Following the success of the SVAF More Than project, we decided to do it again: "More more than". The focus this time was: 'what it means to be finished' and I was sent 2 unfinished original prints by Chérie Lubbock in return for some uneditioned print experiments from my collection.
This second edition began to feel like an intrusion. With vaccinations pushing ahead, the end of lockdown looming and a sudden urgency for "real work", I struggled to focus.
Experience has shown that the somerset print paper is not an easy medium for me to draw on but I was enticed by the coloured piece - within a largely monochrome studio finding touches, a glimpse of colour is tempting.
Boxes have become a feature in my recent work, maybe a metaphor for the restrictions or maybe simply a need to "craft", the rhythm of process. I'm fascinated by the glimpses through the cut out paper scraps lying around the work surfaces. Windows, found compositions, snippets of interest.
With the deadline looming I finally focused. An opportunity to clarify a few random thoughts and try some techniques that have been floundering around in the back of my mind.
The first job was to create an appropriately sized box net template and test the process. I used a photo-etched print from an earlier project featuring butterflies and text from Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, tying this project back to the work I sent to Chérie. The print was sandwiched between two randomly selected postcard sized pieces of graphite marked paper from my current work.
Gradually the collection of postcard pieces gathered ready to be glued and stitched together to form a book sculpture. In places the net was cut out, allowing glimpses through the structure, in others part of Chérie's work was sandwiched between. A mix of preparation and planning against random selection in the final presentation, some happy accidents.
So is it finished?
Once started this project became a plan, still room for manoeuvre, for experimentation, but an approach and an end in mind. It also became compulsive, a need to move onto the next stage to check if it worked, an impatience with sticking to the process. The tight deadline helped keep it on track.
There are other ideas, further stages or sidelines, more practice, but as I knotted the thread I knew this piece was complete. It has a balance, weight and presence, a sensory experience in so many ways.
This project drew on so many of the skills I have developed throughout my life and is now a part of that journey. The collaboration element was important.
Meanwhile .... well I had to use up the cuttouts:
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