Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Making an artefact..

Following last week's lesson on making pressed clay molds I bought some clay and had a go at making one at home.

I have been reading Robert Graves' 'Greek Myths' and am intrigued by the messages from the past which enable us to piece together the myths, legends and facts (we know there were lions in ancient Greece because of the ones painted on kraters and other clay pots) of previous peoples. The paintings on ancient pottery are a considerable source of this information, so I decided to make a sort of 'rosetta stone' of my own.

What would someone from the future make of this?

press the selected items into the clay
                         close up of the mysterious message ;-)
the pour.....tension mounts, how will it turn out????

Leave the plaster to harden for about an hour, peel away the clay.
I trimmed the edges with a stanley knife, as had been demonstrated by Paul, and
Ta da!! The 'Delves Stone'

This piece was inspired by my interest in antiquity and the objects which are left behind for future generations to 'read' and interpret.

It is not difficult to see the influence of these images in my plaster cast above.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Some mold making techniques

Paul took us through a couple of traditional mold making techniques this week. The first was 'pressed clay'. This is what you do:

  • decide what you want to make - a plaque? a model of something? perhaps do a drawing to sketch out some ideas. We were encouraged to find a range of objects with different textures and use this workshop to experiment and play with the possibilities.
  • prepare the surface of the clay which is being used to press the objects into. 

  • Paul pressed a few objects into the clay...
  • then built a solid wall of clay around the area designated for the plaster.
  • Mix the plaster - water first! For the size of the clay moulds we were using about 5cms of water in a regular bucket was plenty;  sprinkle the dry plaster into the water quite quickly; when 'islands' of plaster start to form slow down the addition of the plaster; you want about 50% plaster and 50% water visible in the bucket; stir the plaster/water mix quickly with your hand to get the lumps out; when it is smooth and the consistency of cream (not whipped!) it is ready to pour into the clay mould

                                                       the clay mold with 'walls' around the imprint, filled with plaster
If you are making a plaque and want to hang it on a wall place a wire hanger; make loops on the wire to provide something for the plaster to 'grip' onto
  • leave the plaster to set for at least 40 minutes. If a fingernail scraped across the plaster leaves a deep indentation it is not ready to be released from the mold.
  • when the plaster is hard, peel the clay away from the plaster model.
  • wash the plaster model with water and brush to remove and clay left in deep indentations
  • leave the plaster model to dry - prop it up so that it dries underneath evenly
Here is my first effort. This technique provides a detailed casting and is easy and cheap, but one off. The clay is peeled away from the plaster when it has set so you lose the original mold.

Add caption

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Homage to 'Word of Mouth' with tongue in cheek..

Wow, I have had a hell of a time creating a simple symmetrical pattern by selecting part of a photo I took then copying and rotating the selection and putting it together in one document. It has taken me two and half early morning hours to do this!!!

 Sheesh. Where is the definitive youtube tutorial on how to do this stuff?

 I can't believe people do this for fun.


Off to CMAG to seek inspiration. We visited the exhibition Word of Mouth: encounters with abstract art. Mark Bayly, who curated the show, gave us a terrific guided tour where he talked about the importance of the relationship between artists and their mentors. The title 'Word of Mouth' signifies 'the theme of conceptual dialogue, as well as the literal act of passing knowledge from one person to another across generational lines' (Mark Bayly, exhibition program). The artists have a history associated with at the art school at ANU, as students, teachers and/or mentors.

We walked to the gallery and took 'snaps' along the way, seeking inspiration in the streets of Civic!

follow me...

Advanced Diploma of Art and Design begins...

24th July 2012 was the official start-up day for the Advanced Diploma of Art and Design at CIT.  We are a small but enthusiastic group, keen to get on with the work of creating masterpieces. 

Class started with some vital information about the course, timetabling and general 'housework', which I unfortunately missed on account of being late. Paul helpfully repeated himself for my benefit as the morning wore on. 

It seems I have to come up with my own ideas for my studio project!! With a view to undertaking this decision we all did a brainstorm on what sorts of things 'inspire' us and came up with an interesting list including some of the following:

  • dreams
  • films
  • books
  • exhibitions
  • experimenting with different media
  • architecture
  • magazines
  • music
  • natural environments (bush, rivers, lakes, parks)
  • dance/drama/cultural experiences
  • alcohol
  • other artists
  • particular artistic genres (surrealism, expressionism etc)
  • animals
  • doodling
  • following on line links
  • pinterest
  • zoos, museums, public places (cafes, pubs)
  • events
  • diaries

'Felines' by Gwen Clarke
When I got home I brought some art materials out of the cold studio and into the warm living area and decided to act on a long held desire to do a picture based on the above picture which I gave to my husband as a wedding gift (back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth).

My dining table version is on the sidebar. Other artists have been a huge source of inspiration for me in the past (dare I mention William Kentridge?) and Gwen's beautiful work is no exception.