Making some work: Part 1

Observing myself making an observational drawing gave me insight into how long I spent looking at the image I was using for the drawing, compared to how long I spent looking at the drawing itself. The rapid movement between ‘artifact’ and created image, and how this changed over the fifteen minutes creating it, enabled me to think about my own relationship to the act of drawing and recording, in a more intimate way. Observing the self in an act of making a drawing allowed me to consider how I approach markmaking, where I focus, make corrections, adjustments as well as pace and ongoing thought process.

Making some work as a response to the original drawing and my observations of this process I want to continue to use forms of drawing to see where I can push the drawing process. A broad interpretation of ‘drawing’ as an act where an image is created using lines or marks on a surface allows me to consider most aspects of my creative practice as drawing. Rather than observing more imagery from the book I want to replicate the imagery I had already created, experiment with repetition and variables. Perhaps this is partly in response to the experience of several hours of watching the recording of making the original drawing – the motion of observing the image and recording the image, how the image emerges and is corrected.

I want to work with this newly constructed drawing in some way but not sure how…

The work I produce is situated in a wider context, my previous working habits and experiences and preferred materials and techniques. I want the piece of work as it develops and emerges to contain all of its process so I think about the potential to let the drawing grow, have other pieces attached to it or add to the original image. In my imagination this seems clumsy and ill-considered. Not something that would usually bother me but I am sharing this process, I want it to be authentic but I am afraid it will be too ugly and messy (the process and the work). Can auto-ethnographic processes be authentic? I am constantly feeling disrupted by the interference of my heightened self-awareness. This is an authentic process but I might not know what it is an authentic process of until the end.

I feel ok about experimenting with different forms of replicating imagery either through observing or tracing and am interested in where this might take me. I make a tracing in white pen and don’t find this gives me anything to develop further but it does help me think about transparencies and layers of imagery. For previous work I have often used dissolvable fabric, often when taking imagery from an original form (often paper) onto a fabric (canvas, linen or felt). Dissolvable fabric is a plastic fabric a gelatine type material that is stable enough to stitch onto, but when water is added to it, it disappears. It is a necessary part of the process for forming stitches without a permanent fabric but it is temporary. This feels like a better way to go, partly revisiting favoured techniques but also an interesting process, which allows me to replicate the imagery but also change it with a different medium. The video is showing a tracing being made from the original drawing using dissolvable fabric. The permanent ink on the dissolvable fabric becomes a template to free machine stitch over.

The first free machine drawing was made just onto the dissolvable without any additional fabric. In the past I have dissolved stitched fabric just leaving the stitches behind and allowed them to dry over a non-stitchable material like slate. For this experiment I dissolved the fabric to leave a fragile stitched image but let parts of it break and distort. I pushed it too far and was left with a gelatinous mass of threads, it failed, I made it fail, it wasn’t right for this at this point but could be revisited. The water as a change agent – turning the solid fabric into a sticky liquid gave me some visual ideas – the imagery of the diver with water. Using the dissolvable but perhaps with the stitches left on a fabric and the water being a permanent aspect of the work could be worth exploring. This would show process but also makes a relationship between the imagery and the process.

The final artwork is the parts of the process the artist has chosen to remain visible.



Author: feltlikeit

Artist & Lecturer

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