On Tuesday Tom Stevenson and myself gave artists talks at the University. It was a treat to hear Tom speak and see his impressive painting work, and great to share the process so far with the students. I had some really helpful approaches from several MA students afterwards. One of them showed me her video footage of the wave machine that Plymouth University owns in the Marine Biology area. I explained that I would like to use a handicam and film the phenomenon of groundswell, although it may be hard to find a location where I can do this. I have enquired about contacting the Marine Biology staff, and presume that this will be OK.
I dropped into the wood work area to speak to Richard Wood, the technician and team leader and his helpful thoughts gave me pause. I couldn't work with wood on site as I haven't yet had an induction, but we were able to discuss different ideas. He suggested I think about creating work which was the result of something that simulated tectonic pressure, so that the making process related to what was being investigated. I loved that idea, although in reality I am not sure how to put materials under that amount of stress - perhaps I could find some advice within materials science, perhaps the wave simulator can create the image of groundswell through pressure! I need to find out. At the same time, it's a question of material processes that I can usefully and manageably do in the studio, at least to some extent, and I like the way this broadens things out.
On the train home I read my bentwood book, so kindly lent to me by Peter Bodenham. It sounds as though working with oak is the best way forward. On Thursday I spoke with friend Brian about bent wood work, and we are planning a bentwood play date on Thursday! He has some thin oak strips we can work with. Steam is incredibly hot, so care (and specialist gloves!) will be needed. There is a tube that I can borrow, we would need to create an end for it and build a jig to hold the bent wood in place (overextended, as there will be springback).