Tag Archives: abstract art

A new series of work….

…I am quite pleased with this new series, and very intrigued about where it could take me.

My research has been focussing on using natural dyeing processes as a way to explore the boundaries between material, place and time. I have been using stochasic processes Рi.e. those with a random element which cannot be completely constrained, creating an interesting conversation between between the material and maker.

For these pieces (which for lack of any other description I am calling ‘fabric drawings’), I have used collected English wildflowers, plants and tree bark to create texture, using the environment itself as part of the mark-making process. These first pieces have both¬†been rain-dyed. I am exploring a couple of different debates with this work, both centred around my ideas on ‘local knowledge’. Firstly, using handmade plant dyes and pigments, the work explores how the evolution of natural colour, rarely lightfast, allows us to question the relationship between knowledge of place and permanence. Secondly, constraining the natural sculptural movement of the textiles onto the frame, engages us in a discussion of how we balance freedom and constraint of local knowledge.

We used to know the names of all the flowers

Calico, Chamomile flowers, rain-water


Calico, dried wild flowers, oak chips, English madder, rain water


End of week 2 – feet finding

It’s only 2 weeks since I finished work, I’m still feeling quite shellshocked about how fast things are moving. I am however starting to feel a little more settled though, and excitement is currently winning the fight with terror.

HB took a look at my mind map yesterday and called my project working title (soul mirror) a “bit A-level”. Meow. I don’t disagree that it is a cheesy snap of a title which covers most of human endeavour for the last 13,000 years, but to be honest that’s all it is for. I just wanted something which starts me off while I work out my specific research question. Having had time to think about my change of tactics this week, I think that starting my research from the few making and materials ideas I do have, and weaving the context around it will work much better for me than making up a nice topic and planning half the theory already before I’ve even started sketching.

At the moment, I’m hovering like a small cloud around the seeds of topics of reflection, contemplation and revelation:

> What role can art and objects play in providing a lever for us to contemplate meaning in our lives and existence?
> How can we reconcile mankind’s use of art and craft for spiritual reflection over the millennia with an increasingly secular modern context?
> Is it possible to use contemporary art and craft to connect our inner selves with the wider universe around us?

A starter for 10. Will keep working on it – for the moment, I am looking to pick out the connections across the mind map, focussing on the areas which have the most materials/processes and practical ideas. I’m using the first connection I have picked out, “revealing” to start investigating from.

Other progress to note:

Have read Six names of beauty by Crispin Sartwell. Nice book although his manner is grating in places. Some interesting points about the interpretation of beauty in different cultures and contexts. Highlight:

“all of these art forms are designed for contemplation, for a total immersion in the beauty of the world that moves beyond or underneath the opposition of beauty and ugliness…they heighten the sense of the beauty of the world to a point of utmost poignancy, until one sees everything as art and art as not-art, but spontaneous nature”

Abstract art season continues on BBC4 and I’d really recommend their programme The Rules of Abstraction with Matthew Collings. Very good overview of what abstract art is, and I was fascinated about the history of where the trend originated in ‘Theosophical’ interpretation. Note to self to look up Hilna af Klint (Sweden 1907) and Kandinsky’s early abstract work.

Have also started listening to the history of the world in 100 objects. I recall hearing most of the the show when it first aired on Radio 4 in 2010, just listening out of causal interest. I am finding it very different when listening specifically with a maker’s anthropological ear – such is the manner of critique perhaps, that you normally pick up on what it is you are looking for at the time. A learning experience, as well as a good way to not get bored while ironing.

Here’s to week three!

ANT xx