Tag Archives: fibre sculpture

Artists profile: Joell Baxter

An unexpected find while searching for something completely unrelated, is the weaving artist Joell Baxter. Her practice combines screen printing, weaving and colour theory in an exploration of visual perception and physical response. The placement of her multi-coloured, paper weaving sculptures evokes minimalist sculpture and interior design staples like carpets and pillows (and occasionally chairs too). Although her work is quite fine art-y (especially in the way she is inspired by the interplay of colours) but it is also very familiar and evocative of textile work. This cross-disciplinary approach inspired me as it is fascinating to see weaving linked so closely with painting and fine art instead of any formal links to contemporary basketry. Particularly while I am still searching for my own ‘label’.

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In her words she describes: “I have always made work that sits between disciplines and actively engages the viewer in different modes of looking. All of my work strongly references minimalism, in terms of its approach to space and to creating a one-on-one relationship between the viewer and the work. I use very basic processes and forms that are reminiscent of grade school arts and crafts projects like weaving potholders. I want to evoke an immediate sense of familiarity, almost a muscle memory of how the work was made. But after that initial response, I hope that what at first seemed familiar becomes strange and more complex.”

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“In planning my work, everything is extremely orderly and can be diagrammed as a set of instructions. I typically use colors in the order of the visible spectrum, so red follows orange follows yellow, and so on. But by weaving these colors together, they start to interact and become harder to name and distinguish. This is due to the inherent nature of weaving, where color relationships are constantly alternating through the pattern of over and under. So there is a kind of glitch introduced into the plans, forcing me to let go of absolute control over the results.”

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Great stuff!

Expecto Patronum

I have had about three different blog posts mixing themselves in my head over the last few days not knowing how to tease them apart to make sense of what I’m thinking. The end of the week has arrived, so this seems a good a time as any to try.

First off, let me remind you of this rather special moment from the third Harry Potter film, my favourite of them all, of Professor Lupin teaching Harry the patronus charm for the first time. (If you haven’t seen the film then where on earth have you been for the last decade?!)

The thing I’m pointing out in here is Harry’s choice of memory or feeling which he is using to fuel the spell. For his first attempt at the charm he thinks about a nice, clear, happy memory – but not nearly emotionally attached enough to work. His second successful attempt, is using a memory of a deeper, more complex emotion – love, loss, happiness, grief.

This is the feeling I have after reflection on the elements pieces I have been making this week. Nice use of new processes, getting clearer on a message – but is it really the emotional message I am looking for? Well no, not yet. I want to look deeper – into something more complex and more human than simply commenting on the elemental building blocks of life. I started this term with wanting to make things to invoke a feeling of a moment of special, perhaps altered perception. The cliched “moment of zen” aka “wow isn’t the cosmos big and amazing” is ok, but like Harry, just seems all too ‘nice’ for me at the moment.

So, I went back to my current theme’s starting point, the feeling of listening to the rain. Looking beneath the first reaction – the feeling of stillness and distraction from hypnotic white noise – for me the sound of rain brings a whole host of other associative memories. My dad is an avid (slightly obsessive?) angler, and most of my family childhood memories revolve around weekends and holidays around the water – the tent on the beach sat next to the tackle box; warm, sunny days by the reservoir pretending I was in swallows and amazons; the stormy days watching waves crashing over the pier; hours spent hiding from the pouring rain, playing games with my mum, while dad fished on, and so on….it is no wonder I am most at home by the water’s edge, and (thanks to my personality I guess), my heart belongs to the wild and lonely places. Rain, particularly heavy rain, has the power to transport me away from a boring meeting straight into the past.

I wonder then if tapping into this would be an interesting next step from my elementals work. My project proposal as it stands is about moments of extraordinary experience, of altered perception. This moment is about the feeling of standing on the edge:
— the ebb and flow of exposed, raw emotions,
— the influence of the past, the lost and forgotten places
— loneliness, the windswept moor, the moon’s reflection over the water

IMG_0302 This week I also came across the artist / sculptor Jennifer Liston Dykema, who makes work similar to what I am currently trying to play with/ aim for, which I really, really like. Some of her work, talks to me of elemental things. Here are a few pictures below which capture a little something of what I am trying to say.

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