Monday, 3 January 2011

Metallic assessment item

metallic assessment piece finished (?) after hearing Sian's comments on my proposed assessment item using metal/metallics i went back and thought further. Sian suggested possibly thinking of a 2D shape emerging out of the surface into an implied 3D form. after many drawings and ideas i came up with the above, which is still quite 3D but less a brace of birds or dead bird but something more deconstructed and still umbrella like!!! she also suggested i include some stitch!
#1 i started working on the main spokes while thinking, as i knew they were a definite part of the piece. i used 0.15mm thick copper sheet which i could cut with scissors. i enlarged my design to the required size, took a tracing and then applied it to the metal with double sided sellotape and then cut the shape out. this method is very accurate.
#2 some of the 'spokes' were cut in one whilst some were cut in 3 pieces which were then joined through punched holes with silver wire, metal beads and crimps. once the pieces were cut they were flattened and the surface and edges filed.
#3 shows pieces cut but before they were joined and oxidised. i was working along the lines of having a fairly structured piece so i placed them into a piece of polystyrene so they stood upright and it helped to keep them from getting lost!
#4 my original proposal was to use a fine metal mesh for the 'lining' but as i was working on Module 3 knitting i thought that a fine knitted wire worked very well and more in keeping with me! i took the shape found in umbrella linings (a tapering wedge) and worked out a plan on graph paper which i roughly used to knit 8 pieces. 8 being the number of spokes used and the number of notches in the original runner used. after they were knitted they were scrunched up like old umbrella linings and oxidised too. feather-like stitches in a green metallic thread were worked on these pieces.
#5 above shows work in progress
#6 finished piece is a bit like a deconstructed wing. it is very fluid and articulated so can be changed into different shapes. i wanted to have the linking wires working their way back through the spokes and lining pieces, through the runner which was cut in half to give it a 2D appearance and ending in small labels embroidered with the words; umbra, wing, feather, unfold, unfurl, deconstruct, transform and broken. these were in response to the tape that encloses the umbrella when closed. i was originally going to have the piece attached to a backing support to which the labels and runner would be attached. i have tried many colours/ photographs of pavements/newspaper etc but all seem to distract from the piece itself. so i have left it on a cream paper (any suggestions?) i am very pleased with it as it is!
#7,8,9 and 10 all show details of the finished piece. above shows a fine copper tube through which wire links all the pieces together.
#8 i was originally going to make the labels from a punched paper i found in a charity shop but decided instead that metal would work better so i used the punched paper as a template and punched holes in the metal much to my families annoyance!the stitching was also worked in green and silver which is not amazingly visible but is in keeping with iridescent bird wings.
#9 detail of joining
#10 shows a detail of the coarse stitching on the knitted bits.

Time taken so far: 61 hours.
Cost: £9.85


  1. This is lovely; it looks so light and delicate that it might just float off if not held down by the tube and the labels. I love the way you have threaded the green and silver through the knitted wire, understated but very effective.

  2. Wow,this is brilliant! The construction (or should that be deconstruction?) reminds me of Alison's fan, pictures of which are on her blog. There are similar elements but the two pieces are very different at the same time.

  3. Fabulous!! This is a lovely contemporary piece, and it's been very interesting to see your thought processes as you've progressed. I think you made the right choice to mount it on white and can quite see how any the BG would have been a distraction. The only other thought that occurred to me was, would it be possible to make it hang from a support therefore being a suspended structure as opposed to a supported one.