Monday, 29 December 2014

New Video! and Christmas Update

This is just a short post and update for anyone who is interested, but because of the pressure of our university work we've decided to postpone posting until after our assessments are over (around the middle of January.) Don't worry though because we've been doing a lot of planning on the side and I thought I should post my new short film that I made during a couple of hours in a car during Christmas.

Being stuck in a long queue at the Euro Tunnel with my family, and recently receiving a new camera for Christmas! I thought it would be perfect to shoot a small sequence just of our journey back to my Nan's house and edit it on the way to mine from hers. I think the rainy weather and dark lighting were transcended into my attitude because the film does have a soothing melancholy vibe. I mean who wants Christmas to be over anyways?! Tell me what you think in a comment below please.

Sorry we've had to go into hibernation for the winter, if bears get away with it, so can we! or not... who knows, maybe I'll have some more time on another long journey to make some more short films if you guys enjoy this one? Thanks for the support and reading, hope you enjoy it!

Until later on, Michael and Lauren x

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Practice: Artist Books

Title Book A 2 Book A 3 Book A Open Book A 1 Book A Without Sleeve Book A Overall
We are sorry we missed a whole week of posting last week, Michael especially has been extremely busy producing work for a ‘Paint Salon’ opening tonight at the University and teasing me with lots of hints about birthday preparations for next weekend (eek). Today I thought I would continue with our ‘Practice’ series and introduce you to another vital part of what I do, Artist Books. These books could be seen as finalised works but I personally see them as imperative parts of the development process or summaries of larger works. 

Both of the pieces I am about to share with you ran alongside the cube that I introduced you to a couple of weeks ago. I enjoy incorporating books in my work because I feel as though there is a misconception that they have to incorporate words. I feel that when the pages teach us something and metaphorically have something to say, whether its through texture, pattern or images then the book is a successful one.

Book A.

Continuing on with the themes I discussed with you in my last post my first source of inspiration came from the pieces of drift wood people had placed on the beach to mark the dead and the bodies that were never found after the Tsunami. I found it fascinating that in the Buddhist religion death is celebrated as it is believed that life is never lost but simply reborn into a new form. I found something beautiful in the notion that the driftwood, like the lives they represented will also one day be claimed by the sea.

I wanted the outside of my design to appear as a piece of drift wood that could stand alone or as part of the over all piece. I created a printed sleeve with the pattern of the driftwood, which I enhanced by digitally creating a design that I then hand cut into the paper for added texture. I later backed this with a piece of acetate to ensure that the design didn’t get caught when it was slid on and off, this could be removed to reveal a book.

The second sleeve I designed acted as a book cover; I wanted to keep the design pure as it was intended to represent a religious ideal. The title of the book is Anicca, a Buddhist principle I had explored in earlier works that means ‘in reality there is no thing that ultimately ceases to exist; only the appearance of a thing ceases as it changed from one form to another’. This quote not only summarized the concept of the piece but also the design, which, like the sea is constantly changing from one form to another as each sleeve is removed.

This changing of forms embodies the Tsunami, water is able to change the appearance of a piece of drift wood but it is also capable of reshaping an entire landscape. For this reason I wanted an element of water embedded within the centre of the piece, I was able to produce my own seascape using the pages within the book. This required hand-cutting 270 pages, 54 big waves, 108 medium and 108 small to get enough depth within the piece. Although, this work didn’t turn out as the environment I originally envisaged at the beginning of the semester, I feel as if it tells the story of a spiritual journey through clean and concise design.

Book B.

Through my second book I thought it was important to reflect on the work I had produced so far that Semester and reference the theories of Mitchell Resnick to write my own text that deconstructed my work and practice as if it were an object. Alongside this writing I took photos of my former wax works and felt a sense nostalgia within each pieces that connected them.

I began dipping printed textures and text into wax relating back to the notion of submersion that began the project. I experimented with the effects it had on various textured and coloured paper. I liked the contrast between the original photography and the wax-coated imagery that had been visually transformed into something new.

Within the book I hoped to comment on the movement of time and the importance of an object whilst understanding the current state of my practice. Books and the accumulation of fragmented imagery has always been important to the development of my work. The pages teach us something about ourselves as well as speaking to and informing others. To incorporate a sculptural aspect into my book I experimented with new methods of binding with wax. I tested repeatedly dipping into wax and various ways of extracting blocks cleanly from a mould. I built a mould of wood and plastic, coated in cling film and carried out several attempts to ensure I produced the correct outcome. For the final piece I dropped small metal filings into the wax to sit at the top of the binding. This resulted in a wedge of microcrystalline wax holding the book together meaning that the pages themselves began creating a wave.

I have received some wonderful feedback from people over my last practice posting and I really appreciate the support, hopefully people continue to enjoy this series of blogs!

Until later on, Lauren and Michael x

Book B Experimentation Book B 3 Book B 2 Book B 1 Book B Open

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Remember Remember...

Title Parade 1 People on Statues Lauren next to Parade Michael and Lauren Lauren with Torches 1
This week has been a long one in terms of work which is why we were both so excited for the weekend filled with marches, bonfires and fireworks! Winchester is renowned for its firework display and this year was no disappointment!

It kicks off with everybody uniting at the bottom of the high street, were you can purchase a small burning torch (and optional Christmas hot drink, yay). Once the crowds have gathered in a mismatch of small flames, a marching band begins its journey encouraging people to follow that form the parade. It’s an amazing thing just seeing such a diverse group of people, young children being cautiously watched by their parents, teenagers in groups, couples and the people who just get caught up in it all and decide to join in. It is always a nice thing to see the individuals that form a community being brought together which is the aim of events like these. We need more!

The parade route wraps round the top of the high street and back around to a wardened off area, that’s close to the moors, where a 20 feet high wood pile that had taken two days to construct by a full team of 20 plus volunteers. We were lucky to arrive early enough to be standing at the very front of the crowds! The whole field really takes you back to being a child and having those memorable bonfires with parents, drinking sips of warm mulled wine and chasing it with a crisp breath of autumn air.

With a quick appearance from the mayor of Winchester (who was very enthusiastic!) to countdown and ignite the bonfire. The early flames consuming the dark gave us the perfect opportunity to take some inspirational photographs; we may have gone a little snap happy… The fireworks display had people gathering from over seas as well as neighbouring postcodes. Really something that you have to see close up to really enjoy. Bringing to life huge sense of community and tradition, I would love to come back and revisit it later on in life.

In all the display was really something that we needed, we can really appreciate how much effort and labour goes into planning events like these to make them as good as they are! It’s always a great way to start the Christmas season and say goodbye to the summer in style. Thanks for reading this post, if you were there or had an event similar where you’re from let us know! We’d love to hear and compare because fireworks are great no matter how many there are.

Until later on Michael and Lauren x

Bonfire 1 Bonfire 2 Bonfire 3 Fireworks 1 Fireworks 4 Fireworks 2 Fireworks 3