My eyes tried to follow you,
Until I was dizzy with turning.
Cadences of expert flight.
Weaving and flipping. Spinning and stalling.
Scimitar wings slicing through the air
Chattering, through out it all, as if it was, really, nothing.
It was nearly impossible with my hand-held, basic , digital camera to ‘catch’ good images of swallows in flight. So I ended up taking 100s of full shots and then zooming in later in Adobe Photoshop and editing the tiny crops into a set of images.
The blurry exposure this gives the images seems to work quite satisfyingly. I experimented with home printing onto watercolour paper and am pleased with the small, monochrome cards I ended up with.
All this ‘swallowing’ has been inspired by my decision to join the 100 days project. a NZ based project that inspired an artist in Edinburgh to see who else would like to exhibit their end product, in Edinburgh, in September. Yay, something real to work towards!
I enjoyed the idea of committing to one small, creative, discipline every day and wanted to find a way to use up some of my ‘collected’ materials.
A year ago I was playing around with turning recycled, pizza, trays (we have two boys, so I have collected ALOT of these over the years!). The process was fascinating and unpredictable and I ended up with a fun collection of ‘shrinky-dinks’ and a mock-up for a mobile.
Then I found out about how toxic styrofoam is and the gases that are released on heating in this way! I ditched the idea.
But the trays are still there. They never biodegrade in refill sites. There are no local recycling options. At least half the fumes are released from the Sharpie pens I used to colour these experiments! I drive a car and my husband is a mechanic. I still use my car despite being in full knowledge of all the toxic chemicals involved in the motor trade. I accept that this process harms the environment, but , in balance, feel that this small harm is nothing to the harm being done in this wall building, people damming world outside. And it will become something more than rubbish.
That people have become little more than ‘waste’ in todays world is something that haunts me daily and I do my best to support all actions attempting to support refugees in this humanitarian disaster.
When I considered this project I recieved a clear vision of an installation/scupture piece, which could be displayed in very many ways, using wire and hundreds of these small swallows.
I have been searching for a way to deal with the immigration crisis for a while now, as it affects me deeply. Not one for producing overtly political art (although I have always admired it) this idea seems to keep on giving!
I will spend some other studio time playing within the entire theme of ‘Migration’.
Proceeding to play with this concept has now inspired a new poem and another piece I am considering using as the basis for an entry to a major competition. Deadline in 2 days. So much to do so little time!
Time to make like a swallow!
When I was ‘all in a whirl’, of rushed understandings, I doodled this.
On very nice, round handmade paper from India.
Using a variety of black marker pens scoured from around the house.
It seemed interesting and a friend said she’d like a card of it.
So I thought I would develop the idea.
I had been playing around with digital mandalas, of macro, flower pictures, for a while. Even forming a small business around them, called ‘Argyll Mandalas,’ for which I had seasonal, ‘flora’ mandalas printed as greetings cards, selling them locally.
It proved very restrictive and unsatisfying as a process. Almost clinical.
I wanted to have more physical input into the design itself.
So this was the first experiment.
I decided to re-do it by hand-drawing a segment and then, digitally, ‘mandalizing’ it using Adobe Photoshop 7.
Segment created, I set about making the ‘whole pie’ on the laptop.
Not entirely accurate, but I could get a sense of what could be possible.
So I began drawing a new segment, bearing in mind what I had learnt, and refining the process.
After a significant amount of time spent devoted to calculations and compass, I had a template of the correct size to fit in our scanner. As big as I could comfortably get it.
Then I realised that I could, in fact, simply use this photo. So I did.
In future experiments I would like to use the scanner and compare results.
And, after processing the segment, it all came together…..
I am very happy with the results!
Now I cannot wait to carry on experimenting with this culturally fascinating, mindfulness related , ancient, universal form and see what happens!