NEW STUDIO Week Five (with a break!)

After my last studio post I went to the Future Now conference – posted here  – and then for a walking holiday in Derbyshire. So this is officially week 5, and week 6 if we’re counting days.

My first day back was a bit of a farce, I put the installation back together and then decided to put a door on the shop wall so that I could close the whole back of the space off. I then got an email telling me that the agent was bringing a prospective purchaser around so I had to take the installation apart again. When they had gone and I had finished the door I put the installation back together again.

Shop Floor 21/03/19

Shop Floor 21/03/19

The door is the lighter hardboard on the left of this picture. The main consideration was that it closes off the painted section of the wall so that it looks better.

I have been working on the sound and been diverted into text, based on the TS Eliot – Burnt Norton stanzas I used on the walls, I looked to emphasise the nostalgic aspects of the verse by combining it with Tennyson’s ‘Tithonus’ . I decided to interleave lines of the verses, playing around with them a little, to break up the meaning of the poems.

The video has a section of this recording overlaid onto birdsong. The recording is not as good as I want, because of my nasal midlands accent that I can only hear on recordings and the quality of sound on my camera. The lighting is also not correct, I had to brighten the video after recording so the quality suffers.

I also worked on a distillation of the texts into something shorter and more individual. My idea is to create something of my own that I can use instead of the ‘found’ text.

The same caveats apply to the recording.

I have also begun to work on new sculptures and rescued the ripped up flooring of the first floor studio to make some new work with.

NEW STUDIO Week Three (and Four)

Recap:

First saw the shop on January 25th and picked up keys the same day. Heard from Axisweb on Monday 28th that I couldn’t go in yet as the landlord hadn’t given permission. By the Wednesday 1st February the agent was saying I should just move in as the contract was a formality, so I started to tidy up. On Wednesday the 6th February I moved out of the Unit at Wheatley Hall Road and into 13 Scot Lane and began to reassemble the environment. I finished that and wrote about it in the last blog post. Since then I’ve spent most of my time cleaning. I’ve hoovered for at least two hours of three different days, spent a day washing the walls of dry food and fat and mould, and then hoovered again, and finally, yesterday February 25th, hoovered the upstairs. In an ideal world I’d have been in a position to try out different soundtracks and videos for the installation but I heard yesterday that the landlord was sending someone to do a valuation survey which meant removing the back of the installation to allow access to the upstairs that I’d blocked off. It also means that I might well be moving again if this is a valuation for a buyer. The valuer turned up at 1:00 pm today and spent half an hour measuring and taking notes. I’ve no idea whether there is a buyer or not. At the same time the landlord has offered to remove all the rubbish left by the last tenant with the proviso that anything I decide to use I move when I go.

Looking into shop 25/02/19

Looking into shop 25/02/19

So the shop floor looks like this after Monday – from the window, and like the below looking from the back.

Looking to window 25/02/19

Looking to window 25/02/19

There is still no contract and I’ve got the only keys apparently!

As I was waiting I started work on a new sculpture today, making use sets of shelves that have been left. There are four sets of four shelves each supported by welded steel frames. I made scale models this morning to begin to explore possible uses of sixteen slabs measuring 1700 mm x 210 mm x 25 mm.

Two maquettes 26/02/19

Two maquettes 26/02/19

They will be landscape based drawings I think.

John Berger says that ‘it is the actual act of drawing that forces the artist to look at the object in front of him, to dissect it in his mind’s eye and put it together again; or, if he is drawing from memory, that forces him to dredge his own mind, to discover the content of his own store of past observations’ 1 Deciding a direction for work functions in precisely this way for me, the repository of past observations is composed of times, places, drawings, conversations that form a series of stepping stones that carry me across to the finished work, if you’ll forgive my theft of Berger’s metaphor immediately after this quote. This points to both the reason the environment is not finished and the state it will be in at that point that most closely matches its finish. Essentially it is pursuing something in the manner of T.S.Eliot in Burnt Norton.

‘Go said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,

Hidden excitedly, containing laughter,

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind

Cannot bear very much reality’

Albeit inadequately, this is as close as I can get to the meaning of the installation, perhaps I might get a little closer if this is crossed with lethologica2 or onomatomania3.

Purely by chance my last day in the studio this week is the last day of the month. The aim for today was to receive delivery of the materials for the downstairs dividing wall and build it. The delivery was late so I worked in the sketchbooks, I’m still trying to resolve a look for the garden images – the environment in its current state is somehow too literal. The drawings are developments of earlier sketches.

