Throughout the past few projects I have started to realise that there is more to my studies than the four materials that the workshops allow me to work in, these being: Metal, Wood, Plastics and Ceramics. I feel very lucky to have these facilities and will of course always use them to my full advantage; however I find the thought of just using one material quite boring and repetitive. Even the thought of combining two of the four I don't find that 'different,' or really that interesting. I would find it hard to create something that hadn't already been thought about, or find a technique that hundreds of other creators don't already use; I want to use my own techniques and think of new and interesting ways of working. It was at this point that I realised that including interesting materials into my work would make me different to other makers.
I'm not sure if pressured is the right word, its probably pressure on myself more than anything, but I often felt pressure to use the materials that we had the facilities to work with. However recently I have opened myself up to the fact that there are so many more interesting materials than just wood, metal, ceramics and plastic.
For example in my previous project last year I used fibreglass to replicate the delicacy of dandelion seeds. I loved working with the material, there were a lot of metal elements in my work and all of my time at Uni during the project I spent in the metal workshop (as this is the material I want to specialise in). I wasn't allowed to use fibreglass in Uni so all of the fibreglass work had to be completed at home which, as you can probably image, took a lot of extra time on top of all the work at Uni. I don't feel as though I could have replicated the characteristics of my initial inspiration using any other material other than the fibreglass; it has a delicate yet hard wearing quality.
For my project last semester I used horsehair alongside metal. Again, it is a material that people don't expect you to use and one that not many people in the industry are using. I really enjoyed working with the horse hair and will most definitely get it out again in the near future. I could have used wire however it wouldn't have had the movement/delicacy that I was after. I also used ammonia in a lot of my samples to get the blue patina on the surface of metals, again this is something I couldn't do at Uni so a lot of hours had to be put in at home after Uni days had finished.
Finally I am currently working on a new project, I have only just started researching and getting an idea of what I want to achieve but I am once again hoping to incorporate, or at least experiment with, an interesting and different material. I love to experiment and play about with materials.
Yes I will always take advantage of the workshops, mainly metal, but I won't limit myself to only working in those materials. We need variety and a fresh look on what we, ourselves, perceive as contemporary. I want people to talk about my work, I want to generate conversation and make them want to ask questions.
It is these questions that drive me to work harder and harder. I want to engage people and for them to be both intrigued and impressed by my work and the materials I am using.