Restoration Visual Diary 'Hanging by a Thread'

What is a Body of Work?:

A body of work explores the development of ideas over time, exploring experimentation with concept, focus, context and a variety of medias.

"The body of work comes to represent a coherent journey which may attempt divergent paths but eventually moves towards resolution."

Semester 1 Body Work:

Task:

Using the concept of Restoration a stimulus, development and explore your own personal interpretation (focus), through conventional and unconventional media, styles and techniques.

What is restoration?:

Restoration is the action of returning something to its former condition, place or owner. Something that has been restored is reconstructed in one form or another to its original form.

Why do we restore?:

A popular view is to demolish and restart, but this should not always be the case. Old items keep history and special meaning whole restoring keeps the former glory while adding and improving foundations that may have been broken/damaged. Instead of starting new, improve and grow upon what has already been created.

What are the benefits of restoration?:

Restoration is essentially a second chance, a way of redeeming a mistake without completely restarting. The act of restoring mends the broken object by piecing together already existing parts to form a whole entity once again. Because of this, restoration is a beneficial process of repairing something that is thought of as old, broken or unwanted.

Brainstorming:

In order to generate ideas centered around the concept of restoration, inspirational artists, artwork and words have to be gathered to spark ideas and creativity.

Word Cloud of inspiring words related to restoration

From the words above, rejuvenation and revive resonated with me and my art style the most. They both mean to restore the former condition of 'life' to the subject and salvage the already existing fibers present.

This prompts me to brainstorm ideas relating to living bodies and respectively associated components such as the environment, human body, plants, animals or even organs. Expanding upon the latter idea, restoration of organs, and more specifically the heart could be extremely intricate and beautiful or over used and repetitive. To ensure this doesn't occur, I must have a teacher consultation and undertake extensive research to further refine my focus concept.

Research:

What are Chordae Tendineae?:

Also known as heart strings, chordae tendineae are tendons inside the heart that connect the papillary muscles to the tricuspid valve which resemble small strings connecting the valves of the heart. The tendons are predominantly made from collagen, with 20% remainder created from elastin and endothelial cells. When the atrioventicular valves are open, the tendons are relaxed but when the ventricles contract however, the tendons become tight, pulling the heart together.

What happens when your heart breaks?:

The chordae tendineae, when put under immense pressure, can snap and brake, resulting in what is known as ‘broken heart syndrome’ that affects the mind and body individually. This drastically impacts the individual, putting them under immense pressure and stress, on top of their already swollen heart.

What makes heartbreak so painful?:

Researchers have concluded through extensive testing using MRI results, that the areas of the human brain that register physical pain are directly linked to emotional and social pain; the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the anterior insula. It is believed that the brain cannot differentiate physical and emotional pain from one another, resulting in varying levels of pain felt from the subject experiencing heartache. When someone experiences a broken heart, blood pressure increases as well as your heart rate which in extreme cases can lead to cardiovascular complications such as a heart attack or stroke. Heart break causes stress hormones to rise and an overabundance of cortisol results in too much blood being pumped to the muscles, causing tension (swollen muscles – headaches, stiff neck and pressure in the chest).

“It is easy to put aside touchy-feely stuff as less important, but it can literally kill people because human beings depend on social connection for survival”. - Geoff MacDonald, professor of psychology

Inspiration:

Images that, to me, represent the tendons inside the heart as well as photographs from National Geographic of the inside of the human heart.

Photos that have inspired me in the creation of my body of work

Exploring my focus:

I have decided to pursue the focus of the heart, specifically concentrating on the chordae tendieae (heart strings) and the pressure they are put through on a daily basis.

Focus statemenr 'Hanging by a string', focuses on the way in which the human body, more specifically Chrodae Tendineae (heart strings) interact and cope with stresses of heartache. The fragile nature of the tendons are replicated and interpreted in a way that constructs the innards of human anatomy in macro form. The abstract approach to the focus

Context statement: The personal and slightly biological context of 'hanging by a string' forms the analysis and interpretation of the focus, Chordae Tendineae and how the tendons perform under immense pressure/stress. Through the process of embroidery, lino printing, felting and photography, the personal context, steamed from individual experiences, investigates the focus of the body of work.

Artist Statement:

We all have solitary experiences that affect our physical bodies capability to function. Whether we endure or confront our stress, the innards of the human heart are delicate chordae tendineae, in which the restoration process fixes ones' heart strings and mends our thoughts. Through personal experiences of my own, 'Hanging by a String' attempts to salvage the broken heart through biological remedies that have been explored through the delicacy of my artwork and the mediums carried throughout. The isolation and emptiness felt by myself after immense stress can be depicted throughout my body of work.

