Monday, 13 September 2010

What's the hammock about?

Unbelievably it's all done. It was a typical dash to the finish the last six weeks but all the thinking and planning paid off. I had to test so many things, several times, at a smaller scale to be sure how they would work. The glass, that now seems so small when hung, took 4 castings to get right and took the most time. I'm so pleased with the colour and depth, it glows in the morning light. Didn't intend the nautical feel but its interesting to see how an idea can have many meanings. I wish I made the weaving bigger in every way but love the pattern and form. Knotting for 2 weeks made me stop at 4 meters! 'Trapeze', as I call the main piece, was finally about equilibrium, a battle with tension to achieve balance. All the associations with Malthus' theory that we will outgrow our resources are woven into the piece. It seems to merge with the church – it's rough twine and primitive forms.

One of the first comments I heard was 'what's the hammock about?'. How wonderful to imagine laying up there 5 meters above the brass knight on the floor! I thought of it more as a safety net for a high wire act but perhaps hammock represents balance better.

Twine wasn't my only new material. Having used concrete for sculpture bases before, it felt like the right material to completely integrate with glass in the this setting. The chemical mix is important but hand mixing is exhausting. However the dense and rough texture is the perfect contrast with the glass. The energy of the marks I recorded from around the church is still there in my crude glass bending as it juts out of the block. They have an eerie presence in the natural light of the windows. Many people didn't realise that the glass goes all the way through, the simple effect of edge lighting.

The chancel seemed a good place for the lichen photos and a few of my humble monoprints. They were part of the process but have a strength of their own. I've learned many things while working in a large space: bigger is better; leave extra time to experiment with new materials; record your thoughts (even re-reading the blog helped); test things in the space – it will tell you more than sketching. This place has gotten under my skin and will continue to inspire me.

Monday, 31 May 2010


I am sifting through the layers of information and impressions revealed in this place. The compressed weight of time seems more tangible than a year ago. Malthus' noted that there were far more births than deaths on register during his time as rector (approx 20 yrs) which may have lead to the development of his theory about population control. In this context the font becomes a measure of life, and possibly life in the balance. The hole in the stone where the old basin would have sat draws me in. I sense water, both in it's association with lightness and weight. The windows pierce the stony space with light. Although crumbling the walls still stand. Pugin's transparent tapestry calls from another era when the soul and intellect were starting to separate and find their own paths. This church is perhaps it's most relevant as a witness to the last thousand years. Once visited for salvation by poor pilgrims now primarily by tourists and charmed but dedicated locals. Can I pull together these layers?

Printmaking has offered a new way to explore ideas. I made a tentative start at Ochre Print Studio last November and hope to do more along the way.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Journey Continues

Really, I have been there. I've made the fatal mistake of blogging in my mind but not online. Very busy holiday period doing paid work, followed by surgery, followed by more work. Due to work being done in the church and the number of blessings over the next 4 months we have decided that my residency will conclude with a show from September 7-20. Whew, gives me time to get through a string of exhibitions and press on with my interests at the church.

I seem to be fixated on the font base and Malthus' encounters with his parishioners. I feel compelled to hang something through the vast area under the whale-like ribs of the ceiling. Tension, tipping points, holes, inexplicable marks are in the mix. This place offers a glimpse at the crossroads many generations have faced at turning points in history, a repository for moments of transition. I think my work will reflect the tension created by conflicting ideas that eventually move society on.