Copyright © Leonie Westbrook 2017. All rights reserved.
At the end of the Calendar Girls project (described below), participants were invited to exhibit collectively at Gray Street Workshop during the 2016 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
The 5 works shown above were produced for this exhibition, All were created using the very same technique of repetitive folding out following a specific pattern and geometric layout, yet all achieving very different outcomes by altering one basic step during the making process. This is a process and idea that I have continued to develop since 2012 when I first made the Fold Out bangles in 2012 as part of Arts SA grant.
12 selected alumni and current tennants of Gray Street Workshop were invited to participate in the Calendar Girls project as part of Theatre of Detail, Gray Street Workshop celebrates 30years.
Each participant was awarded a month, with the brief to reflect the theme and capturing aspects of their practice. Provided with a time lapse camera to use as we wished for one month each, we also provided a written response to questions, plus some still images to accompany the text and videos.
My responses to the supplied questions are as follows...
How do you get from point A – B, from idea to out-come?
Currently I am using cardboard models, and I noticed that these would change over time. I started to let this inform my making while working the metal, so the idea and object develop simultaneously. I think of it as an ongoing conversation. Both metal and card start out as a flat piece of material that is then cut and manipulated, but as time passes the model “relaxes” its hard lines into softer shapes and curves, stretching downwards if hung, or gently sagging if left on my bench for a while. I try to capture a moment of this changing form, re- interpreting it in the metal, as the cardboard model will eventually disintegrate and fall apart.
What usually goes through your mind when you are making work?
Questions, realisations, ideas, explanations, reasoning. Thoughts that I scribble down then keep madly making. Curiously I have noticed that since I have been working alone, these once random thoughts have become more frequent, and the writing longer and freer, which could be because thoughts are now rarely spoken and discussed compared to the many conversations had when sharing a communal space. It wasn’t until I started collating and reading these thoughts that I realised I was explaining my work, something I’ve always found excruciating and avoided unless necessary. Now it seems this process has become an important element of my making, a spontaneous act that both informs and is an honest communication of my practice.
What gives you pleasure in your practice?
The joy of discovery, the delight of something unexpected happening. For me the most exciting and worthwhile discoveries have usually occurred through the hand making process, between conception and completion.
Currently I mainly use monel, which I started using with no knowledge or training in the material, so I have therefore learned mostly from playing with the metal and with no restriction as I don’t know its limitations (other than what I have discovered along the way). This approach is risky as there many mistakes and failures, but the flipside is that so there is a real freedom to experiment and possibility of discovery, which I find to be a rewarding and really satisfying way of working.
What would you like to make that you haven’t already?
Everything I haven’t yet made! So many ideas and pieces to make, techniques to try, tangents to go off on, materials to experiment and play with, people to work with, projects to explore, questions to ask.
More immediately I would like to work more with the idea of a mistake or reject, being useful rather than obsolete, instead creating another possibility that I may not have considered. This idea that deviations are worth exploring has been a presence in my making, so I would like to explore this further by fully embracing any mistakes when they occur and letting that guide my making.
2015 - 2016
"To capture an often over looked aspect of the making process; the detail and intimacy of time"
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