Friday, July 31, 2009

Seth Apter's Disintegration Project - The Big Reveal August 1st 2009 Seth Apter's bloggy address which will have links to all those who have participated in this project and have posted their 'reveal'.

The Original Idea and Part 1

My instructions from Seth. 'Basically you need to create a "bundle" out of paper and what ever other materials you want to use. You can see many examples on my blog. Wrap it up somehow and place it in nature. Hang it. Bury it. Submerge it. Lean it. Whatever you like. Then let Mother Nature be your collaborator. Take a photo of your bundle in its new home and post it on your blog. Then wait and watch. On May 1, all participants will then post an "after" picture on their blog. There will also be a part 2 to the project. I will send details to everybody soon. Please email me again when you have your bundle photo posted. That way I can link to it and add your name to the list of participants.'

So I did and here it is.

These are the things that made up my bundle. The toilet paper was wrapped around the very outside and the whole was tied with string.

I hung my bundle fairly high in a tree on our allotment. Otherwise it wouldn't have been long before our dog Buster found it and demolished it. The date was March 17th

In May, I took down my bundle. A lot of it hadn't changed very much, but the photo of the ibis had taken on a purple splodgy look from a piece of crepe paper up against it. It looked wonderful.

The Ibis after exposure to the weather and purple crepe paper. I took my bundle down on May 12th

Some of the other items after the bundle was opened.

Part 2

Quote from Seth's email. 'Part of my initial inspiration behind this project was my feeling that disintegration is not a negative force but a part of the process of creation. For example, while some see rust as destructive and corrosive...I see it as a new and beautiful development. In life, as in art, growth and evolution is often preceded by conflict, turmoil, and challenge. "Out of chaos, brilliant stars are born" (I Ching Hexagram #3). So for me, the disintegrated bundles will all be more compelling than the original, "pristine" versions. This leads me to Part 2! Finally! I would like everybody to create a new artwork using some or all of the disintegrated materials in your bundles. No rules here. Anything goes. Big reveal planned for Saturday August 1. That gives everybody three months to either (1) have enough time to leave their bundle in the elements for more disintegration before creating their artwork or (2) get started immediately on their new creation. Artist's choice. Of course, you are not obligated to participate in Part 2...but I hope you will!'

This also explains a little more about Seth's whole motivation behind the project and will maybe help you understand the process more.

I decided I would do some weaving with my weathered bundle. I had to have some sort of frame and as we live on a willow 'farm', I decided to used willow sticks for the frame. I simply grabbed a bundle experimented to make a frame, which ended up looking a little like a wigwam. I used string to make the warp threads and either the paper or material in the bundle for the wefts. I find weaving a very therapeutic activity and anyone who has read my blog post 'Inspiration Wednesday' from 29th July will see what I have achieved with my weaving.

As my structure is in 3D form I had to take quite a few photos to show the finished piece from all angles. I hope you get an idea from these pictures.

The original bundle of sticks.
Fixed together at the base. Seeing these two photos, my son called it 'The Wicker Man'. I have changed this to The Woven, a more androgynous name.

After this it just evolved. I had 2 A4 photos in my bundle, the Ibis and one of a butterfly on a flower. I wove those so that the pictures would show again, reborn.
The Ibis side. A close up is below:

The plastic fish were also in the bundle. Hung here, they represent my swim through life, often against the tide, hoping eventually to find a calm sea. I am often very unsure of myself ; for example, I would like to see what others in this project have made before I reveal what I have done for fear of it being 'not good enough'. I think many creative people are like this. So we weave our way unsteadily along, bumping into obstacles, hopefully overcoming them but always trying to choose our own path as an individual. That is what I have tried to achieve and represent in this work. Each section of weaving forms a sail of a boat.

Underneath the Ibis is a woven section of striking colours. The green was crepe paper and the yellow/black mix was a fashion photo. Here I have mixed up the picture in a chaotic way.

To the left is the yellow/butterfly side, below is a closer shot:
Again, the butterfly picture has been chopped up, destroyed, then put together again, reborn. It is, coincidentally, a 'Red Admiral'. If you click on any of the photos you can see the weaving in more detail. The top of this section was a picture of smiley faces, which you can still recognise even in their disorganised state.

The 'sail' to the left of the photo is all material and is deliberately unfinished, as am I.

Turned a bit more, the blue stripe is the door to the inside of The Woven. I love its striking contrast to the calmer, autumn colours. Here is a closer shot of the next yellow section:
The top section is a Christmas Card left over from the ones I made this year using pressed leaves from our trees. The yellow at the bottom is made from paper bags which spread the recycling message, something very dear to my heart.
'Made with 100% recycled paper' as, indeed, is The Woven.
This pale sail was made from the outer gift bag in which all the other contents of the bundle were contained. It, too, has butterflies on it and I joined some of them as I have the Ibis and Red Admiral. A close up is below:
Final View of the whole:
This, thin, red, white and purple sail is full of joy and colour and youthfulness.

I apologise for posting so many photos but there are so many different segments to The Woven.

