THE CABBAGE FIELD: IDEAS BOX/SHRINEapprox 11.5ins x 7.5 ins
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Following my most recent posting, I received so many wonderful messages of encouragement that I've been reflecting on how I use my blog. Until now, I've regarded it as a place to post completed digital art works and scrap pages. Thus, my work rate determines how often I post. If I create something in response to an online challenge, then there is a deadline to meet, but my more personal projects often evolve over several weeks, if not months of research and experimentation: a process I rarely share in any detail. From now on, I intend to post a little more frequently, sharing work in progress and some of my experiments with techniques: in the form of digital creative journal pages or "Ideas Boxes".
There is one piece that has been particularly taxing my brain since returning from France, presenting me with technical challenges that I have not yet been able to resolve. My Resistance phase often leads to the complete reworking of an idea but in this particular instance, I'm certain that my initial impulses were the right ones and I don't want to resort to an easier option. Yesterday, it occurred to me that if I temporarily removed the objects from the context in which I'd set them, I might, eventually, be able to return to the initial problem with a new perspective, and so, I placed them inside a little digital box. This was an interesting experiment. At first, the box and its contents resembled exhibits in a museum or cabinet of curiosities: I knew that was the wrong place for this story but made a mental note to explore those ideas at a later date, with another set of objects. The temptation was to keep adding what I call "anecdotal" elements to the collection: things that look attractive, but don't actually resound in any meaningful way or move the story on. Then I remembered something that helped me to focus once more on the emotional resonances I was seeking to convey. Somewhere along the roadside between Gloucester and Ross on Wye, set into the ground and hidden by tall grass and weeds, there is a little glass-topped box shrine, commemorating a young Traveller lad who died in a road accident near that spot. Inside, there is a photograph, plastic flowers and messages on metal and paper: weathered by time, atmospheric conditions and the tiny creatures who have taken up residence in this little casket of sadness. Focusing on these things, I worked on my box, which I now regarded as a shrine. My offerings don't look as if they have been encased for very long but this is just a step along my journey and I'll work more on breaking the objects down when I'm setting them in their final resting place.
This new process has left me ready to return to the original artwork and challenges that I'd set myself, with a deeper physical and emotional understanding of the objects with which I'd chosen to tell the story. However, It has also sparked- off lots of other ideas that I want to explore a little further, and so, if your curiosity has been aroused, I'm afraid that you will have to wait even longer to see where everything is heading!