Thatched cone hanging from a tree in the artist's studio garden

Category: Studio Practice

Media: Ridge thatching wheat straw, ply and timber frames, lamp shade wire frames, galvanised wire, cable ties, sisal rope, fence paint.

2015-16

Overview

Works developed referencing the local thatched church nearby the home-studio, one of only a few churches to ever be thatched. The wheat straw used for the uppermost ridge coverings was sourced from a local thatcher. After studying the methods, tools, and techniques of thatching, work was started with the material to explore its possibilities for use for sculptural purposes.

Making

Methods of contruction varied from straw being assembled onto an underlying cone-shaped ply form with outer wire straps tying the straw in.

Another piece was formed in sequence along a rope and wrapped around a birch tree to provide some rain shelter for a hole in the trunk.

Several others were constructed utilising the stripped wire frameworks of lamp shades and hung from trees.

Objects for Collaboration

The lamp-shade based forms were expanded on for use in a collaboration with the artist Paradox Paul.

With four empty plinths created in the 'black border' in the studio-garden at the time, Paul was approached as a guest artist suggesting his photo-series 'plinth people' could be interesting, especially if they were dressed in all black. Paul suggested it should be a collaboration and I set to work on devising a set of holdable works  – ‘Thatched Things’ to add to the mix on the day.

A group was co-ordinated for a ‘performance’. Black clothing and accessories were gathered. The process involved the group arriving, dressing each other up and then moving out into the garden to follow either mine and/or Paul’s rough directions, or going with the flow of individual responses. The thatched things acting as pseudo-cultural tokens.

Many thanks to the participants Maya Malfatti, Mark Dickson, Paul Windridge and Lynn Bilton.

 

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