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Monday, 10th December
I have two dogs Rosie and Soarsia; they are walked every morning, meaning every morning before going to the studio I have the opportunity to walk, think and reflect. I find this one of my most creative times as it allows thoughts to flow freely as I unconsciously take in my surroundings. We always walk the same woodland circuit so I am able to view the day to day changes as we move from one season to the next. This is transgression of the seasons has always been a source of inspiration.
At the same time as I was experimenting with the above fibres I was also photographing the wood lands of Castlecomer Demesne and documenting the changing moods and gradual decay, as Autumn transgressed into Winter. I then played around with some of the photographs and printed on thin sheets of abaca that had been beaten for 2hours.
The results were very pleasing as the combination of the images and the translucent papers, represented the fragility of the landscape I was walking through. The quality of soft November light and the crackling sound of leaves under foot also echoed the sample papers that I was creating in the studio. It was a combination of these morning walks and the research in the studio, that became the inspiration for the bigger pieces created during the residency.

Moday, 3rd December

Working on the theories outlined above I then created similar samples using flax fibres, The end results created brownish paper that was not as strong as abaca. (See data file.) Each time I came across similar problems with sheet forming a pulp, so ending up with the results that were suitable for pouring and restrained drying, therefore creating papers that were translucent but had no movement.

Monday 19th November

Abaca is a fibre that comes from the stem of the banana leaf. It hydrates well when beaten and produces a string crisp paper.
I experimented with beating times for the pulp, then methods of sheet forming and drying; I then compared the results. The longer the pulp was beaten the finer and more translucent the paper. If the pieces were restrained when drying then sheet was more translucent, and created a crispier sound. If left to dry on the frame the paper responded like the skin of a drum. I then experimented with pouring the pulp and letting the pieces dry freely in hope that the fibres would shrink when drying created effect.

Monday, 12th November

As I mentioned above paper pulp can be made from any fibres that yield cellulose; at the beginning of the residency I imagined that I would be able to work with lots of fibres, I soon realize that the six weeks would just be taken up with preparation such as cutting, soaking and cooking unless I narrow the fibres down to three with a high cellulose content and long fibres, and concentrate on experimenting with beating times. Working with the knowledge that the more you beat a high cellulose fibre, the more the fibres will hydrate and absorb water, therefore when the fibres dry, they will shrink.
My research aims were to record and document this shrinkage and the effect on the papers, and then use the findings as the bases of my palette. (For samples of the process described below, refer to data folder.)

Tuesday, 6th November

To begin with I was so overwhelmed with the idea that I had been given time to start experiment and create that I felt like a headless chicken – not sure where to start. As my backround training is first in Theatre, then linguistics I was alien to the concept that I was allowed to sit and think; I was putting myself under pressure to produce something immediately. I also found it very difficult to start a sketch book as I felt I had to be producing something of quantity. All this worry wasn’t helping the creative process!
A quick phone call to Mary Butler was re assuring and I made a start. I spent the first few days  moving the beater into the studio and setting up the space to enable me to carefully record and document the fibres I was working with, as the results would become my palette.

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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