Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Chapter 2 :Design Work

It's been a very long time since I added anything to my blog: the discipline of little and often had quite left me. Hopefully I'm now out of that rut and back into the creative groove.  A trip to the Forum in Norwich this morning has helped.  "Turn the Page artists' book fair 2014" was on: such a wonderful and inspiring exhibition.  The makers only too pleased to discuss their work and allow their books to be handled.

Yet another lull, internet issues a World War 1 commemoration project, a friend's grief . . .

So again here goes . . .

Sian suggested I go with my heart when choosing a selection of images to work with and take my colour scheme from there: ice-blue, cool light grey, dark grey and warm browns.  A feeling of depth and shadow contrasting with lightness and a gleam on edges was something that also struck me about these images. There is a sense of mystery attached to spiral staircases, echoes of T.S. Eliot, though I've yet to find the exact quote I think I recall.

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On closer examination  I also saw deeper shades of petrol blue and copper and gilt tints.  The image below shows a colour matching exercise where I tried to find exact colour matches in magazines and then by mixing acrylics and water colours.  Water colours gave a nice translucence and a bronze metallic rub-on provided the gilt.

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 The papers below are worked on tissue, cartridge and brown paper with acrylic paint, including metallic, ink and crayon using a range of techniques -- spraying, sponging, wiping and rubbing.  In some cases several techniques layered on top of each other.

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Sian also asked me to notice how each example uses spiral in a slightly different way.  So following an internet investigation and discovering a world of (at least to me) advanced maths I'll start with the University of East Anglia spiral staircase from one of my Photo-shopped images -- this is an Archimedes spiral, a 3D spiral on a vertical plane, the spiral travelling counter clockwise.  All the rotations are the same size.

The three other spiral staircases are also examples of Archimedes spirals, and 3D on a vertical plane.  They differ, however, in respect of the size of each rotation -- some large to small, others small to large.

Simple Two Dimensional Shapes

Below are examples of  two dimensional  shapes, warm-up exercises shown in the module notes.  The colour scheme throughout uses soft turquoise, brown and gilt mainly on double sided tissue paper, where the paper is wrapped round wire it is single thickness.

First of all a single twist, followed by reverse twist and finally stepped twist using strips of paper about a centimetre wide, on reflection a little too wide as it tends to tear when under tension.  The paper has a matt finish, whereas all further examples use some gilt paper.  This I find more attractive as it seems to draw attention to the way the design is created, twisted, wrapped or knotted, giving the appearance of movement.

Middle left shows a long single twist which though narrower and therefore doesn't tear is uneven.  Further narrow strips are rolled into rosettes, and next to them wire scraps.  Three bands of twisted tissue are bent and glued in place -- an interesting way of making a textured surface.

On the far right is a sample of two strips knotted together (needing a paper clip to retain the twist) and three looped and knotted strips with tails left hanging.  Under the right light these last produce pleasing shadows.

Finally, two wrapped wire twists which are more closely related to spiral staircases.  The larger has tissue glued on across sections of the wire.  The smaller sample shows a small twist with wires stretching across the page.

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Spirals using Coloured Papers based on Resource Images


Sample 1: This spiral is cut from a single circle, the spokes are tissue-covered wire and try to evoke the uprights on the staircase balustrade.

Sample 2: Layers of coloured paper mounted with a similar open design made of covered wire.

Sample 3: Two interlocking blue/brown spirals with serrated edges mimicking stairs, the top one mounted on a bronze/brown disc.


Sample 4: A smooth-edged circle cut in a spiral, a second spiral cut parallel to the first and serrated.  The second mounted on the first.

Sample 5:  An oval shaped mounted with two offset circles finally mounted by a narrow cut circle.

Sample 6:  A circle with a spiral cut out and mounted with a gilt covered wire spiral.

Sample 7: A felt tip pen spiral studded with punched out tiny circles.

Sample 8 and 9: Two tissue shapes, one rectangular the other a trapezium, folded to created curved "staircases".

Sample 10 and 11:  Two versions of the UEA staircase,  Sample 10 a tube wrapped with a number of gilt covered lengths of wire.  Sample 11 a tube which has been cut so that strips of it become unfurled and then wrapped at intervals with lengths of covered wire.