Thursday, 26 April 2012

Riverlands and Spires

The premiere of Riverlands, a performance by Jo Bell and Jo Blake Cave, took place at Aldwincle All Saints Church in Northamptonshire, with the artwork by me and Kate Dyer on display.

Photo by Kate Dyer
The event was mesmerising, the venue magical, lit by technician Andy Eathorne to create gently rippling coloured light across the columns, evoking the animation of light on water.

The performance was rich with romance, humour, characters and birds. The audience (sold out on the first night!) were riveted from start to finish, not a sound or a stir until the double encore at the end.

I had worked with Kate Dyer to create artwork that incorporated my maps and drawings with Kate's photographs from the river. This had been a challenge as my drawings are linear and delicate with limited colour, whereas Kate's images were rich in colour and texture. Making them work together on one piece was a challenge! However, once I struck on the idea that the map was all about the shape of the river rather than the elements around it, this resulted in Kate's images also working with the shape of the river and creating the impressions of colour and texture that you experience on the banks.

I included my sketches and notes from the river on the reverse of the map. The drawings were received really well and I had some great feedback from the audience. This is particularly encouraging as I have just launched my shop of drawings for a personal project I have been doing, originally inspired by this commission.

I created an extra addition to the project, the Church Spires cutouts. My sense of travelling on the river was punctuated by the appearance of church spires slicing into the sky, so surprising when juxtaposed with the horizontal planes of the river. The spires along this stretch of river were significant to my experience and I wanted to find a way to include them.

The Church Spires cutouts is a set of unfolded spires, a selection of the shapes that I saw from the river. The spires are an A4 sheet of quality card laser cut to produce 5 shapes. When pressed out and folded, the shapes create miniature spire shapes.

These were really popular at the event and I sold quite a few. It's the first time I have worked with laser cutting and I was delighted with the results. Folded paper, paper forms and working with 2D into 3D is something that has interested me for a long time, so I will definitely be doing more laser cut paper sculptures in the future.

To see the map, drawings and Church Spires cutouts in more detail, click here.

Riverlands and the River map were commissioned by Rosalind Stoddart, Cultural Engineer.

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