Rag paper sketch 28/02/19

Rag paper sketch 28/02/19

cartridge sketch 28/02/19

cartridge sketch 28/02/19

Once the materials were delivered It took the rest of the day to build the wall, about two and a half hours.

Looking into Shop 28/02/19

Looking into Shop 28/02/19

The wall is moveable, supported by braces at the rear.

Its main function is to contain the workshop and the sawdust etc., generated by making.

back of the wall with brace 28/02

back of the wall with brace 28/02

workshop area

workshop area

The wall, not including time, cost £76.00 and £18.00 of that was delivery.

1Berger, J. 2016. The Basis of All Painting and Sculpture is Drawing. In: Overton, T ed. LANDSCAPES John Berger on Art. England: Verso, pp. 27

2 The inability to remember a particular word or name. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/lethologica

3 An abnormal concentration on certain words and their supposed significance or on the effort to recall a particular word. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/onomatomania

NEW STUDIO – Week Two

This week has been about catching the installation back up to where I was at the Wheatley studio.

On Monday I had to finish building the space, which took the morning, and then thread the fishing line and hang the leaves, leaving me at this point by the end of the day.

From the video and the picture below you can see I had to build myself a rudimentary ladder to access the top of the boards.

Build your own ladder

Build your own ladder

On Wednesday I got notification that I’m almost official to move in. The agent says the forms should be across to Axisweb soon.

Shadow from projection, inside the space

Shadow from projection, inside the space

As you can see I got the ceiling on the space and set up the speakers and projector. The space presents some profound differences to the Industrial Unit, it’s a lot darker for instance.

This clearly presents problems with the painted space and the degree of visibility required to read its intention.

A view inside the space, lit by the projector

A view inside the space, lit by the projector

The video inevitably, for one as inexpert as me, appears darker than the eye. The photograph gives a better idea of the look of the space. By the end of the day this was the position.

So Friday was about finessing the space and continuing to tidy up downstairs.

Upstairs room with the installation in place

Upstairs room with the installation in place

Even darker with the roof stapled down and the webcam moved to give a better view of the door.

In the afternoon I spent two and a half hours hoovering the shop.

Shop floor view from the window

Shop floor view from the window

It looks much more acceptable now, although I wouldn’t be happy with it if I lived there.

Shop floor view towards the window

Shop floor view towards the window

At the moment I’m thinking of a workshop space at the back and an exhibition space at the front.

New Studio – Week One

Got the opportunity to move into the shop I mentioned in my last post although the landlord has not yet provided the official OK. The agent says go ahead and move in and Axisweb left it to me to decide so I’m taking a chance, the most it might cost is my time and effort and the cost of one extra trip moving my equipment and materials.

So these are the first progress shots of the space, the shots I took when I first saw it last Friday, 24th January followed by shots taken after one day of clearing up. I’m counting this week and next together as week one, my gear is moving in on Wednesday 6th February so I should be rebuilding the environment by then.

Ground Floor, Shop, first viewing

Ground Floor, Shop, first viewing

This is the shop floor, off the street from about halfway down, I forgot to take it looking back.

Ground Floor after a day tidying

Ground Floor after a day tidying

This the same view after a day tidying, and below the view looking back the other way.

Ground Floor Towards window (day one)

Ground Floor Towards window (day one)

Still a lot of clearing up to do but the bulk of the big stuff that can be moved has been moved. This is the space I intend to use for exhibitions and projects for as long as I can.

Above this is the first floor that will be the studio and workshop.

First Floor first viewing

First Floor first viewing

First Floor (window) first viewing

First Floor (window) first viewing

The right hand side of the building, above the shop floor, and the window that faces this.

After shifting stuff this side now looks clearer.

First Floor after some tidying

First Floor after some tidying

First Floor window side after some tidying

First Floor window side after some tidying

The kitchen is on this floor too, on the left of the building as you look at it and actually above the shop next door.

First Floor Kitchen

First Floor Kitchen

This doesn’t look that much different to be fair but the ‘after’ picture gives a better idea of the layout.

First floor kitchen, 'after' picture

First floor kitchen, ‘after’ picture

There is another window, obviously, facing the kitchen.

First Floor (second window day one)

First Floor (second window day one)

I’ll probably keep the carpets down for some noise reduction but put plastic over them to make cleaning easier when I leave. The last occupants left a lot of stuff behind that I’ve had to clear up.

