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AA2A Residency – University of Central Lancashire

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Since October last year, I have been artist-in-residence at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston.  I’ve been working on a specific project to create a piece called The Absence of Nature, which (I think) will be a series of chairs highlighting the increased extinction rates of beetles due to climate change and loss of habitat.

I knew that I wanted to use metallic and iridescent inks to screenprint fabric for the chairs so have spent a large amount of my time at UCLan experimenting with different inks, finishes, fabrics and pigments to get what I wanted.  I’ve finally started to achieve something with Golden’s interference colours (thankyou Golden!) but it took a lot of research and experimentation.

I have also spent some time at Manchester Museum‘s entomology department, drawing from the thousands of specimens they have.  I plan to go back and do some more research – Dmitri and his colleagues  at the museum couldn’t be more helpful and to draw from real specimens is invaluable.

As part of the residency I’ve been experimenting with textures and fills, using trugrain and various media to achieve what I wanted, playing around with levels and exposure in Photoshop and when exposing the screens.

I’m finally starting to see the results I want – just need to create the final designs for the fabric using the many beetles I have been sat drawing since the residency started…

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Work in progress

There’s something here – I’m not sure what yet, but the awfulness of these dolls (their design, colour, body shape and permanent make-up etc) is going to be used to create some kind of suspended installation.

I’m currently concentrating on their heads – I like the slightly macabre feel of the doll’s eyes looking at you as the heads rotate on their strings but the bodies deserve to be used too.   Just as a note of interest – before their redesign last year, the shape of a Barbie doll’s body was such that, if real, she wouldn’t be able to walk…

NB. Please contact me if you have any Barbie, Sindy, Disney, Bratz or other dolls that you don’t want any more.  I’m happy to have ones with missing legs, feet, adapted hairstyles etc that might not sell so well on Ebay..!