New Horizons

New Horizons:

Dance alphonse Mucha Art Nouveaux

Initial Research into Art History and Visual communication :

This led me to think of Art Nouveaux. Why?

#1 : Art Nouveaux led the way for modern day Graphic Design, it was used in posters, publications and advertising.

#2 : It stemmed from England but soon took off in many other countries, this is important as it is part of my own cultural heritage.

#3 : It influenced everything from fashion and design all the way to architecture.

#4 : Although it had a relatively brief fling in the limelight, having spanned across a period of only 20 years – It saw the turn of the century and straddled the end of the Victorian and the beginning of the Edwardian eras.

Art Nouveaux research. – Direct link to related Journal Entry.

First response to brief:

Curriculum Overview Week 16 – 34 (2)


I aim to make an Art Nouveaux styled piece for the end of year exhibition, here are some initial sketches :

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New-horizons-response-to-brief – Direct link to related Journal Entry.

As my initial plan is to create the whiplash curves in the background using wire, however I, being a little inexperienced, bought the wrong gauge and ended up with wire far to flimsy for the purpose, however I did produce a rather interesting contemporary piece whilst toying with the length of wire I had :


Having now ordered a higher gauge wire, I will continue with my plan. The shadow play effects from the above piece started my thought process though and I made a very simple wire model of my sculpture, I also slightly amended this idea and used wire, beads and spacers to create a female form:


As prototypes & experiments with media, both are satisfactory outcomes.

With some thicker gauge wire I made a series of circles/curves, I opted to cover them with Pussy Willow, the out come is striking, understated and yet draws the eye:


Sculpture practise – Direct link to Journal entry.

I am also looking into doing a photography piece, I’m not terrible with a camera and if you see my journal about Longbridge redevelopment , you will understand why. It does encompass the module key words fairly well, excavation, rejuvenation etc but realistically I just did not have the time to pursue this further, it was not something I could do from home, so it pretty much went on the back burner and remains a pet project that I will continue to watch and document.

The third project I initially looked into was here Visual Communication here, I looked at using a ‘Ready Made’ piece, in the vein of Duchamp, I toyed with the possibilities but overall, in all honestly, I wanted to create an original piece rather than use this. Here is a picture anyway, and do enjoy the insane ramblings that this post contains! 🙂

Onto Chinese Whispers  – Prototype for final piece, I am not sure exactly what lead me here, I was thinking about Visual communication and what it meant, how it was left wide open to interpretation, How I could show the way different people or contexts, surroundings or simply repetition, could change perceptions. I followed a simple set of instructions on how to create the profile of a face out of wire and then repeated the experiment several times to see the different outcomes, this is what I got:


Overall I was so pleased that the outcome visually communicated, how even a very simple and straightforward set of instructions could create such a diversity of outcomes that I really believe this piece, not only outlines Interpretation, but also, misinterpretation. Showing that even with a instructed, single task there is room for imagination.

When I spoke to Adam, he suggested that I try photographing these and looking at different effects, blind drawing or constant contact drawing.  – See link Chinese Whispers above.

In the meantime, I have been working hard repairing and recycling furniture, both for the Primrose Hospice and myself, Showing again that even the stuff we throw away can become a contemporary item that is again welcome in some ones home. Check out my Projects 🙂 and Teamwork exercises such as Chinese New Year and find more on this and other group activities on the Group Blog.

After being fairly poorly, and consequently missing over 3 weeks of lessons, I was starting to feel a little worried. Still poorly after 5 weeks, I am able enough to use my brain and kick start the recovery process, this next 3 weeks will be a wall of catching up and a flurry of activity. I have continued with research during this period and the evidence is here.

I have looked into Textile art over the centuries and I really feel I need to try something in this vein. Fabric and thread have been as important to Mankind as bread and water, both for warmth and decorative use, expression of oneself through textiles, in clothing, jewellery, furniture and furnishings but also in beautiful art works like tapestry. How many wonderful tapestry pieces decorate our English heritage walls? Hand woven rugs, printed fabrics and wall hangings are ever more popular and marketable, with the need for individuality to be stated blatantly, boldly and without judgement.

Firstly I attempt to get back on the wagon with art itself, I tried out some ideas at home and this is what I came up with:


Above, Art Nouveaux hand embroidery, which was taking me ages to complete by hand, got a really fast makeover, with some freestyle colouring in and touch ups on the sewing machine. – Not quite finished but a work in progress that I am satisfied with 🙂

After not failing at freestyle, I decided to try my faces out on the machine too:


Which, aside from being a little close to the bottom edge, is pretty good, blind drawing on the sewing machine, but darn my coordination!, I had a bash at cave art with the needle too… again, simple, striking and a really pleasant effect. More information and research findings on the blog post: Embroidery & Textile Art

The other thing I tried was using string/wool to freeflow a design onto a blanked out canvas : the first attempt was the faces with fairly thick string, unsure of the weight of it and indeed how to attach it to the board itself without leaving gloopy residue, I scrapped the string and the second time I drooped lightweight wool, initially randomly, then I saw the shape of a cat appear, so I slightly navigated the wool to create a better outline and then carried on spilling the wool into the middle

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But again, I am stuck with the fix it down dilemma? I could soak the wool into PVA and the drape it on, but I run the risk of creating residual glue splotches or marks, or risk losing the natural fall of the wool, I don’t want this, eventually I chose to take the whole piece into the kitchen , open the back door, turn on the extractor fan and blast the piece with a nice coat of silver spray paint 😀 :


This has to be my favourite outcome yet, its understated but intricate, simple yet full of interest, relaxed and yet still fairly clear in what its intended subject is. Thumbs up on this, I want to try a couple more experiments in this vein, however, it will have to wait until Monday when my children are back to school as I cannot use spray paint while they are about!

