touchstones and a domestic landscape: reading through the collection of poems by Eavan Boland ‘In Her Own Image’. the title alone connects with many ideas i have been reading about relating to landscape and gender; how the landscape is gendered as a view to behold and gazed upon like upon a woman’s body, how different landscapes are assigned to different genders. her poems touch on many ideas about gendered landscapes; ideas about a domestic landscape, position and perspective, distance and closeness, inside and outside, ideas about church and state, purity and desire. domestic objects run through these poems, like touchstones. something about the word touchstone seems relevant; the way it connects a natural materials, objects and a natural landscape to the body, allowing objects and materials to be a way of knowing, judging and recognising where we are.
domestic objects: some verses i have extracted for today’s 3d processes. taking these domestic objects, i am interested in how they connect with the body; through touch and through movement. i am also interested in how they are aligned and could be realigned along an axis or their line of symmetry – ‘from the middle’ as i did in my snow video. again i am using sprig molds and slip clay casting processes to explore.
in the kettle’s paunch,
bubbled in the tin of the pan
(In His Own Image, 1980, p. 14)
fan and cup
my thumbs tinder.
how it leaps
(from Solitary, 1980, p. 24)
til I renounce
milk and honey
and the taste of lunch.
(from Anorexic, 1980, p. 17)
Cups wink white in their saucers
(from Woman in Kitchen, 1989)
selecting objects: selecting bits and pieces mentioned; cups, saucers. milk containers, jugs. i wonder if these items might be too ‘the kitchen sink’ and simply reinforce the domestic landscape as a female space. some other ways i could work could be to take molds of some furniture and spaces in a domestic setting. objects of the garden also come to mind as i have read different texts discussing the gendering of the garden landscape. or it might be fun to take molds of outdoor objects and bring them into a domestic setting. anyway i think these objects are a good place to start today. what also comes to mind are vessels or containers with spouts and handles. i am interested in the idea of handles connecting to the body / movement and connecting object to parts of the body and maybe also connecting to other landscapes.
sprig mold making process: sprig molds and slip casting seem like the best way to keep the process as simple and spontaneous as possible. sprig molds lends itself to certain types of shapes so this will also determine which items i select and use. sprig molds also lend themselves to half sections of objects which could relate to my ‘from the middle of the road’ video. i’ll slip cast later and then maybe look later at ways of combining them.
sprig mold of bowl: hemisphere, potential to cast multiples and alter though addition and subtraction. bowl to give and receive. a bowl to lick and handle.
filled mold of milk carton: both negative and positive space, another way to make a mold and cast. a whole to be altered. an object of the everyday domestic landscape. milk; to drink, milk;mammary and gendered. cut my finger so didn’t get all the plastic off .
sprig mold of a carton of milk: 2 halves, an apart, a split down the middle, a view of the inside, a domestic object, a pouring, a serving, an object for hand and mouth. plastic; a throw away item.
sprig mold of beaker combined: together, from a middle point. two and one, a beaker for 2 hands and one mouth.
sprig mold of jug spout: a part of something, to pour, to serve. to add to another object, maybe something of the outside.
slab rolled handles: handle; for the hands, to move an object to somewhere, to bring a liquid to the mouth. something to add to other objects, in multiples. a cup for 2 hands and one mind.
sprig mold of ball of wool: lead by the material’s texture. a hand craft, a woman’s craft, a making, a covering, a protection for the body, a shelter for the outdoors, wool; a natural material. something to cover something else. a cowl for the outdoors. a bowl for the indoors. an activity for the indoors or outdoors. from one landscape to another.
slip casting process: i bought some porcelain slip casting clay. i chose that because of its white colour and fineness. during my tutorial with Kim Pace we chatted about materials having a memory and maybe the landscape also having a memory. there is some connection between these processes and what i am exploring; earthenware and a lot of pouring. i am also aware that how i treat the materials will effect its firing; ‘clay has a memory’. i won’t be able to slip cast until my plaster molds are fully dry in a couple of days……..
refection: am still very much an exploration stage and not ready to resolve anything. the process is throwing up many ideas about object, body and movement and making connections between one landscape and another, indoors and outdoors. i think i want the objects to be things that to be moved and touch the body, maybe with handles and spouts. another thing i am interested in is the texture from the ball of wool. i redid it from last week as i wanted a half section of the ball of wool rather and last weeks seemed very shallow. i would like to try fabrics, maybe clothing as shelter. this might connect with my work on weather, romantic and real landscape and also connect landscapes. some of my decisions seem to be more influenced by the process, materials and their capabilities rather than idea about landscape and gender but i think things come to mind because they are related to these ideas on some level. i also think that the materials and process seem to be dictating what objects i select. they need to taper or have a uniform section to get them out of the mold. i could build 2 or 3 part molds but i did a mold making and casting course a few summers ago and it was a very involved process. i think keeping it simple and spontaneous would be a lot better for this exploratory stage. i wasn’t sure how much time to give to these 3d processes but feel i’ve a lot more to explore here. besides i still need to cast.
next step: i now have a lot of molds to cast. i can try multiples and start combining them with handles and spouts. i might also make a few other molds by wrapping some of the forms in fabric – natural fabrics from the outdoors or clothes for the outdoors. i need to start thinking about glazes and where i can fire these objects. i also need to think about what i will do with them then because i think they might lead me back to movement and video.
references and links:
Boland, E. (1980) In Her Own Image. Dublin: Arlen House Ltd.
Click to access RAEI_05_11.pdf