For this assignment, we had to watch 3 sets of dance videos and pick one that we’d like to work with.
I chose AMA by Julie Gautier, made in 2018.
My interpretation from the dance was that the dancer has lost her child through a miscarriage and she was devastated and in pain. The dance, to me, portrayed how she was trying to escape the feeling and the awful phase in her life and how she was trying to let go but something was holding her back, like a resistance. She wanted to hold on to the pain as that was the only memory she has that is attached to her baby that never made it to the world.
Hence, from the piece, the adjectives that I gathered were: Captivating, Elegance & Hope
My initial idea was to have something elegant and to me, that translates to something that is flowy and has movement. Therefore, the first material that came to mind was organza.
I started researching on the sculptures that I felt best captured the essence of the adjectives I’ve derived at. I decided that these three images were going to be my inspiration.
The sculpture by Linda Celestian and Maggie Casey both captured elegance yet control at the same time. I felt like this was exactly what the dance portrayed when I watched it. Therefore, I made draft models to experiment with different materials and ways to work with hanging sculptures.
[Inspired by Linda Celestian]
Materials: Wires, Crepe Paper, Glue (Hot Glue & Multi-Purpose Glue)
Firstly, I tried to grab hold of items I could find and this first experimentation was done with wires and crepe paper along with hot glue gun to hold things in place.
What I discovered was that the glue gun melted the crepe paper. Whereas when I tried using multi-purpose glue, it did not dry fast enough to hold the crepe paper in place. It also seeped through the crepe paper.
I liked how it looked but I continued experimenting.
[Inspired by Maggie Casey]
Materials: Crepe Paper, Cardboard, Masking Tape, Sewing thread & Needle.
For this next one, I attempted to recreate my inspiration photo with just strings on the sides of the cardboard to allow more movement for the crepe paper to replicate ‘Elegant’.
With this one, I needed to find a way to support my sculpture hence it needed to be either hanging or have a grounded base. Hence, I went with a cardboard as the support and held it together with masking tape just for the purpose of experimentation to see how it would sort of turn out in the end.
I created slits on the cardboard to allow the strings to be slotted through to hold the sculpture in place.
The crepe paper material lack movement and was stiff. To make it look more elegant and lively, I attempted to manipulate the shape of the crepe paper with needle and thread. I stitched it into place in the middle part of the crepe paper. However, on the two sides, I allowed the threads that run across the paper to hold it into shape.
Afterwards, I tightened the strings as it is slotted through the bottom slit of the cardboard. How I stitched the strings to the cardboard was to have it enter from the bottom, through the crepe paper and up through the top. From there, I leave about 0.5 cm of space and stitched the string from the top (continued from previous stitching) through the paper and finally through the bottom of the cardboard where I made a knot and tied it
Verdict: Initially, I preferred the 2nd experimentation model and decided to go ahead with that.
I then had an organza and experimented it with blue foam boards. I cut two foam planks and 8 foam cubes which was pasted onto the planks on the 4 corners of each plank.
I used hot glue gun and it melted through the foam. I then got a specific glue that was specifically formulated for foam and that worked but for the sake of experimentation, I taped it down for extra security.
I wanted it to seem as if the organza was free-floating. Therefore, I went ahead to have it attached by a nylon thread that is almost invisible. The thread was attached at the 4 corners of the planks and stitched through the organza with a needle.
I loved how this look as the organza had movement and looked soft and ‘Elegant’ but I knew I wanted my sculpture to be hanging and to be supported by curved planar instead of something angular like the plank.
Therefore, I had 2 foam hemispheres and painted it black with acrylic paint. The reason for this was because I wanted to introduce a reflective element that would replicate and capture the ‘Captivating’ essence of the dance. through the representation of water reflection that I intended to recreate via broken mirrors. Therefore, the darker surface would allow for that.
I broke the mirror with a hammer and glued it into the hemisphere to experiment.
However, I realised that I needed to glued the mirror pieces onto an MDF board instead which was where the string would be hanging from.
I needed the strings to be glued onto a flat, straight surface so that it would be easier to work with as I needed to tie it down and have it tight. Therefore, similar to Experimentation 3, I cut cubes of wood-like pole that have been measured to 0.5cm to be pasted onto the MDF board. They were also scored on the sides to allow the nylon thread to have a grip to be tied.
The MDF board was first cut into a circular shape to fit the interior of the dome and it was filed into shape. It was painted black with acrylic with the same purpose of it to help with the reflective element of the sculpture. It was then measured so that the wood-like cubes could be pasted onto it. This was done using hot glue gun.
I wanted to replicate Maggie Casey’s work; to have strings to serve as support to shape the organza. However, I realised that the organza would not hold into place. Therefore, going back to Experimentation 2, I sewed some parts of it to create folds that would be emphasised by the nylon thread when I stitched it through the organza. This did help.
This sculpture was a particularly tough one to make as it required something to prop it up while I had to painstakingly tie the strings at the top of the MDF board and the bottom through the organza. I tried to hang it with a masking tape to sides of tables and doors. To attach the bottom to the top before I added the strings, I needed to attach it to a wooded stick for support.
In addition, I experimented with both the nylon thread and normal white sewing thread to see which looked better and which could be tied tighter to support the structure and shape the organza.
However, as seen from the pictures below, I failed miserably. I didn’t secured the strings with tape first as I needed to adjust it as I went along. This was because the strings did not seem to be able to be holding down tightly.
Verdict: I did not like how it look as it was very messy and did not capture the interpretation of the dance that I was going for. I experimented for hours for this and realised it was never going to work out as I hadn’t figured out the proper way to have this done. Also, I felt like having it the top hemisphere attached to the bottom made it seem rigid which I didn’t like. I wanted to also feature ‘Hope’.
Therefore, I decided to have the hemisphere separated instead of having it attached. I wanted the bottom hemisphere to have a base. This means that, if time had permitted, as a piece, it would be propped up with a separate pole that would allow the the top part of the sculpture to be hanged and the bottom to be placed on a surface that would be attached to the pole.
I had also scraped the idea of the organza held into place solely by threads as it didn’t translate the movement I wanted to capture in Experimentation 7. Hence, I revisited Experimentation 1 as it would allow me to manipulate the organza with wires that could be bended into shape.
I also decided to stain one sheet of the organza with a Cyan blue colour with splatters of white to create a water-like effect as the two colours reminded me of water.
Before that, I stitched the organza to have a rolled hem so that it would not fray. Afterwards, I created the wire figures.
I then attached the organza to it with hot glue gun. Afterwards, I removed the multiple wood-like cubes from Experimentation 6 as I did not need the threads to be attached to so many of the cubes. I left a couple of the cubes for my final piece as I still need nylon threads to be attached to it for the suspending wired organza piece.
I also attached a wired handle that I bended into shape and pierced it through the hemisphere. I placed a foam at the end of the it to not have it pierce through the other side of the foam and for the purpose of a stopper, hidden inside the hemisphere.
The sculpture created a reflective effect that to me, capture the ‘Captivating’ essence of the dance and represented water reflections.
Hence, this concludes my Process and Research for Assignment 2B – En Pointe. Overall, I had a very challenging time to create this piece and had to redo things multiple times. However, I think I tried to capture the essence of the dance and hoped it translated into my sculpture.