‘Gloom’, 2015, Hair and Wool
A piece that I created within the exhibition to ‘break up space’, I meant to create a piece that focuses on the effects of gravity on some wool and hair that I had in my possession. Following on from my work in the studio involving creating sculptures featuring tension and weight, shown by the use of wool, or other string-like materials, I created this artwork from an image that has been appearing within my mind’s eye for a while. As the other piece, ‘Cradle’, was inspired by witchcraft, I sought to create another piece which referenced the ‘black magic’ within the belief system. There is almost a resemblance to smoke within the form, as it falls and seemingly floats ‘downwards’, meant to resemble the way that a ‘spell of gloom’ falls down and blanket’s someone’s mind and emotional state. Relating to this, it also takes inspiration from the shape of neurons within the brain; another nod to emotional states, as well as the black arts being related to the notion of expanding intelligence. As with Sigils, and the fact that some say that they are a precursor to A.I., due to the notion of demons being summoned as an extension of the summoner’s own intelligence, as well as granting a heightened intelligence to the summoner through their otherworldly knowledge and experience; witchcraft explored the aspects of the mind, and how it can be expanded, as well as harnessed, to utilise magic from within the caster’s soul. The chair adds familiarity, as well as allowing the viewer to sit under the ‘gloom’ and ruminate upon it’s almost intrusive nature.
‘Cradle’, 2015, Wool, Feathers, Bird, Chair, Chalk
Moving on from my work within the studio, I planned to visit concepts found within ‘magic’ and it’s relation to humanity. As well as the aspect of working on a singular object for an extended period of time, as I have been struggling with this for a while now within my work. I believe that to improve not only my technical skills, but also my conceptual skills and understanding. I need to pause, think, and ruminate upon a single concept or work.
‘Witches’ Ladder found in Wellington, Somerset’
(Image taken from; http://england.prm.ox.ac.uk/englishness-witchs-ladder.html)
Within my studio work, I have been focusing on tension and knots within wool and string, and yet, not being sure exactly why. Nevertheless, I feel a burning desire to continue with this avenue of exploration within my work. Through my research, I came across an object utilised within witchcraft for luck and incantation purposes; a ‘witch’s ladder’. The with ladder is basically a ‘dark’ rosary, in the sense that it is made from braided cord or string, and instead of holding beads within it, it utilises feathers and/or bones and other materials woven into the single braid or plait. As the braid is woven, an incantation is told, and with each knot, energy from within the creator is passed into the ladder. Due to the imminent closure of the Abacus, I wanted to create a ‘shrine’ towards the abacus, utilising dead and energy laden materials to celebrate this aspect; although the materials are ‘dead’, their energy and influence still lives on, passing into the viewers own soul.
I originally wanted to craft a ‘web’ that hung from the ceiling, suspended by fishing wire, and seemingly floating in space. This would allow the viewer to understand how much work went into the braiding of the ladder., and highlight the importance of the process in creation. However, as I hung the structure, a length of it became severely tangled, and fell upon a chair that I was utilising as a stool. The form at once reminded me of a trap or snare, as well as a nest; simultaneously harnessing the symbolism of constraint and comfort. The form, as it lays upon the chair, seems to ‘sit’ upon the chair, prompting the chair to provide support for the structure, as well as adding a sense of domestic familiarity to the piece. Adding a chalk circle was prompted b my desire to ‘ground’ and localise the piece.
The ‘nest’ does hold pieces of a dead bird, as well as the feathers, harnessing the potential found within the bird’s dead form, and has not been lost. Returning to ideas explored last year with the idea of birds as conduits for transcendence from one plane to another; the tangled mess symbolises the internal plight of the bird’s desire to escape, and the structure above the form, linked to the tangled nest, resembles a bird in flight. The piece, is supposed to be a good luck charm, and a shrine to the Abacus. The Abacus is Dead, but it will live on within the people who have been touched by his presence.