Above this floor there are two others that are essentially not usable due to decoration and wiring issues.

Second Floor

Second Floor

This is the second floor.

Third Floor

Third Floor

And the third, although the second floor now looks a bit different as It’s where all the stuff has gone.

Second Floor (storage)

Second Floor (storage)

So once the rest of the unwanted stuff is shifted up here I’ll seal the floors off as they were when the last occupants moved in.

Wednesday 6th February.

Moved out of the Unit in Wheatley and into the shop with all my stuff. It took half an hour to load the van and then a good hour to unload it. The morning was spent organising space and then the afternoon sorting the jigsaw puzzle of the installation, it now looks like this.

Ground Floor Wednesday

Ground Floor Wednesday

And the upstairs like this.

Friday 8th February:

Today spent reassembling the installation, lots of carrying things up stairs. The space just about accommodates the installation.

Installation First Floor towards Window

Installation First Floor towards Window

Installation First Floor from window

Installation First Floor from window

And here is a short walkthrough.

Studio Build TEN

Week Nine in the studio.

Effectively the last week.

I received the ceiling material for the installation so before I started to pack up I installed that and ran a quick test.

projector wall view

projector wall view

The change in lighting works, but it obviously takes some time for your eyes to adjust.

projector wall view

projector wall view

It does enough to give the sense of space from close up, and once the focus is correct the image is sharp enough. It is seen better in the video.

The video shows that my order for black muslin was delivered short by over a metre which is a bit of a bugger but I had enough to try it out. At the end of the video I deliberately step in front of the project lens to cast shadow, my intention is to add some texts that can only be read when in shadow, a different texture of white perhaps? The audio is still a test piece.

After this test I had to start dismantling the space, by the end of Monday I’d reached this state.

half environment

half environment

partly dismantled stuff

partly dismantled stuff

Then back on Wednesday to complete the breakdown.

The Unit is back in the state it was when I moved in and all I need now is to find another studio and move everything. I’ve got sixteen days to go but I’m seeing another space tomorrow.

Studio Build NINE

Week Eight in the Studio

A bit of a slow week so far. Found myself contemplating whether the entire process of creating is a progressive obscuring of cliché. The environment is on another cusp and after deliberating I’ve ordered the material for the ceiling – a fingers crossed moment.

Today I tidied and then painted the facing wall and the door wall, there is more to do on the garden wall but I need to see the projection to gauge how much I can do that will be visible.

3 small sculptures

Three small sculptures

have these three small sculptures now, and ideas for a larger one.

splashcover160119

splash cloth 160119

I was also quite taken by the pattern on my splash cloth.

The facing wall when you enter the space now looks like this…

facing wall 16/01/2019

facing wall 16/01/2019

and the wall with the door looks like this…

door wall 16/01/2019

door wall 16/01/2019

It feels as if they are much more coherent now. (16/01/19).

As I’m awaiting the material for the roof I decided to work on the larger sculpture I was planning. (18/01/2019).

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

View of large sculpture

I managed to build the frame and prime it on the day – I left at 3:00 pm as the primer needs to dry.

I also got word today that I have 21 days to quit the Unit. So from next week I’ll be packing up and sorting alternative accommodation through Axisweb, even if it’s only storage. I’ll hopefully be able to put the roof on and check the projector before I have to dismantle everything.

I thought I’d include this photograph of working detritus just to show the kind of mess I make, and a shot of the table returned to it’s normal status afterwards.

Equipment and materials during the build

Equipment and materials during the build

Evidence that I do, regardless of any comments, tidy up!

Evidence that I do, regardless of any comments, tidy up!

Studio Build EIGHT

Week Seven in the Studio

Back to it after XMAS. Took the computer and speakers to the studio.

computer in situ

computer in situ

Arrived just before 12 and built a shelf to install the computer and speakers. Now the webcam acts as a Motion Sensor and turns a sound file on when you enter the space.

On Wednesday I had a visit from an Estate Agent and a guy measuring up for a Mezzanine Floor. It is likely that I’ll need to leave the studio in the next month! That’s the downside of the arrangement with Axisweb, 3 weeks notice to quit either way.

open sculpture

open sculpture

Worked on the open sculpture,

open sculpture view

open sculpture view

And the two part sculpture which will have a central section.

Recorded the above video with three speakers and no radio!

