Sunday, 16 October 2011

City Form and Natural Process

In continuing with the mapping pieces i was creating last year i began to explore the idea of the balance between man made structures and the natural, and have been reading a a book called, 'City Form And Natural Process', by Michael Hough (1984) which explores these ideas. 

Though cutting out all the spaces between the road i want the explore the idea of isolation from everything that isn't mapped out for us, all the areas we miss in daily life, "The technology that sustains the modern city has now touched every corner of human life, every landscape and wilderness, no matter how remote, and reinforces this isolation." 

The book also talks about how, "The average urban dweller going about his daily life will experience the city though its pattern of streets and pedestrian ways,  shopping areas, civil squares, parks and gardens. there is another generally ignored landscape however, lying beneath the surface of the cities public places."

Hough also uses a good example of the battle between the man made and the nature trying reclaim the land through a place called The Outer Harbour Headland, in Toronto. It was a harbour built by the Toronto Harbour Commission in 1959 to accommodate what they believed would be a massive rise in shipping due to the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway. When the new trade never happened the Headland was left unused and now is a demonstration of the natural process. 

"From the loose rubble, subsoil and sand from which it was built, a new landscape has begun to evolve. Wind and wave grinding bricks of concrete to sand; marshland and mudflats have appeared, that have now provided a habitat for thousands of breeding and migrated gulls. terns and ducks. some species of plants have migrated here and established themselves."

"the question that arises, therefor, is this: which are the derelict sites in the city requiring rehabilitation? Those fortuitous and ecologically diverse landscapes representing the urban natural forces at work, ir the formalised landscapes created by man?"

Sunday, 22 May 2011

FACT - Knowledge Lives Everywhere 1st April - 12 June 2011

I recently went to see the 'Knowledge Lives Everywhere exhibition at FACT.

"Knoledge Lives Everywhere places these unique projects and ideas at the heart of the FACT building, turning FACT into a playground of ideas, and a space that showcases the collaborations between artists, thinkers, communities and individuals."

The exhibition had several areas, the first being a media lounge, where the viewer is invited to not only listen to stories told by people in Merseyside, but to also leave their own responses and stories. The area is dressed like a house and the audience can share their own stories by writing them down in a book, typing them on an old typewriter, or recording them on a telephone.

'The Social Playground' was made by local community groups in collaboration with the artist collective Aberrant Architecture, and contains seven interactive architectural pieces which each explores a different part of FACTs Collaboration Programme and its relationship to the city. 

Map work

Since Christmas i have been working alot with paper, and focusing on continuing the work i was doing with maps. Initially i was working inside AtoZ's, cutting out the spaces 'between the lines', but this became problematic, because the sheets were double sided and so only one side made sense and it no longer worked as a book. After this i began creating them on plain white paper, i liked this effect because although you can tell it is a map, its difficult to tell exactly what or where its from, also the plain white makes the likes look more delicate and 'web like'. To present this work i've currently used black frames, with the pieces raised away from the wall, to create intricate shadows behind the pieces, however this is still a work in progress and i am going to carry on exploring the piece, and experiment with how to present it. 

Royal Wedding Tea Party

Inspiration For The Upton Workshop

Upton Workshops

 During my workshop at the school I looked at artists whos work could inspire the students towards making their own pieces based on the stained glass windows of the schools chapel, we then used ipod touches to take photos of aspects and patterns from the windows, the chapel and around the school, which the students then used to created designs which they painted onto clear plastic using brightly coloured acrylic. 

Monday, 28 February 2011


Upton Hall School Project

During our workshops we are planning on splitting the group into two smaller groups to work on different techniques, and then switching over half way through to help the girls incorporate the maximum amount of ideas and techniques into their final piece for the project.

The first session with the students will focus around talking about what we would like the achieve for the project, and focusing the students ideas for a narrative for the project into a brainstorm and then a storyboard. Once we have a narrative decided we will divide the story up into sections, students will have part of the story to intemperate for themselves throughout the project. We will also write down all the initial ideas for the pieces to reference at the end of the piece. There will also be a big focus about what kind of impact/atmosphere we want the Rosary Walk to have, and how best to achieve this by the end of the project.

In the second half of the first session we will have the whole group doing an origami workshop.

The second workshop with the students will be about felt making techniques and a pottery workshop, looking at how we could use beads and wind chimes in the piece.

In the third session we will be looking at painting with acrylics onto plastic and natural materials, as well as other painting techniques like emulsion transfer. The other group will be looking at sculpture with natural materials.

Our last session with the students will be used to create or work into their final idea for the project. By this point we hope they will each be creating and developing their own different ideas from the starting points we have shown them. At the end of the session we will also ask them to write a short statement about their work and how it relates to the narrative.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Some old photos from an exhibition we took part in with Royal Standard in the Crypt at NOVAS, Liverpool last year, beginning with my piece for the project. 

..thinking more about Upton Hall School

We have been talking more today about how we  want to progress with our ideas for our project at Upton Hall School. After being told that we can show our work in the grounds on an evening we really want to focus on exaggerating the magical feel the path already has. 

We really want to create work that will slot into the existing path, making use of the small clearings in places around the walkway. We are also looking into the idea of using out-door lighting and pieces of mirrors, not only to show the pieces, but also to help us create the enchanting atmosphere we want the project to have. 

One of our biggest inspirations when walking around the school was the colourful stain glass in the chapel, and so we really want to incorporate the kind of imagery and colours used in the windows, bringing that outside into the walk.

We would be looking to create these 'window' pieces using a range of materials, possibly incorporating natural materials to fit with the surroundings.

Also we are really interested in the history of school, especially as the path leads down to a grave site where the nuns are buried, and we are currently looking at ways of using the history in our piece, possibly though a story we can weave around the path.