Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Out Yer Tree Installation Day

Saturday saw me and my long suffering husband installing my video tape extravaganza at Lickey Hills Country Park near Birmingham for the Out Yer Tree outdoor contemporary art exhibition which starts this weekend.  It was a glorious day and the park is a lovely place with fabulous views over the surrounding countryside.  We met at the visitor centre and then set off to walk the route of planned exhibition area to choose where we would all like to exhibit our work.  The park is mixed woodland but has alot of pines with tall straight trunks and I was looking for a tree with more horizontal branches for my work. Quite early on I spotted an oak tree that I thought would be ideal. 

On the way round the park I spotted several other possible trees but they were in the more open areas of the park and I wanted a location which was more enclosed and my first tree remained the front runner!  None of the other artists favoured "my" tree so no fisty cuffs was required to secure it!  lol  So, we set to and started to install.  There was a smaller oak next to my tree and I initially thought I would hang in both of them so we started by hanging a few in the smaller tree but ultimately I decided I wanted them all in the one tree.

The hanging itself was pretty straightforward, not knowing in advance what size branches we would be hanging the work from we had taken two methods of suspension, bike spokes and chain!  The majority of the pieces were hung using the bike spokes.  This heavy metal could be successfully bent around the branches and through the swivel hooks of the baskets.  The chain was only needed for the branches which were too thicker to use the spoke method on.  Each of the baskets hangs from their original chains attached to a swivel hook which I added so they turn freely and without tangling the chains up.  The position of the branches meant a few of them needed some minor adjustments to the chain length.

It really was a two man job as most of the branches were higher than could be comfortably reached and required a ladder and a nimble husband to hop about the tree!  I think my husband heard "Can you reach a bit further?  Just a bit more...?"  a few more times than he wanted to!  lol  After lots of adjustment and readjustment all of the pieces were in place securely and my husband was still in one piece too!

During the time I've been making these I've only had one or two hanging in the garden and seeing all 10 hung in the tree exceeded my expectations, the light playing on them through the trees and the sound of all of them rustling in the breeze was fantastic.  It's really difficult to capture moving video tape in a photo though!   

I hope these images give you an impression of the piece but, of course, the best way to experience the work is to go and enjoy it in the flesh as it were!  ;o)  Most of the pieces hang low enough to be interacted with by visitors and I hope they will get amongst them and really enjoy them. 

The exhibition runs for three weeks and I'm looking forward to seeing how much the pieces evolve over that time.  The process will be dictated by nature and I have no real idea of what will happen which is a very exciting part of the work. 


The exhibition opens this Saturday (29th May) with a Walk and Talk event at 2pm where all the artists will walk the route and each talk about their work.  Alot of the artists were still installing when we left on Saturday so I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing about all the other artwork, it should be another exciting day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Now you see me, now you don't

Having completed the last of my hanging pieces for Suspended re:Purpose this afternoon I set about tidying the studio, and yes, I can actually see the floor again now!  ;o)  I'm selling at Mildenhall air base tomorrow, Thursday and Friday so I spent the afternoon organising jewellery and display stands and rounding up all the assorted paraphenalia I need to take.  I have some pendants to finish this evening to add to my display tomorrow.  As I was finishing my last basket my eyes lighted on a half completed assemblage piece on my desk and inspiration on completing struck me.  ;o)  All the time I was on Warfarin last year after my PE I diligently collected the blister packs from my tablets and by the time I got the all clear to stop taking them I had a carrier bag full and an urge to make some art with them.  ;o)  This is the resulting piece:

"Now you see me, now you don't"

The blister packs are attached to board from a fabric sample book cover with brass drawing pins and acrylic paint applied over the top.  The video tape is my trial run of the text for my RA Summer Exhibition submission, Her Honesty and Her Pain.  I was playing with my heat gun to see how the tape reacted.  ;o) 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Caught on Tape

Heading into a busy week and thought I'd share some images of my progress on my assemblage pieces for the Out Yer Tree outdoor art exhibition at Lickey Hills Country Park.  My studio is slowly disappearing under video tape, tape reels and empty cassettes as I edge towards completion of the dozen hanging pieces!

I'm really enjoying working with the video tape although it can become a bit hard on your hands after a while and a video tape cut is akin to a paper cut, ooooooooouch!  I'm progressing well with the dozen pieces though and only have two to complete in readiness for installation day next weekend. 