Mentoring session #1:

After my meeting with Ms Hampson, we both agree that focusing on the broader topic of the heart would be generic and boring so following the more specific research I conducted would be the more favourable approach.

Mentoring feedback from Ms Hampson on my focus for my body of work

Reflection #1:

Brainstorming

What is the focus for my body of work?

The focus for my body of work is Chordae Tendineae - the strings inside the heart that open and close depending on the level of stress the individual is coping with. In my body of work I will focus on how the tendons cope under heart break and why they are such a delicate part of the organ.

How am I going to achieve this?

By focusing on the fragile nature of the heart strings, this can be reproduced by using materials and methods that take a delicate hand and a careful technique to execute the results that are envisioned.

Why have I chosen this focus?

Although my parents are still together, many of my friends parents and people that I know have gone through immense heart break that has taken both an emotional and physical toll on their body. By choosing heart tendons to restore, the personal context of my body of work can be salvaged and metaphorically transformed into my personal life - restoring the hearts of my loved ones.

What is the mood of my body of work?

In my body of work, I am aiming for a more abstract approach to the tendons. Though my art will be more conceptual than physical images of the human heart anatomy, I am wanting to use close up shots of materials to represent the strings in obscure ways in which the audience is left wondering before a moment of realisation washes over them. The mood will be quite light and peaceful in comparison to the focus topic of the body of work. The juxtaposition will be carried throughout each piece and be the main mood of the body of work.

What mediums am I thinking of using?

I want my body of work very dainty and fragile so to implement this thought, I am thinking of using the medium of my work as the main way to represent this notion. I could use materials such as tulle, string, porcelain, paper or even thin layers of wax/glue etc.

Influential Artist #1:

Benjamin Shine is an infamous artist who creates beautiful tulle installations by ironing the fabric in extrinsic patterns to form magnificent 'paintings'. He usually uses around 50 metres of tulle to create his textured artwork that is displayed across the world. Though I don't think I will be following his technique of ironing fabric, I admire his idea of using the delicate fabric as an installation - allowing light and other natural elements to seep through the netting. The delicate nature of the tulle can be translated in my body of work, helping me to finally decide on the medium I wish to focus on throughout my pieces. Shine's meanings behind his work are more often than not undefined, but by applying my focus to his creative principle I can create a tulle installations inspired by his work.

Benjamin Shine tulle installations
"It wasn’t until I saw a crumpled ball of tulle on my studio floor that I noticed its potential" - Benjamin Shine

Influential Artist #2:

Andrea Graham, felt-maker and fiber artist uses wool to magically transform the fibers into installations that express the environmental paradox of the living organisms that inhabit the earth. The majority of her pieces are abstract and free forming with holes abundantly present throughout to represent the wounds the consumer driven world creates on the planet. She chooses to use wool in her work as it is a sustainable material that bridges her focus and context through both metaphorical and physical connections. Though Graham and I have different focuses, her method of using such a delicate medium (wool fibers), can be translated into my body of work. The way in which she manipulates the fragile material into organic installations is something I want to replicate in my body of work. Though her art is more representational of the destruction of the environment, her abstract approach to the focus is something that inspires me in my own work.

Andrea Graham felt installations
"It was felting, in particular that captured me. The multi-sensory experience and the versatility of the medium kept me tossing and turning at night." - Andrea Graham

Reflection #2:

Research process

How will the above artists influenced by body of work?

Both artists, Shine and Graham, have quite a delicate style that I would like to recreate in my own body of work. Shine uses the delicate medium of tulle while Graham incorporates a very sensitive focus into her pieces. Though Graham's medium is quite course and heavy, the fragile nature shines through the juxtaposition of her medium compared to her focal notion of her installations. Mixing both artists delicate aspects can be combined to create such a fragile body of work, one in which I am wishing to display through mediums and my focus.

Will their techniques, style and/or ideas be replicated in my artwork?

As discussed above, the aspects are a mixture of their mediums and ideas that will build the basis of my body of work. Shine's medium alongside Graham's focus (adapted to my own topic) my body of work will be constructed through a number of inspirational artists and ideas.

Am I on track to starting my pieces?

Though I have roughly experimented with drawing human hearts for anatomy purposes, I need to start researching and experimenting the particular medium for stage 1 before I physically start my first stage. I need to do this relatively fast as stage 1 should in theory be underway by now.

