Tag Archives: string art

String as contemporary art medium

I found this fascinating article on the history of of string based-art works, which talked through a lot of the reference artists I have found on my travels, and a few new ones as well.

Starting from the sculptural works of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth with threaded string, resembling mathematical structures, and possible influencer Naum Gabo. Looking back at this, I notice that so much sculpture involving string is exploring geometry in nature, very little of it appears to be on a more conceptual basis. The installation is ore suited to this nature of art I believe. Once you start adding more complex craft to the work – weaving, basketry, embroidery, knitting and so on, you add layers and layers of more narratives which are based on the process and not the concept. Which is fine if that is the core of your work. However, I have never wanted to make statements about subverting a craft tradition, nor do I want my piece to comment on ‘domesticity and feminine arts’ which is what so many articles on textile/fibre work seem to do. So this brings me firmly out of the idea of making an object (bye bye map weaving) and firmly into contemporary installation territory.

The article, progressing onwards, takes us to the Minimalist string installations / sculptures of Fred Sandback.

Untitled (Cornered Triangle, Fifth of Ten Cornered Constructions), 1980

His work used single strands of yarn from point to point to create precise geometric figures. This was of bifurcating three-dimensional space, these “intangible objects” became a meditation on the pictorial plane and architectural volumes. With this work I noticed the strength of simplicity that can construct a separate architectural space within a larger space. Comparing this to the massive complexity of works by other architectural influenced artists, such as Tomas Saraceno (pic below), I much more align myself with the more Minimalist approach.

039-tomas-saraceno-theredlist.gifGalaxy Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web 2009

I am not however, making a pure geometric space, as this would be too much of an exploration of abstract spatiality. In the same way that my hope to use psychogeography as the core of my process roots the work too much into a specific locality. I want my work to be about both the here and there, while being firmly neither.

As I write this, I remind myself of what I had originally written in my project proposal, final version submitted back in November about creating a heterotopia, a placeless place: a real place which exists simultaneously outside of all places, neither here nor there. This is the effect I can create with an installation – which I am now firmly set on making large scale – and using it to construct a heterotopic space which manifests a physical, personal conception of my sense of self:

I am this place. I am no place. 




Dimensional stitching – first experiments

I have been playing with my new mini-project focused on the small details of stitching I have been using so far. I want to see what the interaction of line, planes and other surfaces can produce. This is my first set of experiments where the material is leading the way. So far, I am very much enjoying these, and think there is a lot of potential in it.

I remember doing stitch drawings at school which looked a little like this (note this one isn’t mine!)


This was my starting point to investigate – the premise based on my proposal is to create objects which are not objects; structures which are not structures, offerings sense of multiple dimensions and spaces within one place (real or virtual). Initial experiments produced this lot:





— I was having issues keeping the tension steady. I will need a better material than paper to work with – perhaps wood? Or heavier paper which is clamped into place while stitching.
— however, I liked the changes in tension which occurred between pieces, some tight and neat and others looser but still showing the pattern.
— I liked the thread tube. This was using a thread made from a paper, linen mix which is wonderful to work with. It reminds me of a wormhole, although this wasn’t explicitly in my mind when I made it. Worth exploring further.
— I also like the stitching within the tube, although this was very hard to do. Needed better fixing mechanism, but I am today making while away from home so made do with what I had (hence the sticky tape!)
— my favourite surface is the twisted plane, which takes an intrinsically 2d form (made from 1d lines) and twists it into a 3d shape. [second photo I series above]

I’m quite excited about taking a next step with this one. Feeling intrigued about the materials mixing – which is really positive, as it is the strongest resonance of materials I’ve used so far.