hand-in prep and an artist study round-up / oliver raymond-barker - natural alchemy / lucy may schofield / Xandra van der Eijk - seaweed study

The past couple of days I have been finishing my series of 'Stretched Horizons' and gathering all the loose odds and ends of my studio work together in preparation for hand-in on Friday. I re-worked my artist statement and completed the necessary self-assessment ahead of time, so I could use these last few days before the deadline to focus on the finer details.

Once I had finished making all the works I had set out to make before assessment, I documented them for my website and wrote up a portfolio list to make for an easy, clear and straight-forward assessment format.

I have also been focusing on strengthening my supporting work/sketchbooks ahead of my deadline. I took all of my natural dye experiments and frottage swatches and complied them into an annotated sketchbook, displaying my progression with the new techniques and exploration of the bundle dye process, too.

I will also be working on my drawings sketchbook in the run up to the deadline, to be sure I have as much supporting work behind my larger works as possible.

Today I have been de-cluttering and re-arranging my studio space; switching my desk around, neatly displaying work for assessment and clearing out any messy old work, tools or materials. The last two pieces I have made in this collection - both acting as a diptych of sorts, 'mapping' Swanpool Headland at Springtime - are the pieces I have displayed for assessment.

I have hung these two works up on the studio wall for presentation with my other large works stacked beside and photographs, supporting work and my online portfolio all numbered to correlate with my previously written up portfolio list.

There are also a few artists who I have been meaning to write about and record my research of for some time. Now seems the perfect opportunity, given that I have finished all the practical studio-based work I needed to do. The first of these artists is Oliver Raymond Barker.

 oliver raymond-barker

Oliver Raymond-Barker lives in Cornwall, working under a photography practice that stretches from analogue and digital processes to the use of natural materials and camera less methods of image making. He works with the available light and its potential when transformed by the mechanics of photography.

I am particularly drawn to Raymond-Barker's involvement in The Natural Alchemy project - an exploration into process; using the properties of plants, rocks, minerals and metals combined with the organisms that surround them to create works of art.

Raymond-Barker works with Dr. Chris Bryan of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) to explore the latent potential of natural materials, the innovative use of contaminated waste, the dynamic between autonomous and governed process and the fusion of ancient and modern systems.

The above photographs were taken at Wheal Maid near Bissoe.  The project used the site to experiment with displacement reactions and as a source of Pyritic rock samples for making pigments with.

The project continue to make experimental works using pioneering techniques. The below pieces were made by applying red oxide from wrought iron plates straight onto wet ferric chloride.

lucy may schofield

‘Living in cities as an artist has meant certain concerns and constraints are always apparent.  I relish the opportunity to be immersed in a rural community, awarded a sense of quiet contemplation for the creation of a new body of work… inspired by members of the rural community and with the opportunity to interact.’

Lucy May Schofield’s practice attempts to capture moments and to make a record of mortality or place, through alternative methods of photography, performance, sculpture, painting, collage and print-making.

Between sunrise and sunset throughout November and December 2015, each days' sunlight in Northern Iceland was captured in a cyanotype print on handmade Japanese washi by Schofield. Each day a shade of cyan emerged, affected by heavy rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail. 

Aura's of discarded beach-washed objects appear and disappear amongst the blue. This self-imposed routine marked the countdown to the Winter Solstice on December 21st 2015, a time of celebration in Iceland, marking the shortest day of the year and an end to the darkest days.

Xandra van der Eijk - Colors of the Oosterschelde

In 2015, artist and researcher Xandra van der Eijk presented new research into the applicability and properties of algae and seaweed in textiles.

Xandra van der Eijk harvested over twenty different species of seaweed and with this harvest a wide color palette came to life, mirroring the colours find in the Dutch coastal area. 

In the Oosterschelde area, a Dutch coastal zone sheltered from the Northsea by a storm surge barrier, the artist collated over 400 samples of colored fabric and yarn.

The project had environmental concerns at it's core; using seaweed as a resource has the advantage of it growing fast without using agricultural land and, by cultivating it in the sea, it could contribute to balance out CO2 levels in the water.  

Fuelled by the diversity in colour that came out of the experiments, the versatility of the material and the unique environment in which it grows, Xandra van der Eijk continues her research in this area to this day.