What do I need to be able to start?

Apart from research and experimentation, I need to start gathering/buying the materials that I need for my stage. This will most likely include a delicate fabric (tulle is the most probable) as well as extra materials that will enhance the technical execution of the piece such as how Shine used an iron to fold the material into particular shapes creating stunning images.

How many stages am I planning on completing?

Since 3 is the advised minimum for a body of work and I am looking to excel in my folio, I want to hand in more than required. For this reason I am hoping on completing a minimum of 4 stages with varying mediums of both traditional as well as technology such as photography and possibly digital imagery.

Influential Artist #3:

Julie Shackson is a multimedia artist who draws inspiration from microorganisms, biology and geographical formations. Her art incorporates felt-making, textiles and knitting to create her abstract embroidery pieces. Shackson often uses acrylic on canvas as a base for her creations before layering silk and wool (felting techniques) onto the canvas through free-hand embroidery. The delicate placing of the fabric and overlay of thread creates depth and dimension to her almost fully 2D canvas pieces. She states that there is no complete process to her art but she lets the materials take her on a journey and lead her to create a more free-flowing establishment. Her abstract approach and the unique layering of the thread and incorporation of embroidery into the canvas is something that I would like to replicate in one of my stages. I like how she uses multimedia techniques and layers the different materials into non-representational shapes as it can relate to any focus - with justification.

Julie Shackson canvas, tulle embroidery pieces
"I live in Wales and draw inspiration for my work in various mediums from the natural elements found in the countryside. My art is primarily a visceral and an emotional reaction to colour and form in the natural world." - Julie Shackson

Stage #1:

Research:

Because I want my body of work to be very delicate and detailed, I began to research fibre arts and materials that are fragile and harder to work with. One example of this kind of material is tulle. Tulle is a lightweight fabric that has a fine netting makeup, usually created by silk, nylon and/or rayon. Keeping the first stage within my focal topic, to me, the tulle is fine and delicate enough to represent the chordae tendineae inside the heart. The intricate netting of the tulle perfectly represents the tendons in an abstract yet apparent way when explained.

Another fragile medium that could be incorporated into the tulle piece is thread. Most cotton sewing threads come intertwined with 6 smaller strands to make a thicker line when wrapped together. By carefully separating the thread, thinner and more fine piece of yarn can be used in variation with stands of a thicker weight. This medium can also be used to convey the representation of the heart strings using different core substances.

Ideas and approach:

Drawing inspiration from artist Benjamin Shine and National Geographic photographs of tendons present in the heart, the first stage was reseached (refer to statement above). Using tulle as the basis of the stage, similarly to Shine, another delicate material was incorporated into the piece via cotton threads embroidered into the netted weave of the tulle.

The long, thin strand of cotton can be woven into the tulle netting to create contrast in fabrics as well as an extremely delicate design. Using both embroidery and openwork techniques in the piece, the thread and tulle will be intertwined together in a detailed pattern of open weaves and knotted threads. The thread and tulle will bind together so that the tulle virtually disappears in natural light, foregrounding the intricate thread design embroidered into the tulle background. The presentation of the piece is undetermined as of this stage; but at the moment, the current idea is to hang the embroidery tulle (on an embroidery hoop) by a fine thread from the wall. This will insinuate the the heart is hanging by a thread.

Inspirational photos of embroidery on tulle fabric.

Process:

Tulle was stretched onto an embroidery hoop where a hole was later cut in the middle.
The excess overhang was trimmed for easy manipulation and thread layers were embroidered in abstract circular patterns around the initial hole cut in the center of the tulle.
The embroidery hoop was removed before the edges were roughly cut and floating strings were added through the centre of the hole, acting as Chrodae Tendeae.
The final pieces were placed between two pieces of glass that slipped into the appropriate sized frame.

Problem solving:

After embroidering the three tulle decals, I researched display options but the majority of sources suggested to display them in the embroidery hoops they were originally made in. Although this could have been the easiest and most simple solution, by searching for displaying options more generally. I quickly found an idea that follows my focus yet creates difference in comparison to the fine and delicate construction of my threaded piece. That idea was translated in the form of a shadow box (the illusion of floating heart strings). Though it was slightly difficult to find the right size for the already stitched pieces, numerous boxes were found and purchased so should I create more as an extension to the piece?

Reflection #3:

Start of Stage 1

What is working?

