas patches painted with different clay soil “paint”. The concept was to investigate the very material that London was built with and stood upon and by using the material itself within the work it strongly connects the work to its environmental terrain.

Both Norton and Ponsford have approached their work in similar ways, stripped the materials down “to the substrate” so to speak and used them in their natural state as an art material connecting the pieces to their location.

Norton,K – Painted soil samples as sketchbook work [n.d] Image ref – https://www.axisweb.org/p/kimnorton/

Norton,K. Lines, Levels and Layers – Siobhan Davies Dance [n.d] Painted canvas with soil/clay paint. Image ref – http://www.kimnorton.co.uk/humannature.htm

There are further examples of such materials and processes occurring in other disciplines too. In a similar vein to the work of Norton with the use of clay mud, Richard Long, created an artist book in 1979 using the River Avon silt and muddy water to dip sheets of paper into. The resulting work was a collection of uniquely mud marked sheets bearing individual markings, streaks and stains evocative of the river ripples itself, each infused with Avon water.

Long, R – River Avon Book (1979) River Mud marked sheets to make book. Image Ref – http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-river-avon-book-ar00144

Walking has always been Long’s medium, his chosen path to represent his work and document his journey, utilizing materials within the landscape but sometimes he maps his walks in a visual way, for example, his 6 day walk in Cerne Abbas, Dorset in 1975 resulting in a mapped circular section of the terrain. One wonders how he mapped this circle close to the Cerne Abbas chalk man with such accuracy by the simple means of walking without the technological support of GPS.

Long, R. Circular walk in Cernes Abbas. Ink, typescript, photograph on map and photograph, gelatine silver prints on paper. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-cerne-abbas-walk-t02066

By contrast, Jeremy Wood could possibly be considered as a GPS artist as he has pioneered a technique to draw with GPS to ‘explore expressive qualities of using his body as a geodesic pencil’ (Wood, J. http://www.jeremywood.net/about.html [n.d]) a method by which he is tracked by satellite and his path is digitally mapped with locational accuracy. One such project is White Horse Hill, a project focusing on another historical chalk outlined image similar to Long, in Uffington in Oxfordshire displaying the Bronze Age chalk horse carving. The two artists acted as data collectors over a 4 day period covering 43.05km in a pattern formation to track their movement with GPS devices. The tracks were then converted into computer data and used to produce a 3D scale artistic model. This is, of course, mapping in the true sense of the word with an artistic purpose, drawing on the technological capabilities and using them for a creative outcome.

Wood, J and Pryor,H– White Horse Hill. GPS tracks made for the model, which are then converted with the aid of a computer programme into a line drawing. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.gpsdrawing.com/gallery/maps/whh-model.htm

Wood, J and Pryor,H – White Horse Hill GPS card model mapping the 43.05km walk[n.d] Image ref – http://www.jeremywood.net/artworks/white-horse-hill.html

Returning to the similarities in the work of Long and Norton and their material use. Long has a certain affinity with River Mud and often returns to it as a medium, Avon mud in particular being close to his heart as it is close to where he lives but also, he claims, to possess the best viscosity for art. He explains that ’The River Avon tidal mud is unbelievably strong and viscous. It has all the natural binding qualities, like cave paintings’ (. Butler, R. In the mud with Ricard Long (2008), https://www.1843magazine.com/story/mud-with-richard-long%5Bn.d%5D)

Long, R – ‘Untitled, 2014′(2014) River Avon mud and acrylic paint. Width 26 m – spanning the length of the wall at The New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK 2014. Part of his personal exhibition ‘Richard Long: Prints 1971 – 2013’ Image ref – http://www.therichardlongnewsletter.org/page/show/walsal-special

 

Long, R – ‘Untitled, 2014’ (2014) Detail River Avon mud and acrylic paint, Image ref – http://www.therichardlongnewsletter.org/page/show/walsal-special

 

River bed mud continues to inspire work as more recently, textile artist Alice Fox, has used silty mud taken directly from source and used it in her work to demonstrate her personal interest with the landscape experienced through walking. “Findings” is a project that combines small hand woven pieces with environmentally and weather worn found items that she has united with either a colouration process of dyeing with collected muddy water to promote a rust reaction or to coat the fabric with clay like ceramic surface. (Fox,A http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=2683 and http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=2598[n.d])

Fox, A – Samples for Findings project. Woven band left and then covered with river mud on the right. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=2139

Fox, A – Samples for Findings project. Woven band left and then covered with river mud on the right. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=2139

