2.4; Sampling: Cutting Holes

Exercise 2, forced me to consider the process of sampling and its role within my work. It also made me consider some of my beliefs about the way I work and the rules that I should follow. This insight made the exercise so much more important than the results themselves. I have decided to record the samples in this post and will reflect on the thoughts I had about my working practice separately.

SAMPLE 2.4.1 (a) (b)

I began by using up the coloured paper I had laminated for 1.4.13. Yhis seemed important to me because I wanted something good to come out of these materials (having felt despondent at the results of the previous application). I approached the task with Patrick Heron‘s abstract paintings in mind. The series of photographs below (of 2.4.1 a) shows how I cut holes and then introduced colour in layers behind.

Although the plastic laminate allowed me to explore holes in a very simplistic way, I have come to the conclusion that laminated paper is quite limiting. When I look at Heron’s seemingly simple paintings I can still see the texture of the canvas and subtle variations where the paint has started to mix, some have an even more pronounced mottling. Sample 2.4.1 has none of these slight imperfections and is worse for it, there is not enough textural contrast in the flat, shiny laminated plain paper.

The second sample (2.4.1 b) was constructed in the same way, but this time I added spacing between the layers.


Instantly, the sample becomes more interesting to look at, the spacing adds depth whilst still allowing the colours to freely interact. Shadows also break up the surface, creating a wider variety of tones of each hue. Although it is more interesting it is certainly not exciting!

SAMPLE 2.4.2

Having looked at Maud Vantours concentric circles that take the form of craters in the paper. I began wondering: what if the holes remain the same size as the layers build up? I cut a series of regular sized circles from corrugated card and glued the layers together directly on top of one another.


I felt that although this was a simple design, I found the edges of the holes appealing. I like the way the internal structure of the cardboard is revealed inside the hole, it contrasts with the smooth surface top and bottom. If more care were taken in the cutting and construction of the layers this effect could be made more effective.

Inspired by Fred Baier‘s design for a banister in the House of Commons Library, I thought about adding colour to the inside edge. I did this first with acrylic paint (purple) and then with a piece of coiled paper (yellow).

I was pleased with the addition of colour, which was surprising because it actually detracts from the texture at the edges, which was the thing I originally found most appealing. The sample suggests that in order to be successful it would need to be produced in a more sophisticated material than I have the capacity for, perhaps perspex or metal?

This desire for alternative materials makes me question if I am doing this right. In 1.4.4, I started asking myself about folding mirrors or glass, now I want perspex and metal. I have ambitious ideas but perhaps it would be better to consider what the materials I do have, can do and are suitable for?

SAMPLE 2.4.3

I has a real sense of happiness as I created this sample. It was not what I had envisaged creating but came together as I observed what was going on in front of me, letting the materials do the work.

As I searched for some suitable paper to cut circles in (inspired by Karen Margolis) I came across the factory waste (photographed below). I noticed the beautiful shapes created by the stacked paper and thought about how the cut-outs flower shapes had been objective and I was left with the negative space around them.

I felt a bit apprehensive about using pre-cut holes for the exercise but a conversation with my Dad about Gregor Henderson, who won Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2016, gave me the confidence to push the boundaries. (As I said at the top of the post this is discussed in more detail here).

As I shuffled the papers, thinking about gluing them together to form a textural surface (2.4.4) I happened to notice the shadows on my desk. I loved the distortion of the shapes and decided to trace them. I rigged up a rudimentary scaffold in front of a lamp drew round the shadows.

The simple five petaled flower became strange and tropical, so much more interesting! Now that I had created a composition of these distorted flower motifs, I began looking for some card to cut the shapes from. As I searched I had a moment of realisation: why cut the whole design? I could just do a small sample!

I cut some of the motifs from a sheet of soft craft foam and experimented with layering them over different backgrounds.

The craft foam was really lovely to work with. It cuts easily and is much more flexible to manipulate than paper. I did have to be careful that my fingernails or the point of the scissors didn’t mark the surface as it is extremely soft.

After layering on white and crumpled silver foil, I placed the sample on top of hot pink and lime green tissue paper.

The flower shapes over coloured tissue work well, as I think their tropical shape suggests something a little bit quirky. When I placed them over white and silver I felt they looked a bit like wedding stationary. Given the research I did into Maud Vantour’s work I think these samples have a strong design aesthetic. However, they  make me feel a little uneasy: I feel like I shouldn’t like them, but I do. Why is that? 

Finally I viewed the sample from the back, when held up to the light it came alive!

These images haven’t been ‘photo-shopped’, this is genuinely what the sample looked like. I love the vivid colour and the diffuse outlines. I am excited by the patterns that have been created, I want to touch the soft velvety surface, yet it looks hot, I feel afraid I might burn my fingers.

I am left wondering what I am going to do with these samples, since I can’t actually decide if they are any good or not. It reminds me of my ATV Assignment 5 presentation box (I thought it was a great idea, my tutor really didn’t agree!) Whatever the reception they get, they were still a lot of fun to make and filled me with much joy. When I look at them I am reminded of the thinking that went on ‘behind the scenes’ and what I learned from them. I wonder if that is why I can’t separate myself from them, enough to judge their success? I would be interested in another perspective, any feedback would be very welcome!  





2 thoughts on “2.4; Sampling: Cutting Holes”

  1. I do think samples are good that makes you (and me) wonder and make you happy. You never know when you will need a fuzzy velvety edge to something – now you know how to get it! Great idea with the different colour text, by the way…. process vs thinking! super.

    Liked by 1 person

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