I love the delicate nature of my piece but this causes some problems when I pull too hard on the string as this snaps the fragile tulle netting. I need to be more gentle when handling the embroidery but overall the transparency of the piece and the abstracts forms created on the material are really working and highlighting the style of art that I am aiming for in the folio.

What do I need to fix?

I need to start thinking on how I am going to display the embroidery pieces since they're so delicate and almost invisible if exposed to too much light which could cause problems if not displayed properly in the gallery as its extremely light and open. The piece just need the appropriate framing to resolve the piece.

Do I need a consultation with Ms Hampson?

Though I have had a meeting to talk about my overall focus and gather ideas together, Ms Hampson and I don't necessarily need to have another mentoring session until the piece is finalized and the second stage of the folio is underway.

Reflection #4:

Towards end of stage 1 - before show and tell

Am I moving towards resolution?

Stage one is almost resolved, with the show n tell coming up soon. Although there will probably be no time to have a mentoring session with Ms Hampson before it has to be presented, I am on the right path and resolution should occur within a few days. Though I have started experimenting on the two consecutive stages, they are far from resolution.

Am I structuring and organising the resolution of my work?

I have formulated a schedule (of self-assessed due dates), that will help me stay on task, but knowing that the visual diary and personal critique are also due, time has to be set aside for them. The resolution of stage one was slightly rushed, with quick touch-ups on rough edges and discolouration of the thread etc, the structure and organisation of my work will hopefully be of high quality.

Was the research insightful or does it need more development?

The research conducted for stage one was useful and gave further insight into the focus and concept I am trying to convey, but numerous pages of research for the following stages needs to be undertaken. Each stage should be researched specifically researched to enhance the meaning behind each separate part of the body of work, making sure it ties in together with the overall focus of Chordae Tendineae.

Does the research recognise what the focus is communicating?

The research recognises the development of the focus and the way in which the meaning is being expressed to the audience. The research was specific to the materials used within the piece and how they intertwine and work in harmony to create a delicacy that can only be replicated within the human heart. The way in which the stage is displayed was also intentionally researched to communicate the focus of the body of work.

Has restoration been integrated into the context/focus?

Though restoration can arguably be missed in the piece, through the artists statement and corresponding statements explaining the art, the topic of restoration should be obvious and foregrounded to those who look. Overall however the Chordae Tendineae have been linked to restoration through the ability in which the human body heals them to continue the necessary ability of pumping blood throughout the body - heartbreak hindering this process.

Reflection #5:

Completion of stage 1

What was the hardest/easiest part of the making process?

I find that creating the physical form of abstract tulle with thread running along the netting was quite peaceful and easy to complete while the hardest part was using a steady, gentle hand to ensure the strength at which the embroidery techniques are employed do not rip the piece. This took a while to get used to but after experimentation and a few broken tulle pieces, it came easily and stage one was complete.

Is the final result what was wanted?

I am really happy with the result of the first stage in my body of work. It conveys the message of the focus while still being abstract (what I wanted) and intriguing to the viewer. It provokes thought and emotion in a beautifully soft manner in juxtaposition to the focus of such a triggering topic of heart break but more specifically the feeling of being broken emotionally.

Is there anything can be done to improve the piece?

The once white glue has slightly discoloured in the light of the gallery room but this could only be fixed by redoing the piece or painting over the small dots of glue with white paint. This could destroy the overall mood of the piece however which is why I have left it the way it was.

What does the piece mean in terms of restoration and heart strings?

The use of tulle and the decision to display the embroidery pieces between two pieces of glass envelops the focus through the pain and isolation felt. The floating nature of the cellular shapes of the tulle pieces are representational of the emptiness felt after heartbreak and/or stress overwhelms the body. It has left me with the feeling of emptiness and isolation, as seen by the floating tulle embroidery. The delicate nature of the piece and especially materials used is illustrative of delicate nature of the tendons and the way in which they are easily breakable and frail.

Influential Artist #4:

Huang Xu, is a Chinese artist who creates stunningly contrasted photography of both plastic bags and nature elements such as flowers and/or leaves. Xu digitally manipulates the seemingly harmless materials into confronting ghostly figures that shock the audience and evoke emotion. He manipulates and sculpts his models into the mystical forms he desires before using a combination of 3D-scanning techniques and digital manipulation to create such a stark contrast between the lights and dark's of his images. The purpose of this is to convey the pressing issue of waste in China and the global environmental crisis the world is facing. Because of Xu's environmental context, there are many differences and aspects that I wont be using but the way in which the forms express themselves and the holes/tears have a deeper meaning is something I want to replicate with my focus in the body of work I am creating.