 

Other woven pieces were dyed with ground down stones along with the found items uniting this as a body of work that has a strong sense of place and unique to its location. This is further evidence of mapping in a creative sense of the word and is further endorsed by Fox herself in her explanation regarding the found items ‘A ‘found’ object is intrinsically linked in my mind to the place I found it; it becomes completely ‘of the place’, even if the object seems quite foreign to the place it is found.’ (Fox,A. http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?page_id=2655)

The similarities continue in Long and Fox’s work as they to convey walking as part of their practice, so far the use of River mud and also the use of found items has been seen. Fox used discarded metal offerings that had environmentally rusted and sea worn shells whereas the found items that Long used were stones so, it’s not unexpected to see some traditional art works from Long focusing on such stones. Having completed the 1,030-mile walk from the southernmost point of Britain to the northernmost part where he created his art by selecting one stone from each beach and leaving it at the other he later produced a portfolio of 12 etchings entitled “Stones along the way” depicting simple outlines of stones and a marker point of miles on an imaginary map.

Long, R. Photo from Richard Long Prints – Catalogue Raisonne of Prints 1970 -2013 (1970-2013) Accompanying book to exhibition at Walsall Gallery, UK “ Stones along the way” Pg 160 –165. Image ref – Penni Redding taken from the book

So, whilst we know Long has adopted walking as his approach to art for the whole of his career it might be true to say, nowadays, that this activity can be described as mapping his work, although ephemeral, they still exist as a momentary marking of its geographical location.

Naturally occurring pigments found in soil has inspired artists to gather such “art materials” to utilize in their work and so far I have considered how Norton, Fox and Long have all used the River bed clay mud qualities in their work , however, there are artists seeking colour also. Herman de Vries collected over 8000 different soil samples from different locations from around the world using 84 to create a “colour chart” of soil pigments as a work of art. Earth pigments are a traditional material with which to paint and colour with, we only need to think of Aboriginal art to confirm this, however, it also possess colourings that can be used in other ways. Earlier I considered the work Caldwell and the use of naturally occurring iron oxide to dye cloth and there are further examples of such dye methods widely documented in eco-dye methods, however, I feel it’s an interesting choice that the de Vries chose soils that were sourced from a cultivated land rather than natural land for this project to chart and reveal the traces of human activity. Each pigment with exact locational information as part of his research methods.

When referring to one of the yellow hued pigments, De Vries refers to its location and historical use as “it comes from Ormiston Gorge. It is a spot where the Aboriginals have collected the earth for thousands of years. It’s probably the oldest paint material on earth….’ (De Vries, Hermans http://www.designboom.com/art/herman-de-vries-dutch-pavilion-venice-art-biennale-05-13-2015/ [n.d])

De Vries, H. From Earth; Everywhere – Collected earth pigment samples as an installation piece. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.designboom.com/art/herman-de-vries-dutch-pavilion-venice-art-biennale-05-13-2015/

“From the Laguna of Venice – a journal” presents as a visual sketchbook of findings around the islands and lake of Venice and clearly utilizes his earlier training as a Botanist in its documentation process and so might be a little unexpected that on closer inspection, traces of human interaction can be seen in amongst the organic samples, fragments of glass for example and these too are set out in a specimen style documentation.

De Vries, H – From the Laguna of Venice – a journal 2015 (2015) Image ref – http://www.designboom.com

De Vries and Caldwell appear to have a similar approach to documenting environmental inspiration, “fragments of place” as Caldwell (Caldwell,D. Fox, A. Natural Processes in Art [n.d] ) describes her “Collecting Cards” project created as sketchbook work whilst in Australia. Both have visually recorded locations to create a unique physical map of a visited areas presenting earth rubbings and specimen plant materials reminiscent of a botanical scientific approach, being the previous career of de Vries,

Caldwell’s installation of 112 cards, a nod towards botanical research, uses specimen pins to present as an overview of this mapping process, both artists using their actual research, their sketchbooks as such, to form the finished installation.

