Fighting ducks 5

Fighting Fit Like a Duck

In this, the middle stage of my walk this week around Brynmill Park in Swansea, I was entertained (not sure if that is the right word) by a pair of fighting fit ducks going at each other tooth and nail . . . or should that be bill and feather?

Fighting ducks 1

This was a very serious argument which carried on a lot longer than 8 still images can describe. I wonder what it was about? Continue reading

Natural and Man-Made Thorns

Bramble thorns and barbed wire – both are effective means of protection!

Barbed wire has been both a feature and a theme in my work as an artist for many years now. The idea to try including barbs within the weave of my tapestries came from my need to represent something of the tension I felt whilst listening to the peace talks in Northern Ireland back in the late 1990s. Having grown up in Belfast during the 60s and 70s, it seemed to me to be the perfect material to represent conflict as my memory is of there being so much of it around at the time.

The first people to see the first tapestries I wove that incorporated barbed wire, did not think of it as representing conflict except in terms of texture – the soft wool of the weft and the hard sharpness of the barbs. They were living in the local rural community of SE Wales and only thought of barbed wire as a material for use in farming.

Metaphor or not, for me the barbs still represent conflict and although that theme in my work has broadened over the years, it is still a fact that the hard, sharp material of spikes, either man-made or natural, are there to protect one thing against another where there is a conflict of interests.

I have included a photo of one of my earlier tapestries from this thematic period – if you would like to see more examples of my work, please visit Design Fibre ICT at www.acmd.co.uk

Bramble Thorns

barbed wire

Tapestry Weaving and barbed wire

Tenses 4 – photograph by David Wibberly

More examples of my tapestry weaving can be seen at www.acmd.co.uk

That Old Freezer – why I like it?

So, back to the canvas, or at least, the place from which that “Metallic Canvas” came – the old burnt out freezer that provided me with so much colour and texture for my camera and sound for my recorder. I said that I would try and explain my interest in metal and my weird liking for the sounds it can make and these are the clues.

Over this last week I have shown something of the ways in which I have used metal in my work but perhaps I have not explained why I use and like it.

Synesthesia – This is not how I would describe my visual, aural or linguistic experience of the world. However, from the moment I started tapestry weaving at college many years ago, I was excited by the touch and texture of the materials I handled.

Old Freezer

It took many years of weaving to reach a level of expertise with which I was happy and confident. A part of this development was my deepening understanding of how my body, my fingers, interacted with the structure of warp and weft. For many years I used strong bold colours and blends in my tapestries and this too helped me to gain a clearer understanding of how colour interacts in different ways in different circumstances. Tapestry weaving is unique in its absorption and reflection of light – hence its generosity with colour.

These things are key to my approach to photography, sound recording, StillWalks and my “Interventions”. I have carried out workshops in the past where I have asked people to close their eyes and listen to the sound of an instrument or an everyday kitchen object and think about what colour the sound might be or what it would feel like if they could touch the sound as it travels through the air around them. Music, too, is often described in terms of colour, texture and form. This is not synesthesia, I do not see numbers as colours or whatever the crossover of senses might be for an individual experiencing synesthesia.

I find the relationship of one sense to another exciting and I am thinking more and more these days in terms of how everything in this world is interconnected in one way or another. The texture and colour of an old burnt out freezer relates precisely to what has happened (or been done) to it. The sounds it makes in this state are unique to its condition and the circumstances of the space that it occupies.

Sounds are very important to me and whilst it may just be a matter of personal taste in the end, the fact that I like those (some would say harsh) sounds that metal can make, is relevant to StillWalks. I specifically do not like the soft, ethereal music that is so often used on meditation disks and it is this fact that led me to explore field recording and its use in StillWalks. The sounds in StillWalks are unique to the time and place of the walk, and the photography, and therefore, what you hear in each walk is entirely the result of the conditions at the time.

I find it fascinating how little these conditions need to change in order to create a different sound – it may be wind strength and direction or simply atmospheric pressure, time of day or year or how many people, birds and other creatures are around . . . and those thing too, only exist as they do because of the conditions and circumstances at any given time and place.

Everything is interconnected and it is this that I try to impart to project participants when out in the field. How we interact with our surroundings has an influence on everything that is a part of those surroundings and as a species that is in the privileged position of being able to make conscious choices about what we do and how we act in relation to everything (and everyone) around us, we have a responsibility to consider the effect we have on all those things to which we are connected directly or indirectly.

Oh dear, now I’m getting preachy – sorry about that folks 🙂 Comments welcome!

Suffice it to say that it is the colours and textures both visually and aurally that attracts me to metal. This says nothing of the symbolism that it can have in different forms and conditions, but that is something that perhaps should be left to the audience to interpret.

 

Interactivity, Interventions and Sound Recording

Along the thematic timeline of my work with metal (see previous posts this week), “Conflict”, at this stage, is still playing its part in my move towards StillWalks. The Story of StillWalks refers to this and the first pieces I produced using still photography and sound were about presenting my internal conflict issues.

Through my interactive digital media work on school and community projects, my interest in sound and sound recording grew. Like all means of communication, literacy in the form used – speech (language), sight (visual), sound (aural) – comes with experience (and teaching).