Huang Xu 3D scanned photography
“In recalling the traditional fabrics of my country’s imperial past, my aesthetic program is unquestionably Chinese in character.” - Huang Xu

Stage #2:

Ideas and Approach:

Drawing inspiration from a workshop that was conducted with the year 11 class on mono printing, I started to do some research on screen printing, especially lino printing. The idea is to create a long lino print of cellular shapes with the heart strings being represented by the ink left on the paper. Then thread could be sown into the strong either canvas or watercolour paper to tie together both stage one and the lino print. It would continue with the theme of the first piece with the incorporation of the thread as well as the abstract forms created by the free flowing motion of the cutting.

Inspirational images of cellular shapes

Technique Experimentation:

Lino Printing experimentation with black ink (left image with full ink roller/right image with remaining in).

Problem Solving:

After the show and tell with Ms Hampson and Mr delaforce, we have all come to the conclusion that the lino print is too harsh and not delicate enough for the body of work and the piece I've already made. The experiments turned out too thick and bulky on the paper for the focus of 'Hanging by a String' to be conveyed. Instead, I need to find a lighter material and possibly change the whole stage to fit better with the resolution of stage one.

Reflection #6:

Restart of stage 2

How am I going to salvage or restart stage 2?

Taking on the advice from others, I have decided to scrap the lino print for stage two and start another piece. Though the lino printing was fun and looked good on its own, the process was too heavy for the fragility of my body of work. This means that further brainstorming needs to happen and research conducted to support this.

What does this mean I need to do?

As I am starting new, I need to start gathering ideas and looking for inspiration for the revamped stage two. I need to start experimenting with other mediums and refining processes to help me decide on what I am planning for the second stage in the restoration folio.

Do I have a plan for stage 3 yet?

I am hoping to do photography as one of my pieces in the folio but depending on the outcome of stage two, the piece I am going to do for stage three is as of yet undetermined. Incorporating thread into the piece is something that would tie the piece in with the first stage however.

Am I on track for the due date?

Although I could be proactive with future stages, the first stage was a success with the second stage quickly underway as of right now. Though restarting the piece is a set back, it shouldn't bee too much of a problem as not much time was wasted perfecting the lino print.

How is my personal critique going?

My personal critique has been pushed to the side because of the show n tell for the first piece so I really need to start catching back up with the analyzing of artists and assessing my first stage as its complete. I need to start dedicating equal amounts of time to both my making, visual literacy and appraising tasks if I want to do well in this body of work/semester.

Influential Artist #5:

Deean Rieves takes an abstract approach to creating organic shapes derived from nature. Rieves is a mixed media artist who mixes acrylic paint and thread in intricate abstract layers. The incorporation of thread into her canvas pieces add texture and a sense of tactility to the artwork. Her art centers around the life cycle of nature, especially leaves and how they rot. The varying tones of colour the Rieves uses is representational of the stages of life throughout her subjects while the very free-flowing motion of the paint on canvas perfectly depicts the circle of life/life cycle. This limitless approach to art is the type of style I am trying to emulate within my body of work so although her approach differs from mine, I can manipulate elements and techniques she has used in my own folio. The focus' can also be connected in different aspects with the main focal idea of life's hardships and how it effects the individual.

Deean Rieves embroidery and acrylic canvas paintings
“I am most interested in this display of growth and decay because of how intimately it speaks of change.” - Deean Rieves

Stage #2 Redo:

Research:

After Ms Warren invited the class to participate in a felting workshop, I conducted my own research on the process and inspiration images. I found that by separating the fibers early on in the process, a lighter more weightless felted piece could be created. This is exactly what I needed for my delicate body of work. I began researching the materials used in the demonstration and found some images of similar artwork that I could further investigate. By separating the wollen fibers early in the process, it creates a more seamless and fragile hole while thickening the layers then ripping/cutting the wool creates a harsher edge with sharper lines.

The colours of wool in the school art department are also quite limited so that hinders the quantity/colour each piece would be. Though there is enough time to order more, I could combine two techniques to help further stretch the small amount of felting that would be made.

Ideas and Approach:

Experimenting with Ms Warren has shown me the variety of different ways that the felt can be manipulated to form the shape and texture you desire. She helped the students wanting to experiment with felting by giving a demonstration as well as giving pointers as we went. The idea I have is to create a very white felted piece (with some contrasting dark browns), with many rips and tears and holes throughout the piece. This means that the piece wont be as sturdy as the average felt piece is but if I want to achieve my desired look and texture, I have to make the felting less structurally sound.

