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Collaborative Conversations

I was excited to be selected as one of the six new members being introduced to the second round of the Aural Textiles: ‘Distributed Capabilities’ research project. During the inspiring group meet- up held in Huntly, in April, it was clear that there were several possible creative connections that could be made with the other members. Due to our love of surface pattern and potential learning opportunities relating to each other’s technical processes, I formed a creative partnership with Beth Farmer, a screen-printer from the original group.

Ideally, since we both live in the South-side of Glasgow, we have met up three times: once in a café to gather ideas and brainstorm, discuss how our work overlaps and generally, get to know each other. Our second meet-up, was at Beth’s studio where I saw her studio facilities and we were able to have a more in-depth conversation about our approaches and processes. Thirdly, our most recent meeting was at my home studio where I showed Beth how I work, my sketchbook process and the pieces I have been working on, to date. The sounds Beth and I started to brainstorm were sounds from our practice. I gathered the sounds produced by a kiln clicking on and off, as well as a photocopier and Beth gathered the sound of a squeegee being pulled on a silk screen.

Using the Audacity programme with my sounds, produced really exciting spectograms , but the photocopier gave me the most interesting data. Using Audacity’ has been the most challenging aspect for me. Getting used to the recording of sound, changing it into a spectogram and then experimenting with that information as a new source took me a few tries to get my ahead around. It wasn’t until I sat down for a few hours and experimented with all the functions, (top tip from fellow participant Olive), did I see some exciting progress.

An experiment on Audacity, using a spectogram of my kiln clicking on and off at the start of a firing.

Over a series of tweaks and amendments I have managed to produce an image that reminds me of a ceramic glaze. Usually I work with very stylised or geometric enamel motifs on a clear glaze, but to me this is not what this research project is about. I want to push boundaries in my practice, challenging what I see as my capabilities and steer myself away from the comfort of the familiar. All these aspects of this venture both excite and exhilarate me in equal measure...but I am looking forward to this prospect!

Using a spectogram, to produce motifs in coloured vinyl.

Working collaboratively is a new approach for me and I am still finding my feet as how to strike a creative balance between the two of us. It is a bonus that Beth and I live near each other and can keep a momentum going with our collaborative conversations and I am looking forward to seeing what we will develop and produce together.

Using applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator are techniques that I am not fully confident in just yet, but working with Beth, someone who is very comfortable with these programmes, I am bound to learn new practical skills and keen to find out more. All in all, I think we have made a positive start to our ‘thread’ of the project.

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