Thursday, 22 July 2010

Metallic assessment item (Proposal)

Thought i would try and get some feed back before the summer holidays on the metallic assessment piece which in my module is Chapter 10 but really its Chapter 14! An 'item' of my choice mainly of metallic materials. I have in my possession a collection of umbrella bits that have never been used and i have always wanted to use them for something so this was my first choice when approaching this proposal. Initially i looked at umbrellas and 'dead' or broken umbrellas.
looking at umbrellas it appeared to me that the ribs are very much like bird wing skeletons and Tom Waits sang of 'broken umbrellas like dead birds'.
so i started looking at dead birds/ wings etc.
as part of my face study i drew numerous overlapping faces and then filled in the voids which i really liked and hoped to use at some point. after seeing Sian at Urchfont i realised how much these shapes echoed the bird wing shapes.
i then started playing around with these shapes, drawing various ideas.
image 6 shows some of the metal pieces and card cut outs of the face shapes.
thought i ought to mock up some shapes. 7 with the 'wings' closed.
8 with some of the 'wings' open like 'dead' umbrellas. the wing on the right is jointed which i might explore further.
i then thought about a book i was reading, Paul Auster's 'New York Trilogy' where the language of words was explored, citing an umbrella and whether it can still be called an umbrella once it is broken and can no longer function (sorry if this is too deep)! 'it has changed into something else'. i then started thinking of how umbrellas are stored and i usually hang mine (which is almost broken) on a door handle. then thinking of dead birds, i would like to make a 'brace of umbrella birds'. i intend to make the 'wings' from copper sheet, cut and oxidised black. i want to also use very fine copper mesh which pleats and crinkles like umbrella lining. tape ties would have relevant phrases embroidered on them and they would be hung in some way. i still need to work out exactly how and where to include the mesh which might have a degraded appearance. what do you think?


  1. Wow, thats really intense, but what a way to go!!! I really like it. Your post is the most amazing example of how designs can evolve from one idea to the next ... I just wish my imagination was as good.
    Go for it .... looking forward to the finished result.

  2. I like the way your design ideas have developed, it looks really interesting, I will look forward to seeing it finished.

  3. I like the way you've made that connection between umbrellas and birds' wings - something potentially spooky about both I think! Will keep an eye on this! Great.

  4. Fascinating train of thought,I love the connection between umbrellas and birds. Brings back memories of my mum hanging pheasants on the back door to get high (which I hated as a kid).

  5. Picture 8 reminds me of Louise Bourgeois' spiders but upside down!

  6. Great start, I love the sort of sinister feeling of black umbrellas and dead bird, there's something Hitchcock in there somewhere.
    looking forward to where you go from here.

  7. I really enjoyed your ponderings in this post. Your photographs are intriguing and No. 4 had me staring for a while. I love the overlapping face designs which look remarkably like bird wings in flight. You've definitely got my attention with the "brace of umbrella birds".