Bit of a Spanner in the Works

I went into the studio the other day just to clear out my space. Whilst I was there I thought I would start the repair work on the wallpaper plinth. I began tearing the paper off intending to take it all off  and replace it with a much neater sheet. As I started tearing the paper off I kind of liked the look of it though, it had some imprint of the wallpaper patten and you could see the magnolia paint underneath. Now I’m not sure if I actually want to go over the rip? I agree there is way too much going on with the rip falling down but just that tiny rip at the bottom of plinth I really like.

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The lights are on but Nobody’s home

I’m also continuing with the wallpapered plinths. I was really pleased with the aesthetics of the covered plinths so would like to continue this, however rather than just ornamental figures on plinths, experiment with other domestic objects- considering lamps, telephones photo frames etc. I particularly  liked the idea of the lamp. I was imagining the lamp covered in magnolia paint yet the light still shining beneath. The lamp, alongside these other objects, also covered in a coat of magnolia, will emphasize the forgotten objects left behind when one moves home. The objects remain within our memories of that previous home but in reality those objects, those walls have been forever removed from the present. They’ve been painted over and removed. The lights are on but Nobody’s home- a great potential title of the piece.

Crazy Lamp

Went a bit crazy with the making today! Originally I had intended to start a new piece using a lamp, with the idea of- the light’s on but nobody’s home (more on that later.) But when I actually got the lamp I’d bought back to the studio I realised the bloody thing didn’t work! So I took it apart to get the bulb out, once I’d done that I just thought I’d have a play around with objects I had in front of me- happened to be this ornaments head. I also kept dropping the head on the floor so slowly his hat disintegrated. It’s a bit weird but I kind of like it.

Magnolia Figure

After using the wallpaper plinth with the ornaments as they were, I wanted to see how the wallpaper changed the perception of the magnolia covered figure. There was something just not quite right about the way they looked together, the white and magnolia clashed too much and the clean cut look didn’t match what I was trying to say about replacing that time gone by. I’m considering maybe scrapping the wallpaper partly away and then painting over this section with magnolia? Leaving it like a half unfinished effect. I really enjoy the magnolia covered figure and possibly seeing this piece as a piece on it’s own, but how would I show it? I feel I’m almost there with this piece but not quite.

Rotations, Zimoun @BACKLIT

I had the great pleasure to see Zimoun’s- Rotation exhibition at Backlit this Friday just gone. Zimoun is described in the info provided as a “Swiss sound architect”, a phrase which I love! It perfectly describes the scene I walked into, into the installation of Rotations. The entire room was filled with a multitude of cardboard boxes, all the same size and height, they were all covered in the same box tape. Identical in their appearance; their movements were their individuality. Because indeed every one of the cardboard boxes had inside it a motor which allowed the box to move on its axis. The boxes jiggled around franticly as if they had something inside them bursting to get out, or they had a personality of their own and all they wanted to do was move, almost dance. As the audience we were allowed to walk in and out of these boxes watching their movements, our eyes trying to follow their quickness. We question the reality of the space. How can these boxes be moving? The constant buzz of the motors act as a reminder of the reason behind their movements but also becomes a constant hum; sending you into a trace with these boxes.

Having a Wander about Town.

So who says watching breaking bad can’t be research? Love the screen shots I took of the scene of the newly married couple, expecting child, looking around their potential new home. I loved the emptiness ready for potential. Knowing all I know that has gone on in that house too. A whole life. Their whole life under that roof. Also just a few photos of my studio space, feeling at home there. Really like the table I have this year. I also have a lot of wall space which I really need to make use of. And just a couple of notes from old note books- a bit of previous knowledge/encouragement. The other images are photographs I took having a wander round town to get some inspiration. I went into the Heart Foundation furniture and electrical store. There were a lot of potential cheap furniture items that I could use for making which I photographed. I really liked that old wardrobe I could see it all stripped back and sanded down to its bare state. And I also sneaked into the back room while no one was looking to get these photographs, which I find kind of sad, all those unwanted items, those slumped up mattresses with no home. I really like these images, they express what I’m trying to say about those unwanted items, the possessions we leave behind.

Chelsie Purdue

So next on the list of Blogging is the wonderful Chelsie Purdue. I had the great pleasure in helping out this lovely lady with her degree set up before I finished for the summer. It was a fantastic experience helping out; I learnt some valuable skills and got some great advice in the process. I approached Chelsie after seeing her work at the Backlit show GLOSS, I thought that work looks bloody good and it relates so well with my current practice! I soon found that we both had pretty similar interests in our practice and began advising good books to one another. When I asked Chelsie if she would like a hand with her degree show she was more than happy to accept. Note to self gain helpers early on! You will need them Rachel! Creating a degree show on your own is impossible.