The Top

There is an ATC (Artist Trading Card) hanging from the top, both its front and back as they separated. This is one of the first ones I made and meant a new path for me. It has turned out to be very rewarding. The little tube wrapped in gold and red thread contains 3 'Q tips'. The tube itself was wrapped in grey cotton which I have used to hang some of the objects. I wrote on it before I wrapped it:
'We each weave a path through life, sometimes becoming tangled, strangled.'

There are fine threads of gold, copper and red woven around the top sticks of The Woven, like random cobwebs. They can hardly be seen in any of the photos.

I wanted to do something with the tissue toilet roll. I made them into balls, colouring them green with paint and mixing them with PVA glue. I then wrapped some in shimmering threads and others in the grey cotton. The ones wrapped in grey are hung inside, but the ones wrapped in glossy thread are proudly displayed at the head.

This is the only woven part of the top, it is like a slide. You can just see the scroll on the right hand side and the green of another fish inside.

Looking Inside

You may wonder where the original 'Bee' is. He was hanging from the bottom of my bundle and changed little during the battering he took from the Irish weather. Here he is hanging inside, right at the heart of The Woven and along his white wings is now written 'Bee Yourself'.
Me, Gina. BT, The Crafty Gardener. Dressed scruffily in Wellington Boots as I am a gardener too.

A montage of pictures I have not used so far.

Thank you Seth for involving me in this wonderful project. I have enjoyed it immensely, especially Part 2.

The Pump Man Came Back Again- 30th July 2009

Only in Ireland

Now it's a big blog coming up tomorrow but I just had to tell you about the pump man's visit. We decided we would have the submersible pump, which would remove the horrid little pump house from the middle of the parking area and hopefully be more efficient than the old surface pump. Sean Minogue (Kyle's Dad), also said he would fit an outside tap on the top barn wall and put all the pump 'extras' inside the barn out of the way. As a bonus he said he would put a couple of sockets in the barn and lighting, as we don't have any in there at the moment. All good stuff.

So along he came on Wednesday. The first job was to remove the old water pipes from the well. 'Can you give me a hand Gina' says he. So we pull. Ha ha, not a thing happened. I said I thought he'd need a stronger person than I am so I went and fetched Jim. Pull. Nothing. He thought maybe something was wedged down the well, which is only lined for the first few feet, after that it's rough rock, so a rock could have become dislodged and wedged the pipes. Both the builders appeared and much scratching of heads ensued.

Right, next idea was to tie the pipes to a rope and attach it to the back of Sean's jeep and use that to pull them out. Jim drove, Sean and I tried to guide the pipes, which just bent. Not good. The first pump house wall, which we were using to brace the rope, fell down! Much swearing from Sean. 'Give it another go' he says to Jim. Jim drives off slowly and the two brass fittings at the top of the pipes fly off leaving bare raggy ends. Much swearing from Sean.
Joe the builder offering suggestions to Sean (in hat). The pipes can be seen sticking out of the ground below Joe. As you can see, one of the pump house walls is already down, so now they are trying to use the other to brace the rope against, tied to the ragged end of the pipes.

Sean mutters 'If we can't get the pipes out, we're focked' (please excuse the language). He mutters this many many times! Plus 'if the pipes snap, we're focked' and other slight variations. We all kept rather quiet, realising the seriousness of the situation. Either of those disasters would mean drilling a new well. Many thousands of euros. No water for us for some time. Not good.

So Sean drives the jeep down to the other side of the remaining wall, ties the rope and Jim has another go at driving it.

The second wall falls down. 'We're focked' says Sean.

Sean and Joe try to hold the rope over the wall and guide the pipes up. In between times Sean has drunk several cups of tea and smoked about 20 cigarettes.

That's when wall number two fell down.

Sean decides he needs a piece of equipment that is at his house in Ennis, half an hour's drive away. (Why didn't he bring it?) Jim volunteers to go and fetch it so that Sean can get on with doing the other things he needs to do. We're all thinking that if the pipes don't come up or break, this work will be a waste of time, but nobody says a word. Off Jim goes and returns with the wheel on a stand.

Martin exits stage left and leaves Jim and Sean to figure it out. Note 2nd wall - now missing. If you look through the little cage thing you can see the ends of the black pipes, now tied to the rope, which is attached to the tow bar of the jeep again. And guess who's driving now? Yes, me of course. What a responsibility.
Sean takes a rest, has a fag, Jim ponders, Buster tries to help. The pipes give a convincing 'V' sign and not one for victory either.

'If they don't come up with this, we're focked' says Sean for the umpteenth time.

The real problem was that I was driving, so unable to take a photo of the pipes coming up, should that happen. However, needs must and I used my great clutch control to edge forward, taking up the slack and praying that the pipes wouldn't break. Martin, Joe, Jim and Sean all held the 'wheel' to stop it from toppling over. Like the walls. I felt a jolt. Oh no. Oh yes, they have appeared! So up they came, unbroken. Sean sighed a huge sigh of relief and had a cigarette. We too were filled with relief.

The brown pipes on the ground are the bottom ends that were deep down the well. Jim is holding a cup of tea and even Joe looks relieved. The little wheel, four men and one woman eventually pulled the darned pipes to the surface.

