Russian Constructivism is alive and well in Salford

Some time ago during a tutorial it was suggested that I try larger scale pieces in materials other than paper.  This is my attempt, I had some wooden slats from a Venetian blind and have attempted to recreate the shapes that I cut out of paper in wood.

If you look at the first photograph you may see some curved pieces of wood, unfortunately I didn’t think to take pictures of bending them last night.  Two hours in the bath to soak them and then two or three minutes over the kettle to steam each one while flexing the wood and trying not to break it or scald myself, then tie it in a loop with string and let it dry, works OK. 

So photograph 1, having laid out the slats and cut them into approximately the same relative shape as the paper sculptures I have been making I have fixed them to the curved pieces I made last night with zip ties and the result is 

Photograph 2 this is rolled with the pointed end of the triangle in the centre similar to the paper sculptures if I roll it the other way with the base in the centre it will look similar to the Tatlin Tower.

Tomorrow I will attempt to curve the uprights but not over the kettle I will do it by putting a piece of fishing line on each like a bowstring, this should then make it look like the paper one in photo 3

Kirigami with metal 

Kirigami if you are unaware is an adjunct to origami in which you are allowed to cut the paper not just crease and fold it, there is a 3D version based on a right angle fold in the paper and people do some outrageous things with it see for example: -

I was messing about over the holiday and it occured to me that it should be possible to do this with the metallic foils I have been cutting lately.  

Photographs. the paper sheet is A4 with a very rough scissor cut design in it not very square just a sort of tester the metallic one is aluminium sheet with the design scaled up a little to fit the available size, last photo is the back of the foil which is actually the plate from a lithographic printer, looks quite interesting.

Lessons: -

I scored the creases a little too vigorously and the metal does not flex like paper and a couple of the folds split, need some aluminium tape to repair it with so you don’t see light through the gap.

The folds either mountain or valley were all scored from the back of the sheet on which I had drawn the design, they need to be scored on the back for a mountain fold and the front for a valley fold and to not cut into the metal this will reduce the amount of flexion and thinning of the metal and should avoid splitting it.

I am quite pleased with this as a first attempt and will have to play some more with this technique

Every time you make a typo, the errorists win

I Have to think outside the box.. I don’t fit in it anymore

Experience is a wonderful thing.
It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

Every silver lining has a cloud around it

not sure what these things are called you see them under a persons name on bulletin board postings and I saw this set this morning and particularly liked it, Quote 1 is just so very clever

Paper Sculpture and Copper sheet

  1. little paper sculpture just messing about,
  2. The trouble with keeping a principally online sketchbook is that when I do need to work something out on paper I have to photograph it to up load it.  This is a set of doodles trying to work some thing out that would have been quicker to have tried
  3. as above
  4. bought some 0.1 mm copper sheet, can cut it with a scalpel but needs several passes and this took the better part of a day, it is also quite expensive approx £2 per A4 sheet
  5. as above
  6. as 4 above 

 I wonder if it would be possible to do the same thing in 1 above with the copper sheet I have or with the thin aluminium if it were possible it should look quite interesting.  I have some tin snips that while they may be more untidy than a scalpel would be much faster will have to risk a piece to try them.

Outside and Inside

Saw this piece of quick graffiti the other day and thought it quite clever, rest of photos to do with trying to work out what is the most economical way to cut copper sheet to get the most large triangles out of it last photo copper sheet 0.1mm cuts with a scalpel with a few passes trying out different paper like materials photos to follow when done.

Elizabeth Jane Winstanley at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Northern Qtr M/c

Contextual research artists using Perspex this artist uses edge lit Acrylic for its visual effect, multiple repeated shapes linked by threaded bar and domed nuts to make pieces that just beg to be messed with.  There are some handling pieces but you can’t mess with the main ones.  Note for Ben go and look at this she has used electroluminescent wire in the wall piece not seen it in the dark but I bet it looks wicked particularly if the el wire emits UV it will make the acrylic fluoresce, in the nature of these things someone usually got there before you.

More paper sculpture

1 and 2 curved no centre crease, 

2 with hanging Nautilus

3 colour on the inside

4 cut random curves rather than straight, effect is of suture lines seen on ammonites and nautilus

Little paper sculptures

These little paper sculptures are made from laser cut 150 gsm cartridge paper, note the moire patterns as the camera moves


Knitting + fractal. It seems like it should be an April Fools joke, but it’s not.

Sierpinski Gasket shawl, knitted in Zitron Filisilk. About 60” across the top edge. Somewhat wrinkled from being folded and then sitting around for a while.

Another of “I don’t reblog much but…”  for a math nerd and fibre freak like me this is way cool! Sierpinski would have loved this on his bed.

(via visualizingmath)

A Future in Interior Design

After having a conversation with Kostas he was kind enough to help me with using the laser cutter to cut paper, photographs 1 and 2 are hand cut and take a lot of time the others are various configurations and lighting of the same thing but cut out of cartridge paper by laser I still have some more to crease and roll.

