Playing with shadows

Due to Conrad Shawcross and Cornelia Parker’s “Cold dark matter” i really want to take this concept of installation and shadows further.

I really likes how Shawcross’s work was kinetic, where it was altering and changing the shadows. I preferred it when the shadows were smaller and there were many more of them on every surface. This got me thinking about what would everyone else prefer.

I made a small sculpture out of cocktail sticks that when moved around in front of a bright light would change forms.


With the first person she was rotating the sculpture alot playing with stool it was sat on, even balancing it. She also experiment with the distance between the light and the sculpture. This was all on a small scale.

The second person didnt move the actually sculpture as much as the first maybe rotating a little. She did however look at it on a larger scale, a close few at a small section of the section but close up. She also made the shadow go on other surfaces not just the one wall.

The 3rd person rotating it very fast looking more ot the overal form of the shadow and the visual effect of it against the wall.

This little experiment showed me that everyone prefers different effects, and how sculptures like Mia Pearlman and Conrad Shawcross appeal to everyone. Due to their changeable nature they are open up to all interpretation that can be different depending on time or what the space requires. I would like to explore changeable or kinetic sculpture more.


Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker is a British artists who conveys strong and powerful messages through her work. She has been described as one of the most “inventive and quietly provocative artist of her generation”.

She was originally trained as a sculptor but uses a variety of mediums including

  • photography
  • performance
  • installation
  • sculpture  – to conevey her messages.

She is know to create probing questions of the nature of rules and the structures that governs us.

Her most influential piece to me is called “Cold dark matter” or the exploding shed. This was a collaboration with the police and military where they blew up a garden shed. It represent the violence that potentially happens with in domestic life. The shed was an ideal symbol for as its generally a universal baggage container.

cold dark matter.jpg

A shed holds all of the item and even memory’s that we forget about but dont want to get rid of, its part of peoples lives. Where the explosion is destruction violence that can corrupt a house hold. The sculpture captures a split second in time, where the end was unknown. Parker started the design process of the end piece as they were hanging completely working with what was left.

One of her running themes is using found objects. All of her work involves a story of some kind whether she is recovering a story from found objects or making new ones by colliding the items.

Cornelia Parker also explains things we dont understand with objects and things we know well. For example domestic violence with the cotencts of a shed.

Other themes are:

  • exploring both side of an object both shiny and tarnished.
  • mortality or the passing of time,
  • violence in a subtle way
  • something being easily read but posing a question.

Conrad Shawcross

Conrad Shawcross is a British artists who is know for creating kinetic and mechanical sculptures/ installations.

In the interview Shawcross describes how art is about other things. He wants to involve the world in his work ,science ,philosophy theory. And how the aim is for people to interpret it how they like, they dont have to understand all the details or the technical aspects of his work as long as they enjoy it or even take ownership.

I admire the fact that hes using his knowledge to inspire his work.When the sculpture is installed he releases control and doesnt force the idea or work onto the people. I also appreciate that he want to be part of it help with the making, the reason he doe ist is because he is a maker.

Time piece:

  • 700 parts
  • 4000 hours
  • 1,000 watt bulbs – expiriencing new light.
  • round house exhibition space

time piece

As well as interesting themes and method he is very inventive. Its very clear his style is mechanical based along with the use of metal and light. The slow arc cage would make amazing shadows with a static light inside but hes pushed the concept so much further by adding the element of movement. Not only do you watch the motorised lights circling around but how the shadows change around you around the room.

Slow arc cage:

  • one motor
  • welded cage
  • fluent change of shadow- distance, intensity, scale

slow arc cage



His work gave me the idea of how other people think of shadows if given the chance how they would change a shadow and react to it, to their surroundings. ( blog post Playing with shadows)

Shawcross as also shown me that im not exactly happy with the idea of a lamp shade. Particularly on this project i dont want to work commercially i want to work with light and shadows even people. perhaps on a larger scale. I want to fill a space with something that people will be immersed in for example shadows wrapping around touching every surface of the room.



Slip Casting

During the last rotation of my workshops i had to opportunity to try slip casting. In the past i have never connected with clay/ plaster based project so i was a little bit apprehensive to begin with.

I decided to cast one of my favourite mugs, a glass mason jar styled vessel.


The first step was the build up clay to the  half way mark of the cup. Seeing as i was making a four part mould i ensure that i left the top open as a pouring hole and filled in the bottom. if the base was left open the plaster would not come away from the object due to its con-caved shape, it would be trapped.


I then worked with the clay until it was as smooth as possible. This is done so that the  mould fits perfectly together and will in future keep the slip from seeping out.


I then surrounded the clay and mug with board to create a boarder for the plaster . I measure 2 pints of plaster powder and mixed it with water to  double cream thickness .This was then poured into the mould and set within in 20 minutes.


Once that was set using a 2p coin i engraved notches. (a whole in the plaster). This will fill up when the next layer is poured on top allowing the pieces when dry to easily fit perfectly together.


