Sunday, June 9, 2013

Part Five: Project 10 - An Introduction to the Design Project and Artist Research

A Design Project

Starting this project is daunting, we have studied so many different techniques since the start of the course, where do I begin?
One of the consistent approaches to each project has been the way that we have been encouraged to work, in this project we are given a reminder:
  • Make a series of drawings based on your source material.
  • Develop a series of design ideas selected from drawings.
  • Match yarns and fabrics to colours and textures.
  • Make a set of textile samples interpreting some of your design ideas.
  • Plan and make a final piece.
My title for the design project is 'Discarded'
I discussed how I decided on this word as my theme earlier in the blog Starting a Theme Book

From this thought process I have found a number of artists that I wish to research.

At this point I know that I would like to use some unusual materials in my finished piece and my samples. 
I have already started to collect some discarded materials: tea bags, carrier bags, plastic packaging that I would like to incorporate into my samples.

I would also like to focus on waste materials and packaging, mass production and consumerism in this project.

Dictionary definition of the word discarded:
Discarded: past participle, past tense of dis-card (verb)
1: Get rid of (someone or something) as no longer useful or desirable.
2: (In bridge, whist or similar card games) Play (a card that is neither of the suit led or a trump), when one is unable to follow suit.

I have researched the following artists who have a link to working with discarded objects, or with themes associated to my project.
This list is not complete yet, it grows every time I look at a website, read a textile article or book, or just browse the net.
These are the artists that I have started with:

Artists Research

Gwen Hedley
Gwen has written two books, Drawn to Stitch and Surfaces for Stitch, she is a member of the Textile Study Group.
Gwen works with used materials, she uses plastics and worn fabrics and draws with, and on, anything that is 'at hand'.
One of my favourite pieces is Not What it Seams.
This work reflects her passion for the surrounding countryside, living near Dungeness, she walks and collects and beach combs the shores.
'Not What it Seams' contains abandoned shoes that have been washed up on the shore, it shows the erosion that the tide has inflicted on the objects that have been enclosed in the piece.
Alongside the 'damage' you can also see the beauty of the objects that have been smoothed, subdued and softened by the tide - there is a new beauty in the old and discarded object.

Andy Warhol 1928 - 1987
It seemed odd to include an artist who celebrated mass production, but that is one of the themes I have looked at in my initial investigation.
We buy, we throw away, the object is gone forever.
There have always been brands around like Campbell's soup, here is a link to the image created by Andy Warhol, but if they stopped producing soup the brand image would be gone forever, Warhol immortalised the humble soup can.

Tilleke Schwartz
Tilleke tells stories through her pieces of embroidery and mark making.
I would like to include imagery and mark making through stitch in some of my samples.
Mark Making 2000 is a piece I was able to see at an exhibition called Smile at the Ruthin Craft Centre a few years ago, this is when I fully appreciated this artists work.

Michael Brennand-Wood
I have always liked Michael Brennand-Wood's work, at first view it is pretty and flowery, but get closer and there is usually a darker layer below.
Burst 2009 sees machine embroidered flowers on stems bursting out from a red base. Look closer and you will see that the base is made of many plastic toy soldiers covered in red paint, resembling death on the battle field and the flowers that grew over war fields where the soldiers lay.
This piece by Michael Brennand-Wood is based on lace, I love the cut out shapes which have brightly covered fabrics placed in the spaces.
His ideas and techniques are ones that I would like to incorporate into my designs.

Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film and social, political and cultural criticism.
His work always has a story, as a dissident he is acutely aware of the sufferings of people.

Ai's work, Straight is an installation which consists of a 38 ton pile of steel rebar which the artist salvaged from an earthquake site.
The piece commemorates the tragedy of 5200 schoolchildren who perished during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Ai Weiwei created the work to highlight the human injustices that have accompanied China's economic boom.

In the west we are continuing to sell 'cheap' discardable products so that the consumer will buy without worry about the cost. Milk is sold at a price below the cost of production. Something will give eventually, if the product is sold below cost of production, someone, somewhere is suffering. Wages will be low, housing conditions of the workforce will continue to get worse.

Zwelethu Mthethwa
Zwelethu Mthethwa is a photographer from Cape Town, South Africa, who deals mainly in the subject of portraiture.
This article from Cool Hunting talks about his new works. Zwelethu says that revealing someone's true identity through his portraiture, "is more about exploring the relationship they have with their belongings or their environment, than capturing their unique appearance." (see link for the source)

One of his new works is a series called "Hope Chest".
A Hope Chest is a large wooden box that is given to a woman on her wedding day from her family, "inside are the woman's most prized possessions, which she takes with her to her new home." (see link for source)

We identify ourselves often by our appearance, people judge you by the type of clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in. Advertising plays a large part in the way we shop today.
I like the idea of a hope chest, taking only what we value with us into a new life, years ago girls would have had a "bottom drawer" to fill with items that they had made and would take with them into married life.

Hong Yi
A Malaysian artist who created an image of the Burmese opposition leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi, using 2000 white carnations.You can see the result here.
This is a piece that was made with fresh flowers and therefore would only be viable for a few days. I like the idea that art can be transitional.

Bernard Pras
Bernard Pras created an anamorphic sculpture from waste and discarded materials. This is the link to the installation, including footage of how the portrait was created.
I like the way that Bernard Pras only used objects that were found or scavenged from around the installation site.

El Anatsui
El Anatsui's work is currently covering the Royal Academy - footage of the work being displayed is on the BBC news website, this is the link. I like the title the BBC gave the article "Rubbish artwork on display at the Royal Academy"
I would like to include the use of discarded objects in my samples

William Kentridge
William Kentridge is a South African artist who is best known for his prints, drawings and animated films. I first came across his work when I picked up a book entitles "William Kentridge: Tapestries" and from that point I was hooked.
This is one of his works, Portage, the figures are created from torn black paper, the figures are shadows, no features can be seen.
Often the people in his works are cast as refugees or porters, travelling across the countryside, they are placed against maps - as seen here in this link, this piece is from his Porter series, and depicts silhouettes of figures bearing items of furniture crossing various maps - travelling with their heavy burdens.

I would like to include the use of figures, and even silhouettes in some of my samples.

These artists will be written up in my theme book along with images from the various artists.

My next thought is to look further into the theme of 'discarded', to develop primary research, on which I hope to base some of my samples.

No comments:

Post a Comment