My walk this week was short, cold and through the remnants of Storm Hannah – it was part of a sound and weave workshop I was running over the weekend. The first stage of the workshop was to go round Swansea Marina and listen to the sounds which featured what is known as the Marina Orchestra.
The leading orchestral instruments are the masts and rigging followed by the percussion of clanks and bangs, thumps and gloops of other maritime artefacts and of course the choppy water of the marina itself.
It was wild and cold and although we found a relatively sheltered spot to listen to the “symphony”, when we ventured down to the seafront, Continue reading→
The most important reason for me to visit Dumfries was to check out Gracefield Arts Centre and the space in which I would have work in an exhibition later in the year. The British Tapestry Group exhibition “Sound and Weave” is now on at the arts centre and runs there until 29th September.
My tapestry is experimentally interactive with light sensors embedded in the weave – the sensors trigger different field recordings layered over a looping background soundscape when they are cast into shadow by, for instance, the viewer’s hand or body.
“Experimental” is the key work here and it proved a challenge to calibrate the sensors to react at their optimum in a space with lighting quite different from my studio. In this instance I am happy for the interactivity of the tapestry to be sensitive to the changing ambient light as much as the gallery lighting and human intervention, but in future venues I will provide my own lighting with a view to a tighter control of the sensors.
INTERCONNECTION – interactive woven tapestry by Alastair Duncan
INTERCONNECTION – interactive woven tapestry by Alastair Duncan
The videos below show both my own tapestry “in action” and the other works in the exhibition. Thanks again to Dawn, the Arts Officer at Gracefield, and all the BTG people involved in setting up the exhibition. It will be my turn when it comes to Swansea in March 2019!
If the videos do not show below in your browser, please click the links below to view them on Vimeo.
Having found natural materials to construct and weave with in the lakeside woodland of The Waterside-Felindre, I only had time over the Get Creative weekend to make a start on this outdoor weaving. Hopefully it is sturdy enough to withstand the attentions of the alpacas and open enough to allow the wind through – at least until the next time I am able to work on it.Continue reading→
A few weeks ago I took a tapestry weaving workshop over the weekend for the Crickhowell Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. They had asked me if I could do a version of my workshop “Sounding out Colour and Texture”.
The workshop focus was sound and the intention was to help everyone to develop ideas for tapestry weaving by using a medium that may not have occurred to them previously. It wasn’t going to be possible in the time allowed to produce finished tapestries but we were able to experiment with different techniques and materials as a means of interpreting different aspects of sound.
The language used in describing sound relates very well to the language used in the visual arts and crafts. I am not talking of the technical terms connected to audio and tapestry weaving, but rather the interpretive, emotional terms used. Colour and texture, rhythm and melody.
We often hear the term “the tapestry of life” – the wide range of techniques and materials it is possible to use within tapestry weaving make it possible to represent any number of aspects of our emotional and physical lives and sound can be an excellent starting point for exploring those possibilities.
In these workshops I would also ask people to close their eyes and imagine what colour a sound might be or what it would feel like in their hands if they could grab a hold of it. The sound editing program I use, Adobe Audition, can show us the wave form of the sound and it can show us the “shape” of the sound in the spectral display, but it cannot tell us its texture and the colour it shows is only that selected by the user in the program’s preferences.
This is where the imagination comes in and helps us to develop the designs we may use to present an interpretation of a subject that could be said to have an extra dimension to it.
apart from looking at how different sounds appear visually on the spectral display of an editing program like Adobe Audition,
There is a range of wood grown and used at Coeden Fach Woodland.
Here you can see the different stages of material and product with the wood growing, cut and layer in stacks ready for use and then the final product in the form of chairs.
Not all the material in the chairs is the same wood as is evident from the the different colours. My favourite is definitely the dogwood chair with its beautiful range of reds, greens, browns and yellows.
This week’s featured StillWalks video is from the south west of Scotland. This medium resolution full length version will be here all week and will then revert to the sample.
The video above is in 480p quality. You can use the Donate button below to pay however much you want and receive a high quality (720HD) download of this week’s featured StillWalks video – “Coastal Walk – Spring” which features part of the Galloway coastline in Scotland. Click the image above to watch the video. DVD Collections are also available to order in the StillWalks Shop.
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
Wattle fences are becoming common at Llys Nini Animal Centre.
One of the many woodland jobs carried out as part of Llys Nini Animal Centre woodland management is the building of wattle fences. The woodland is managed by Phil Morgan and it is he, along with an extensive team of adult volunteers and visiting school children, who create these wonderful pieces of weaving in the natural environment.
This abandoned section of wattle fencing I came across in one of the fields next to the woods, gave me some great subject matter for my photography. I love its unwinding form and apparent keenness to get back to the earth.