a letter in mind

the challenge i set myself over the summer was to submit for 3 open calls and i managed 2 🙂 little did i expect i’d actually get in to either but here’s #1. i’ve been looking for projects relevant to my current practice and i figured pursuing the mail art route could be productive. when i can find a personal connection i know i can make a decent stab at the project and so it was with the national brain appeal’s letter in mind project.

oxytocin | 2014 | cotton fleece, silk/cotton thread, glass beads, paper, cyanotype print

this came together for me at the very last moment. the silk machine stitching represents neural networks in the brain, the glass beads the molecular structure of oxytocin (C43H66N12O12S2) a neurotransmitter associated with birth, breastfeeding and human bonding, and implicated in several psychiatric conditions.

oxytocin | 2014 | address side

i knew i wanted to revisit/extend my work with cyanotypes, although the practicalities for me are prohibitive (evicting both the kids from their room for the night o_O) i only really had one shot at this and i lucked out – the process is also at the mercy of the weather – sunny days making for sharper exposures. while i’m still at the point of seeing mostly the technical flaws i’m happy with the result, it conveys the feel i was after.

neural networks in the brain | wellcome collection

the subject of brain functioning and disease was high in my thoughts at the time, due to family circumstance. i’ve always had a great affinity for scientific imagery and i strive to convey some small part of the poetry and simultaneous simplicity/complexity of those images in my work.

preparatory studies | ink on paper, machine stitch

mark making experiments. drawing scares me. i do try to force myself closer to it as often as i can, but i can still only really approach it at a tangent.

spring back fall forward | 2013 | weloveyourbooks home 2014

previous work producing jewellery-scale models of molecules in silver and glass. having made these 3-dimentionally accurate models before i knew i’d be pushing the limits of my skill to make larger molecules. but i still wanted to explore, really get to know, those neurotransmitters that play such a significant part in my life and history.

i needed to find a way of translating these bead structures to 2 dimensions (also to fit in the mail art format). the physical act of transferring a pattern of 125 (ish) beads reliably was a headache i hoped to solve using a cyanotype print. not expecting the markings to transfer crisply, but accurately enough for bead placement. having those white dots on dark behind the beads i hoped would also increase the shine on the finished piece.

oxytocin | 2014 | detail

the iplayer has a load of “what do artists do all day?” documentaries atm. polly morgan was talking about her first sale, and installing it in the buyer’s house next to a grayson perry. i feel much the same astonishment at being on the same walls in my first bricks-and-mortar show 🙂


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