This is one of my favourite samples, it was created because my feedback from ATV suggested that, although I consider scale through expansive drawing I could also ‘test the parameters of scale in sampling and final outcomes’. The Entangled Exhibition also opened my eyes to the possibilities of working on a more commanding scale. This said, I do still have reservations about large pieces because of the restrictions of postage and of working in a domestic setting.
Another factor in the creation of this sample was the injection of a little bit of humour. I wonder if any other students have experienced blank looks from people when describing what they were working on for this exercise? “Well… I spent the day wrapping a spoon… in strimmer line!” Hmm… ‘Art’ can be a bit bonkers sometimes!
So I wrapped my spoon in the pipe from my old washing machine…
Ok, so it was ‘tongue-in-cheek’ but actually, the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. This really surprises me. I suppose I have the belief that ‘real Art’ should be something more… meticulous? It should reflect care and devotion by the artist, to quote Geta Bratescu¹:
“Art is something very serious. An artist must be responsible… He must play but with responsibility.”
Yet on the other hand, Erwin Wurm’s irreverent One Minute Sculptures completely negate this. Am I confusing Art with Craft?
My ‘Washing Machine Spoon’, seemed so out of character for me that I wondered what it was that made it so appealing. An article in Selvedge Magazine #75, P74², “Flexing the Traditional’ helped me to understand. As I looked at photographs (sketched below) of contemporary Basket Making, I thought about the very hands on approach and how the weaver has to work both with and against the materials to create form. This was how I wrapped that pipe around the spoon- with respect for what it could and couldn’t do and with only an intuitive idea of the shape being created. This is an idea I find familiar. I also felt the fluidity and cyclical nature, particularly of Christine Joy’s work, reflected my own sensibilities.
Like many others I enjoyed BBC Two’s Great Pottery Showdown, the Crafts Council recently provided an opportunity for people to try working with clay for themselves. I was lucky enough to find a ‘Hey Clay’ workshop near me. Although the seashell I hand built looks more like a Taco, I really enjoyed the experience.
There is something very freeing about working in clay and I would equate that feeling to how I felt when I made ‘Washing Machine Spoon’. Such a simple, possibly silly sample, designed to explore scale actually ended up teaching me so much about letting go and relinquishing control, I gave it a post all to itself!
¹ BRATESCU G, quoted from Exhibition Notes, Entangled, Turner Contemporary, 2017
²BUTCHER M.SELVEDGE MAGAZINE #75