DOTS were the main task involved in Chelsie’s degree show setup. We were set to attach a multitude of tiny acrylic laser cut dots, less than 1cm in size, to the wall using some super strong glue- an extremely fiddly job! Each dot had to be in the exact right place but luckily we devised a template for that. Each dot formed a beautifully designed, by the artist herself, acrylic wallpaper setup. The wallpaper used intricate pattern detail and central to the design was an image of a stag. The wallpaper possessed a grandeur furthered by the use of the stag and the impeccable design. The white on white feel Chelsie envisioned felt contemporary with a clean finish. Although I wasn’t a part of the table design, accept from maybe helping with the carrying on delivery, I feel I should also mention that there was also a table, designed again by the artist herself, involved in the piece. The table also portrayed a stag figure; the table legs being that of a stag. The table also stood at irregular height. For most the table was at head height. Chelsie had hoped that the viewer would almost feel like a child when approaching the table, Placed on the table were a handmade set of golden cutlery, finely detailed with animal heads. The whole set design had a certain “don’t touch” effect- a show room of design

So just a quick reminder to self for future reference seeing many of the 3rd years in crisis at the last minute.

  • Try not to make something too fiddly.
  • Think about the TIME allowed in making- something less time consuming and manageable.
  • Stick to what you know Rachel.
  • PLAN, research prior, experiment prior- work on something that went well.
  • Plan time to the day leading up to degree show set up.
  • Gain help from lower years early.
  • Gain lots of feedback from tutors.

Easier said that done I know!

On the last note would like to say thank you for your wonderful company Chelsie, and our endless conversations about life whilst dotting. You made me think outside the box on future career plans and inspired me for next year. Wishing you all the luck in your future!

Enter Rachel’s Mind

Really wanted to write because for the first time in ages I’m feeling positive! Mostly because of an uplifting conversation I had with a lady I’d never met before today! Get to that in a minute though. Over the last few days, I’ve been in Bristol with a lot of time to myself. I’ve been watching lots of home programs- one in particular Home Stories- I’ve learnt a lot about gentrification in London (Up and coming areas and the impact this has on house prices) and the consequences this has on the poor. I’ve been thinking a lot about the home and developing ideas that have been sprouting over the last month. Before Bristol I began my get up and go attitude by starting the wallpaper piece I had been going on about doing for months! I found an old piece of wood in the studio, hammered that into the wall in my studio space and began to make that studio space mine. I have brought in my table from home, placed my little ornamental house on it as a mascot and began to feel a bit more settled.

I’ve started the piece, only painted a tester tub of magnolia on there, put started it none the less. I am slightly worried about using this thin mdf wood because for this piece I intend to layer, layer upon layer of wallpaper over one another. I know from past experience that the wood will probably curve under the pressure. Ideally a plaster board would be my best bet- something to improve on. Layering the layers of wallpaper I hope to narrate the past histories of a fictional home. I want to make this piece as authentic as possible, having done a similar thing before I know the mistakes of not thinking everything through. https://rachelfenwick.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/layered-paintings-2/ (Strange to see how similar my wording is a year on from the previous post and I’m still having the same thoughts!)  I want the fake wall to be based on a living room- so only living room styles and the layers need to be in era order. So the fashions of the 70’s for example need to be before the fashion wallpaper of this era. Once the wallpapers have been layered up. I then intend to scrape into the piece to reveal “a hole in the wall” so to speak, revealing the layers of lives that have gone on in this fictional home. This piece is going to be very much an “on going” project. I have placed an ad on free cycle and already collected one free roll and then coming back to the lovely lady I met today- Lynn, I bought a real vintage wallpaper roll from her at Hopkinsons today. It is much harder and more expensive than I first anticipated but I think it will all be worth it! To increase authenticity I also have been thinking about the collection of dirt on the walls, smoke collecting and leaving frame marks- all things I’m thinking about! An interesting piece could be creating these forgotten frame marks. I think it would really emphasize the point of “a time gone by”.

Whilst I’m on a roll here about sharing my ideas. Reading George Perec’s- Life as a User’s Manual. One of his short stories quoted; “Soon the old flat will become a charming pied-a-terre, two recpt. + bedr., all mod. cons., open outlook, quiet. Gaspard Winckler is dead.” Although that might not make a lot of sense not read the whole story however the point here is that this man Gaspard Winckler died and he’d lived in that a house, had memories in that house. Then those memories are striped and the home becomes a sale, just a bunch of words that make the house sell-able. This notion was brought back to me as I spoke to someone really close to me about a relative who has passed away recently. The family have now began to remove his possessions and redecorate the house. It seems so sad to come in a gloss over those memories; wipe them away with a thick layer of magnolia. Just as when someone new moves into a home they want to put their stamp on the place eradicate the previous owners. I want to do a piece in response to this create a room setup only of magnolia furnishings, walls and coverings.