After a gap of several months, we were in the fortunate position this week of being able to spend some time together in Lincoln to discuss and make plans for our next project/s.
Our first task is to respond to an open call entitled ‘she will need her sisterhood’, this is an
invitation to artists to submit work that responds to the theme of femininity. Working with
content from our previous project – meeting in the middle – we plan to extract and expand on the case studies that relate to all the individual women within the book and re-present the work in a new format. The initial challenge is to give the work a new title – being able to talk face to face enabled us to bounce potential names back and forth until we arrived at a suitable solution – and so Women of the Walk will become our next project.
Written submissions have to be received by 1 December, and size restrictions meant that we started by discussing and planning the format and design of the work and how it could be
exhibited. We spent a lot of time considering the purpose of the work to ensure it responds
effectively to the exhibition criteria; satisfied with our decision making process – this then
informed the writing of the proposal. We seem to have developed a natural way of working
collaboratively on written pieces, the best method seems to involve somebody starting the process prior to the meeting, this then gives us some foundations on which to build by working together – adding, editing and re-structuring enables us to acknowledge each others
experience and expertise until we arrive at a solution that we are both happy with and
without it seeming like a compromise.
If our submission is unsuccessful we agreed that we will progress the Women of the Walk project; by making new work or amending the existing pieces to a standard format, it will
become a limited edition artists’ book with a new focus.
Whilst many of the tasks seemed complete by the time we met for the making day south, it was still a good opportunity to discuss not only some of the minor detailing, but also make a decision about the front covers.
At the previous making day we had discussed the materiality of the covers and their relevance to the project. Through discussion we returned to the walk itself and the wooden signs that are used along the Jurassic Way to indicate the route. The chance discovery of some 0.8mm plywood offcuts seemed to offer a perfect solution.
Through an ongoing exchange of ideas we became aware that the cover design needed to be kept as simple as possible – as a contrast to the postcards – and the methodology needed to be relatively uncomplicated due to time restrictions. By extending the idea of the postcard we eventually arrived at a solution to produce rubber stamps of postmarks, so that each front cover can be stamped individually.
With individual postcards constructed and the project almost complete, the first making day in the south started with a review of each others work . This provided the opportunity to view the full sequence of 36 selected individuals and their stories to represent each of the towns and villages along the Jurassic Way. We began work by drafting and then typing the introduction page and role call. Consideration was given to ordering names and identifying individuals from the north and south of the route.
Throughout the day post cards were stitched together with a colour chosen separately to represent the wooden Jurassic Way markers. Individual stamp sized portraits were stuck on postcards where we had been able to find the actual individual.
Having visited, read about, written, designed, edited and constructed each postcard over eight months we finally met in the middle by joining the north and south sections with a red stitch to represent the colour used to identify walks on Ordnance Survey maps.
Day 1: The day started with tea, coffee and discussion. Multiple strands of conversation enabled the sharing of visual processes made use of to date. We discovered a commonality in our individual working practices and methodology through the use of found image, colour and decoration. Strengths were recognised and celebrated in each others practice and the focus remained positive – affirming decisions made. We shared and exchanged materials and constructed purposeful ‘to do’ lists for the making day ahead. The choice of working methods required us to work in separate studios, although we came together at relevant times throughout the day to support and discuss progress.
Having pre-arranged this day, making extended beyond the time spent in the studios and decisions continued throughout the evening. The day’s progress was discussed and new decisions were made collaboratively.
Day 2: After a brief discussion about the sequence in which we could both achieve the day’s objectives, we quickly adopted a similar routine to day 1 – our individual areas of focus and requirement of specialist equipment resulted in working in separate studios again. We utilised a wide range of techniques including lino printing, screen printing, letterpress printing, photocopying and digital printing and foiling, and met at regular intervals to share progress and seek advice from each other. Towards the end of day 2 we were able to review the project’s current status and plan potential tasks for the final Making Day in the south in three weeks time.