Monday, 4 March 2013


Chapter 5 is all about creating a totem. i thought i would look up the definition which said, 'a being, object or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan or tribe reminding them of their ancestry or mythic past'. it can also be a personal spirit helper. i looked back over my past modules and the thing that came out strongly was my use of and liking of repetitive items. i came across this image of 'Crayola' totems which made me laugh.

i was very keen to revisit the face/head shapes i had worked on in a previous module.

heads and faces are very much a part of graffiti which is my research project and i wanted to make something and use materials that i feel are me and where i have got to now! i also looked back on an image i took at the beginning of the Diploma.
i remember Siân saying she saw eyes in the wire mesh.
 and recently i came across this image which reminded me of the above image.
Barbara Hepworth by Ida Kar
so i was very keen to use wire shapes to capture the facial features.
my one worry was the brief which asked for them all to be linked in some way and i was very keen to have them all standing upright (stubborn).

my first attempts, left rusted paper with resin, middle recycled can and right, paper with self portrait print.
  i wasn't very pleased with my first attempts although looking back at them there might be something that could be used!

my next attempt was based on the right hand one above, using a wire frame with layers of paper stitched to it and then a final outer layer stuck over the top with PVA, essentially paper maché. they are 15cm high. i was keen to keep the self portrait!

here is my group so far, some are plain some are graphite (yes the liquid graphite i raved about on Facebook), some just wire and some are organdie.
detail, i have used horsehair to stitch through punched holes for the eyes and eyelashes.

i then placed then in a piece of plastic i found that has holes but they are only held in loosely.

then i took a few and secured them in a strip from a drinks can with holes.
i then took them and the plastic and put them in horizontally to hang up.

i got some great shadows.
the above horizontal ones reminded me of the lenses used by opticians. so these are my first attempts although i have more ideas and would like to try and link them into a circular necklace type thing but i thought i would get some feedback before i plunged in head first!


  1. I like what you have so far on the totem theme, especially the heads in pic 2, maybe they might link in a circular formation, with the spikes all pointing inwards,
    I do like the last pic arrangement too it reminds me of the work you've been doing with animal skin, that fine transparent feel to it.

  2. I love these.If you used a light source would the pierced faces cast shadows?

    1. If they are held up to the light you can see through the holes so I am sure I could try shining a light. See what I can do!

  3. What a fascinating idea! I love the hanging up ones with the shadows.