Nothing ventured nothing gained

Having my work critiqued last month during Testing Time was really valuable gaining different perspectives and interpretations. It was easy to feel overwhelmed by all the feedback but I knew I had to be true to myself and go with what I thought would be the most satisfying route to end my MA.

I recognised this was an ideal opportunity for me to take more risks and take myself further outside my comfort zone. Whether or not this pays off it is uncertain but at least I would have tried and learned from the experience!

As the formation and growth of the Kombucha offered so much to the fabric, I wanted to keep things simple. I was still interested in creating ‘sequences’ of individual pieces but I also wanted to try and grow a continuous long piece which would be almost like sequences attached together end to end but without the joins.

I set out to construct a 3mtr and a 9mtr trough to grow the long Kombucha.

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This was high risk because it would need to be done outside with no control over the ambient temperature and the trough would need to be watertight and weatherproof. The growing Kombucha would be vulnerable to contamination from insects and debris at the conception and growing stages so I would need to put in place methods to minimise this.

Harvesting and drying the long fabric on wooden boards would be challenging and potentially impractical because of the size.

Research leads me to believe, this has not been done before at such a scale so this potentially would be original and innovative work.

This is now a period of uncertainty, to begin with an idea but not quite knowing what will result. I embraced the excitement although there is both a tension and excitement in this process in which I am the initiator but not the controller (Andy Goldsworthy 1992).

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Running parallel with my Kombucha work (and a bit of escapism away from the tension and uncertainty) I set myself the challenge to explore how the concept of time and change can manifest itself through drawing and 2D work.

From a drawing workshop by Jon Barraclough (2016) I recall him questioning whether it was possible to make the invisible, visible just like Paul Klee (1961) when he stated that Art does not reproduce the visible (what is commonly seen) but makes visible (what commonly is not seen). This was my aim.

My drawing work goes beyond representation or appearances and is more about describing, translating and interpreting a possible answer to a question.

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Some of the drawings were exposed to the elements to change over time. I also took my drawings to the sea and used the tide as my collaborator.

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11 thoughts on “Nothing ventured nothing gained

  1. Hi Christine, I like the idea of the long piece as echoing the line of the seashore. I look forward to seeing what it looks like. It has taken you on quite an experimental journey. I really like your drawings and the way you see them not as representational but as descriptive; translating and interpreting. That is more the way I see drawing. For me, it is also about recording a moment in time; lighting, weather conditions, moods. Hope it all goes well.

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  2. I love those drawings Christine, especially the first six. I find the combination of subtle, almost translucent layers with dark scratchy marks visually exciting. Good luck with the final piece. I’m looking forward to seeing the results and discovering whether growing the kombucha in a different environment affects the composition or surface of the material. Exciting times!

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  3. I hope you have achieve what you are looking for with the the large pieces of Kombucha. It is quite hard to visualize what these will be like from the images – but I look forward to seeing the end result!. I do like the drawn pieces and the relationship with the water and look forward to seeing the culmination of all your hard work!. Keep going!

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  4. The cycle of you returning to the sea seen in the earlier Kombucha sequential pieces and the new drawings which appear to capture the ebb and flow of the tide, are the pieces which fascinate me. Do you return to the same beach location? And is the location relevant to you personally? Is place becoming an integral part of any of the sea pieces? I enjoy the apparent fragility of the smaller Kombuchas and combined with the crystallised surfaces they appear to have sensual, natural qualities which draw me in to them. I’m thinking time-lapse or short filmed sequences may be another way of exploring that element of time and change and develop the capturing of how the surfaces change during their creation, whether in the studio or at the beach.

    I am curious about your need to explore a larger scale of growth. I understand it has been a way of challenging yourself and has taken earlier experiments in a new direction. But I have visions of a thick, rubbery, skin forming under that cover in the long trough and it gets more disturbing as I try to visualise the outcome…. never having experienced the tactile qualities or been able to smell Kombucha that too makes my imagination run a bit wild! It takes me out of my comfort zone just thinking about it quietly growing away in the garden.

    It has been totally fascinating watching your work develop and gaining more knowledge of the process of harvesting Kombucha, especially sharing your sense of the unknown and unpredictability of the substance.

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  5. It seems that even though you have almost reached the end of your current course a whole new one is opening up especially the drawings and the action of the Sea. From my point of view I think I like the prospects that the drawings offer rather than the “Frankenstein” qualities of the Textiles. Of course without the former the latter would not beckon and the adventure would not continue. I can see Printmaking and Painting coming from your drawings and that is a good place to end up.

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  6. Your work continues to be fascinating and it is interesting to follow your thought processes throughout. I’m looking forward to finding out how your large piece turns out. Will your scientific controls be effected by natural processes interfering with the growth of the Kombucha? This may also produce unexpected results. We wait with anticipation! It’s interesting (and understandable) that you have carried out your series of drawings, beginning with the control of chosen media and proceeding to introduce them to the natural world – again producing possibly unexpected results. Are you going to combine these in your final work? Looking forward to seeing how you have answered these questions in your exhibition. I have really enjoyed following the development of your art – fabulous!

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  7. The kombucha experiments certainly seem to be ambitious – which is encouraging. Why undertake an MA to stay safe! And there is part of me that can’t decide whether I am more fascinated or repulsed by the stuff – it really does have a skin like quality that I am not wholly at ease with. Yet some of the small samples I have seen are fascinating so maybe ….
    Love the idea of exposing your drawings to the sea and elements. Really interested to see more closely what happens to these. Jo

    Sent from my iPhone

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  8. Even just as an observer I find what you are doing so exciting. I can’t wait to see it in an exhibition format and I hope you extend the work into different exhibition venues and forms of presentation. I’m certainly seeing the interaction between sea and land in a different way now having seen and read about what you are doing.

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  9. Christine, this is truly amazing! And so PHYSICAL! The work is so beautiful and I can’t wait to see the BIG pieces… you are so brave even though you think you are not AND so fine art darling!
    It’s incredibly fascinating and has developed into something incredible. You should do the MFA, oh wait…PhD 🙂 Write a book…

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  10. Hi Christine
    Your results continue to be amazing as well as mysterious – how Kombucha grows and changes is still hard to understand! You seem to have taken your experiments so far with your huge and ambitious pieces – I can’t imagine the energy and determination it must have taken to produce them! Your drawings are also a great way of showing changes, as well as being aesthetically pleasing! As far as I can interpret, a great deal has taken place for you during this research – not just in your findings with regard to Kombucha, and your fascinating practical output, but also in the methodology you have used and persevered with to try to understand and extend the product. I look forward to seeing your exhibition next month – well done!

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