Box Clever Collection

The ‘Box Clever’ project will become the visual and conceptual resource for my technical block pathways in Stitch, Print, Knit and Weave. The collection of objects within my box derives from the ideas and inspiration I formed in my ‘Rough Guide’ research. I am glad I was able to take the ideas I considered further, as it felt there was so much more to explore. The project brief demonstrated how boxes are more than just pockets of organised space, the ways in which objects are protected or hidden reveals something much more telling of their context and their keeper.

As the objects I kept would become the information that would spark my making they in themselves would be crucial individually but also how they communicated a narrative as a collection. Looking at the items I had picked up on my journeys around Convent Garden, Soho and Chinatown and the damaged photographs left behind from my tape peelings I was struck by a sense of loss and absence. The small remain of dusty polystyrene packing was reminsecnet of the photos, in that they both were incomplete and lost, fragments of their previous existence.

‘based on the estimation that the salvaged materials are ordinary, their value transitory or forgotten, and their existence ephemeral until the artist intervened and provided them with a new reality or reason for being.’ (Joseph Cornel Shadowplay, Eterniday Hartigan Hopps Vine Lehrman)

From this realisation I started finding and collecting objects that conveyed these ideas. I was very drawn to odd pieces such as rocks, misplaced lids and things that I wasn’t even sure what they were or where they came from but somehow had found a place of inhabitance within my surroundings. What I was interested by was the marks and textures inscribed in their surfaces, those of incidence and that would show where they had previously been joined to another edge.

I also began to question what it meant to be a ‘fragment’ and what defines something as one. With this description it is easy to jump to the conclusion that it only describes something chipped, raw or derelict like the rocks. However I saw that some of my objects, such as the cable, were not necessarily in states of conventional disrepair yet were still fragmented. The metal nodules at the ends show that the wire was a component of a larger structure. It is intriguing to keep these remnant objects side by side, joining them through their isolation. I am curious about the ‘worth’ of these remains if not functional as part of the whole.

Studying my objects and the ideas from my ‘Rough Guide’ in turn inspired how I constructed my box, responding to the notion of corners, awkward crevases and intersections of space. I wanted my box to be dynamic in the way the collection could be viewed. I was focused on creating different levels, surfaces and areas of depth. Joseph Cornell’s ‘Shadow Boxes’ are extremely fascinating to me. His work explores the concept of collections and narrative in a whimsical manner. The layering of loaded imagery and 3dimensional containers and objects creates a strong sense of cohesion despite the often deliberately contradictory imagery.  By crafting this multi-layered viewing experience he re-imagines these motifs into a vision of his own.

(Jospeh Cornell Roses des Vents 1942-53)

With my box I wanted to create a similar aesthetic with a juxtaposition of organic, more muted objects and strong colour and shape. By creating a 3D collage on one of the box surfaces I was able to make use of my photograph fragments and construct an exciting colour and texture reference. I loved the vivacious pops of blues and reds within the distressed images and through folding techniques I was able to combine them.   I tried to consider how the collection unfolds from and within the box. This photoblog ( was really enriching to my process of making as I thought about how to approach grouping and organising the debris I had gathered. With the different ways the box can stand, flat photographs layer underneath the clear containers creating a sense of coating and build up, which I am then able to draw through and stack for diverse drawing potential. The idea of these fragments very simply being combined conveys the idea of constructing new purposes for these left overs. I am eager to get going and see what drawing and textile making comes from my box and I think it will become even more exciting as the collection expands.





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