Technique experimentation/Process:

The base was created by pulling apart delicate stands of wool and layering them on top of one another, before scrubbing the fabric together to bind the fibers to form a strong foundation.
Additional layers were added on top of the base to create more interest and contrast as new thicknesses and shapes of wool were pressed into the design. The final piece was later washed in cold water to remove the soap and laid flat for it to completely dry before further experimentation could be conducted.

Problem Solving:

The felt pieces looked nice on their own but they were clearly not resolved or large enough to make an impact on the viewer. The pieces demonstrated the focus of the folio but there just wasn't enough interest to be considered a final stage in the folio. After a consultation with Ms Hampson, she had suggested to combine both the felt piece with a digitally manipulated photograph to enhance the overall resolution. This is the next step I will be taking in the completion of the body of work.

Reflection #7:

Middle of stage 2

Is my technique effective?

The first few layers of the felting process were not working as well as they should've been but after some help from Ms Warren she informed me that the felt was too thin (even for what I wanted). I also needed more soap in the hot water a it wasn't foaming enough, also hindering the adhesion of the felt fibers.

Is the felting working how I imagined?

After the initial troubles with getting the woolen layers to adhere, the felting process was working! I was liking how the holes were forming and the light, natural colours were working together. The shocking of the felt through the cooling process also helped to strengthen my already fragile pieces.

What is working?

The forms and shapes that the felt was making was really working in my opinion and was turning out how I wanted it to. It was creating beautiful ghostly shapes that were almost see through and transparent. This was exactly the look I was going for!

What isn't working?

The delicate nature of my body of work was trying to be emulated in the felting piece which was a slight struggle. Because felt is meant to be tightly woven/felted together, parts would often not stick down or come completely off as I tried to keep it as thin as possible.

Reflection #8:

Stage 2 - what to do next

What isn't working?

The more I play with the felt, the further it becomes what I imaged it to be. Its becoming too thick to represent my focus, yet the forms its making really appeal to me. I need to somehow incorporate other elements to resolve this piece into something I am happy with.

What can I do to resolve this piece?

My adding other elements such as embroidery/sewing into the wool could tie together the stage with the first pieces as well as help the piece to look finished. I could also use the felting pieces as a kind of collage material that can be layered over a drawing, photograph or even a painting if that is the direction I choose to head down.

How am I going to achieve this?

I am going to start experimenting with photography as I had already started to brainstorm my third piece. This means that I can either take photos of the felt and overlay it onto the image I take or in the framing process, somehow layer the two pieces in the frame. The second idea sounds easier but will hopefully have a greater effect both textually and appealingly.

Stage #2 Extension:

Ideas and Approach:

My inspiration of stage two was a combination of both felting artists and photographers. After a felting workshop with Ms Warren, I had the desire to incorporate loose felt pieces in my folio. The photography was inspired by stretched gum and the intricate, free forming shapes that it creates when stretched and manipulated. I will combine the two techniques of photography (digital manipulation) and felting to create the second stage of my folio.

Technique Experimentation:

Experimenting with the putty material and the shapes it can make

Process:

Putty was stretched and pulled to create cavities and strings hanging off one another, acting as chordae tendineae. The dodge and burn tool on Photoshop was used to enhance the highlights and darken the shadows.
A real life image of chordae tendineae was acquired and overlaid using Photoshop to combine the two images together. In the framing process the felt was added to combine both pieces, resolving the stage.

Problem Solving:

The image I created myself using the putty turned out very grey with no extremes on either end. This made the photo look muddy and have no contrast. After a consultation with Ms Hampson, we decided to use the dodge and burn tool on Photoshop to accentuate the lights and darks. The real tendons were overlaid to contrast the greys also. Though the image was satisfactory on its own, the felt was overlaid in the framing process to add another layer to the image while still incorporating the focus of the folio. This brought two stages together in one frame.

Reflection #9:

Middle of stage 2

Is the photography working?

The photography itself is giving me some trouble as two different cameras focus is playing up. When I focus on part of the putty, when I go to take the image, the focus either refocus' to the background or the camera wont let me take the photo. Because I am not the best at working with cameras, this is really challenging for me as the camera settings could be slightly off and I wouldn't know how to reset/fix them.

Is the choice of material appropriate?

