VACMA residency week 2

Week 2 of my VACMA supported residency

This residency has been funded by VACMAs through Highlife Highland and Creative Scotland. I applied to do a 2 week “at home” residency and explore sculptural jewellery. The main inspiration for this comes from walking around my new local area as I moved to Inverness in January of 2021.

Walks

My residency walks in the 2nd week were a little more irregular; not first thing in the morning as I’d done the previous week, and I had less new places within my radius to explore. I spent more time at the bench working in wax this week too, moving on from journaling and sketch book work.  Unfortunately I had a continual on/off headache for a few days which has meant my residency has stretched into this week too!

I went back to Ness Islands this week; I couldn’t get there the first week due to the flooding. It was a lovely sunny day to be out here with the sunlight coming through the trees. Being early in the day, the sun was hitting off of the water and reflecting back up through the trees. The islands feel to me like a little hidden wonderland, especially when you stop long enough to catch these moments.

A felled tree on Ness Islands with another tree and a hint of the river beyond

A felled tree on Ness Islands.

Dappled light through the trees on Ness Island

Dappled light through the trees on Ness Island.

I walked up to some woods that I had spotted on the map. They’re a patch of green amongst a grey, more densely housed, area. I’ve been past them but hadn’t explored the forest before and I thought they would be reasonably big but it only took about 20 mins to walk around the outside and back through the middle.

A cross of branches has fallen over a path, making it seem like you shouldn't go that way.

No way through

This little forest is surrounded on all sides by roads and houses, so there’s a fence around the woods. Are they trying to keeping people out? Are they trying to make sure people don’t trample over the edges of the woods too much? I think it’s really important to have these green spaces amongst houses not only for the people who live there to enjoy, but for the wildlife that has been uprooted and displaced as the city spreads out.

One of the days I went back to the canal path that I know and walk regularly.  On another day I walked around to the other side of the canal. There are a few paths that go off the main tow path that just seem to go off into fields or woods so I wanted to explore but I had to walk around another building site to get there! The weather has been weird this past week, with snow showers broken up by sunny spells!

Trees in a forest, the whole forest floor is brown with fallen beech leaves.

Trees in a forest on a hill.

I also went back along the river Ness walk, again as there was less flooding I was able to do that. It was lovely to see the early morning sun reflecting off the surface of the water and onto the trees. I particularly enjoyed this tree and the little captured view it gave.

A view under a fallen tree trunk

Working in wax

As you know from my last blog post, I took delivery of some sheet wax. I had some time experimenting last week, cutting, building, and moving it with tools. Seeing what textures and effects could be created with scissors and carving tools. I tried to create the rippled peaks that I saw on the canal the previous week.

I explored what I could do by blowing on molten wax. Blowing directly on a larger area of wax didn’t give me the movement I was looking for. I dropped little molten balls of wax into a small rectangular silver frame one by one. This meant I could control which areas of wax were molten in order to try and build up layers like those I had seen in the water. 

I also tried going larger; creating a big wave of wax but I don’t think this was as successful. Sometimes going too literal isn’t as effective but it’s always an avenue I want to try, as I do with my landscape jewellery.

An array of wax sculptures and carvings.

Everything that I’ve created in wax over the course of the residency.

Week 2 in Wax

I spent a lot more time at my bench this week working on furthering the wax samples from last week. As well as exploring and experimenting with sculptural pieces. I’m excited to show you what I made!

I made organic surface textures using my wax carving tools and used these in the sheet wax. They weren’t as easy to make in the sheet compared to the denser blue wax. I was trying to recreate the surface of the water on that very windy day in wax; I’m really pleased with the way it turned out on both samples. The first one is very regular and looks wavy and the second has a more pleasing organic movement to it.

More wave patterns on wax

Regular wavy repeating pattern.

More wave patterns on wax

Wax sample 2 more organic, less regular wave patterns.

 

I also explored the bursting, overflowing theme that came around from last week’s walks after a lot of rain. I built a small fence which had two pillars at either side. Between them I placed a piece of sheet wax which I gently melted and moved, until it appeared that some invisible force had broken through it. Like water escaping over a barrier or lots of people stepping over the same fence until it breaks down in the middle.

Two blue collumns of wax with a pink thin wax between them like a fence. An invisible force has broken through the fence.

“Overflow”

Two blue rods of wax with a pink thin wax between them like a fence. An invisible force has broken through the fence.

“Overflow”

I wanted to try the blown wax again this week. Using larger layers of wax to do this and I think it’s far more successful at capturing that invisible force.

A shallow rectangle of blue wax with a blown surface texture from the short end.

Blown wax

A shallow rectangle of blue wax with a blown surface texture

Blown wax side view

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I carved a simple wax ring which I embedded the surface texture onto. This was the texture from my samples that I really enjoyed. It would be great to see this in silver. I think it would be a wonderful contrast – the hardness of the metal with the more fluid texture on it. 

A blue wax ring showing textures on the surface.

Wax ring with water textures

A blue wax ring on a white background

Wax ring with water textures

 

I hope that you’ve really enjoyed hearing more about my residency, if you’d like to keep up to date with my work then please do join my mailing list! I would really like to continue exploring what I’ve found from this residency so be sure to sign up to hear if and when I take this further!


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