of the 4 elements for my final show this is the least developed. i knew i wanted to work with another form of direct “sun drawing”. i’m quite practised with the cyanotype process and i really wanted to bring it – and the use of textiles – into the show somehow.

having run some experiments with commercial “sun-print” paper i knew i could get some interesting results using the ball lenses. i hoped i could draw out a relation with the other pieces in terms of a) drawing with light b) repeated use of the lenses c) monochrome and d) square format.

it helped enormously in terms of preparation to have the use of the drying room in the dye workshop to coat and dry large fabric panels (these test pieces are approx. 50cm square). i achieved good coverage of the chemistry with no fogging, although the cleanup was a fair job as it dripped all over the floor… newspaper down next time!

my sample results are patchy due to limited light availability – i’m hoping that exposing the final pieces in the studio will give me more breathing room (and make the most of the sunny desk i made such a fuss about). to me they have a look of frogspawn, and the light patches where the fabric has creased add to that aquatic feel. which ties in nicely with the jellyfish light patterns i envisaged for the final piece. my intention is still to use silk for the show, which will expose quite differently to the cotton sheeting i used for the samples.

my initial plan for this piece was to include soft circuits in each panel. my experiments drew a blank however, and the revised approach was to separate the circuitry/leds from the fabric and layer them in between the panels instead.

but seeing the samples hanging did nothing to convince me that this was a viable proposition. they seemed much too small to make the impact i was after and the prospect of wiring in over a hundred individual leds gave me the heebie-jeebies.

then my partner-in-crime suggested making a box, and a light went on. i’ve made two for previous college projects – in hand-cut paper and mixed media – and i feel the form dovetails nicely into my bookmaking.

all of a sudden the panels had much more presence as part of a large cube, and the technical issues are slashed if all the electronics and lighting can be contained within it. it also means i can use strip-leds rather than having to wire each lamp individually, which will help massively with the technical side.

this mock-up is made in cardboard, but ideally the finished piece will be bounded in (narrower) aluminium frames – echoing the solar drawings and introducing structural stability.

dropping just a short string of lights into it brought it alive in a way i really hadn’t anticipated. really quite excited about the possibilities now.

the main remaining issue is how to keep the cat out…


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