Caldwell, D Collecting Cards – Earth rubbings, charcoal, plant materials, stitching. [n.d] Image Ref – http://dayindayout10.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/dorothy-caldwell-silent-icedeep_12.html?m=1

 Walking for research has been adopted as part of the creative practice for the above artists and Hannah Lamb is no exception as she draws on these experiences to develop her thinking and direct her creative practice. Looking at two pieces of work in particular “Linear Mapping” and “Mapping Hirst Wood” both are presented as textile interpretations of environmental experiences, Lamb describing the suspended threads of the former as representing the repeated walks as “ a record of a walk, a linear map, a record of time and place.” (Lamb, H. http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Linear_Mapping.html [n.d])

Lamb, H – Linear Mapping( 2015) (installation work) – overall and detail Textile, porcelain, found materials, stitch, natural dye, construction, cyanotype Image ref – http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Linear_Mapping.html#4

 

Lamb, H – Linear Mapping( 2015) (installation work) – overall and detail Textile, porcelain, found materials, stitch, natural dye, construction, cyanotype Image ref – http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Linear_Mapping.html#4

Lamb explains the concept for “Mapping Hirst Wood” as ‘the art of walking, mapping and making’ (Lamb,H. http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Mapping_Hirst_Wood.html#2) and combines several place and time referencing processes such as eco-dying with gathered plant materials and wrapped foraged items to encapsulate the essence of the walks and conveying her experience through these natural stains and marks. When we look at the artists own observations surrounding her research ‘used as a way of mapping the place, helping to document experience and better understand the sense of peace felt in woodland’ (Lamb,H. http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Mapping_Hirst_Wood.html#2[n.d]) and then the final outcome with its mapping references and even its presentation as an open laid out map way to offer an overview of information, I feel this piece sums up that there is a growing trend for artists wanting to make the connection between their work and their sources of environmental inspiration.

LAMB, H – Mapping Hirst Wood – Wool cloth, Eco-dyed and found items. Installation and detail. [n.d] Image ref – http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Mapping_Hirst_Wood.html#2

LAMB, H – Mapping Hirst Wood – Wool cloth, Eco-dyed and found items. Installation and detail. [n.d] Image ref – http://hannahlamb.co.uk/Mapping_Hirst_Wood.html#2

So far I have only reviewed the work of artists responding to rural environments but it wouldn’t be complete without considering urban responses also. Marc Dombrosky is a street walking artist who conducts research in the same way as the rural artists I have looked at, by walking, however he documents his surroundings and the presence of man by salvaging scraps of paper to convey a sense of place within his work. Discarded papers containing weather worn text are retraced with embroidery stiches concealing and revealing the words concurrently.The collective result, I feel, is stitched mapping of human life and social interaction of his urban surroundings.

Dombrosky, M – “BENTLEY”, undated, embroidery on found car key tag, Front side. 1.5 x 2.75 inches[n.d] Image ref – http://www.platformgallery.com/marc-dombrosky

The work of Alice Fox was considered alongside that of Richard Long earlier with the use of River mud and found items but she also responds to her urban surroundings by using discarded items, similar to Dombrosky. “Gift from the Pavement” is a photographic catalogue of textures, marks and discarded unvalued items randomly found on the streets. The photographic documentation directly inspired textile printing images whilst the physical collection of objects were used to emboss with to create a relief pattern or in the case of metal objects, used to rust dye and leave their mark in that way. Interestingly, all the found items were collected in one day making this a piece that not only maps a journey tracked through their finding but recording a moment in time also. Fox’s work is perhaps the approach that I can directly relate to, in terms of process, as like myself the inspiration is recorded and used in an abstract way to later inform printed designs and textiles. My work also combines printmaking aspects alongside other print methods used for textiles and these are informed directly from the printmaking / painting methods employed in the sketchbook notes.

Fox, A – The original artist sketchbook to record rust dyeing and mark making techniques before moving on to the final textile piece. [n.d] Image ref – Ref – http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?attachment_id=1084

Fox’s sketchbook work formed the foundation for the subsequent paper based work which built on the concept and processes to create a long horizontal piece evocative of a pavement which encourages movement by the viewer to move along the line and observe the impressed and detailed mark making techniques. Although Fox does not directly consider and state her work to be mapping as such, I feel I can see evidence of this through the different approaches and processes, each encapsulating a place or a specific moment in time.

Fox, A – Gifts from the Pavement – work in progress taken from studio wall. Rust dyeing and printed images convey the inspiration found on the streets, discarded items providing inspiration for mark making. [n.d] Image ref – http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=1372

Fox, A – Artist book page selection depicting research photographs on the left and sections of the resulting work showing the direct link to inspiration on the right. [n.d][photo taken Jan 2017)

Image ref – Penni Redding, photograph of book.

Fox, A – Artist book page selection depicting research photographs on the left and sections of the resulting work showing the direct link to inspiration on the right. [n.d][photo taken Jan 2017) Image ref – Penni Redding, photograph of book.

