‘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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Artist talk & re-opening of ‘Convergence & Space’

Artist talk & re-opening of ‘Convergence & Space’

Artist talk thursday 5th December at SVA Stroud John Street 8pm (with possibility to view exhibition prior to talk 6pm-8pm)

‘Convergence&Space’ re-opens weekend saturday 7th& sunday 8th December 11am-5pm, included some new work created in the venue by Paul Grellier& Ann-Margreth Bohl

Casting shadows on the wall

Casting shadows on the wall

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This is where we got to

This is where we got to

Weeks have passed by, ‘Convergence&Space’ has been visited well, during the week of its opening we had about 900 people coming to see it, all ages, from fellow artists to passers by parking in the car park next to the Goods Shed to fetch a train or to do their shopping. One man came in one day, unexpected but open to whatever might meet him…his words were “I did not see anything like it before, I don’t know what to say but I am going to tell my mates to come round, it’s great.”

We had a few weeks of being playful in the way we arranged this exhibition, not easy for me initially but even more enjoyable in the end. Our work moved constantly, some bigger pieces had to remain in their original location but many objects changed location daily. So here are a few snapshots of one day in the life of ‘Convergence&Space’….

View into 'Convergence&Space'

View into ‘Convergence&Space’

Animals on the run

Animals on the run

Stroud valleys, the graffiti shadows& circle mobile

Stroud valleys, the graffiti shadows& circle mobile

Pebble line& rip

Pebble line& rip

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Casting, materials on the quest of understanding form

Casting, materials on the quest of understanding form

24.10.2013, cast with care, canal, Stanton Saint Bernard

24.10.2013, Cast with Care, Canal, Stanton Saint Bernard

Pressing clay into the segments that I used as wall rubbings yesterday, followed by a day of casting. The wall segments are suddenly something different all together, being able to observe the folds and cracks in the cast is like stepping away from the walls and coming closer all at once through a objective material, neutral viewing and then the introduction of new materials, for instinctive reasons, later understood.

24.10.2013, casting the outer pill box wall segment, Stanton Saint Bernard

24.10.2013, casting the outer pill box wall segment, Stanton Saint Bernard

There is a vocabulary a language of material and form, the combinations can evoke many layers and even though there are qualities that can be superficially experienced….warm, cold, old, young, shiny, dark, the combination of materials and how it can enhance the experience of form is what I am interested in.

24.10.2013, casts of the pill box outside wall segment, The Sheds

24.10.2013, Casts of the pill box outside wall segment, The Sheds

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Later on

Later on

Equipped with tracing paper and graphite I am on my way…taking wall rubbings of several segments that seem of interest for a multitude of reasons as it seems in hindesight. Take an impression of the form, rhythm in the brickwork, cracks….

23.10.2013, wall segments inside the pillbox, Stanton Saint Bernard

23.10.2013, wall segments inside the pillbox, Stanton Saint Bernard

Inside outside, threat or shelter, outside freedom, inside closed, held, protected…..

23.10.2013, wall segment outside the pillbox, Stanton Saint Bernard

23.10.2013, wall segment outside the pillbox, Stanton Saint Bernard

I have been here before when I embarked on the wall rubbings for the walled garden at the Museum in the Park/ Stroud..seems that walls rekindle the childhood memory, the “Berliner Mauer” and the fence cutting through the land that was my home.

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