Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Paint Splattered and Exhausted

Well, the show is now set up, after a great deal of hard work from everyone (and GALLONS of paint on plinths, walls and floors). It all looks really good! The external examiners are coming in tomorrow to look at our back up work and to talk to us about our exhibits; then the Academic Board will meet to discuss our grades, which will be put on the notice board on Friday morning. Hopefully no wailing and gnashing of teeth...

Little lith is outside with thebigone, nestled in a wildflower patch. Pictures tomorrow....

Monday, 28 June 2010

Existential Crisis?

As the end of the year approaches I have been reflecting on all that has happened and pondering all that I have done. I know who I am here. I have changed, blossomed and grown so much; become LouLou as it were, and I do not know how it will be when I go back. I had not really had time to put down roots or settle in my new home before I moved here, and had not really made the time to establish my altered identity as 'unwife'. Another stage in the adventure I guess. Or, as I suppose I ought to say: 'all part of life's rich tapestry'!!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Plinthed Out

I have just finished making the last of ten (yes, ten) MDF plinths for the show. There are five pairs, all 40 cm square tops, and range in height from 55 cm to 80 cm. I will not post a picture of them because anyone with so much as a D&T O Level would have a conniption at how less-than-perfect they are! But I did them all myself (apart from cutting 50 x 50 cross section lengths of batten into 25 x 25 cross-section lengths of batten. KK did that for me because I am not allowed to use the table saw. Tomorrow I shall paint them white, which will cover a multitude of sins. Nearly there. One disinterrment and three small bits of weaving, and I am ready. Yee Haa!

An Avebury stone for you to admire.

Friday, 25 June 2010

In Situ

And here she is - thebigone in the centre of the mown circle within a ring of trees. All I have to do now is water her exposed warps, add my secret ingredients and allow time to do its thing. Very exciting day!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

She Stands!

I finished stitching the panel edges at about 9.15 pm, and tilted thebigone up, meaning to lean her against the wall, and she stands alone! So exciting to see. She is due to be pegged out in her place tomorrow, and then I can close this final opening, sculpt all the curves and panels and start the 'accelerated corrosion' on the exposed warps, which are just too clean. I think that I am rather pleased with the results of my labours, although it has reinforced in me the need to work ever larger. Hmmm.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Armature Day

thebigone off the loom and lying in state in plastic sheeting. Carrying her down to the van was (I imagine) exactly like removing a body wrapped in a carpet as she is very heavy. Glad it was daylight when we did it!
G arc welding one of the vertical struts to the base. Being in the forge again was good; the smell there takes me right back to a lovely blacksmithing course I did there last year. Very happy memories associated with the forge.
Half way through the construction, we dress her for sizing extra supports. She is still monumental in height, which is a great relief. There is heft in the weft!! We then carried her across to the Old Dairy for me to stitch her together. Two hours later, the top attached and very sore fingers. Mental note to self: wear a thimble tomorrow.... View from the top; never to be seen once she is standing.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

thebigone is off the loom!

Cutting the bottom warps. Very glad the double half hitches held.
And she falls into a heap at the bottom! The bottom ring is stuck, so I will have to wait for some muscle before I can finally remove her.
Braiding off the warp ends at the top edge of one of the panels.

LouLou IN the Loom

The next big job is to finish all the loose ends inside, and the best way is to do it before the piece is cut off the loom. So in I climb, armed with scissors and a big needle.

G came up to have a look at the 'finished' weaving and to discuss the building of the armature, which we are doing tomorrow morning in the forge. And then she will go straight out into the exhibition space. Preview before the show opens!!

And a picture of concentration.....

Monday, 21 June 2010

Hoorah #5 (and then some)

The weaving of thebigone was completed at 5.35 pm BST. (Hoorah #4 was just before lunch). I danced a little jig on the scaffolding, which caused it to rock mightily, but thankfully did not catapult myself out of the open window. Still all the finishing to do, but I might just allow myself an evening off to walk up the arboretum in the evening sunshine.

This is the final working height. I have had to live / work in jeans for days because of ladder climbing. Your picture puzzle task is to spot the following vital adjuncts to the weaver's tool box:-

1. Large mug for tea

2. Two tennis balls in a sock.

3. iPod

4. Fan

My wonderful friend P was in Piccadilly yesterday, and went to Fortnum's for Violet Creams as a finishing reward. I may allow myself two.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Hoorah #3, and other stuff....

Third panel finished just before tea break this afternoon.

Fourth one well on the way.....

A stone sculpture inspired by some large landscape 'people' that I saw in Iceland last summer.

My very own Henry Moore!

Beautiful or wot?


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hoorah #2

Another panel completed! There are advantages to being a penniless student with nowhere else to go; lots of work gets done.
Better than giving a cosmic scream at life.
That said, if anyone wants to come and 'take me away from all this' for a while, I would have the breaking strain of a warm Kit-Kat.....

