For my assessment this month I put a pelvis in the small fish tank and added some small cold water fish. First problem was the pelvis floated in the water. I didn’t see that coming! So I had to stick it down to the bottom of the fish tank with super glue.
The Floating Pelvis!
Then getting the fish from Pets At Home was quite involved. I had to prove I had prepared the fish tank properly for them before they would sell them to me. It felt like the Spanish Inquisition and they took my name address and postcode. Fish welfare seems top priority! I kept them for a few days for my assessment then gave them to a friend who keeps fish. They seemed to enjoy swimming in and out of the holes in the pelvis!
The concept was all really a bit vague. The pelvis bones representing the female being dead sexually after FGM and then the fish bringing life and hope and energy into the situation when the survivors of FGM are supported by charities like ‘Forward’.
Weird goings on! I have got pelvis bones in jars looking like specimens and in a small fish tank. The fish tank idea came in a dream, no idea what its all about but I am just running with it. I think it needs some water, oxygen, plants and some little fish swimming around!
I finally finished the third bone cast. This mould was particularly troublesome, possibly because Fong left me to make it myself. It was rather large and cumbersome and it didn’t fit together very well so when pouring I get leakage and parts of the bone where there were holes.
Putting the bones together was another challenge. Fong and I looked for various solutions including melting and wire but came up with gently drilling holes in the wax and screwing them together.
17th February 2016
I was experimenting with pigment, sprinkling it in the mould before and during pouring in the hot wax. This had two effects, firstly some just stuck to the mould and didn’t dissolve and so produced quite a nice texture on the edges. Secondly, the stuff that dissolved gave this really nice marbled effect.
I am nearly ready with the third bone mould so won’t be long until I can join the bones together to make a whole pelvis.
Bone #2 and the Pelvic Cave.
This week I finished the second mould of the pelvis and managed to cast one in wax.
The detail is good and this time I used some wax pigment, bought from Tiranti, for the colouring. Its striking! Progress is slow but I reckon I will have a whole pelvis by February…..
What I love about making art is the unexpected. There are two ways to make stuff, you plan it, draw it out, methodically make it and its all very prescriptive. Then there is the other way, you are just messing about talking to people, thinking about other things and your hands are busy doing their own thing. This is what happened last week, I was messing about with dough and my wax sacrums and this rather odd object appeared:
So afterwards I was thinking about what it meant. (This is a bit like dreaming, I quickly write the dream down then re-read it in the morning to see what it was all about) I was having a frustrating 3 days at art college, not getting round to all the things I needed to do. I think this little sculpture shows me in the middle, pasty faced, bland, colourless sitting on all the things I need to be doing, things waiting to be developed hence the dough in its uncooked, unmatured state. And I am surrounded by all this beautiful coloured art waiting to be discovered. One of my peers said it was a ‘ pelvic cave’. Another said it was like ‘a nativity play’.
Another cast of Bone #2, playing around with the Tiranti blue wax pigment. Awesome colour!
Tutorial with Graham Fagan
Fantastic meeting with my tutor, Graham Fagan, today. I was comparing the difference in my two projects at the moment. The BDP is needing a pragmatic approach, organising, administration which feels quite a struggle and then there is the pelvis project which is just sailing along under its own steam! No effort required. This is the beauty of being in the process, making creative space. Graham suggests this is one of the most important and valuable things to do. No big agenda or mission, just do the work, bit by bit, see what happens, transpires, trust the process I guess.
After a while, sit back and have a look at the work in the light of other artists e.g. Christine Borland has made a ceramic pelvis. what did she say, what did others say about it? are there similarities, differences? this helps put the work in context and subsequently fuels the work further….
Then a very poignant moment, he questioned my use of the word ‘erosion’ in my context. In a ‘lightbulb’ moment, it became clear to me why my little inner self was busy making coloured pelvises. Its a celebration of my life, a carnival as I see it . I am 60 and yes I am menopausal and the kids have left home but my life is good and full and exciting…..
The First Wax Castings
Great excitement today as the first part of my mould was ready to use. And it looks good! First I used beeswax, I had forgotten how good it smells! The other three were experimental using various pigments and different types of wax.
The red one is synthetic wax, the blue one natural beeswax and the black one a 50:50 mix of synthetic and synthetic beeswax. The pigments are just ones that artists use and didn’t dissolve very well in the wax. So I could get some specific wax pigment, this would probably spread through the wax better. The vibrancy of the red one is really striking and I am trying to imagine a whole red pelvis and a black one too, goodness knows what the implications are of coloured pelvises ? pelvi (plural). I don’t even know what this is all about making coloured ones, it wasn’t part of the plan but then as so often happens in art, you don’t end up with what you originally thought of. It feels good to be spontaneous and go with the flow. I just love the idea of having lots of different coloured pelvises.
What is the significance of the pelvis to me? Its structural, it supports the spinal column. It protects and contains the reproductive organs. The female pelvis has a bigger space in it to cope with the passage of the baby’s head in childbirth. I see it as representing my days of being reproductive and now they are gone, so the idea melting them to show the erosion of this phase of my life seems fitting.
17th October 2015
I have started making a mould of a female pelvis I bought off ebay. I forgot what a long and complicated process it is, mould making. The pelvis is quite a complicated shape to make so I have had to split it into three pieces which I will do individually. This is one half of the back part of the pelvis, set in clay and ready for the silicone rubber, a cold rubber process. While doing this, I learnt
that you have to be precise with mould making. Watching the technician I was surprised how accurate he was being with tiny bits of clay, scraping off here and adding there. This is going to be a long haul, I reckon I might have it done by Easter!