During a tutorial with Jill R she mentioned that a possible extension of one she had seen might be dozens and this would be an achievable thing done this way

The other thing is that the edges are lovely and crisp and due to slow run speed and low power there is little burning to be seen

I have started to try other materials, metal foil and acrylic, interesting sort of, pics to follow in due course.

Oh what a busy week!

Series of photographs to indicate what a social whirl I have for my life

  1. Trying to make a sort of mosaic of Craig with bits of his face taken on mobile phones at the Programme day of which more later
  2. One of three that go together and form a cone, just liked the pattern as it sat on my desk
  3. Part of the Joana Vasconcelos exhibition at the City Gallery Manchester (CGM)
  4. Willy by Sarah Lucas this is going to give some conservator issues in the future it is cigarettes glued to the surface of a plastic garden gnome (CGM)
  5. Crystal Skull by Tony Oursler lights flash like it is having thoughts and talking softly (CGM)
  6. Keeley doing her Doily  performance piece at the Centre for Chinese Contempory Art (CFCCA) in Manchester as part of a small workshop in which Jamie Lau and Andrew Lim discussed the work they had previously shown in the Tipping point exhibition
  7. Walking back to the car after the workshop and saw this in the Northern Quarter people trying to be tidy by throwing rubbish in the grit bin.

So Programme Day if you didn’t come to it you missed an interesting day (and a chance to pick up brownie points).  Yet again Brendan asked what could be done to encourage Studio Culture and yet again those of us present were unable to answer, interestingly the artists talking at the CFCCA meeting both commented on the advantages to be gained by having studio space and other artists around you.

If you are struggling to have ideas about what to work on I can recommend a trip round the City Gallery there is a lot of stuff on display that is not usually out, things to stimulate “the little grey cells” as Hercule Poirot would say.

The meeting at the CFCCA was a collaboration between Fine Arts students at MMU and Salford Vis Arts, only a small meeting but interesting to hear the way that work is generated by the two artists who took part, some common aspects and interests such as boundaries and constraints. It has been suggested that we keep in touch with those students from MMU who are second year with a view to possible visits and group crits later in the year.  We did comment on the fact that it seems strange to have what amounts to two Art Schools in close proximity and little if any collaboration.  

(Still if there were to be more collaboration I suppose that it would be only “The Usual Suspects” who would be involved see comments in the paragraph about the Programme day.)

Setting the Fire Station on Fire

see also previous post re intervention at the Old Fire Station

Saint Patrick’s Day

and I haven’t even had a pint of Guinness, due to having been decorating the Old Fire Station in Salford.  The building which is now part of Salford University is very office like and there is an initiative to Art it up a bit.

When I was about 8 or 9 there was an open day here and  we came from Gorton to look round I really wanted to slide down the pole but we couldn’t so the fireman went upstairs and slide down it to show us.  Today I climbed up it, not all the way got to about a metre from the ceiling and was exhausted.

Photographs: -

  1. Fireman’s pole, brass, needs polishing wasn’t like that when I was a kid!
  2. making a decoration to go round the pole
  3. sometimes you need to think about it
  4. sometimes you need to document it
  5. sculpture made of furniture and crockery (some of which did not survive)
  6. Gangsta vice-chancellor portrait
  7. Time for lunch
  8. rear view
  9. sometime you just get strung out by it all
  10. setting the fire station on fire

I would be interested to hear what the VC thought of it, but we tidied up after ourselves and had a very entertaining day if nothing else.  Deserving special mention Dave’s video was very clever and Ben’s chair stack strong enough to sit on

Video to follow

Snakes and Columns

Friday and back from the Merzbarn I decided to have a gentle day cutting paper and scaling up from a relatively small piece to something a little larger.  

I had discovered last week that the shapes I am making can be rolled back on themselves to produce organic rather than linear geometric (inorganic/mechanical?) forms, for example of which see: -

and have decided to look at what can be done with this so we have: -

Photographs 1-3 of a small 60cm piece that still has a look of geometric model or semi-organic space ship 

Photograph 4 of a larger 2 metre piece with flattened curves, sharper creases and while stood on the ground something of the look of a Helter Skelter which was not really what I was looking for.  I suspect that if it is hung it will look different

Photograph 5 somewhat out of focus image of the column lit with my RGB set of lights producing multiple coloured shadows.

Things to consider: -

  1. The width of the paper coil around the columns is different as is the, (relative to the width of the paper), separation of the edges stuck to the columnar part.  I did not measure this and need to, it obviously is a controllable characteristic and will affect the shapes.
  2. The centre crease in the larger piece was much more sharply made and has resulted in a linear ridge effect rather than a curved organic shape thus the Helter Skelter, not making this crease as in the smaller piece will change the dominant effect I hope.
  3. The angle that the applied piece can come down the column is, obviously when you think about it, contingent on its width otherwise it overlaps.  This is a limiting factor.
  4. Lighting, when lit as in image 5 with RGB lights, the multiple subtractive colour shadows are I think on the larger piece perhaps too much. I need to make a bright single point (or possibly two point) white light to look at these objects as stark white with dark shadow. I can of course just take the filters off my RGB set-up.