Friday, 18 September 2015

C-Art 2015 Wrapped: Response work

Wrapped, 2015
September in Cumbria means it's time for C-Art, when artists and art organisations across Cumbria open their studios to the public. At Prism Arts we've been busy putting together a display of work by the groups we work with and this year we also have a new strand to our displays. All of the Prism Artists were invited to produce some work in response to the work of our participants and this work is on show in our small studio (which is just across the corridor from our big studio.) We have also got 'Skyground' on display in the small studio and it's interesting how differently it works inside (previously it was on display in Tullie House gardens.)

Skyground, 2015

Work by No Borders

I chose to respond to work by one of the members of the No Borders group that I regularly work with and I created a series of branches wrapped with different threads, yarns and fibres which I then dyed using indigo. So, as well as responding to the work of another artist I also used this as an opportunity to explore a technique I'd been wanting to try for some time; indigo dyeing. I had already done a bit of work inspired by this person so this was a good opportunity to develop it a bit further.

Exhibition view, small studio

Earth Spirits (detail) by Leah Cameron

Jan Hicks

Celia Burbush

When we (Prism Artists) all came to install our work it was interesting to see how well our pieces worked together. Leah's beautiful 'Earth Spirits' were already in place and as soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to display my branches above them, which was lucky as that was the space I'd been allocated! Further along we hung Jan Hick's beautiful bird piece, all of our pieces referencing the natural world. Opposite the indigo blues of my branches are matched by the vibrant blue skies and beautiful seascapes of Celia Burbush. None of us had spoken to each other about our response pieces so it was really lovely how all the work came together so well.

Wrapped, 2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

This is my statement, accompanying my work:

Delivering projects for Prism Arts gives me the opportunity to work with a wide range of people in a variety of settings. Often my own art practice is greatly influenced by these projects. I am often inspired by the ideas, approaches and sheer joy of making that I see in many of the participants I work with. The projects also give me an opportunity to play and experiment with materials and techniques as I often produce sample pieces to take to workshops.

Magic Tree by Jackie, 2014
When all the Prism Arts artists were invited to make a piece of work in response to the work of our participants I knew immediately that I wanted to respond to the work of Jackie from the No Borders Art Group at Carlton Day Service. During one of the projects I'd been working on with this group I had introduced them to thread wrapping as a way of exploring colour and texture. Jackie took this idea and developed it, creating a beautiful thread wrapped branch. Her intuitive use of colour and texture and her focus on her work really inspired me and led to this series of indigo dyed thread wrapped branches.

This piece of work ties in with previous pieces of mine exploring restraint and containment but would not have come about without Jackie.

Wrapped (detail)  2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

As I mentioned in my statement this work explores the dichotomy of wrapping; it can be both protective and restrictive, a restraint or a comfort. I like these two conflicting interpretations and have tried to emphasise this element of the work further by my use of materials, both delicate and strong, natural and fabricated.

Wrapped (detail)  2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

Wrapped (detail)  2015

I have really enjoyed working on these branches, it is a very therapeutic process and I like the finished result too. Working with natural materials and experimenting with natural dyeing is also a very satisfying process, creating a feeling of connection with the natural world. It is quite a time consuming process, allowing time for contemplation and consideration. 

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