Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Picasso said we should all learn to draw like children, by this he meant let go of learned, technical skill and capture the joy of sensation, colour, form and wild imagination. It is really hard to do, I take refuge in skill, feeling that if something doesn't quite capture the fleeting, glimpse I had in the original inspiration then at least it will be beautiful because of the skill. I keep letting go "just a little bit" - which is an oxymoron. I have to trust that these funny little vessels will be able to carry me beyond the safety of technical skill and into the wild blue sea.
I've always loved those old- fashioned museums where there are row upon row of pressed, dried and stuffed specimens. Collecting wallum impressions makes me think of those enormous, dusty collections. The thing that galvanised the Victorians to create such collections was curiosity. The collection was just a representation of the unknowable mystery and greatness of the world. I think that's what I like most about this crazy collecting. Instead of illuminating the world and making everything clear, a collection of dried flowers or stuffed birds illuminates the mystery in human beings as well as the mystery in Nature.
Monday, January 18, 2010
This is a photo of what Rebecca and I get up to when we enter the wallum. What you can see here is our "Wallum Kit" contained in it's super- duper heavy duty 4WD toolbox.
This contains a couple of reference books on the wallum, some plastic containers for holding our "impressions" and samples, a lump of porcelain, two containers with "silpression" (a two- pack jewellery moulding silicon rubber), brushes, video and normal cameras, and water.
"Silpression" impression from the wallum.
We've been gradually refining the data we need for our collaborative and individual pieces. I've been collecting impressions of the wallum in porcelain and silpression. In the studio I've been experimenting applying these to porcelain- thrown objects and flat discs. Applying texture to thrown objects is tricky. For years I've been refining shapes and surfaces that strongly refer to the perfect circle created by the wheel. Applying texture to porcelain warps it out of shape, even if you straighten it up to round again the clay has a memory that comes out in the firing.
Currumundi was the first big outing for the Wallum Kit and it worked great.....but I have to say that dragging it up another really steep sandhill when we thought it was just a short walk to the beach was hard work.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Then the pieces were neutralised in soda and cleaned with scotch brite and fine brass brush. I patinated them with some Jax blackener. It does not really work well on copper but when I woke up this morning I found that verdigris had grown in the coral fern etch overnight! Magical chemicals!
I like the etching method and also making impressions from etching as unlike the other methods we have tried with silicone and wax and clay, it allows me to reduce the scale. I am doing more experiments with the etchign and will try to multilayer it, like the multilayers of the wallum.