Filling space


During our mentoring session with Matthew Harris he suggested that we cover a space that was 3m square.

Returning to the studio it was immediately apparent that I don’t have a space big enough! I could move all the desks, and work on the floor, but that would deny me the opportunity to look at the work at eye level, which I always find interesting as it can give the impression of monumentality. I compromised and decided to cover a board I already had which measures 115 x 144 cm, less than half the size suggested, but still a challenge.

I have been thinking about my 3 dimensional plaited structure and how it might be broken down into its elements:  planes, edges and lines. I began drawing over a line on a plan, ignoring the logic of the structure and meandering where I pleased.


I cut ¼ inch wide strips of black paper and scored and folded them according to this new plan. Changes of direction were cut and glued and when dropped on the board the lines became 3 dimensional, standing on points or pulling the line over. I enjoyed the calligraphic nature of the thick and thin lines this produced.


I drew some of the individual lines, first by observation, and then with a very broad nib to produce alternate thick and thin lines, which were different to the observed lines.

Then I tried making lines which were only folded and lines which were knotted to change direction, but neither of these seemed as pleasing.


The folded lines fell over onto their sides, and the knotted lines, although random, seemed uglier. They were prone to spiralling if all knots were made in the same direction, and the nodes created by the pentagonal knots interrupted the fluidity. I also made one very long line but this was less lively, and I became much more involved in trying to arrange it to lie nicely rather than letting chance have its way.


I came back to the first and simplest solution, traced more lines from the same base plan and then dropped each line from arms length onto the big board and saw how they fell.

I have learned from this exercise that if I am working intuitively, I react and I don’t analyse what is happening. My instincts lead me down similar, well-worn paths each time. It is hard to break out of this way of working and to look at things in a different way.

By thinking and making notes I have reinforced knowledge I already had but have never articulated.

Lines have depth as well as width, weight and direction.

 A constructed line has two sides, texture and colour.

 The form of a line is determined by its material and its scale.

A folded line may relax and the angles change.

A line has a beginning and an end.

A line has a tipping point.

A drawn line has speed, direction and intention.

My lines arrive and are dropped, not placed.

The lines are different to the intention.



Nothing is new. As I was writing this post someone mentioned Duchamp’s dropped strings ‘Three Standard Stoppages’. More food for thought.






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