Finished Experimental Piece #1: now to draw. :)

Earlier tonight, I finished the piece to be presented tomorrow for my creative process class.  It turned out better than I expected, but the unfortunate point is that, because it’s behind glass, I can’t get a photo of it without reflections and glare.  The positive point is that I actually don’t have to turn in the photo, tonight.  With natural light, I may be more able to get some kind of image without photobombing it by accident.

So…the piece I’m talking about is the one connected with water, the circular macrame net.  As I was working on it, I came to a number of possible variations which would be interesting to try and attempt…principally with varying the lengths of the two legs attached to each knot, and the shapes of the spaces bordered by the lines.  Asymmetry in line length would be cool, and I did use that once I reached the outer borders of this piece, which helped it not be too boring…but something that incorporated spiraling or directional rather than radial lines, now that could be really interesting.  Not to mention, the possibility of going 3-D, though then I’d have to work on top of a form, like a balloon or bit of styrofoam.  I’ve already found how easy it is to attach a new line to any of my vertices…lark’s head knots are nice.

I do only have so much of the hemp I’m using now.  It inhabits the narrow border between twine and yarn.  The place I got it from closed down; they were a high-end yarn store which kept moving from location to location.  I have tried using the hemp from the nearby chain craft store’s jewelry section, but it feels weaker (I broke one line very close to the beginning of my trial piece), and less apt to bend evenly.  It might be possible to soften it by dragging it over the edge of a table or board, but I’m really not sure.  Its texture really reminds me of rolled paper, while the hemp I used in the final piece reminds me of linen.

So I have this kind of radial net with beads on it…on top of a gradated background which I collaged together out of a bunch of pieces of colored cardstock (which range from light blue-green to black).  That is backed by a piece of 1/4″ foam-core; the ending lines of the macrame piece are knotted together behind this.  Behind that is the backing board of the frame.  I used my #2 X-Acto blade for the first time — it’s a mid-to-heavy-duty blade that was strong enough to go through the foam core and through my cardstock.  I just hope I didn’t ruin my cutting mat by being too heavy-handed.

I used a 13″x13″ shadow-box frame for a 12″x12″ image; basically, my 12″x12″ hardboard ended up being too big, and so I had to cut off the corners of what I did put in, so it would be able to be mounted.  Hence, the foam-core (I wasn’t sanding hardboard, tonight).

I really should have realized that the edges of the glass at the front of the frame weren’t safe to touch with my bare hands.  I lifted the glass up to inspect it, and a couple of minutes later, noticed that my finger felt strange.  I looked down and, yes, I had a slit in my finger maybe 3/8″ across.  Annoying, but not very painful.  The big thing is going to be just keeping debris (like charcoal, and the pumice from the class soap) out of it tomorrow…but I do have gloves, and it should be sealed by the time I get back to Watercolor class.

I still haven’t looked at these library books.  If I do anything tonight, it’s either going to be playing in my art journal or looking at that.  Or, there is also a concept I was introduced to in Watercolor class, which had to do with the balance of positive and negative space…which I’m already integrating into work I’m doing now.  For instance, I had to pay attention to the shape of the negative spaces between my lines while doing the macrame, in order to maintain symmetry.

(The term for this [“Notan”] was made up by Westerners in relation to the Western analysis of “primitive” art [that is, it isn’t a Japanese term, even though it uses Japanese words]…which is what I found before I figured I just wanted to know what my prof was talking about in practicality, aside from the politics.  The politics are curious, though, speaking as a person who isn’t white…and who is descended from the culture the Westerners tried to implicate in their naming of this aesthetic.  My teacher isn’t white, either, so that kind of amplifies the curiosity.

(And…it’s really normal for every culture I identify with to be implicated as “primitive” by culturally dominant historical sources in the U.S.  If I got mad every time I saw it, I’d probably avoid learning about all history; which would then make it more difficult for me to have a larger view of the processes of racism as they unfold in linear time.  That, in turn, would make it harder to deal with them in the present.)

I obtained a workbook on “Notan,” as my prof did say that it was an important concept to grasp, and was implicated in all watercolor; but so far all I’ve done is read through the first assignment.  I get that the point of the concept is to pay attention to the ground as much as the figure; and use of negative space is one of the things I really need to work on.  I just don’t know how much of my time I’ll actually be using, playing around with figure/ground relationships in the near future.  Probably, though, I could work it into my Watercolor training.

I feel like I should go draw.  I think I’ll go do that.  🙂

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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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