I have been sound recording for some time now. My project work required mainly voice recording but with StillWalks the focus is on field recording. Over the past few years I have developed my aural literacy in this area and found that there is so much more to hear out there if you only learn to listen.

I guess my interest in the sounds made by metal stems from my work over the years actually handling the stuff!

The images below are available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

Trees

“Trees”

Click below to hear a sound clip from one of my first video walks which incorporates field recording from a forest and . . . other sounds! This is a very early piece of work and it and others can be seen here.

 

Over the Edge

“Over the Edge”

The image above uses a screen shot of the spectral display (manipulated) from an audio file of flowing water.

Digital Barbs

Working in digital print was, perhaps, a natural outcome of the fact that during the design and weave projects I ran with schools, I discovered that I was able to help teachers with some of the problems they had with their PCs when ICT (Information Communication Technology) was being pushed in the curriculum.

I bought a second hand Apple LC III computer in the early 1990’s and a new and exciting world opened up to me. To cut a long story short, it wasn’t long before I was running interactive digital media projects in combination with design and weave. These included communal large scale digital prints. This was something I had built up some skill with over a period of time and training as well as through liaison with printers.

The barbs kept coming back and in these two giclée prints on canvas, I was aiming to bring together a number of different thematic strands I have worked with over the years. Interpretation of the image and its different elements is entirely open.

These works are available for sale. There is only one other print of “Waves” and “Waves 2” is entirely unique. Anyone interested should contact me.

You can find further information on school projects and much more at Design Fibre ICT

Waves

“Waves” 95 x 125 cms Giclee print on canvas

Waves detail

“Waves” detail

"Waves 2"  100 x 130 cms  giclee print on canvas

“Waves 2” 100 x 130 cms giclee print on canvas

Now and Then – looking back on my work.

Sticking with the theme of conflict, this piece has, perhaps, become more personal again (see previous posts this week for context). The patterns from printed DNA are still there but the barbed wire is also becoming more personal. StillWalks development is not far off!

Woven from the back – as a tapestry artist, I have usually woven my designs from the front. Design development continues, for me, throughout the weaving process and working from the front obviously facilitated this. However, “Now and Then” had to be woven from behind and I think the reason is obvious – perhaps this piece, more than others, has indeed got my personal DNA within it!

This work is available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

"Now and Then" - 78 x 69 x 20 cms

“Now and Then” – 78 x 69 x 20 cms

Now and Then - detail

“Now and Then” – detail

Conflicting Arguments

The theme of “Conflict” in my work began to broaden over the years. My two previous posts (Dialogue and The Conflict of Working with Metal) illustrated my work as it related to a specific situation, that of the troubles and peace talks in Northern Ireland at the turn of the  century.

The conflict in this piece is more personal and more general. The barbs still represent conflict but relate more now to the world stage rather than just Northern Ireland.

By now I have also become more interested in the physically contrasting  textures of the two materials, metal and wool, and how they interact. The pattern in the weave relates to the paper prints you sometimes see of DNA and it is this that relates to the personal element of conflict.

People often ask whether the barbs were inserted during the process of weaving or pushed through afterwards . . . it was the former. The barbs would significantly have damaged the weave if they had been inserted afterwards and, yes, there is blood as well as “sweat and tears” in this as well as other tapestries I have made. Don’t be concerned though, they were only minor scratches (for the most part) and a few rips in clothing!

This work is available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” 85 x 120 x 10 cms

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” 85 x 120 x 10 cms

Conflicting Arguments

“Conflicting Arguments” – detail

Dialogue

Dialogue is essential – no argument an ever be resolved without it. No matter how much fighting goes on, the argument will always be resolved through dialogue.

The peace talks in Northern Ireland 14 or 15 years ago were the original inspiration for my work with barbed wire in weave (see yesterday’s post).

“Dialogue” is another piece of work I made using the contrasting textures of wool and steel. The rods on which the weaving and barbs are suspended, wobble and waver if touched, and represented for me, the delicate, no, precarious nature of the situation in Northern Ireland at the time. It could be said that that precarious situation has continued to exist there, albeit to a lesser extent.

This work is available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

Dialogue

“Dialogue” 215 x 211 x 45 cms

Dialogue detail 1

“Dialogue” detail 1

Dialogue - detail 2

“Dialogue” – detail 2

The Conflict of Working with Metal

A couple of days ago I said in one of my blog posts, that I would try and explain my interest in working with metal. So over this week I am going to use some examples of my work in tapestry weaving, digital print and photography to illustrate the development of this interest. My work in interactive media has also played an important part in this.

I developed StillWalks in response to a situation with stress and internal conflict. The starting point of my work on the theme of conflict was during the peace process talks in Northern Ireland where I grew up during the 1960s and ’70s.

Combining barbed wire with weave was my way of representing many different feelings about the troubles in Northern Ireland. The pieces shown here are from that time.

These works are available for sale – anyone interested should contact me.

Tapestry Weaving and barbed wire

“Tenses 3”  25 x 25 x 3 cms.  Photography – David wibberly

Tapestry Weaving and barbed wire

“Tenses 4”  25 x 25 x 3 cms.  Photography – David Wibberly