Fox, A – Artist book page selection depicting research photographs on the left and sections of the resulting work showing the direct link to inspiration on the right. [n.d][photo taken Jan 2017) Image ref – Penni Redding, photograph of book.

In order to identify the possibility of a growing trend towards a new working practice I needed to analyse a broad spectrum of artists not only working within different disciplines, but also within different environments, urban and rural, and using different working methods. Some artists use naturally occurring materials, some manmade, others use new technologies and some use processes with a little history but collectively they all use walking as their medium and use what has been “collected” as a result. Interestingly, most of the artists I have explored all use the physical collection of their inspiration in their work; it becomes part of the work either by the use of found items or by using the raw materials such as pigments and muds. This further strengthens the concept of a sense of place, to make the connection to their place of origin even if that finding was out of its natural context. Referencing the location artistically.

It was also important that I studied their research methods in relation to mine in order to determine approaches and in doing so, I have ascertained that, in the majority, the approach quite different to mine as I gather visual inspiration and respond directly with visual notetaking which then informs my creative output as opposed to the findings becoming integral to the work. However, I appreciate that may be due to my chosen discipline being print based textiles as opposed to something sculptural as I naturally record inspiration as abstracted patterns, and perhaps, when working within one’s own practice (outside of formal study) sketchbook keeping takes on a different focus. Part of my research was to draw links between the different artists and notice similar inspirations and outcomes to feel I had fully explored a large enough section of work to see if my theory was correct or not. In doing so, I have observed small similarities to my own working practice with a couple of artists who also create a visual vocabulary by keeping a traditional sketchbook-sketchbook informed work pattern, Alice Fox in particular. Overall, I have discovered that although different artists may follow similar paths of inspiration or carry out similar research methods, their outcome of works are very different.

To conclude, having reviewed the working practices of artists across a spectrum of different disciplines that use the mode of walking to provide inspirational opportunities in their artistic practice and also analysed their research and recording methods that subsequently inform their work, I feel confident that artists, generally speaking, are in fact mapping their work. That is to say, they are taking a particular course of action, a process to achieve a result, the walking, rural or urban, to provide what it is they seek to convey in their work. Some observations are more clearly cut, others less so, but all the artists reviewed feel the importance of maintaining the connection to where the inspiration arose as important. They feel the need to express the sense of place, to express the emotional attachment of their experience and to give the work the necessary locational context. Artists have always been inspired by location and environment but I feel we are placing, more emphasis on this now and directly connecting work to location. Some artists themselves relate their work to mapping in the context of it being a recording method through touching, experiencing, and others simply by the use of foraged materials gives their work the locational relevance. By making these observations and comparisons between the artists, identifying the similarities and connections in their practices I feel there is in fact a growing trend to describe their activity as mapping. Their work relates to a particular location, place and moment in time. Therefore, it’s possible to suggest that soon we may well be considering mapping to be an associated synonym for an artists activity, much like how we describe artists currently as sketching, drawing or even jotting and doodling – mapping will migrate into our language and understanding, be it with or without the added benefit of digital technologies.

 

 

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REFERENCE LIST

 

DOROTHY CALDWELL

WEBSITES AND OTHER SOURCES

 

 

BOOKS

  • (Caldwell,D. Quote. Available at. Fox, Fox,A. (2015) Natural Processes in Textile ArtFrom Rust Dyeing to Found Objects Batsford,

 

HERMAN DE VRIES

 

 

 

DICTIONARY

[online] Available at – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mapping (Accessed 04/02/2016)

 

MARC DOMBROSKY

(Accessed 3rd Feb 2017)

 

 

ALICE FOX

WEBSITES AND OTHER SOURCES

 

  • Fox, A. Findings. [online] Available at http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?page_id=2655 (Accessed       13th Jan 2017)
  • Fox, A . Gifts from the Pavement   (no date ) Work in progress taken from studio wall. Rust dyeing and printed images convey the inspiration found on the streets, discarded items providing inspiration for mark making.Image. [online] Available http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=1372 (Accessed 13th Jan 2017)
  • Fox,A. Samples for Findings Project. Woven band left and then covered with river mud on the right. Artist website. Image. [online] Available at http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?p=2139 (Accessed 13th Jan 2017)
  • Fox, A. The original artist sketchbook (no date) to record rust dyeing and mark making techniques before moving on to the final textile piece. Image. [online] Available at http://www.alicefox.co.uk/?attachment_id=1084 (Accessed       13th Jan 2017)
  • Fox, A – Artist book ( no date) page selection depicting research photographs on the left and sections of the resulting work showing the direct link to inspiration on the right. Image ref – Penni Redding, photograph of book