Though the material is far from delicate, the forms and small strings it creates when pulled apart are exactly what I am looking for! The putty is a lot more smooth than my other materials (thread/tulle) but once in Photoshop, I can digitally enhance the image to remove any shine or discolouration that occurs (in only a wet type of material).

Is the setup whats needed?

The setup worked extremely well, even though it could have been placed higher for a more accessible location. I set up a white piece of paper for the backdrop (the hopefully wouldn't make it into the picture) next to a window to ensure copious amounts of natural lighting. The only problem with the layout was how I had to position myself in order to take the photos.

How could I improve the photographs?

I need to digitally enhance them in Photoshop. I also need to add something interesting to them but that this stage I don't know what that is. Maybe reflect the image and frame it length ways or even overlay another image onto it to create some interest and more contrast within the piece.

Reflection #10:

Completion of stage 2

What was the easiest/hardest part of the making process?

The easiest part was dodging/burning the chosen image while everything else (in the digital process) was a real struggle. I didn't like the reflection and when I tried to overlay the real life photo, it was too harsh of a line. I needed to keep blurring and working at the image until it was something I was happy with.

Was the end result what was wanted?

Although the end product was extremely different to what I had imaged my second stage to turn out like, I am happy with the end result and am proud to present the piece in my body of work. Though it was hard to get to where the stage is at now, it is intriguing but most importantly represents the focus of 'Hanging by a String'.

Are there any improvements that could be made?

If I had dedicated more time to the completion of this stage I probably would have started new and tried another method, but because there wasn't enough time to restart, I kept working at the piece to finally create something that I was proud of. There are many improvements I could have made during each stage of the piece such as better focus on the camera, a smoother gradation of the two images as well as the execution of the felt piece. Overall however, it is a nice piece that I will happily add to my folio.

What does the stage mean in terms of restoration of heart strings?

The second stage of ‘Hanging by a String’, is a combination of photos, layered together through digital manipulation. Taking my own series of photos and finding real life images, I overlaid both images together. The images blend in with one another creating a seamless transition between the two. In the framing process, the felting experiment was laid on top of the image to create interest and help the subject identify the focal point in the piece. The harsh white strings reaching across the page draw in the eye while the background fades out with a strong grey transitioning into black. The darkness of the image is representational of the heartache while the white illustrates the restoration process.

Artist #6:

Makkiko Wakisaka is a Japanese fiber artist who creates beautiful and delicate sculptures. Wakisaka uses the unusual material of leaf vein to construct transparent sculptures that appear to be weightless and able to float through the air. Wakisaka chooses to center the focus of her body of work around the notion that when something looks breakable and fragile, there is a strong presence inside of it. For example cocoons, seeds and chrysalis. She takes into consideration the colours and textures used, with white being her most used colour as it represents the purity of absurdness and the silence of the colour white. Wakisaka's use of such a fragile material really inspires me to further push myself in the delicacy of my final stage while still creating an interesting and aesthetically please piece.

Makiko Wakisaka leaf vein sculptures/installations
"Using leaf vein for material, stitching them together ... transparent object will appear." - Makiko Wakisaka

Stage #3:

Research:

My idea for stage three was sparked through inspirational images of macro photography and the materials I’d used in the previous pieces. This thought process lead me to start researching ideas on macro photography, where I found an artist by the name of Huang Xu. His photography series, ‘Fragment’, depicts a similar style of images that I wanted to create. Taking inspiration from both Xu and Shine in the way in which he incorporates tulle into an abstract medium (in his case sculpture), I want to create an abstracted, stark black and white image.

Though there are different methods in which I can approach the photography, scanning objects such as Xu, requires a high quality printer that I don't have access to. This means that I'll need to set up my own area in good lighting so I can then later manipulate and edit the photographs in Photoshop at a later date.

Ideas and Approach:

I started experimenting with the different materials I used in stage one: tulle, thread and the idea of glass (transparency). I need to make formations reminiscent of the human heart and the vesicles that build its structure. By warping the materials, especially a thick tulle, the desired effect can be achieved in a quick yet intricate manner. I would either need white/black fabric or a well lighted area in order to create enough contrast between the highlights and shadows. This means that I need to buy new material or edit the photography later. Because the first tulle bundling experiment was so successful, I used the series of images I took of the spare tulle from stage one, to photograph in stage three.

Inspirational images of textured/holey abstract formation.

Technique experimentation:

Experimenting with light and the formations that the thick tulle can create.

