Preparatory thoughts about final Project for Part 5.

These are my thoughts around creating a final Project for Part 5.  They have been updated to better express my growing preference towards mixed media textile collages which use multiple small items I have made.  It has been easier to articulate what I am getting at after rather than before the making of my samples.

To my surprise I find myself warming towards making a piece incorporating plaster and textile.  I’ve been browsing the hundreds of photos taken during this course and this humble sketch grabbed my attention ..


Plesiosaur skeleton iPad Bristol Museum


iPad sketch of Plesiosaur fossil skeleton made in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery before an OCA Study Day at the RWA next door.  This skeleton is unusual because it is embedded in the matrix it was found, and is presented as a 2D object hung on the wall.   My drawing resembles a human torso; I propose that anything which suggests body parts, or animals, has interest, even if the viewer is only subconsciously aware of the suggestion.  I have no evidence to back this up, it’s a gut feeling!   It also reminds me of the horizontal lines  I’ve been sketching on the beach in Cornwall, and describing with baseball stitch on muslin.



Plesiosaur Bristol Museum
Plesiosaur at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

I have seen pieces of artwork that have either objects embedded in plaster or others where an impression of the object is made on a surface .  The work of  Rebecca Fairley is, in my interpretation, about the ‘memory’ of fabric/small items embedded into concrete and sanded down, or concrete moulded onto a textile surface, so that there is no separation between the object and the matrix.

Fairley concrete sample group
Rebecca Fairley, Concrete Sample Group


Fairley concrete crochet
Rebecca Fairley, Concrete Moulded onto a Crochet Surface

I’ve made a few samples like this, for example pouring plaster resin onto some baseball stitch on heavy vilene, and it looks interesting.


However I think I prefer my surface and my interacting object to be separate.  If the surface has been altered by moulding, etc, I like to add something else to it.  It’s the interaction between the different things which intrigues me, almost like people talking to each other.  These are two samples I made during Part 3 and although the wool/plaster and metal crochet/plaster are still different objects, they don’t enthuse me very much.

The plaster resin egg, moulded in a real egg shell, and then applied with French knots, is very pretty and feels gorgeous.  My tutor also liked it in his feedback for Assignment 3.  I can see the technique working with further practice, but it doesn’t excite me either.


These samples excite me a bit more, The plaster is part of a collaged group which kind of tell a story.

knit muslin lace tiles together

So, I asked myself, am I trying to make some kind of picture for my final project in Part 5, like this one made during Part 4?


That could make my task a bit too complicated, but I wanted to see if a painted calico based collage might work.  However, I suspected a simple piece of plasterwork may be better.  But I needed to make sure.

In conclusion, I wanted to continue combining materials, embed textile objects into plaster and have them seem part of the whole which expresses something beyond being a pretty object.

Many thanks to Rebecca Fairley for permission to reproduce her images.




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