A much happier Sean, a bounce in his step. I had to drive the jeep that far down the hill to get the full length of the pipes out. The well is approximately eighty feet deep.

Sean says in all his time as a pump man he's never had that much trouble getting the pipes out. In the photo above, Sean is lowering down a weight on a long string to measure the depth of the water. This is to enable him to know how much wire and new pipe he will need to put down on the new pump. The weight fell off and plummeted to the bottom of the well. 'Fock' says Sean. We all go quiet again. Buster is investigating Joe's van for any left over lunch. So Sean ties something else to the string.

Or he would, but the string has got all tangled up like fishing line. You couldn't make it up!! Sean tries to unravel the string but Joe takes pity on him and goes and fetches his long line from his black van.After that, it all went pretty much to plan!!

Sean not only turning the air blue but making sparks fly. Note the lack of gloves.

'Sometimes when you stop you realise your shirt's on fire' was Sean's reply to my 'do you wear gloves at all?'

The shiny new submersible pump all wired up and ready to go down the well.

The ceremonial lowering of the new pump!

Sean was hoping to complete the whole job in one day but because of the earlier slight problems, he had to come back yesterday to do the lighting. It's marvellous to have lights and sockets in the top barn at last. Sean was duly paid and gave us ten euros back 'for luck'. He always does that with a new pump apparently.

So we have a silent pump instead of our old incredibly noisy one. The water is very brown so I daren't use the washing machine yet. I expect it will settle in a day or so. We are still being careful as the well is still pretty low in spite of all the rain we've been having. Best to top it up now then hopefully it'll be back to normal again.

Do call tomorrow if you can. It's the big blog post on Seth Apter's Disintegration Project and I'll have lots of photos of the item I have made from my original bundle.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday - Meme from Weaver

So here I go with my challenge from The Weaver of Grass. Link:
Inspiration Wednesday

I have chosen a book called Country Rag Crafts by Sue Reeves. My mother was a wonderful seamstress and I have always loved the look and feel of colourful materials. However, apart from making clothes, I had never thought of the other exciting things I might do with them, especially all the bits left over after having made an item of clothing. I could never bring myself to throw them away.

From the sleeve: Sue Reeves is a successful craftswoman who has been selling, exhibiting and exporting her fabulous rag rugs, hangings and decorative wreaths fro many years. Sue lives and works in Devon and her home has been featured in Home and Gardens magazine.

I can't actually remember where I bought this book, but I was instantly attracted to it. It is full of wonderful ideas of how to use up all those little bits of material in many interesting ways. It was my first introduction to rag rugging. I took to this like a duck to water and have made quite a few now. Some of them are on my sidebar. I sourced extra material from jumble sales in the UK (I lived there at the time) and one of my favourite and most soothing occupations is cutting up these clothes, removing seams, buttons, any decorations for future use, then making them into little parcels of colour, bound with a piece of ribbon or a strip of the same material.

I made this rug by the 'proddy' method for my daughter and family. K loves autumn colours.

I made this as a wall hanging using the hooking method. You can see where my idea came from.

Another proddy rug, this time it was made for my granddaughter Kirsty.

This interest, inspired by Sue Reeves, then encouraged me to enrol in a college course in textiles at Worthing Community College. I had already tried a bit of weaving (also from the book) and took this further during the course, ending up making my now famous (in a small way) 'Raggy Bags'. Some of these are also on the side bar. I made one for my daughter and friends and family have seen it and now almost all of them own one too, all made in their own favourite colours. My end of year show was mostly a display of various woven bags I had made.

My inspiration for weaving with material. In my raggy bags I took it a step further, adding many recycled materials such as vegetable nets, tinsel, belts, bubble wrap, in fact anything long I could weave with. I love recycling things where I am able.

A Raggy Bag. The white diagonal strip was a piece of netting from around our Christmas tree. Sometimes I use wool and plait it first, as I do with material on occasions.

I never tire of Sue's book and often look to it for further inspiration. There are several ideas that I haven't tried yet, but I know I will in the future. Looking through it now, I can see 'my' work on her pages of woven articles. I have made Greetings Cards with fabric and my last year's Christmas Wreath was mostly fabric, another inspiration from the book. There is one chapter which shows 'Fabric Postcards and Pinboard' and I am itching to have a go at making these. (see photo below). When my new studio is finished, I shall have a ball.

Another chapter is on fabric jewellery, another idea I have yet to try. Plus papier mache and fabric bowls and plates.

As I mentioned, for my college show I made quite a few bags, all of them woven. One of them was my 'beach bag'. I lived by the sea and collected all the items for the bag from the beach. Even the handle was a piece of rope I found. These were all washed and sorted, bits of fishing thread untangled and pieces of driftwood were also incorporated. Here are some photos of it:

The front
The back.
A close up of the front with shells attached.

Another bag from my show. This one I called my 'carpet bag'. It was made using the hooked rug method but with very small 'loops'. The dangly bits at the bottom were the tassels from a scarf. I was very pleased with this. Below is a photo of the inside:

And this is the back:

I can honestly say that Sue Reeves's book changed my life. It has been and still is a constant inspiration to me. I thank you Sue.