Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Daffodils, Edinburgh and Milan

Some weeks before Christmas, I was asked if I would take part in a fund-raiser for Cancer Research UK and I wasn't really sure that I would be able to afford the time, so it was pleasant to find that a commission I had planned for immediately after the New Year - a pair of Verdura-inspired cuffs - was to be delayed by about 10 days and I set to work on my plan. The brief - for Cursley & Bond's gallery in Folkestone - was to create a life-size daffodil in any material, not exactly my sort of usual work. I toyed with the idea of making one out of steel, but that seemed too obvious and when I was researching why daffodils are the symbol for cancer research, I found a poem by e.e. cummings called "in time of daffodils", which gave me the name for the project:
"in time of daffodils (who know
"the goal of living is to grow)
"forgetting why, remember how..."
 Vague ideas batted about my head and I was thinking about how cancerous cells generate from "normal" human cells, about how the "perfect" cell becomes "imperfect" and destructive, which resonated with arguments I have been hearing from various quarters about my own use of technology to supplement my handskills (and, more importantly, teaching technology skills alongside traditional skills). It struck me that just as the cancer cells come from a standard "pattern" - the human DNA - so I could make a piece of work comparing the output of digital- and hand-manufacture from a standard pattern.

My standard pattern was a digital model of a life-sized daffodil which I created in Rhino:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 2

I then set out to create this by both 3d printing and hand-manufacture. The 3d printing is being handled by Shapeways and these have not arrived yet. I printed out the cutting plans for the silver version and started work:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 1

The elements of this were then cut in silver and hand-raised and chased:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 4

The central elements were open to a bit of interpretation as plans from the model weren't really possible and I had to rely on my botanical knowledge a bit to recreate the inside:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 5

And with a bit of artistic license, I decided to set a stone in the middle, hence the setting:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 11

I polished, set and patinated it today:

in time of daffodils - WIP - 12

More to follow on how this will be used in conjunction with the 3d prints.

The Studios of Judy R Clark - 3

I spent the weekend in Edinburgh, catching up with an old friend from school and his new twin babies, and meeting with Judy R Clark, with whom I have previously spoken a little but did not know very well. Judy won the Scottish Style Awards "Womenswear Designer" of 2013 and has recently been featuring a lot in the fashion press and media, including "Vogue Italia". Some weeks ago, she posted a photograph of a man's tweed jacket which she had made and, by chance, my friend Madelyn Smoak sent me a piece of genuine 19th Century Paisley Shawl. (Strange to think that the shawl started a mere 8 miles from my house and went on a transatlantic journey!)

When the shawl material arrived, I realised that it had to be used and Judy's mixing of fabrics and her definite 19th Century aesthetic meant that there was nothing to be done but commission a frock-coat from her.

The Studios of Judy R Clark - 2
Fabric and measurements on the workbench.

While we were chatting, she was talking about preparing her Look-Book for Milan fashion week and invited me to accessorise it with my jewellery, which is very exciting!

The Studios of Judy R Clark - 1

My day in Edinburgh was somewhat marred by dropping my new camera and utterly wrecking it. Back to one of my old ones for now.