I had a tremendous day last Sunday doing a workshop with UK artist Michael Brennand-Wood, who is in Canberra as an artist in residence with Craft ACT.
The workshop was called Random Precision and was focused on “the construction of component parts that fuse at a distance into a coherent form.” Everyone was asked to make two, 3-dimensional or relief constructions, using fabric, thread, wire or whatever else we bought to the class. Given that my work barely moves off the flat plane I figured that this would be a workshop to challenge me.
A quick trip to the recycling shop at the tip the day before the workshop found me with two old wooden silk screen frames, which I figured, if nothing else, I could always re-use afterwards. I found the rest of my materials by roaming around the house picking up random bits of dyed fabric and string, embroidery cotton and other left over ‘art’ experiments.
I found that the element of depth in this piece really engaging.
Michael emphasised the benefits of photographing the various stages of the construction. Apart from keeping a record of the work as it developed, Michael suggested that by printing these photos and working into them, adding or subtracting colour, line or other images, they could be used to further develop ideas. Even putting the 3D work over the pages of my visual diary suggested new ways to approach my work.
Holding the two pieces I made together also demonstrated further depth and complexity.
Apart from challenging us to work in a new way Michael was also generous in the time he spent discussing our work, both from the workshop and that of our current art practice. I thought that his very constructive (pardon the pun) approach and considered suggestions were particularly valuable as an artist working by myself.
If you are in Canberra Micheal will be giving a talk at the ANU School of Art at 1.00pm this Thursday 3 October. The work from Michael’s residency will be shown at Craft ACT in 2014.
[…] After last week’s workshop I felt that huge buzz that comes when new ideas and approaches are opening up. The Little Oxford dictionary’s succinct definition of inquiry is “asking; question; investigation”. I like the open endedness of that definition. At present I’m happy to ask the questions without worrying too much about specific answers. […]