My work seems to be gathering its own momentum at the moment and although I am making decisions and physically creating the objects through my own labour, I don’t really feel in control. It is an odd but strangely familiar feeling and one common to many artists I’m sure.
I am still experimenting with each object I make. The piece below is one I made several weeks ago but couldn’t decide what to do with it. It is a different shape and larger than all the other sculptures therefore the yellow was too much. I decided to give it a similar treatment to the other yellow pieces and hide much of the surface by painting with fullers earth. If it went wrong it wouldn’t matter because I couldn’t use it as it was. There is something quite subversive and enjoyable about painting such a brightly finished fabric with mud.
The contrast between the yellow and the clay is striking. I really like the finished pattern and it sits much better with the other sculptures now.
For this piece I used a quilting technique so that the white sections are raised above the clay lines. It was time consuming but I think it has worked well. I make the felt fabric in round shapes and I have been keen not to cut a regular circle and to keep the shape as natural as possible. It has been fun inventing solutions for the edges that conveys a suggestion of cog teeth.
I have discovered the sculptural possibilities of needle felting onto fabric and have used a couple of my original, soft sculptured cogs made with raw billiard table cloth, as a base. Using my washed fleece fibres, I needle felted directly onto these bases with exciting results. The softly stuffed cog shapes became firmer, more solid and I found that I could change the shape of the curves by increasing the action of the needles. I am delighted with these two pieces of work and am keen to do more.
I have also been busy with my make-shift forge again this week drilling and fixing metal strips and turning them into more hairy cogs.