There was a big chunk of constellation work going on at the same time as this project which was a lot of stress, so this project needed to be something that would be a welcome break from that. I didn’t want it to be anything that was extremely time consuming. It needed to be something that could fit easily into my daily routine, or something that I would do anyway.
My first idea was to create a fairy character inspired by day-to-day objects I encountered, like the flower fairies illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker.
These were something I’d be motivated to create in my own time, I already draw similar things when I’m taking a break from other projects, so it wouldn’t have been stressful to keep doing these for a month. After having a tutorial though I knew I needed to re think it a bit to give the project idea had a bit more substance. No matter how much I want to just draw things because I think they look lovely and I enjoy it, that’s not the point. Whatever I make needs to say something or solve a problem.
I started giving the fairies environments be exist in although I still can’t actually remember why this would make the idea more solid. I never took it very far, but I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the idea anymore by this point. There was then a group tutorial which was sot of the final nail in the coffin for putting me off the idea. Nothing puts me off an idea quicker than talking about in front of people and realising how stupid it sounds.
A few days before the end of term I joined the textiles trip to London and went to Kew Gardens with the intention of going to see an exhibiton that was on about Brazilian botanical illustrations. Unfortunately I never even made it that far, as there is so much of Kew Gardens to see and I got very distracted in the tropical house and spent a very long time there drawing the plants and flowers.
This is partly where my new idea for this project came from. I decided I definitely wanted to do something that focused on nature, which to be fair I often do for my projects so this is nothing new. I wanted to approach it in a different way however. After the trip to Kew, I was back in the studio for a few days and I had a bag of plaster left over from when I’d been doing some experiments for another project with it. I collected a leaf from outside the building and mixed up the plaster in a cardboard soup pot and pressed the leaf into the surface.
This worked really well. I was really pleased with the effect this created. It reminded me a bit of the letterpress and embossing with lino I did for my first field project. The pristine appearance of the plaster really focuses you on the imprint left by leaf. It was a very simple process so it wouldn’t take up a lot of time to do it every day. This is the idea I took forward.