Before i added the plaster i had to wipe the previous side of plaster with soft soap. This is an industrial soap that creates a boarder within the top layer of plaster. Stopping the slab from absorbing the liquid of the next layer that about to be poured. This is done 3 time due to the porous nature of plaster. This step also allows the pieces to to be taken apart once the mould is finished.


These steps of building plaster slabs was repeated 4 times until the vessel was surrounded. The mould then had to be dried for a couple a days with the cup inside. This allowed the mould to stay in shape and dry out so no liquid would be absorbed.

Once that was done i was able to take the object out and fit the mould back together with elastic bands securing it. I then poured in slip with is a  mixture of clay water and another chemical. This was poured into the mould and allowed to partially set for 20 minutes. I then poured the exess slip out leaving a dried layer coating he inside of the mould. I then allowed to dry upside down for one hour allowing it to fully dry. At this point i removed the mould leaving me with a fairly soft clay cup. I was then able to manipulate or add decoration like other clay features. The next step is the bisque fire the slip cast and glaze.

20151204_14162820151204_14163220151204_14162020151204_14160120151204_141612I found the process a little bit tiresome, seeing as it involves a lot of timing and waiting. But considering i dont usually like clay i enjoyed the process more than i thought i would. Im very glad i learnt this skill as i imagine it will be useful.








Popular culture

Popular culture is when readily available artefacts,  such as ideas perspectives that are considered “mainstream” produced or aimed at the masses, in the 20th and 21st century.

  • spectre
  • game of thrones
  • instagram
  • primark
  • fairtrade items
  • fashion
  • social networking
  • reality tv

Popular culture is constantly thriving due to the masses( the public/ consumers) consuming and insuring such popular artefacts are in demand.

It is argued that popular culture is derived from mechanisation of the industrial revolution. During and after the revolution science and fact over ruled the idea of religion or “enlightening”. It became to age of reasoning. This later lead to efficiency in mass producing  and therefore mass communism.

In todays society it is argued that due to mass:

  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Culture
  • Media
  • Society

People are psychologically isolated, we depend on social networking and the internet. We fear social contact wanting to hide ourself away instead of having to actually face the world. Were gradually becoming less interested in having a central unifying value or purpose. Not only that but where starting to unintentionally change our characteristics of a complex culture.

Before the industrial revolution society’s main focuses were family’s, village community, religion and traditions. Now our priority have changed we dont revolve around these factors. We have stepped into an era of atomisation. A life where the whole world doesn’t revolve around religion our social structure and traditions are very different from what they used to be due to the industrial revolution and urbanisation.  We base our social interaction on contacts, theres no feelings, no bonds. WE only seek to know what they can do for us rather than who the person is to us.

Mass Media has shaped mass culture and transformed, perhaps for the worse, both our world in a cultural and social context  and ourselfs as the masses.


After modernism

During this session our first topic of discussion was:

All art & design both reflects and informs it’s “own time”

I agree with this statement because by investigating a piece of art or designs context, function, creator you can discover the meaning the information about itself and its time.

We discussed movements before post modernism helping us to further understand the cultural changes and defining points. For example:

  • “futurism” which is a time where artists were passionate about hopes and possibilities of future. Where art pieces reflected and were inspired by industrial and technological forms

To understand post modernism we had to have an understanding of modernism. Its very hard to pinpoint exactly when this movement started or to to give it an exact definition. However my interpretation of modernism is the creation of art that rejected any previous style. The experimenting with ideas  and materials creating forms that were considered to better reflect the modern society of that era.

Now post-modernism although hard to define is where artists or the society were sceptical towards claims of the truth. The rejection of one story.

 Increduality towards meta-narratives

-Jean Fancois Lytard- 1984.

When i first read this quote by Lytard i didn’t really get what he actually meant. However by breaking it down i realised Lytard has actually created one of the best definitions or descriptions of post-modernism.

  • Increduality – suspicious, but dont deny need to be convinced
  • meta-narratives -enormous sequence of events which seek to tell us who/ why we are like we are

So to sum up suspicious of events or times that dictate us or tell why we are a certain way

Some popular or well discussed topics are:

  • religion
  • philosophy
  • history
  • politics
  • science
  • art



In my second session of small metals i learnt about enamelling.The process involved:

  • Cutting 20 gage copper in to the desired shape, I wanted to create a leaf.


  • Heating the copper till cherry red with a blow torch, then dipping it into cold water to cool.


  • Once heated the copper is much more malleable. Using a variety of metal ball tools i was able to manipulate the copper bending, imprinting and indenting.


  • IMG_3074


  •  Once i finished shaping the leaf i was able to enamel. To do this i had to spray some sort of solvent onto the metal due to it not being flat. I then sprinkled the enamelling powder which stuck to the leaf. The leaf is then out in a small kiln which is heated to 800 degrees. The copper only has to be in the kiln for a few minutes to set and even out the enamel.