Sunday, 13 February 2011

where the heart is...

Where the Heart is…

Fiona Hughes

Removing cardboard box from muslin cast

For over four years I have made artworks responding to and exploring issues that challenge the conventional notions of home. Gaining the Young artist community development grant presented a first opportunity for me to root the development of a new artwork in the community and in other people’s experiences of Home.

The donated monies resourced materials facilitating the development of a new artistic process in response to the fragility of home. Using Vaseline, PVA glue and varnish I produced a technique for casting cardboard boxes in muslin. The translucent fabric casts of card boxes translate mass produced everyday objects associate with home (though associations of moving house or ‘living out of’ cardboard boxes) into individually crafted, structurally flimsy - but significantly more interesting - replicas of boxes.

An early example of the translucent qualities of the muslin cast of a cardboard box

The funding presented an opportunity to run a two hour workshop teaching the process to 6 participants, including two members of staff, at the Haven Day Centre with New Hope Trust in Watford. For the first 20-30 minutes participants produced pencil drawings on the muslin. The drawings reflected the participant’s personal experiences of, and associations with, Home. The ‘mindless’ process was conducive to seemingly therapeutic, informal conversation about our individual experiences of home as fragile. I then proceeded to teach the participants the technique for making a muslin cast of a cardboard box.

The workshop was a great success; each participant commented on how they enjoyed the project. The unusual sculptural technique meant that individuals who don’t consider themselves good at drawing and more traditional art forms were able to gain a sense of achievement and pride in their ability to produce sculptural art. This will be greater enhanced when the completed artwork, comprising elements produced by the participants, is exhibited professionally in Watford. A number of the participants have frequented my studio since the workshop to watch the development and progression of the finished

In studio arranging the cast objects produced during workshop, funded by Young Artist community development grant, at the Haven Day Centre in Watford

The image below is a study to illustrate the vision for arranging and exhibiting the cast objects. I am experimenting with using each cast box in a similar way that a child uses building blocks or Lego bricks with the aim of contrasting idealistic childhood perceptions of Home with the participants and my own adult experiences of Home.

An example of some of the casts produced during workshop at Haven Day Centre