Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Street rubbings

Since moving to Ireland in the late 1980s, I have always noticed and wondered at the design of the "shore" coverings that gave access to water pipes and other utilities. Some of the designs were exquisite, and I have many times thought they would make good rubbings. As a summer job, when I was in university in the early 1980s, I found myself working for a special exhibit -- The London Brass Rubbing Cenre -- at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The exhibit came from the parent centre in London, and my job was as an instructor to visitors, setting them up with paper and hard wax crayons, and a reproduction brass taken from a tomb in the UK (images of knights and ladies, and such).

The old shore coverings in my home town now always bring this to mind. So, one of the first things I did when I started my studio residency at Signal Arts Centre last week was cut some paper, don my boiler suit, and walk around the corner from the arts centre with copper, black, and gold pieces of hard wax; I took a few rubbings from a particularly nice water pipe access covering. By the way, in Irish "uisce" means "water".

I liked the copper rubbing the best. One has to work quickly and hold the paper down so that it doesn't move. If the paper moves while working, then it is time to start a new rubbing.

The decorative old shores (left) are uniquely Irish, as opposed to the replacement modern shores, though at least the "uisce" is retained.

I have since found some other shores that I plan to do rubbings of, but I am at the mercy of the weather. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Studio residency!

As the previous artist in residence left a few days early, I was handed the keys last Thursday while I was at the ceramics workshop. This gave me the opportunity to view the space again while it was basically empty - several tables, an easel, some boards and two chairs come with the space.

The studio is on the second floor of the arts centre and there are two windows so it is a fairly bright space. There are also two sinks! With the space in mind, I started packing things to bring with me for the immediate future of working.

After a quick sweep, I put kraft paper on all the tables and started unpacking some boxes of supplies.

 I knew I wanted to set up various specific work stations, with a focus on the tables.

I set up the easel beside one of the tables, and set up the canvases I have been working on the past few weeks (with their ground coats). I know these are the first things I want to work on. A smaller table on wheels is perfect as a painting table. This station takes up half the room and the sinks are just opposite the canvases.

This table was a bit wonky when I leaned on it, so I thought it was a good place to put things I wanted to keep clean, and the cutting board (for cutting paper from the roll of acid-free rag I brought with me).

I put up a sheet of paper on the drawing board I brought with me, and unpacked some of the other materials: pastels, charcoal, inks, etc. I will use this table to work on drawings, but also to design and cut small woodcuts and lino blocks. I will wait till I am finished with painting, to convert that space to a printing area. I have not brought down my bookbinding materials yet, but I am planning to. This is really exciting for me to have many things to do and realising that I can leave something as is, ready to work on immediately the next time I enter the room!