Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ancestral Bowls

So began the third year of my BA Fine Art.

Being a keen genealogist, I knew I wanted to create work derived from our ancestral information. The starting point was the creation of a large map detailing (with dots) their places of birth, marriage and death where known. Once that was done, coloured threads (based on the colour of these musical bells) were placed over the map.

This is a diagram of this process as the original, made from laminated pages of road atlas, didn't photograph very well. A small part of it before it was laminated is shown here.

The original map measured 5' tall by 4' wide. Wooden batons top and bottom, with little nails every centimetre, held the coloured threads in place. Being a sound/data artist, the threads would later be used to make the sound element.  For now though, this information would be of use for other work.

I came across an article on prayer bowls and felt this would be a good place to begin as I think about my ancestors on many occasions. I like working with textiles where possible (as noticed previously in my Titanic Life-jacket). Over the years I have acquired quite a few bits of silk and felt. Using these to create small sheets of fabric, would create an ethereal effect where light can shine through and radiate around it in the sun. These sheets were based on each person's colour code, taken from the corresponding thread colour above their dots for birth, marriage and death on the map.

Using a small bowl as a template, (covered in cling film for easy release) the squares of silky felt fabric were glued over it and left to dry. Here are the before and after shots of the bowls. 

Each one measured about 3" across and 2" deep. Here are two more close up:

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