experiments

In the Studio: Experiments for Re-entry

There is a growing list of experiments that I am eager to dive into in the studio at Dartmouth Avenue. For now, I envision small models and installations: 

:: materials that read ephemeral, impermanent, vulnerable, friendly, human, warm, communicative, inviting (I have no idea how or what these involve, only the ideas at this point)

:: paper casts of small objects that have personal meaning

:: rubbings/frottage of surfaces and objects that are associated with home, place, belonging

:: combinations of objects that I associate with my father—the tools and materials he used in his work

:: playing with the relationships between and among objects

:: how to suspend, support, connect things—invent and build my own systems, frames and supports

:: invented maps—drawn directly onto wall, layered in space, suggesting not only place and location but also layers of meaning

:: installations that inhabit and occupy my space

When we return after the Christmas break, these are some possibilities for re-entering my studio practice.

Study sketches

After meeting with Michelle and Andrea for the RM tutorial, the ideas have started flowing for small tests and models I want to pursue in the studio.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Thread and frame studies',  Research Methodologies . Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Thread and frame studies', Research Methodologies. Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Thread and frame studies',  Research Methodologies . Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Thread and frame studies', Research Methodologies. Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Tape studies',  Research Methodologies . Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Tape studies', Research Methodologies. Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Paper studies: felting machine',  Research Methodologies . Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Paper studies: felting machine', Research Methodologies. Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Cable tie studies',  Research Methodologies . Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

O'Brien, K. (2017) 'Cable tie studies', Research Methodologies. Bath Spa University. Unpublished sketchbook.

In the Studio: Pierced Paper Experiments

At Dartmouth Avenue there is a vintage industrial felting machine in the mixed media textiles studio. It is traditionally used to felt two pieces of textiles together, but all I could think of was running all kinds of paper through it!

Vintage needle felting machine, Dartmouth Ave. mixed media textiles studio, Bath Spa University, 30 November 2017.

Vintage needle felting machine, Dartmouth Ave. mixed media textiles studio, Bath Spa University, 30 November 2017.

Vintage needle felting machine, Dartmouth Ave. mixed media textiles studio, Bath Spa University, 30 November 2017.

Vintage needle felting machine, Dartmouth Ave. mixed media textiles studio, Bath Spa University, 30 November 2017.

My interest lies in testing techniques to create degrees of opacity and translucency with manipulated paper. Piercing paper has been part of my practice through the use of a sewing machine to stitch images and sheets together. Patterns made in the paper as light shines through the piercings have been an unintended but welcomed outcome.

I wanted to see what happens with a less designed approach by simply allowing hundreds of needles to transform the paper. Would it be possible to get a more organic or at least abstract result using this machine?

Since this was a spontaneous set of tests during my induction to the machine with Stephen Daniels, I used three types of paper that I had on hand: sketchpad, vellum, and acetate. They had to be taped end-to-end to form a long enough sheet to safely pass through the needle bed.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper, 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper, 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper, 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: sketchbook paper, 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: vellum (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: vellum (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: vellum (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: vellum (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: acetate (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: acetate (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: acetate (detail), 30 November 2017.

O'Brien, K. (2017) Pierced paper tests: acetate (detail), 30 November 2017.

This is a promising start. It seems there is potential to create the effects and feelings that I seek: translucency, veiling, delicacy, vulnerability, impermanence. These initial results are satisfying, so I will continue in this vein. I am also surprised by how beautiful the destruction is from thousands of needle punches, and excited about the potential and application to my work.

For future experiments, I am interested in:

:: creating long sheets that can be draped or hung. I need to source rolls or larger sheets that are already long enough to go through the machine, or that can be attached (sewn, taped, lightly glued/lightly tacked?)

:: trying more types of paper and materials (thicker fine art paper, tissue paper, Tyvek (a synthetic American sheeting used in construction and for disposable hazmat suits), cellophane, handmade paper, plastic sheeting)

:: experimenting with color

:: text—possibly as a way of encoding hidden or secret messages

:: combining papers—run them through as two or more sheets together, layer felted and untreated pieces

:: making larger works —because the machine bed is only 16 inches wide, I will have to attach pieces together once they are felted to build larger pieces (machine stitch, hand-sew)

:: supports and frames—how will I install, suspend, drape, hang and otherwise make use of these materials?