Those of you who saw one of my early posts about my 3D Printer Pen may remember a web-like creation that sat on the wall of my studio space. It formed the beginnings of my venture into the world of 3D modelling with my printing pen. Whilst searching for a way to refine the wings of the insects that I was producing I felt that experimenting with the web again could provide me with the answers that I was looking for.
Surprisingly the web survived a change of studio and handling the folded mass of plastic web gave the sculpture a new dimension. It was no longer ‘just’ a sculptural piece, it was much more tactile and (to my surprise) soft – much like nylon hair. I felt a greater bond with the piece because of this new level it had accrued.
I wanted to get my web back up on the studio wall but, even if I could get it in the same positioning as before, why settle for having the web on only one surface? For “A spider’s web is not, as the poet says, drapery“(Bachelard, 2014); and much like the spider will set about building a bigger and better web after theirs is swept away, I elected to build bigger and better, to use as much of the studio space that I could and really push the limitations of both pen and what I knew of drawing.
I started to work in one corner of my large studio space in order to spread out, as if I needed to claim more of the room than I needed. This corner of the room I was using was situated at the end of the room that confronted an unwary viewer or passerby as they entered my studio.
Initially my new web took up the left hand corner of the space, trailing from window to wall and eventually to the floor. As Bachelard said, “A corner that is ‘lived in’ tends to reject and restrain“(Bachelard, 2014) and I wanted this corner to be very much lived in and inhabited by my web. I did notice a spider scuttle off and hide as I started ‘construction’ of this web – it would be interesting to see natural and made made webs combine!
Bachelard caters for my continued interest in the discomfort of the viewer around my work in ‘The Poetics of Space‘:
“The thatched cottage becomes a fortified dwelling for the recluse who must learn to conquer fear within its walls“(Bachelard, 2014)
Imagine, if you will, that the thatched cottage or house symbol translates into a metaphor for the studio space. This ‘house’ is meant to be a safe refuge for those that inhabit it, a place in which we feel comfortable. One description one the subject of the house in particular by Bachelard, of which I am extremely fond decribes the ‘house’ as “an instrument with which to confront the cosmos“(Bachelard, 2014). The ‘house’ (or in our case studio) should provide a safe refuge; for me as an artist and any outsiders it provides shelter from the elements in the most literal sense but as an artist it provides an area in which I feel safe to make work. I am free to conquer this new way of making work that is still in its infancy, in this corner I am not shy about making mistakes because I know that all will be well in the safety of the ‘house’.
I wanted my ‘webbed corner’ to be expansive and of corners Bachelard says:
“Every corner in a house, every angle in a room, every inch of secluded space in which we like to hide, or withdraw into ourselves, is a symbol of solitude for the imagination“(Bachelard, 2014).
As the studio is effectively ‘my house’ it provides me with a safe refuge for making work but for outsiders looking in I am offering my space as a safe haven on a level of trust. Surely promising protection from outdoors for the them to be then confronted with my artwork, let alone a web, must be of some discomfort to them for the artwork and web are a product of my solitude and imagination – it is my dwelling and not theirs. Perhaps their own ‘house’ would be differently furnished and it must be very alien to them.
So then perhaps is it that my artwork should be inviting to any viewers that may find themselves in my studio? Should it be alluring, contrasting against the harshness of the corner? After all in a corner “the grace of a curve is an invitation to remain“(Bachelard, 2014). Much like a real web, my own web should entrap the viewer and capture their imagination. My work should offer the viewer some connection that will in turn allow them to travel to their own idyllic ‘home’.
To take a step away from the theory, if I may; this particular piece has been dogged with difficulty in its recording. The individual strands that make up my web are so fine that it is almost impossible to capture in a photo. I have only been successful in getting photos from densely populated bits of web when shot against a light or dark background. I do feel that this is very unfortunate. Using differing quality cameras did not seem to aid me much either. As you can see from the ‘map’ below, the web covers a large area of the studio that is not apparent in photographs.
This does, however, give an extra aspect to the work in that those who might not see that the web spans a good few metres of the studio may walk right into it and become tangled. It is that thought, of a disgruntled (and uninvited) visitor tangled in a plastic web and this final Bachelard quote that I shall leave you with (until next time):
“Even in this prison, there is peace. In these angles and corners, the dreamer would appear to enjoy the repose that divides the being and non-being“(Bachelard, 2014).
Bachelard, G. (2014) The Poetics of space. London, United Kingdom: Penguin Group (USA).