So often I want to make a piece but have no idea how I am going to make it. But this isn’t a reason not to start and also certainly not a reason to be scared. Because I work with such a wide variety of materials and found objects I have now got used to having to devise ways of constructing.
I have quite a stock of found items in my studio. The only criteria for them being there is that I find then intriguing. It can be because of colour, form, materials or a memory that they trigger. I have had this set of avocado acrylic tap heads for a couple of years now. They are screaming 1970’s kitsch out to me but I am sure that what I make will be far from kitsch
About 10 months ago I drew this very rough sketch of the form I wanted to make. I take my inspiration from every where and luckily I have not only a huge library of visual inspiration photos on my computer but I can also recall them fairly easily. See attached photo album for evidence of my inspiration from circus tents, trapeze artists and even a ceramic bulb vase. I then commissioned a friend who has metal milling equipment to make this central brass boss. At the time I had access to various metal working pieces of equipment but as this was via an evening class in a local school and it was closed all summer Margot had to lie dormant.
So having access to the Jewellery Workshop while on the AA2A at Coventry University has been brilliant. If I haven’t been in the foundry I have been in the jewellery workshop.
Helen, the technician, has been really helpful and given me lots of encouragement when I thought that I had bitten off more than I could chew.
During my degree at MMU I had done some metalwork and had particularly enjoyed working with aluminum and copper but that was several years ago and this piece, Margot, was really very challenging to solder. In fact one of the base legs actually cracked and broke while I was working on her. Brass is a brittle material and I had just used too much heat in the same area when attempting to re solder a failed joint.
But every setback has a silver lining.
I had to go back into Birmingham to Keatleys the metal suppliers and after that I popped into see an old friend, Andy Phillips, who is a jeweller and diamond setter. I showed him what I had made of Margot and he gave me the encouragement that I needed. It was on his suggestion that I popped into the Birmingham School of Jewellery to find out about possible access to metalworking studios in the future. That’s where I saw the Rhino evening class advertised and so quickly signed up. It is good to keep adding to my skills and I can see that a knowledge of Rhino is going to be helpful to my practice.
Having succeeded in the soldering I have been a bit critical of my work. The angles between the supporting rods are not perfectly accurate ... but then in my defence I am not a machine, and I have made this piece to the best level that my current metal working skills allow.
But actually Margot is not about being a perfectly constructed piece she is a sculpture or ‘Being’ as I prefer to call my sculptural pieces. I am more interested what the resulting combination of form and materials says to viewers.
I hope to make work which resonates on a deeply emotive level and which acts as a vehicle to reconnect with a "place" or memory deep in our subconscious.
Margot is very close to completion. I now need to complete her with the appropriate fabric. Having first searched in various of my favourite fabric shops, including the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham, I am now waiting for a delivery from Whaleys in Yorkshire.
So not yet finished but significant progress has been made, not just in realising this piece but also in learning and refreshing my skills.