Krystyna Pomeroy / Mixed Media Applied Artist
Rachael Singleton / Mixed Media Textile Artist
Please Be Seated...
Natural Dyed Textiles, Lace, Reclaimed Steel Wire
What is a chair - an invitation to rest, personal space, a prison?
The artists agreed a perception of ‘chair’ as intrinsically safe and then challenged this view through an exploration of common past experiences.
Knowing each other for a brief period of time only, the collaboration began with a small exercise to test and explore feelings arising from subsequent actions on each other’s responses to a shared creation which was posted across the ocean several times. This laid a foundation of trust and excitement for the Maker Project 2019.
For both artists, an enduring dualism of ‘contain/ constrain’ resonated throughout the project. At what point does caring containment, parental or cultural, tip over into limiting constraint? Inspiration and early ideas were captured in journals, each artist sharing these digitally. These ideas were explored through phone calls, emails, sketches and models.
Initial thoughts included a bound, seated figure, various surrounding structures, cutting up of the frame and binding the pieces. The notion of eyes was explored and discarded at this point. This period lasted for some time resulting in a feeling of being blocked until thinking moved to finding ways of expressing ‘safe/unsafe’ which whilst similar, was different enough to allowed the artists to move forwards with more clarity of intent.
Several components of the chair were explored in parallel. We understood the constraints of a collaboration at distance and planned for elements to be made in such a way that they could travel. It is interesting to note the dualities of ‘safe/unsafe’ and ‘contain/constrain’ present throughout the creative process as well as within the piece.
During the final phase, eyes re-emerged as a central discomforting motif, expressing experiences of being watched or held in place. Music score is employed within the construction, echoing the original function of the chair. The intrusive watchfulness of the surrounding eyes is compounded by figures visible in the pupils, made ghostly by being prints of old black and white negatives.
Wire, rusted with age, twines around the frame, encroaching and uncomfortable.
Small pieces of the frame were cut away thus rendering the frame unsafe. These became less visible as other elements were added but demonstrated the tension released from the chair as the frame warped slightly over time. This serves as a useful metaphor for the healing of time and cathartic nature of creating the piece.
Memory, by its nature fragmentary and insubstantial, is evoked by the pieced textile work and scraps of old, disintegrating lace. In order to visually complement the rusted, worn appearance of the chair frame, rust and tea-dyed fabrics were woven and hand stitched; the panels held in place by rusted, vulnerable wire.
The viewer is invited to consider notions of personal memory, safety and unease.
Maker Photo Diary
Sketchbook and Early Maquettes
A sample of concept ideas and reflective comments taken from Rachael’s sketchbook. Krystyna employed model-making to envisage ideas. A scaled model of the chair enabled her to work without the physical frame.
Early ideas of wrapping parts of the frame or a figure were explored is relation to containment and constraint.
Feathers were explored as something ‘safe’ and comfortable at one stage.
Eyes – The notion of eyes disappeared and reappeared during the project. Both artists found eyes disquieting and they were developed into the central motif by Krystyna.
Cutting the frame – Small pieces of the frame were sawn away. These immediately rendered the frame unsafe. In time, the tension from the frame was made visible in a slight warping.
Creating the chair fabric - Rachael worked on the fabric, weaving strips of tea and rust-dyed natural fabrics into layers which were handstitched with fragments of vintage lace. The fabric was designed to complement the frame and represent fragmenting memory.
Completing the chair – Both artists auditioned, wrapped, rearranged and fixed wire around the frame, Krystyna placing the eyes to surround the seat.