Process:

I used a thick tulle material to form abstract forms with folds and craters within the medium before taking photos of the ‘sculpture'. Using the dodge and burn tool, the image was contrasted and then edited to become black and white with obvious definition between the highlights and shadows.
This was repeated 5 times to create the series of images used in the final resolved pieces of stage 3.

Problem Solving:

Creating stage three was quite simple and the quickest of all the stages. Though there were no problems during the actual making stage of the photos, the inspiration and ideas process took a lot longer than the previous two stages. Though I had a whole Pinterest board for inspiration, the complexity was too high for a medium I’m not 100% comfortable with. Huang Xu was a huge help in the brainstorming process however, after I stumbled upon his photography through an Instagram page. His art wasn’t exactly what I was trying to replicate but it allowed me to spark ideas and finally create the third piece of “Hanging by a String”.

Reflection #11:

Start of stage 3

What is working?

The formations I have created out of tulle don't look very impressive when they are critiqued as a 'sculpture' but when I quickly zoomed in on my phone to see what elements of the tulle would look like, the ever-changing elements are extremely cool! Different areas of the 'sculpture' bring different forms in the photography process.

What am I struggling with?

Once again, I am struggling with camera settings and the auto focus. I have googled how to fix it but the way in which I am going about it, must not be right. The wrong parts of the image are being focused on while the focal point is being blurred into the background.

What needs to be fixed?

I will need to change the colour of the tulle images in Photoshop after but aside from that I will need to fix the clarity and contrast of each image to make sure that they are to the highest standard possible.

Am I on track to finishing my folio?

Because stage three should be a quick and easy process, I am right on track to completing my folio on time! Though my pieces are under control, I need to make sure that I am still working on my personal critique and visual diary (slate presentation) in order to decrease my stress with the due date looming.

Reflection #12:

Completion of stage 3

What was the easiest/hardest part of the making process?

Though the editing was the easiest part this time, the actual photography process was where I struggled. The images would focus on the wrong part which in turn effected the overall clarity and contrast that I had to later fix in my editing phase.

Was the final result what was wanted?

I am extremely happy with the final result of the third stage of my body of work. I am glad that I chose to present the photographs as a series (all in one frame) as this brings the element of repetition to the stage. I am also happy with how the images themselves turned out in relation to contrast and clarity.

Are there any improvements that could be made?

Stage three was the easiest stage for me as I didn't encounter many obstacles that weren't easily fixed. This meant that there was little to no problem solving needed and a quick stage completed in a short time frame.

What is the meaning of the piece in terms of restoration of heart strings?

Stage three for the restoration folio consists of five macro images. The bundled up tulle configured in intricate forms was photographed and edited to create the final series. The final stage neatly ties together the other pieces. The netting of the tulle from stage one is continued into this stage while the element of photography/editing from stage two are sustained. Both individual focus’ of the previous stages are also combined to create the stage, representational of the isolation felt in stage one, as well as the brightness and darkness of the stage two photography.

Reflection #13:

Overall folio reflection

What was successful?

Reflecting back on my restoration folio, I think that all the stages were successful in their own way. Stage one is the most technically advanced with intricate detailing and hand embroidery but in both stage two and three, used camera techniques and angles. Though I would have liked to include more stages in the body of work, I am happy with how all the stages stand alone and more importantly, group together. The presentation of the folio is something that is also a accomplishment as the style of framing for my second stage is something new to the college. Overall, ‘Hanging by a String’ was successful in the sense of what I had created and displayed.

What would I improve/redo next time?

If I could redo my restoration body of work, I would include more stages to increase the materials used and show a discerning application of foreign media. Not only would I create more stages, I would also have more scheduled consultations with Ms Hampson as this helps me regain my thought process and refine my ideas for resolution. Though I am happy with each stage, spending more time refining them could have improved my skills and in turn the overall finish of the pieces and folio.

Bibliography:

Donadio, G. (2016, March 21). The Science of Heartbreak. Retrieved from HuffPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianna-donadio-msc-phd/the-science-of-heartbreak_b_9511498.html

Engle, G. (2015, March 20). The Pain is Real: 8 Scientific Effects Heartbreak Has on the Body. Retrieved from Elite Daily: http://elitedaily.com/dating/scientific-reasons-why-a-broken-heart-is-really-bad-for-you/970609/

Taylor, T. (2017). Chordae Tendineae. Retrieved from Inner Body: http://www.innerbody.com/image_card02/musc31-new.html#full-description

STANDS4 LLC. (2017). Definitions for restoration. Retrieved from definitions.net: http://www.definitions.net/definition/Restoration

Created By
Tayla Smith
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