The piece is entitled Suspended re:Purpose and comprises the 12 pieces all constructed from used and, in some cases VERY well used, hanging baskets and copious amounts of video tape.  I wanted to explore the idea of intentionally placing a man made material in the natural environment in a constructed form.  The video tape will inevitably deteriorate and "evolve" over time with nature dictating the process.  Once hung the tape creates ever changing fluid forms which reflect the light beautifully.  I have had one hanging in my garden all week and it is a constant source of interest, watching the movement, changing colours and patterns in the light of different times of day is very absorbing.  I love the contrast of seeing what I consider a beautiful object in a lovely setting but it's made from a material that will challenge alot of people's acceptance of artwork made with, to say the least, non traditional art materials!  Like them or loathe them, I hope viewers of this work will find it thought provoking and worthy of discussion.   

I want to continue to explore and experiment with video tape and, excitingly, I have been offered a solo exhibition in a local venue and my thoughts are all leading toward a body of work to exhibit using video tape.  Watch this space!   

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Catching Up

I've been a busy bee the last few weeks so lots to catch up on! 

At the end of April I took part in the Scrap Heap Art Challenge as part of the North Norfolk Earth Day celebrations at Deepdale Farm, Burnham Deepdale on the Norfolk coast.  The basic idea of the gig was to go along and spend the day creating art from scrap materials.  My friend, Kath, and I arrived on the day in glorious sunshine (it stayed that way all day!) and met up with the event organiser, Andrea Bramhall, and the other artists, John Colahan, Sarah Caputo, Karen Harvey & Karen Fevyer from Atelier East and Karen Steadman, in the courtyard where we were to work. We drew lots out of the hat to decide who would work with which pile of materials and this was ours:

We weren't given any information in advance about the nature of the scrap materials we'd be working with and I have to confess that I was expecting smaller, more "domestic" items such as CDs, paper goods, packaging, textiles etc so wasn't quite prepared for barbecues and bike wheels!  Tool wise, I'd gone prepared for smaller stuff but fortunately our nearest neighbours, John and Karen S, had a wide range of tools and were very generous with them.  ;o)  After period of perusal, deconstruction began....

Kath and I spent the morning working through our many and varied ideas, using the groovy old record player as the base for our piece.  Sometime around lunchtime I had brain freeze and Kath had to removeme from the scene of the crime for some light relief in the form of a veggie sausage roll, salad and a hot chocolate!  ;o)  After this respite, with an accompanying discussion of what we wanted to convey with our artwork, we set to and romped through the afternoon constructing our piece, Portals to Future Past...

In brief, we wanted to create a piece that addressed the vital importance of recycling in today's world but also a piece that connected the past and future, showing that we can learn from the thrifty and resourceful ways of our forebears and apply them to our present to create a sustainable future.  Portals to Future Past.

The day was a great success, all the artists created fantastic and very different pieces from their scrap.  I found it challenging but fun to work with a restricted range of materials in a set timeframe and would certainly do it again. ;o)  This is the winning piece, the fabulous Contemplating Colin, with his creator, Karen Steadman...

The work is on display at Deepdale Farm over the summer so if you're in the area do go along and take a look.  Big thanks to Kath for sharing the day with me, it was a great experience and we had such a fun time creating together!  ;o)  Also, many thanks to Andrea and her helpers for a lovely day and here's to next year's Scrap Heap Challenge!

My next piece of news is that my proposal for an exhibit at the Out Yer Tree outdoor art exhibition at Lickey Hills Country Park at the end of May has been accepted!  ;o)  This is the first proposal I have made in my art career and I'm very excited to have been selected.  I shall be creating a dozen large hanging assemblage "tassel" pieces constructed from used hanging baskets and video tape...

Other news....I am currently waiting to hear from the Royal Academy of Arts as to whether my artist book piece, Her Honesty and Her Pain, has been selected for this year's Summer Exhibition.  This piece also involves video tape, can you see a theme developing?  ;o)  I am currently creating new jewellery pieces for another jaunt to Mildenhall air base in a couple of week's time and I am also working on a community project in conjunction with Chatteris In Bloom.  We are painting a 40ft long hoarding with a market scene populated by legendary screen stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Laurel & Hardy and Carmen Miranda (on the fruit and veg stall, of course!).