Hoorah #1

I had a record breaking weaving day yesterday (1360 square cm), but was still shy of the top edge by about 8cm. I came in to the studio at 7 am (not that I'm obsessional or anything!), and have now reached the top of panel 3, and completed the half hitches. The original planned height was 210cm, but I extended it to 215 (a smidge over 7'). It should mean that the finished lith is taller than any viewer - even allowing for a bit of shrinkage when it comes off the loom.
Now for the tops of the other four panels - all narrower than this one.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Never Make A Visual Joke in Art School.... might be taken seriously!

There is a Surrealism conference at WD this weekend, and I put this dressed mannequin in the bar as a joke. Lo and behold, she (for I call my mannequin Florrie Whisper) has been deemed to be orthodox surrealism and added to the gallery of special art on display this weekend. Oops.

The question for you to ponder: What does an Orthodox Surrealist look like?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The dryad becomes a naiad....

This is the new home of the lith until the exhibition; alongside the Lavant, nestled by one of the flint bridges. There was a little circle of bare earth just made for her. I had walked round the garden a few times with the lith in my arms until this spot 'leapt out'. I can sit in my favourite timber summerhouse (you'll know the one if you have been round the garden with me) and watch over her if I so desire. Look at the reflection of the gorgeous blue sky in the water!

These are the last pictures of the lith out in the 'wilderness'. Today was the last day of the 40. The sun was shining as I walked up the track before breakfast, and there was slight trepidation....what if, at the last minute, it had been stolen?
And here she is, back in the studio. There seems to have been some fading, particularly of the silk used to make the black marks. The blue tone of the acrylic knops (yes, I did set aside my prejudices and use a synthetic yarn) is thrown into sharper relief against the greys.

The next task is to find a suitable spot in the gardens to host her until the show. I also need to investigate a location that DH has found which might be good for thebigone after the exhibition.

Watch this (cyber) space.....

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I finished weaving The Crown of Thorns / 'And With His Stripes...' imagery onto the main panel of thebigone last evening, and added the last of the background this morning. I think that things are on track for my wished-for deadline, although there are numerous small things I also need to make for the show; not least 163 nanoliths in plaster (like the ones above my profile, about 12cm high). As you do.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Just Because...

Giant poppies in the 'Wild' garden at WD. It really is utterly beautiful in the gardens here.

A visitor to the studio yesterday asked me "isn't it depressing working in grey all the time?". Not a bit of it, I love greys. There are so many subtle nuances; a pinky grey, a blue grey, a greyed mauve. An almost infinite range of tones to choose from. And once one begins optical mixing with yarns....

I am smiling already; 'grey' is most definitely NOT depressing.

Further Adventures of the Lith

This is how we found the lith this afternoon; stuck on a fence post! It had been raining very heavily today, so it was very heavy and waterlogged when I came to move it.

Following the deliciously French logic of EM; having put it back last time, it was replaced this time also. I did rotate it so that different imagery is on display.

Monday, 7 June 2010

End of Year Show

The West Dean College Visual Arts Show is from July 3rd - 9th. Private View on July 2nd. Entrance is free, and directions are available from the WDC website. If you would like to come to the PV, send me a message via the comments box / email if you know it, and I will send you a ticket.

Things Can Only Get Better......(Maybe Next Time)

Today we managed to shoot some video without sound, but found out too late that the format cannot be changed in Windows (will I be boring you if I say "Oh for my Mac" again?). You can watch it lying down. It shows the weaving of the 'And With His Stripes....' part of the imagery. The observant among you will notice not only the change of yarn, but also something else.....


And here is a close up of the woven surface....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Video (Nasty?)

I suggest that you turn off the sound before you watch this; very random background noises include The Doors (Alabama Song), a Bernina sewing machine, student conversation, footsteps and a sander! No editing software on this PC (oh for my Mac). But at least it shows the process of weaving tapestry, and explains why it is such a slow medium.

Feelings and Offerings

Every time I walk up to the lith site, it is with a mixture of trepidation and excitement at what I might find. And when I see that nothing has changed much, there is the mix of relief (phew!, no-one stole it) and slight sadness (oh!, nothing happened). The grass is still trampled, and the info sheet inside has been moved, so there is interaction and interest. From a fly at least....

I decided to make and leave a little offering, and see what response it elicits....

I am beginning to think about where I might move it to once the 40 days is completed, and before the Exhibition, when it will be shown inside, alongside other small pieces. Thebigone will be outside the gallery, in a lovely clearing.

I hope to post some video of the making of thebigone, for those of you who have never seen tapestry weaving. Watch this space.....

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Quotes for Today....

There's a blaze of light in every word,
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy, or the broken, hallelujah.

I did my best, it wasn't much,
I could not feel, so I tried to touch;
I told the truth, I didn't come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I'll stand before the Lord of song
with nothing on my tongue but 'Hallelujah'.

(Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah)

He said, 'You can't conceive, my child, nor can I or anyone -
the ... appalling ... strangeness of the mercy of God'

(Graham Greene: Brighton Rock)

Moving on up....

The scaffolding tower was moved in this morning, so that I can reach to weave the upper faces of thebigone. Hope to finish it by the summer solstice.
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