‘Echo’ the handmade and the digital, a project in development

As a sculptor, with 20 years experience in direct stone carving, I have develop a strong sense of working with a natural material in a physical direct way, alerting my senses in the process of it. In recent years I have experimented with materials and techniques. Focusing on the process of making I incorporate materials like cloth, wax, paper, discovering qualities that expand my sculptural skills, returning new finds indirectly to the direct carving. I am interested in light, shadow, form as negative imprint, form fully realised, mobility of form. My aim is to observe and capture fleeting moments, combining permanent materials like stone with ephemeral materials and processes. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to share this approach with young adults and adults who have taken part in my direct stone carving courses over the last 10 years. On this background I have been commissioned by New Brewery Arts/ Cirencester to create a project investigating with the aid of digital tools my process and the process of groups who partake in direct stone carving. As well as me being ‘wired up’ in my studio, spring 2015 ‘Echo’ will take part in several secondary schools where I am running stone carving workshops and digitally record those. ‘Echo’ is a project in it’s early stages, my experiences with the digital medium are new and I am excited where a connection between handmade and digital will take me in my own practise. The impact of information and communications technology is vast and gains importance in many creative areas, with a multitude of possibilities, the restrictions are of a very different nature to the once in a handmade process, where qualities of a material and the engaging process through skill form possibilities and boundaries. Pretty much anything in the material world can be made through 3-D printing, products in engineering and design to medicine, touching into all areas of our society, with it grows fascination and many questions.

So how can the handmade connect to the digital?

Whilst making by hand experiences move to a holistic memory inside the maker. It is a process that encompasses a multitude of skills and continuously develops because of it, we see, we act, we touch, we think, we decide on the next step to take which tool to use, out of this grows the journey to the finished object, with a new set of skills of how to use a tool to extract certain aspects out of a material, a understanding of how the material responds. As a skilled maker I know instinctively about the restrictions of a material and it’s possibilities.The hand made process of learning consists of repetition and a collection of embodied memory.

The digital process differs from the handmade and connects equally. When using ‘Rhino’ 3-D modelling software, forms are generated and designed through CAD, when moving and shifting forms on the screen, all is much faster, almost instant, a fluid experience, opposite to the weeks it takes to create a carving. Yet I notice the same gut feeling towards the form on the screen as to the one on the workbench, perhaps my memory of form is so embedded that it relates to all forms,physical as well as virtual ones. So how can I build on this connection between the two?During direct stone carving a soundscape is generated by which the experienced stone carver can tell a lot about the material and about the person interacting with the material. In ‘Echo’ I am using digital technologies at different points to survey the ‘intuitive knowing’.

-During the carving process as a tool for collecting data, the sound of carving/ the physical        touch of the maker with the material/ the internal sound in the stone when it is being carved/ scanning of forms at different stages of the process.                                                                              -Followed by the analysing of data, detecting emerging patterns and forms.                                      -Finally utilising ‘digested’ data, I am designing sculptural forms which will be 3-D printed.         With the hand carved sculptures and 3-D printed sculptures I am creating a installation as part of my residency at New Brewery Arts summer 2015.

‘Echo’ is a starting point for my own practice to enrich the direct intuitive approach with digital technology. I see ‘Echo’ as a opportunity to engage with contemporary making practise, rooted in the oldest tradition of making.

‘Echo’ highlights some aspects of the direct stone carving process through 3-D printed forms ‘grown’ out of a digital data.

‘Echo’ is supported by

New Brewery Arts, newbreweryarts.org.uk

Dr Paul Harper, academic and writer on visual art and craft

Dan Hughes-Mc Grail, sculptor, specialist in 3-D modelling, digital-sculpture.co.uk

Stephen Ives, sound artist, ‘Hackerfarm’, hackerfarm.net

Paul Lewis, managing director of ‘Cadventure’, cadventure.co.uk

 

 

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Commissioned work coming along

Commissioned work coming along

This carving is now developing all round, initially faced with a similar scenario with this piece as with the last large carving, with no lifting equipment available and the weight to great to move the stone it stayed in one position for a frustratingly long time. My friend Jordi Raga came to the rescue moving the carving into it’s upright position, the carving develops now all the way round.

Carving in procress, Carrara marble, 07.10.2014

Carving in procress, Carrara marble, 07.10.2014

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is use of material the one for this job ?

is use of material the one for this job ?

…so I want to work with light and shadow, freely available every day and night but how can a material highlight certain qualities of it and which once do I want to highlight? When using graphite I noticed that even though the marks are dark, the silvery metallic shine can dominate, confuse (first image)…covered with tracing paper subtleness moves in (second image). Once this drawing was complete I realised I mixed many things together (reflection, projection, light, shadow) separating the different aspects out to clarify is the way to go…perhaps…

graphite on black background, covered with tracing paper, June 2014

graphite on black background, covered with tracing paper, June 2014

graphite on black card covered by tracing paper, June 2014

graphite on black card covered by tracing paper, June 2014

 

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Search light

Search light

…ever since ‘Convergence & Space’ I had a strong inclination to explore shadows, it’s origin and visual possibilities. Paul Grellier and myself had planned for a residency in the Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean to explore exactly this theme, unavailability of arts council funding for this project at this stage is giving us/ me the opportunity to rethink. I am spending my time trying to grasp a glimpse of light, projections of light and matter, the movement it can show…layers of transparency. I am beginning to see that light and shadows are complex, overlap into other related areas…reflections, projections, refraction& Snell’s law. Where was I during my physics lessons?! Probably looking out of a window watching the shadows created by swaying trees in the sunlight, some things never change! Now the question for me is, what material can aid me to visually bring certain qualities, can it be done through drawing with graphite or is it’s ability to reflect light confusing?

light/shadow projection 1, June 2014

light/shadow projection 1, June 2014

 

 

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Artefact or Fiction

Artefact or Fiction

Artefact or Fiction - Museum in the Park, Stroud

Artefact or Fiction – Museum in the Park, Stroud

1st – 31st May 2014
Stroud Museum in the Park

On ‘Artefact or Fiction’
A temporary intervention amongst the
Historic collection rooms, involving genuine
Curiosities and artistry both to intrigue and inspire,
Wherein you the viewer, may opportune enhance
Imagination of the mysteries therein exposed!

Presented for your enjoyment
by
Paul Grellier & Ann-Margreth Bohl

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Bronze casting

Bronze casting

My fascination with fire led me to try my hand on bronze casting, I could never quite understand it when explained to me, I had to see it for myself. Soon understanding that indeed a lengthy and complicated process lies behind the ancient fascination to preserve form with precious metal. I went with the aim to understand the process which I gained a glimpse of. The two most impressive aspects for me, the ‘runners and risers’ a circulation system attached to the original or model to let the molten metal run freely into the mould and for the air to escape…much like the circulation system of our body. This as well as the melting of metal followed by the pouring, the colour change as the bronze cooled down in temperature, multicoloured process on many levels…

Bronze casting, heating of the bronze 01.03.2014

Bronze casting, heating of the bronze 01.03.2014

Bronze cooling down, 1

Bronze cooling down, 1

Bronze cooling down, 2

Bronze cooling down, 2

Bronze cooling down, 3

Bronze cooling down, 3

 

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