I still haven’t attached the border! Went back on the whole plan today too- I decided to change the plinth I wanted it on, putting it on the eggshell coloured one instead of the other two. The height of that plinth felt at a much more realistic level to that of border in a home setting. I also played around with the level at which I wanted it. I want the white wood to show through as I feel that is a success of the piece. So I think I prefer the middle image of the three here.
Deciding that the salmon pink was definitely going ahead, I plucked up the courage to get painting! It really did look good! Just like I’d hoped. It was just as I was packing away that I spotted this ugly looking fella on my desk. I wondered what this figurine would look like against the salmon pink? Would his blazer clash too much? Or be spot on? I’d been really set on the lady with her hands on her hips for this plinth but there was something about this figure that I really liked. The ornament itself is absolutely hideous! – Maybe that just acts as an extra bonus. Also how good does the white wood top look?! Very slick.
I realised I had to bite the bullet in the end though, colours would reinforce that working class taste I’m after, as well as bring out the colours of the figurines. I wasn’t going to jump in there feet first though; I began making samples using the colours and wallpaper coverings. Mixing and matching the order of the different colours with different wallpaper styles really helped! – Even if it did get a little bit confusing. The colours worked well together but there was something not quite right about that yellow. Originally the yellow would be paired with the boarder, but using the samples I found that the boarder worked much better with the salmon pink. I tell you what though I’m glad I didn’t buy that ‘coffee’ colour- that definitely didn’t wasn’t nice!
Another busy day in the studio again today! I started by wallpapering the plinth I stripped bare yesterday, another fantastic pattern, very difficult pattern to paste with; but worth it and got there in the end. After I had finished the plinth I really enjoyed the look of all three of them how they were. Annoyingly, I didn’t want to paint them! The white of the wallpaper looked so good against the rim of the bare wood. I knew I needed to bite the bullet and get painting but not before taking some decent ish photos first. It was whilst taking the photos, I took one of two plinths together and this lead to alarm bells ringing in my head – two look good don’t they Rach?
Once I had the stuff it was time to get wallpapering! I immediately loved the wallpaper I used on the smaller plinth, it reminded me instantly of my grandma’s and it matches so well to the boarder and figurine. I could see it taking form now, matching up the colours to the embossed wallpaper felt like I was getting somewhere. I’ve scraped the next plinth free of it’s former wallpaper ready for a re-vamp tomorrow and I’ve got the colours ready to go! I decided to scrap the idea of a 4th plinth, I went to get the wood cut today but just before my decision I realised there is no real need for another one, it may just look cluttered. Although beforehand I felt it would look too much like my previous piece, when I shifted the plinths around it didn’t feel like that at all. I did get some other wood cut though! For the tops of the plinths. This has worked out fantastic! By placing an extra piece of wood on top it allows the paper to fold underneath it, by covering over this with wood it covers the mess and makes the plinth look incredibly neat. I’m really pleased with today’s progress. The plinths are beginning to become; “architectural walls.” – and interesting I almost see them as the formations of tower blocks.
Having seen all the wallpapers Nottingham city centre had to offer I made the quick decision, following a Google search, to head on a bus to John’s Decorating Centre! What a good decision. Yesterday I was at a loss as to what wallpaper I wanted to use, and most importantly the colour choices that I knew were going to be essential for getting this piece right! And in the bargain bin at John’s I found them!
Back in the studio today! It was a lot harder than I first thought to create the image of working class taste! I had a play around with the wallpapers and boarders I’d carefully picked out, but it seems I really needed to conquer the taste choices of the lower classes. I need to select carefully the colour of paint I plan to use on the wallpapered plinths, I want them to compliment both the figure and the boarders/wallpaper I’m using, as well as obviously having the look of working class taste.
I’m struggling with the number of plinths I want to use, 4 would be ideal if time allows it, 3 would look too much like previous piece and two is manageable. Tomorrow I need to make some big taste choice decisions, I’m considering reds and a beige colour in emulsion- hopefully matching the boarders. I am pleased with the embossed wallpaper plinth today though so that’s a success I think! This piece is either going to be an absolute disaster in terms of feedback or extremely good, lets hope for the last one!
As I have mentioned quite a lot of times, this work has all stemmed from the figurines which my grandma keeps. So whilst chatting on the phone to her the other day I began thanking her for being such an important part of the work. I explained that I was now looking into council housing and mentioned I had been researching the Glasgow tenements; this set her off on a few stories which I feel I should mention. As a child, Grandma lived in the tenements, a one bedroom flat in Glasgow with her 6 brothers and sisters and her parents. Just one room for all the kids! Absolutely crazy to think of now! 5 families shared one toilet which was the next street away she said! She did say it was immaculate though- so was proud of that. She was born in 1947 so only two years after the war, which then made a lot of sense considering all the research I’d been doing concerning the state of housing post-war. 8 years later, again making a lot of sense in terms of new social housing, she moved to Drumchapel, an area 7 miles away from the centre. There was another room available- a 2 bed flat, but with the arrival of two more siblings it was still a tight squeeze; with 5 girls in one room and 4 boys in another. Although this all sounds pretty terrible to me, she was happy to say that: “It was happy days in the tenements.” and what also made me laugh was when she said, “O yes, you would have had to be a posh person not to live in a tenement in Glasgow.” I loved that! While she was on a roll I began asking her about her ornaments, intrigued as to why she likes them so much, she said “I couldn’t live without them.” she said that her mum had had them; probably to show she could afford them. And to my disbelief she came out with-“You better yourself with ornaments.” My grandma truly is the picture of aspirational working class.
After finishing the writing I posted below, (which has taken all my time recently) it’s about time I updated the blog a bit! I’m excited to start a new set of work which heavily focuses on the concepts I spoke of in that writing: Moving Between the classes. Besides that though I’m really excited to be in the new studio space. Feeling really positive there, natural light, a window and my trusty table. All my ornaments set up; ready to work!