A methodology employed in my practice involves integrating the choreography of process into the act of drawing. In my last blog, I talked about having to let go of the direction of travel I thought I was going on. To do so, I went back to this central methodology and watched my body’s response to the material I was working with. How did my body manoeuvre? What were the repeated gestures? What agency did my body have or provide and how did it compliment that of the agency of the material?
It has become clear that in paper-making the gesture of press is key.
In exploring press as a way to draw, I was naturally drawn to working with embossing and moulding. However, neither processes revealed anything intriguing to me and once the work was dry it appeared overly fixed and rigid as if in a state of rigor mortis. I didn’t know what I was looking for but I also knew I wasn’t finding it. In addition another set of problems had arisen. One of my initial ambitions for the AA2A residency had been to explore working on a larger scale through making my own paper. However whenever I scaled up the format of the paper, the Press drawings that I was making felt unresolved. I couldn’t figure out why. The artist Katharina Fitz and I co-mentor each other. It is an informal, supportive programme where we meet and give time to talk about practice. It was thanks to one of these sessions that I realised that the relationship between the line of the deckle edge and the line of the made mark cannot be ignored.
My practice strives to find a space between order and chaos and I often use repetition as a way to create order for the unruly line to reveal itself. The surface becomes a stage for the performed mark. In working with made paper, an innate unruly line was already part of the work i.e. the deckle edge. This deckle-edged line has its own scale that is fixed no matter the scale of the paper. Therefore, any mark-making placed upon the paper will automatically have a relationship with this line. Within larger format drawings this relationship becomes unconfigured in the work and this is why, I realised, this work felt unresolved. With smaller formatted work, however, the mark-making placed upon the paper revealed a harmonious and corresponding relationship with the deckle-edge line. In working with this relationship, the surface becomes an integrated part of the drawn object.