After I had completed the dye process, I dried the sheets of linen that had been soaking in the dye and took them into the studio to begin to make work from them. I began by stitching the separate panels of topographical information (the frottage and the naturally dyed fabric) together so that the elements would work as a comprehensive mapping of place.
The panels of naturally dyed linen were attached to existing panels of graphite and earth frottage with cotton thread. The panels allowed the work to be easily folded and transported from place to place like the ease of having a map in a coat pocket.
From the collection of materials and process led making I have been carrying out at Swanpool Headland over the past couple of weeks, I have ended up with three finished 'maps'. This first group of finished pieces in my ongoing mapping project consist of only earth, graphite, rainwater, cotton thread, fern leaf dye and fatsia japonia seed head dye on linen.
The hand stitching acts as a nod to grid references but also resembles the journey taken to reach the headland, weaved through the linen landscape.
The frottage becomes evidence embedded in the linen; a marker of 'place'. The dyed fabric lends a cyclic nature to the work - the natural dye making process was on going throughout the lifespan of the work but the materials were collected on my very first field trip to the headland.
I am trying to manifest a sense of spatial orientation in these unorthodox 'maps', which reject a traditional cartographic aerial view of the world and embrace a mapping of place through a multi faceted perspective.
In exploration of alternative methods of combining the panels, I used string to knot sheets of linen together. Spacing the knots relatively far apart left the panels less 'attached' then the panels that had been stitched. As I observed the in progress works hanging on my studio wall, becoming less elemental and more complete, I began to make a deeper connection with my art acting as a map. I hadn't felt this connection with my previous diptych works; moving away from artificial materials was just what I needed to explore my ideas in a new and fresh language.
I have been thinking more about how to develop a dialogue with landscape. What can I take from the earth in terms of material and what can I say about my relationship with it? How can I manifest human experience within the environment in a tactile way?
How does the world make me feel and in what way can I comment on the transience of that feeling? Although not a visually accurate representation of place; my ideas and my making comes about from experience. I am reducing the event of 'being' in the world to a mark that is mapped and preserved in a piece.
After the completition of the three works, I photographed them in my studio then took my final trip to the headland site to photograph the pieces in their original habitat.
The sky was a deep lavender, the sea was stormy, the sun was almost blinding, then hid behind the clouds and cast spotlights onto the surface of the sea. It was one of the most beautiful visits I have made during the making of these works.
The cyclic life span of the headland works was documented in this final imagery. Pieces of art made about the landscape, made with materials primarily from that same landscape, then installed back into their natural habitat when complete.