 

 

DENISE LACH

  • Lach,D. Frutiger,A. Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration Thames and Hudson Ltd; 01 edition (23 Sept. 2013)       ISBN-13: 978-0500291214

 

 

HANNAH LAMB

 

WEBSITES

 

RICHARD LONG

BOOKS

  • Long,R: Stones along the way” prints. Catalogue Raisonne Prints 1970-2013 (April 2013) – Roland Monig (Author, Editor), Gerard Vermeulen (Author, Editor), Beate Kolodziej (Author). Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig; Bilingual edition (22 April 2013) Image. Photograph taken by Penni Redding from book.

 

  • Long,R: Catalogue Raisonne Prints 1970-2013 (April 2013) – Roland Monig (Author, Editor), Gerard Vermeulen (Author, Editor), Beate Kolodziej (Author). Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig; Bilingual edition (22 April 2013) ISBN-13: 978-3863353650 pg 160-165

 

WEBSITES –

 

 

 

KIM NORTON

 

 

JANE PONSFORD

(Accessed 13th Jan 2017)

 

 

JEREMY WOOD (with HUGH PRYOR)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

SARAH BOURNE RAFFETY

 

ELIZABETH BRIMELOW

BOOK

  • Brimelow, E (Author), Lee,R (Author), Martin,S (Author) (2013) Approaches to Stitch: Six Artists. Grey,M (Editor) D4daisy books ISBN-13: 978-0957441316

 

WEBSITE AND OTHER SOURCES

DOROTHY CALDWELL

BOOKS

  • Caldwell, D. Artist Booklet. Ground Cover (no date/publisher) purchased from artist’s Stand at Knitting and Stich Show, London.
  • Fox,A (2015) Natural Processes in Art. Batsford. Page 119

WEBSITES AND OTHER SOURCES

 

 

LAYLA CURTIS

 

HERMAN DE VRIES

BOOKS

  • Gooding,M. (2006) Herman de Vries – Chance and Change. Thames and Hudson Ltd; 01 edition (22 May 2006 ) ISBN-13: 978-0500093276

 

WEBSITES AND OTHER

 

 

 

DICTIONARY

Available at – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mapping (Accessed 04/02/2016)

 

MARC DOMBROSKY

(Accessed 3rd Feb 2017)

 

 

ALICE FOX

BOOKS

  • Fox,A. (2015) Natural Processes in Textile ArtFrom Rust Dyeing to Found Objects Batsford, pages 106/107
  • Fox, A. (No date) Artists self-published booklets.
  1. TideMarks
  2. Gifts from the Pavement
  3. Leaf stitching
  4. Findings
  5. Textures of spurn

 

WEBSITES AND OTHER SOURCES

 

 

 

 

ANDY GOLDSWORTHY

 

GUILERMO KUITCA

 

DENISE LACH

BOOKS

  • Lach,D. Frutiger,A. Calligraphy: A Book of Contemporary Inspiration Thames and Hudson Ltd; 01 edition (23 Sept. 2013) ISBN-13: 978-0500291214

 

WEBSITES AND OTHER SOURCES

 

ERIK LAFFER

 

HANNAH LAMB

BOOKS

  • Wellesley-Smith, C. (2015) Slow Stitch ; Mindfull and Contemplative Textiles.       Batsford pages 108/109
  • Fox,A. (2015) Natural Processes in Textile ArtFrom Rust Dyeing to Found Objects Batsford, pages 106/107

 

WEBSITES

 

ALISON LLOYD

  • Alison Lloyd – The Contemporary Art of Walking. (No date) [online] Available at

http://www.fermynwoods.co.uk/archive/workshopstalksevents/alison-lloyd-the-contemporary-art-of-walking/ (Accessed 2nd Feb 2017)

 

RICHARD LONG

BOOKS –

  • Long,R: Catalogue Raisonne Prints 1970-2013 (April 2013) – Roland Monig (Author, Editor), Gerard Vermeulen (Author, Editor), Beate Kolodziej (Author). Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig; Bilingual edition (22 April 2013) ISBN-13: 978-3863353650 pg 160-165
  • Long,R: Stones along the way” prints. Catalogue Raisonne Prints 1970-2013 (April 2013) – Roland Monig (Author, Editor), Gerard Vermeulen (Author, Editor), Beate Kolodziej (Author). Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig; Bilingual edition (22 April 2013) Image. Photograph taken by Penni Redding from book
  • Long,R. Time and Space ( May 2015) Lucy Badrocke (Editor) Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig ISBN-13: 978-3863357603
  • Long,R, Moorhouse, P. Walking the Line – Reprint edition (22 Aug. 2005) Thames and Hudson Ltd;       ISBN-13: 978-0500284094

