I came to this collaboration through a post by Ange Mullins on the OCA students site in September last year here (for those who can access). Each of us had to think of five words (separate or forming a sentence) which we then emailed to the other 5 collaborators who each created a small piece of art in response to post to the author of the words by an agreed date.
My five collaborators were:-
Ange Mullins who is studying Level 1 Printmaking, although she includes many other aspects in her art practice.
Alison Saunders currently taking Printing I but also works in oils, watercolours, inks and wax Facebook Art page is
Bee Skelton had been studying Drawing but is now back to painting
Ingrid Booz Morejohn Studying Creative Arts, specializing in Printmaking and Art History and currently studying Printmaking 1
I felt excited about the idea of collaborating with people who were studying different art disciplines but also a little apprehensive as I still can’t see myself as an ‘artist’. Even so, I was keen to meet the challenge.
Ange suggested that as soon as we received the words we might consider some of the following questions:-
What was your emotional & physical response when you first read them?
Did you even have an emotional or physical response?
Did a full or part image jump straight to mind & you were immediately inspired?
Did your heart sink or jump with a negative reaction?
How did you feel a few hours or days later once you’d had time to mull it over?
Has your response changed with time?
Whispering halfpenny water runs aimlessly
I thought straightaway of a fountain with coins on the bottom of the pool. In the absence of that I kept my eyes out for water in all its guises as I walked with dogs and even managed to find a small pool which had a run-off pipe to a tiny stream. Thinking of running water with maybe coppery autumn leaves layered into it; wondering if it would be possible to do this within a video. I wanted the sound of water. Nothing seemed quite right – then I remembered I had just got back from a few days in France where I had taken several short sequences of video in a lovely area which had been turned over to different kinds of running water. It even had a statue of a man crouched under a copper coloured umbrella with water dripping off it. The photograph is a still from the video so not as good a quality as I would have liked.
Fly away on gossamer wings
There were many images that came to mind. Floating skeleton leaves; a dragonfly; a Chinese kite; a fairy; a child wearing tissue paper wings; tissue paper origami, and an image that could be a composite/layered, showing what was beneath. One idea I had was to dangle feathers from a tree and also to buy some butterfly confetti which I could throw over the feathers and video. I collected feathers when I saw them and bought some confetti, which I still have.
Instead, I had a different idea. I wanted to make something and so I decided to make a small dream-catcher that I could then give to Alison together with a photograph of it. I enjoyed making the dream-catcher, thinking of its purpose as I was winding the strips around the ring and then creating the cobwebs.
I wanted to make a record of it before I gave it to Alison and enjoyed that she came by my house so I could give it to her personally.
I photographed it on a white board to create the printed photograph
Iron ore vein, dark, dangerous
Mark lives in the North and I immediately thought of miners toiling underground. The darkness’ hardness of stone, flickering lights from helmets, Thor’s hammer. I live in Surrey and so there are no mines nearby or even those granite cliffs. I kept thinking about toil, hard work and then remembered the marker stone (sarsen) that rests alongside one of the paths on Horsell Common. I wanted to use words to go with the image and to use Mark’s own words. My first thought was to have five sentences, each beginning with one of the words but I couldn’t get it to flow right. Instead I utilized the words. I thought that it being a ‘marker stone’ fitted with Mark’s Christian name and also the fact that he is a sculptor.
Iron sparks as we strain to clamber ever upwards past veins of ore gleaming wetly
From this dark and dangerous place.
It was the sarsen stone that marked the spot
Where we should dig
Glimmer, rustle, fluttering, dart, quiet
My first thought was butterflies. I love to see them and have been several times to butterfly farms, including the special displays at nearby Wisley Gardens. Then I thought of fish and the flashes of light as they gleam through the water. We have aquariums of tropical and marine fish and so I decided it would be interesting to create a short video of the fish. I sent the link to Bee and also posted a printed still photograph to her.
It’s weighing on my mind
This was the most difficult for me, bringing up images of heaviness, depression, pondering; Atlas with the world on his shoulders. I thought of a page with lots of writing covering it, a paperweight, a pair of old-fashioned scales weighing a miniature skull. I’d pushed the whole project to one side a little in the knowledge that I needed to concentrate first on completing the OCA module. I was on a deadline to finish it all and anxious as to whether I’d succeed.
Christmas had approached as the weeks went by, three weeks after my birthday – another marker of time passing by. My anxieties and ruminations linked together with Ingrid’s words and actually led to the creation of the necessary Assignment for my module and other photographs more to do with my thinking about some mislaid letters. The letters were important to because they were from my father to me when I was small and he was far away in the Army. I had put them in a safe place when we moved house – too safe! I created two photographs – one (quite literal) of a pile of books connected with my Module – waiting to be ironed out and decisions made. The other was more contemplative I think, a slightly calmer mood. I’ve posted both to Ingrid.
Summer’s dying lines Autumn’s cloak
Autumn is my favourite season as I love the colour of the leaves. I’ve taken many photographs of autumn trees so, this time, I decided to experiment
I have received four responses to my work so far and it’s been exciting waiting for the postman. They all so differently and creatively evoke the theme. As soon as the final one arrives I’ll post photographs of all of them here.
This was such a worthwhile project to be involved in and it certainly took me out of my comfort zone. I appreciated the opportunity to work with other artists in different disciplines and hope that we can get together for another one some time in the future.
I now have all five responses and a here they are
As a final word, Ange Mullin has now written a blog post about the collaboration as a whole. It includes collages of all the responses and can be seen here