‘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



Without pictures

Not that I didn’t want to put pictures in today, somehow I don’t seem to be able to upload them …qualities of materials and how they can change through the influence of temperature/time/pressure etc. Why am I drawn to some materials more than others? How can I use their qualities in my work?

Water can turn into ice over a period of time, the ice builds up and forms with gravity hanging forms. I see some of my carvings as fluid forms that have turned solid. Wax has much the same quality when it turns from liquid to solid but wax has such a different history and quality to water.Stone has gone through so many changes from liquid to solid. Cloth/string/leather a skin can be build over a form (Tottery patcher image to follow), stretching over a form showing tension and the underlying form in it’s purity, wrapping something over a form is like a ritual for me, being aware of pain and trying to bring some healing…

I am itching to get making, thoughts are flying around in my mind it is time to get them on paper and into the materials mentioned.




Mariko Mori: Rebirth

Mariko Mori at the Royal Academy ,what stayed with me was the simplicity and the use of colour in sculpture,took me some time to get used to and see the how it can work together.Sitting for a long time with the piece Transcircle 1.1′, reaching a place were the rhythm of the changing colours made sense, it lost for me it’s artificial harshness and connected to a meaningful place,Tom Na H-lu II’ demonstrates a supernova,stellar explosion and death of a star,were the colour connects to a real time control system,the energy that comes across taps into a universal place…Primal Memory this installation inspires me to create work made out of sections, the subtle forms and intuitive placing of the forms, how close or far away they are from the ground they are placed on all worked and did not leave a fragmented taste.Mori builds bridges between cultures and times, between materials, connection to something big is in the air.

I left the exhibition with the awareness that Mori uses digital media, embraces and harnesses it in order to connect with our enviroment, as well as intuitive dreaming, a powerful combination.