 

WEBSITES

 

HELEN MIRRA

(Accessed 2nd Feb 2017)

Mirra, H. Artists website. [online] Available at http://hmirra.net/halfsmiler/ (Accessed 2nd Feb 2017)

 

STEF MITCHEL

 

KIM NORTON

 

JANE PONSFORD

(Accessed 13th Jan 2017)

 

 

KATHY PRENDERGAST

 

 

VANESSA ROLF

 

CONSUELO SIMPSON

 

JEREMY WOOD (with HUGH PRYOR)

 

 

ARTISTS THAT USE MAPS IN THEIR WORK

 

 

OTHER BOOKS

  • Greelees,K (2005)  Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists: Exploring the Embroiderers’ Sketchbook Batsford Ltd ISBN-13: 978-0713489576
  • Cane,K (2012) Making and Drawing A & C Black Publishers Ltd ISBN-13: 978-1408134511
  • Flint,I (2008) Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles. Murdoch       ISBN-13: 978-1741960792

 

OTHER WEBSITES

 

 

GPS ARTISTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELIZABETH BRIMELOW’S PERSONAL REPLY TO EMAIL

 

Dear Penni,

Thank you for your letter requesting a little insight.  Sorry about the delay but I’ve had a house full of builders doing a bathroom and I’ve also been involved in half term.

 

I would be very pleased to help you if I can.  I was also pleased to see your work which looks very accomplished and interesting.  You don’t say where you are studying.

 

You have obviously looked me up on the Quilt Art website www.quiltart.eu so you can see my CV and Statement there.

 

There are 2 articles you might find useful;

  1. Pages 6-9 Quilters Review 30, The Quilter, Winter 2000, issue 85, ‘Mapping the Landscape’ by Jennifer Harris.  This was the first time my work had been described as ‘mapping’.  This article should be available via The Quilters Guild of the British Isles.
  2. ‘Approaches to Stitch Six Artists’ edited by Maggie Grey.  Published 2013 by d4daisy Books Ltd. www.d4daisy.com  ISBN 978-0-9574413-1-6.  I am one of the ‘6 Artists’.  My piece is entitled ‘Drawing on Cloth’.  The text is mine and the photos are all by Michael Wicks and include some sketchbook images.

 

You might be interested to know that ‘Round Meadow’ is on show in ‘New Quilting’ at the Rheged Centre, Penrith, CA11 0DQ, tel: 01768 860033,

email: gallery @rheged.com  The exhibition is open every day Friday 3 March to Sunday 23 April.

 

If you can’t find either of the articles, I can either get them photocopied, or lend them to you – of course I would like them back.

 

Let me know if this is sufficient material.  I hope it is helpful.

 

Best wishes,

 

Elizabeth

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Protected: Project overview / Mock up exhibition ideas

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Protected: FINALS THOUGHTS as I get ready for assessment

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Work featured – Running catalogue

It’s quite a bizarre feeling to come across your own work when its featured and recognise it but also a very proud one. Just for my own interest I thought I would collate this as it may be useful in the future when I start my own practice and need to reference it.

  1. OCA 1 – https://weareoca.com/textiles/penni-redding/
  2. OCA 2 – https://weareoca.com/textiles/penni-redding-part-2/?utm_source=ENQUIRIERS+(updated+03/01/2014)&utm_campaign=12a294c241-E_bulletin_23_January_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c7c466f342-12a294c241-64459553
  3. OCA 3 – https://weareoca.com/textiles/penni-redding-2/
  4. OCA / YOUTUBE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQDgmTDfMVI
  5. OCA/YOUTUBE – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFzb9taiWvo
  6. VIMEO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFzb9taiWvo
  7. VIMEO – https://vimeo.com/126550001
  8. Work featured in OCA Course booklet

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TUTOR/SKYPE REPORT 6 – ESSAY and assessment notes

FINAL TUTORIAL /ESSAY FEEDBACK –

As this is the last tutorial to discuss my essay and details regarding assessment the above key points are not addressed.

