Losing the Plot (a bit)

by maggie

I’ve been struggling with the star charts, and so they have fallen away somewhat while i’ve dealt with all the other projects I’ve managed to involve my self with. It’s taken awhile to get everything sorted out it my head let alone on paper, so this is why this post is being written in January even though the problem arose in November.*

It’s taken me a long time to realise that J11D is a huge project.I guess that’s why I have at least 16 plates associated with it and I still don’t really know what I’m doing.

Looking back over the recent posts relating to star chart research I think the  problem is getting the ideas to stick and not runoff in all directions. I’ve been writing this post since mid December and it’s difficult to remember if I’ve written some thought down or not.

Here’s what I wrote on Dec 13:

Maybe this is trying to do to many things or not really having a clear idea how the details are going to come.

Lots of reliance on emergent properties of materials to make stuff, to make stuff but how to close what images/story to tell.

Some where in my notes for this I made an extended metaphor about admiralty charts and not having a team of surveyors to make them. I know the form of the prints i want to make, i’m still struggling to justify the content. And even a properly drawn sea chart doesn’t have any emotional impact if you don’t have a context for the place it depicts.

Here are some notes form mid Jan, after I started the Magic Squares sub-project:

There need to be colours in the ink, not black or not just black.

Chine collé can add colour. Make more stuff not in purple or navy blue. Find some other stuff that isn’t the posh Japanese stuff with all the  fibres.

Stop and look at the prints you’re already made. i mean really stop. What works what doesn’t? What do you like wha,t makes you run screaming for the hills?

If the prints studio isn’t the best place to think about the work find a time and a place where you can. Silly.

Make sure you have enough time for what you want to do. The first half of November I made time for something completely not print related and my print stuff suffered. Woe!

And here are some notes I made over the winter break [ see it’s always a good idea to date all your work. ] I guess this post is for me more than my tiny audience, I can come back and remind myself not to panic the next time i find myself bogged down, in the middle-section-mire. Or anyone out there can take comfort that the MSM can ensnare us all.

  • If I don’t even know what to call this vaguely amorphous idea that resolves in to specific things on occasion? How am I doing to find my way through?
  • Am i doing this all wrong?
  • Well. If i want more out of it than therapeutic sticking and gluing and fighting very large sheets of paper for origami tessellations. I need to get my act together.
  • In the hierarchy of uniqueness prints rank lower than paintings, because according to western tradition they aren’t unique. But… Do they say different things about their purpose. Do I have the patience to make all the plates the same. I that what I want. Each ship only has one set of charts, but many ships = many sets
  • What do all the plates for do? Some are huge A2 – back grounds. some are small 10cm2 details. All have apparently purpose. Are we still experimenting with mark making or have we done enough ‘pure’ research?
  • Are they for a finished thing now or am I still on the path to find out how they work together. MAKE a decision and stick to it and if it’s wrong, its wrong, change it and try again. JUST don’t be indecisive and do nothing.
  • Relief solid colours then substance over – or chine collé
  • Go see the Map Exhibition at the British Library
  • Go back to the centre/source/foundation and work out what you are really trying to say.
  • All the way back to the beginning – city lit print class – circles – texture and substance arriving from materials/ processes.
  • But what to do with texture – wanted to make plate/block appear to be spontaneous, unrepeatable – maybe not possible? – transfer image onto plate – have patience to cut own [bubbles of space – that stuff in the background in the above link]
  • Edition Variable? – whatever details on inside still end up with relationship be tween big and little squares.
  • big question what trying to achieve with image – yes obviously a response – pick emotion -recognisable in unknown /unknowable in familiar
  • easy peasy

That was all very coherent, wasn’t it. But I may have found a way forward – inch by inch.

Well if nothing else this post has helped me rediscover the middle-section-mire. maybe I should put it on a map.                   [ can’t go round it, can go over it, have to go through it.]


*apologies if the tenses in this thing make people’s ears bleed.