Overall , I am confident I can carry through my experimentations and fulfill the target for a final piece by the end of April, I just need to see my tutors and make sure they are as pleased with my results as I am.

The written side will be my main concern this next coming week, getting back on top and staying there. I am going back to the beginning to refresh myself and to help me understand where I am at and where I should be. Again I will speak to tutors this week and make sense of what I need to get done.

Full steam ahead!

So I am back into experiments, I have discounted many ideas, It is hard for me as I do not have a particular Specialism, I am a Fine Artist I think, but still its so difficult to stick to one media or style!

I am struggling to be entirely honest, I go all the way back to the start and read my initial research on NASA , visual communication, the trip to the Whitworth Gallery and Art Nouveaux. What do I really want for my final piece?

I want :

1.Space, as it is our New Horizon, the next point on our map to conquer and claim

2. Nature, I want the natural media, I want Science and Math to come naturally into the piece

3. I want an open Visual Communication piece that allows for interpretation by anyone, of all ages

So I want a little bit of influence from all these factors, I explore nature and painting with natural materials :

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I try collecting up local plant life and experiment into how to use it, much like a cave man would have, to produce images, they may have soaked the plant life in water or mashed it up so I tried that first. WP_20160418_004

Not that I was getting very far, so I tried just actually taking the grass and berries and just drawing with them, just putting them to paper and rubbing or pressing them against the paper – I really had some success.

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So I widened my own horizons, and brought a whole heap of fresh flowers from the local supermarket and cracked on.


I really like this effect but its a little bit too structured, I want the colours to mix and they aren’t going to do that as they are dry. So I try fruit and vegetables instead :

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I thought I would try printing the second design above onto fabric, just out of interest, to see if it would soak in better with the fabric base and in my mind, fabric is a far more natural and older product than paper?


Okay, no absorbing but its a good effect, so I continued this idea and added more layers,



Now this I like, I’m enjoying the way the products are interacting and after splodging some tea and coffee on it I am seeing the spread I want emerging, so I forgo the printing and try literally throwing the fruit and veg at the canvas.

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Progression continues and I end up with what is my final piece :

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which after much deliberation, ended up mounted onto a canvas, initially I thought I would hem it and hang it from a bamboo pole, but logistically it needed stretching as the produce had dried and pulled the fabric , as we couldn’t iron or steam it, we debated whether a weight at the bottom would solve the problem but I was not convinced. The next option was to pin it onto the wall, literally staple it to stretch it out and pull the fabric flat…logistically though, this is a bit much, now I am in fear of destroying it just trying to remove it from the wall after the exhibition finishes.

Finally it was decided I would cut my losses and  risk stretching it over a large canvas, this way it would have the support and less stress, ideally I should have considered stretching the fabric over a base frame before starting, doing that would have saved a lot of last minute faff and and drama! It did mean that we had to chose a section of the finished fabric though, but I am happy with the choices, there are sections where you can almost see Nebula forming, naturally forming shapes in the chaos. Nature in a nutshell? I think so 🙂

The Final piece is called Crushed Berries & Acid Rain, please follow the hyper link to see the full journal on this project 🙂

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Exhibiting the work:

View the full process here : Exhibition Planning & Execution

From the start we have worked as a team, both ourselves ( Year 1),  and the yr 2’s, the exhibition itself has been planned, organised and created by the whole group and the course tutors Amanda Blake, Matthew Billington and the support tutor Adam Robinson and without there fantastic efforts, I do not think we could have pulled it off!

The process from start to finish is recorded although unfinished as the exhibition is still running until Thursday 12/5/2016 after which we have to dismantle it and analyse its performance and such. The Private viewing was on the 6th May 2016 and it was a huge success, here is a group photograph from the evening along with pictures of the exhibition posters, please see the journal entry for more pictures.

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Overall this module has been a massive learning curve for me, with being ill and really pushing myself to my limits to get done in time, I was very unsure if I would be able to meet the deadline, having to ask for an extension really hit home that I am capable, but still need to cut myself a little slack when slack is due.

I am not sure if the illness itself, took me away from my initial sculptural path or if this is where I would have ended up regardless. I am confident that my end product was a success having received several comments on it, all praising its beauty, colour and form, and the idea behind its production.

I am happy that I tried a bit of everything to arrive here, I certainly have  amazed myself at how much I have explored. I know there is a long, long road ahead, of learning, exploration and I am happy in the knowledge that I am so much farther ahead than I dreamed I would be. My overall influences for this module have been so basic, Cave art, Nature, and my own imagination, curiously I am completely at ease that my piece ‘lives, evolves and will perish’. I am grateful that the history of visual communication has brought us here, to a time that I can document its life and death accordingly and hopefully, eternally.

Update, Monday 9/05/16 – I have done my shift in the gallery today and found it a really pleasant experience, we had a few visitors who paid compliment to the work on display and I took the opportunity to get a photgraph of my piece. This is fairly important, to keep a journal of its deterioration over a period of time, else its life will have been worthless!


its holding up rather better than anticipated to be honest, I was of the mind I may have to make a midweek switch for a newer piece as I did not want the fully decomposed version on show by Tuesday! Thankfully the air is clean and cool in the space and the lighting seems to be having a minimal effect, as it only has exposure between 10-4 its probably helped, the other factor is that it is situated at the furthest point away from the window so as not to have the impact of the weather on it.




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