Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Flattened totem poles

I've been battling for the last week with my entry for the Old England Outdoor Sculpture Award, and, finally, yesterday I thought I had it licked, only to be greeted this morning with a very flat piece.
I left it out last is supposed to be an OUTDOOR sculpture, thinking that all I had to do was one more piece (the other is also flat!) and I'd just make it.
I've let Tony at Banyule City Council know that I'm pulling out, which was a big decision for me as I have entered the last four years.
It's hard to know if I've learnt anything from this.....start earlier....but I knew that and worked hard to overcome the problems. I just feel relief really.....
Paverpol - it does do what it says except:
1. to get a really good set you have to use alot of product and you can't water it down to thin it out, and it's expensive to do a big project like this. It doesn't help if you step in the tub, spill it and scoop it up again as best possible.
2. I think it makes the fabric too brittle to support any weight. That would explain why all the examples they show are built around a frame.
I still would like to pursue this line of work. It was starting to look good. However, I think I have to abandon the idea of getting fabric to stand on its own. I know that sounds a bit obvious, but you have to have some theory on which experiments are based.
Now I'll relax and make hearts.......

Friday, 20 March 2009

Autumn Sale

Saturday (March 21st, 10am-3pm) is the next 9"x5" QMM market and I'm going to have a GIANT sale. 20% off everything.

There are several reasons for this and I'm actually quite excited. This is all part of the ongoing research into the how to run my business successfully.

Here are the reasons I have for having a sale.

1. To move enough items that replacing them will freshen up my range of products. There are some things that are seen and admired at most markets, someone will want them!

2. To see if the price difference makes an impact on sales. I don't want to reduce prices as they represent a fair price, but a sale can test the waters.

3. To see if just having a sale makes any difference to sales. I'm not sure how I'll tell the difference between 2 and 3, but we'll see.

So, if you're around Ivanhoe on Saturday, come and visit us. Maybe you'll pick up a bargain.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Heide Museum of Modern Art

One of the great things about going to Heide is that you can just wander around the gardens admiring the sculpture, the gardens and the natural bush along the river.

There were some new sculptures to wonder at, puzzle about and admire. And old friends to remember and photograph again.

As usual it was nature that stole the day. From the very small to the trees with treasures for us.

The trees have their own eyes!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

CD Spindles

Last Saturday at Experimental Spinning, we played around a bit more with drop spindling. One of the ideas was to make our own.

Spin-off magazine and a quick search on the net revealed an array of different 'home-made' drop spindles. CD spindles had already been mentioned and these proved both popular and successful.

Once we found that the grommets mentioned were wiring grommets (thanks to ztwist for her intrepid research) and were easily available at my local hardware (Danahers, Mitre 10) it was a quick and easy job to construct the CD.

Here are the ingredients: 1 or 2 CDs, depending on the weight you might like, a 1/2 inch wiring grommet, a 10mm, 12in long piece of dowel and a cup hook.

They were very quickly put together:

1. Grommet inserted into CD

2. Dowel inserted into CD

3. Cup hook could be screwed in by hand, as the dowel wood was soft.

This could be prettied up with all sorts of colour or whittling or anything that takes your fancy...I haven't even sanded mine yet!

The great surprise is that it spins very well. It's an ideal vehicle for teaching and I'll be getting my beginning spinning students to make one in their last class and we'll practice.

Thanks to moorecat for the 'Park and Draft' method of teaching spinning, as it was quite successful. This allows you to spin in two separate actions:

1. Hold on to a close spot on your fibre, give a spin and build up the twist.

2. Park the drop spindle between your knees and then draft out the fibre.

3. Wind on and repeat.

Eventually, it is very easy to combine the two actions and become continuous.

References: Spin-off, Spring 1999

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Eyes to crochet

One of the themes for my entry for the sculpture award is eyes. So I need to make eyes to attach to my totem poles. I plan to sit on the train making these. I am lucky that by the time I get on a train there is plenty of space, but I am hoping to freak some people out, crocheting eyes.
These are my attempts last night to get a size that fits. The last with the big pupil seems to be the most realistic, so that's where I'm going to start. Should be fun.
As an aside, I am wondering what the etiquette is for replying to people who make comments on my blog. I love getting them and am constantly surprised at people making the effort to make a comment. As you can tell, I've never had a comment I didn't appreciate.
I have been making comments on the blog itself, but I feel the need to continue the conversation with the particular person, but am unsure. You can tell that I rarely leave comments and don't expect to be replied to. If you would like to leave a comment about this, please feel free and I'll reply accordingly.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


What a luxury! Spending a dedicated couple of hours exploring shapes.

We were asked to sketch shapes that appeal to us with a view to cutting them out, eventually in cardboard, then in wood, to create a sculpture.

Initially, the idea was to just explore flat shape. I followed my current path of totems and eyes. These are the test cut out shapes I have come up with so far.

It's interesting seeing what everyone else was doing, all the differents sorts of shapes. Things that looked like something but weren't, curves, straight lines. Alot of fun and laughter.
The other interesting aspect of having someone looking at your work is that they see things that you may have missed. A ' everything seems symmetrical' comment from the teacher made me look at everything again and I came up with:
This has alot more potential, but I need to do more research.
Fortunately, we have a couple of weeks to look. I'm going to find some more totem poles.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sculpture everywhere

Today is the first day of classes and the first class, this afternoon, is SCULPTURE. An introductory day, according to the very detailed course handbook, this class is 'Presentation of the history of sculpture and it's relationship with contemporary artists working with sculpture. Introduction to set project: cardboard sculptural form. OHS issue in a sculpture studio will be discussed.'

Lots there for me to think about. I also need to keep a Visual Art Journal, and if I'm going to take full advantage of the course, then I need to be putting something (drawing) everyday. I'm trying.....

Sculpture is obviously an important part of my work, it crops up all the time. This weekend I've been working on my entry for the Old England Outdoor Sculpture award, which I've entered four times, the first time I managed to win. This time I'm hoping to make a much better entry and have severely dented this by not having a clue what I was going to do and only having three weeks in which to do it.

I continue to work on totem poles, a metaphor that seems to resonate. This is the first large scale totem pole and will prototype the process. I machine knit a flat piece of fabric with 'eye holes' in it. Sew into a tube and using Paverpol, make it suitable, ie stiff and waterproof, for an outdoor sculpture.
The holes will be covered with 'eyes' that I'm hoping to crochet. I don't know how many I want to make so will start with 8 and maybe some fallen and broken totems.
I have no idea how they are going to stand up. That will be part of the prototyping process, and I'm hoping to be able to do some sanding to give some a more weathered look.