On Friday I brought the projector to the studio and worked out where I need to locate it to create shadows. I will need to put a ceiling in to reduce the amount of light in the space, not totally dark but reducing enough for the video to cast over the distance.

Continued work on the two sculptures,

quick now

‘Quick now, hear, now, always’

'Quick now, here, now, always'

‘Quick now, here, now, always’

'Quick now, here, now, always'

‘Quick now, here, now, always’

Which has some nice dramatic viewpoints.

And the as yet unnamed small sculpture.

unnamed small sculpture

unnamed small sculpture

Studio Build SEVEN

Week Six in the Studio:

Missed a week as we went to Edinburgh for a short break. Then delayed coming back to the studio as I had to be here on a Tuesday to have the door fixed. After much toing and froing the time was set as 8:00 am. They wanted to come at 5:00 pm or later but without lights that was out of the question. I took this video to show how dark it was first thing in the morning.

I’m at the stage where I need to begin the interactive part of the project and I’m sorting the computer for that in my home studio. It’s also nearly Christmas so I’ll be here less frequently until the new year when I can bring the tech down.

I spent some time sorting the mess I’d left before I went away and then worked on sketches and the small sculptures.

Garden Sculpture One

Garden Sculpture One

All of these are based on the sketches I made in the garden in the summer and have been developing in the sketchbooks here.

Garden Sculpture Two

Garden Sculpture Two

Garden Sculpture Three

Garden Sculpture Three

The last of these is only just started and the second may well have a pierced screen suspended in the large gap.

The sketches are below, and the worktable which is becoming the place I spend most of my time.

Today's Large Sketch

Today’s Large Sketch

Today's Small Sketch

Today’s Small Sketch

Studio Worktable

Studio Worktable

Normally I’ve posted a whole week but as it’s nearly Christmas I’m posting when I can.

Studio Build SIX

Week five in the studio:

Very mild this week but absolutely throwing it down, I arrived wet and my coat was still wet when I left in the afternoon. I’m writing another post on the Doncaster Art Fair that interrupted my building. Today I wanted to treat the leaves so they can retain colour and paint out more of the big drawing.

First I painted in the leaves in the big drawing with Indian ink, then I treated the leaves with PVA and then painted over the big drawing with more white. I only took photographs at the end for reference so these go around the space.

right wall one

right wall one

right wall two

right wall two

garden wall

garden wall

left wall one

left wall one

left wall two

left wall two

projection wall

projection wall

The very light wall taken down further to facilitate projection.

Wednesday started badly, it was chucking it down and the walk to the studio was very unpleasant. I didn’t really know where to start so I set up the light and put the heater on to dry my shoes.

first I turned the leaves which were dry on top but still wet underneath.

Then I dug out the sketch books and did some work on the garden sculptures.

These are sketches towards stand alone sculptures but also inform the look and feel of the space, particularly the right hand wall, opposite the projection wall.

I then cut the wood I prepared last week, or the week before, to build small sculptures exploring the garden in Balby.

The second picture taken with flash to emphasise how dark it was at that point.

I rounded the day off by painting the projection wall out more and resolving to purchase small stepladders.

Friday was a better day weather wise and therefore lighter.

The leaves were dry so I set out to put fishing line across the space and then hang sets of them.

fishing line as ceiling

fishing line as ceiling

Putting the line in and then stringing the leaves took me most of the day and I ended up with this

I did some work on the sketchbooks and thought about the effect I wanted for the leaves in the space, is it getting too busy?

I won’t be here next week so that will give me time to think about what I want from the space and also to work on the projection – in sketchbooks and mentally. I still need stepladders and I need to get the computer and webcams down to the site.

 

 

Studio Build FOUR

Week Three in the Studio.

Worked on stabilising the big table for the 10” saw. Bought fishing line and tried a leaf to see hoe it worked in the space. I’ll need to stretch the line out so it hangs straighter.

Collaged elements onto the big drawing using PVA diluted 50/50 with water. The idea is that the bubbles will be split and torn when the glue is dry and text has been applied over the top.

Decided I needed the extra panel filling in and a small door added, I’ve made it 60” so you have to stoop to get inside.

Construction involved breaking down the easel I made as I needed the wood and I can’t stretch paper here until the weather is better. Once completed and fitted I painted the new panel and door.

The large drawing looks like this as a whole

Whole drawing flattened

Whole drawing flattened