I explained I was apprehensive about assessment as my samples were all sorts of shapes, 3D structures etc rather than being flat and I wasn’t sure how to label in view of this assessment being critical to my final mark and I wasn’t going to be there to present my work as I would do if it was a “normal” degree. I explained I wanted to make some boxes for presentation which Rebecca said I could if they weren’t too bulky. Rebecca said a previous student had put on an exhibition and filmed it which worked well (for the next stage this is something I was hoping to do to exhibit my work as I had written it into my project plan for this one but was unable to achieve this time around) Rebecca suggested I make an exhibition in my own home and to print photographs (perhaps A4?) to create an exhibition experience, on plinths etc. However, assessors are used to seeing work out of context so just focus on accessibility for tutors to handle items. I explained about the lead being flexible and if incorrectly handled it’ll bend out of shape and I won’t be there to present it correctly so I will secure to base when submitting.

  • 3D samples, particularly for salt trace lines and others – don’t need to label them individually. They are all laid on table alongside sketchbooks/essay etc and all is looked at together. Just label box and indicate project and that will be sufficient.
  • Biodegradable samples for project 1 – I’ll do photos of samples as originals have degraded and don’t look as attractive as they once did. I explained I was concerned about this and Rebecca suggested that perhaps I don’t send them. After a little discussion I decided that I would send then as the degrading feature was the whole purpose of the project and it would be useful to see this process in action.
  • Sketchbooks – I have two kinds, the square ones that record my “patterns” and also my A3 working sketchbooks (that record process and results and planning) – I was concerned there was extensive duplication with theses and my blog and wondered if they should be sent. Brief discussion and it was decided they it would be useful to send theses after all as it was easy for the assessors to see them.

Essay

  • Word count – still too long. Needs to no more than 10% of requirement.Rebecca said the introduction was good but I expand on that when I write “concurrent….” I have actually repeated the introduction. So reduce this, move important bits to top and delete. Write in a concise way, only need to write what I want to say in one sentence. Perhaps move the concluding sentence about mapping being a synonym to this paragraph.
  • Don’t count – picture annotations/title/quotes/ref burb.
  • Cut down on number of artists – I have 11 reduce to 6. This will help narrow down what it is I want to say.
  • Reference – OCA recommends the Harvard system. But OCA will accept other. Need Reference list – everybody/every piece of work I write about in essay. The bibliography – artists that I remove from essay, anything I had read about them and anything/everything that I have looked at in my research. Can add Appendices – if there’s something in my essay that I really feel needs to be include I can add it and it doesn’t count in word count. Be careful – got to be standalone information.
  • Fewer images – my sketchbook – choose one image and refer to is directly/ don’t put in unless I discuss it.
  • Other artist’s images – reduce. One from each, maybe 2, that I refer to directly.
  • Don’t use what they artists have said about their own work, I need to write where I see evidence in their work.
  • Paper copy / digital – need to check how it is submitted. Check requirements. Makes it professional.
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EXHIBITION – TATE / ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG

A spontaneous visit to London over the weekend resulted in the opportunity to view the Robert Rauscheberg exhibition at the Tate Modern. A visual treat indeed.

I have long admired and been inspired by the work of Rauschenberg, not necessarily for any one finished piece of work but for his vast catalogue of experimentation of visual imagery and techniques. Having completed a screen printing HND some years ago I am familiar with many of his approaches and can identify his techniques and like myself, I see his work crossing the boundaries of many disciplines. Using the textile / graphic screen printing techniques to create fine art, the inclusion of monotypes into fine art, sculptural installations, hanging textiles and found objects happily combined with fine art painting to only name a few.

The exhibition reviews 6 decades of his working practice and is easily reviewed by the visitor as different rooms explore different eras of investigation. I came  away with a clearer understanding of his working practice and renewed interest in printmaking techniques that I hope to bring back into my work from now on and a beginnings of a new ideas for a body of work.

Photography was not permitted so for my reference I bought an exhibition catalogue and for the purposes of my blog I have included images from google search of the exhibits shown that appealed to me the most either for relevance to my work or for future inspiration.

Monoprint ( Cyanotype) c1950. Two life sizes photograms.

Monoprint ( Cyanotype) c1950. Two life sizes photograms.

The tyre print reminds me of my photography fascination with yellow lines in the road !

Automobile tire print 1953. House paint on 20sheets of paper.

Automobile tire print 1953. House paint on 20 sheets of paper.

This one below could have been an interesting angle to investigate for my TRACE theme……

Erased drawing. This one made me smile as Rauschenberg asked his friend, De Kooing for a drawing to erase so De Kooning gave him one that he thoguth was impossible to do, it took 50 erasers to remove the graphite but a feint image can still be seen.

