Red Fountains – Mexico Embroidering For Peace

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Coyoacan, Mexico, a group of creatives known as the Fight for Love, Truth and Justice Collective embroider and knit for ‘hope and memory’. They are all relatives of the missing people of the war on drugs. Embroidered on handkerchiefs,are the names and descriptions of each victim. They are tied to what looks similar to a washing line, to be displayed in public squares across the country. ┬áMen also embroider in this collective which they make very clear.

Copenhagen

I was lucky enough to visit Copenhagen in March where I went to the Copenhagen Contemporary. There were two pieces which stood out the most to me;

Pierre Huyghe – Untitled (Human Mask)

Huyghe’s film was based on an isolated monkey wearing a human mask. The monkey was immersed in an empty environment, discovering found objects within its location. Even if I wanted to, I could not take my focus away from this film. The placement of the mask on the monkey made it very surreal and almost like an illusion. At first, it was difficult to tell whether this was human or not. Your brain knows it isn’t human-like body language but the characteristics deceive that knowledge. The dress and long hair truly make it look like a little girl stranded on her own. I really enjoyed watching this film as it really opened my mind to the playfulness that can go in to a piece.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yoko Ono -Wish Tree Garden

Yoko Ono’s ‘Wish Tree’ has been an ongoing artwork since 1996, with multiple trees all over the world in different locations, the tree is altered to the specific climate of that place. The viewer is given the option to write a wish on a white tag, to then tie to the tree. There is something very peaceful alongside a community feel with this installation. It isn’t digging for an opinion of the artwork itself, but asking you to participate in an ongoing project. The idea of writing a wish also seems quite personal, as her end goal of the collection of these wishes are. All the tags will be collected to create an installation in Iceland dedicated to her late husband John Lennon titled ‘Imagine Peace Tower’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Collaboration with my mother and progress

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My mum has always been a huge inspiration to me. Always encouraging my creative side as a child and young adult, we used to cross stitch together on holiday and always enjoy creating together. She taught me how to crochet during my first year of university, so was excited to hear about my degree show project. She crocheted granny squares in her spare time around work and other commitments to send to me in the post for my piece. My mum came in to assist with the installation of my work for 2 days, Saturday 3rd June and Monday 5th June. Having her there was a huge help as we worked as a team – one person to attach the panels to the staircase and the other to attach the squares together in preparation for this.

Collaborating with my mum was particularly important to this project as it was difficult to have technical conversations with people at university about the installation of the work or to fix any hiccups along the way due to the medium I chose. This is something I had to remain patient with and accept as the medium was a choice of mine and I had to be aware of technical difficulties when I undertook this challenge.

Garden & Further Development

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I found out through peers on my course that Gema also planned on using compost in her Degree show piece. With the convenience of having a car at the time, I offered to drive both Gema and I to the garden centre to get the compost and bring it straight to uni. I also bought some bark chip, to create a definitive path through the space with compost either side to bed colourful flowers in bloom. Laying down the compost and bark chip, I decided the best option was to lay tarpaulin on the ground, with the compost and bark chip on top, for an easier de-installation process and to ensure the compost could be re-used by Pete if he so wishes.

My first year helper, Michelle, helped me with this process of laying it all down and spreading it out. After getting half way, it was quite clear we were in need of a lot more compost and bark chip to fill the space sufficiently. So as we were unsure when Michelle would be able to help me next, we decided to head straight back to the garden centre and finish the garden today – which we did! Michelle was a fantastic help for this process, on a boiling hot day and a fair bit of heavy lifting, I’m sure I would have struggled to cope on my own.

Piece by piece…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Crochet is a very time-consuming medium, so it was vital that I was able to add little by little to the staircase, rather than a vast amount crammed in to a small amount of installation time. A big challenge of working outside is being able to work around weather conditions. In the images shown above, some days over the installation period of Degree show were extremely hot. Temperatures got as high as 26c which was very testing as I was working direct sunlight. Pete, a technician from woodwork saw me working on my piece in the sun and made me a DIY parasol consisting of an umbrella cable tied to a long piece of wood to protect me from the sun! It was so considerate of him and saved me in the heat a lot. I’d been speaking to Pete previously about my piece, and getting advice from him as I plan to create a garden on the ground and bed some flowers to create a walkthrough experience.

Choosing a location & practise piece

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After discussing with my tutor, I decided to use the outside staircase between House 1 and 2 as the location of my Degree show piece. With two buildings so close together, the space is quite dull and dark. I decided I would challenge myself to make this a bright, colourful outdoor space to exhibit my piece. At first, I had to decided where on the stairs it was I wanted to yarn-bomb. I had the choice of simply crocheting around each pole of the bannister or covering the entire thing. As I said I want to challenge myself so I decided a complete coverage of crochet over the staircase would benefit this space the most and add a mass about of colour and vibrance in to the space. I took measurements so I have a rough idea of how many squares I would need to crochet. I also decided to have a variety of colours, patterns and sizes.

RIOTGAL Exhibition

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After following Instagram user Sophie Tassew ‘manlikesophia’ who is a young artist and curator exploring feminism in diversity. She curated an exhibition called ‘RIOTGAL’ at the Hospital Club in Central London on International Women’s Day. It was a very inspiring experience, seeing young female artists a similar age to me exhibiting their artworks in an extremely well put together exhibition by Sophia. Each artwork looked in to feminism and female inequality in a variety of cultures and religions around the world, raising awareness to these issues not necessarily covered by the mainstream media. RIOTGAL alongside the PPD lecture series have sparked an interest in curation and the organisation and planning behind exhibitions and events similar to this. It was really inspiring to be a part of this evening at the Hospital Club, discovering that there is most definitely a movement of Feminism and equality in the young people of art hub in London, and social media is definitely the most important networking platform for this.