Erased drawing. This one made me smile as Rauschenberg asked his friend, De Kooning for a drawing to erase so De Kooning gave him one that he thought would be impossible to do, it took 50 erasers to remove the graphite but a feint image can still be seen.

…and also his transfer techniques for images could have been an interesting angle for TRACE. Why is it we discover these ideas too late, or is it because they simply strike a chord at that moment as our minds are already on that wavelength ?

Rauscenberg discovered that he could use lighter fuel and magazine clippings with a biro to transfer images, This is one example.

and here’s an example of screen printed imagery combined with hand painted marks.

Silk screen images and oil paint hand painting sit happily side by side.

Silk screen images and oil paint hand painting sit happily side by side.

…and complex over layering of coloured screen printed images with hand painted areas.

thsdscs

He also made some textile related pieces with the transfer image approach using chiffon and satin behind to create a subtle blend of images.

Using found textiles he also made some hanging pieces…

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…..and then perhaps some pieces that I feel already inspiring me for my future work ideas based on edges/borders and folds and space/void. It’s fascinating to learn these are made from clay !

untitled 3f5a7a278cb35ed30b2fe5c726c8b7e1

 

 

 

 

 

There were two other 3D pieces that I also felt offered inspiration to extend my print making skills…I could only find a google image of one, as below and the other also had wire assemblage with gave good shadows on a wall. I learnt how to screen print onto metal some years ago so I think I may revisit this and consider printing onto glass and metal foils again.

Screen printed glass nad light installation.

There were some unusual and amusing pieces also, the large glass tank of 1000 gallons of Bentonite bubbling away and the small lithograph, the first piece of art to be sent to the Moon !

Mud Muse – Bubbling glass tank of mud

MOON MUSEUM 1969 – wafer thin ceramic tile with a lithograph featuring doodles from 6 contemporary artists at the time.

ref – http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/robert-rauschenberg

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REFLECTION – Project end thoughts and ideas for ongoing work

As this project draws to an end and work ideas are resolved its inevitable that I would be thinking about the next set of projects, my portfolio, as I need to get going with the next stage as soon as I can, having borrowed some time with the extension. I feel I may have left myself a little short on time, as after all, my life circumstances are no different so I’m mindful that I need to be focussed.

This post serves as somewhere to record my thoughts and ramblings, hoping that by writing them down some order and direction will appear.

I feel there is more to do with the theme of TRACE and can think of other ideas but I’m also wondering if I’ve already done my best bits, as it were, with this theme and perhaps I need to move on to a different topic.

I also recognise that my strength still lies in abstract pattern making and textures with a strong bias towards print. I have been trying to develop other strengths as I was keen to not fall into a safety zone but I can see from the projects that I have done, its possible to use print in other ways. I know I can alter the surface or manipulate it in some other way once an image is printed but I am also painfully aware that my equipment is limited to domestic items in my house and know I could never achieve a professional finish or fully explore the possibilities that an educational setting course could provide – no lazer cutter for example, or heat press. For this reason I have steered away from it.

So, looking at the methods I have used. Digital print with hand painted textures, Monoprint, thermofax printing, embossing – layering, hand and machine stitch, shape manipulation. I can collage my fabrics and ideas well, fabric placement I belive it’s called, and my work relates to my sketchbooks and vice versa.

I like how my work has developed and taken on 3D shapes to compliment the wall hanging pieces, this adds some variety and allows my work to be viewed from other angles. I would like to develop that further. One thing I have noted, and it may be relevant to verbalise it now, is how textiles are used in installations. It appears to me, for an exhibition setting etc, that something good can be elevated to something spectacular and outstanding simply by increasing the scale or the volume/repetition of something. Also the environment plays a key role on the overall impact of work. Work exhibited in unusual surroundings always adds to the overall feel of work…. this of course, gives the work more impact but the flip side is the commercial aspect of selling work is reduced.

I feel my work and also my approach to my work has developed nicely and my work has matured, no longer something that simply looks nice, but work with some back bone, something to say for itself. That is something I’m delighted with and must embrace and build upon again for the next stage.

 

ideas for next project…..

Edges – as in seams, folds, printed work on the edge of something, left behind marks after printing off the edge, empty spaces, the edges of spaces….not really sure as yet…. it’s a little more conceptual than this TRACE project so visually material will be harder to come by but it maybe the work is created through physical experiments etc.

 

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