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Central Saint Martins Year 1 MA Arts Programme Interim Exhibition

One of the reasons I wanted to undertake the Masters course was to really push myself out of my comfort zone and experiment. I also wanted to start trying to make work with more meaning. The Interim Exhibition seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something completely new. For this piece I used new processes as well as a completely new way of presenting the work.

The piece was designed to be as flexible for the exhibition space as possible. Trinity Buoy Wharf is a listed building and nothing can be hung from the walls. My piece could hang from or lean against a wall. I was particularly pleased with the stick I found to hang it from - having a bend in it so that it wasn't just hidden behind the work but stood alongside it really made it part of the work.

The basic idea was to create a patchwork or prints that echoed the forest, so there were areas arranged in grids, textured areas, distant forest views and close ups of monoprints made using lichens and collagraphs featuring grasses and leaves in the plate. Originally the shape was going to be much straighter, the idea being that it mimicked a tree, but a very fragile one. In the end the rough, wonky edges seemed more important, and seemed to echo the forest better. The idea that everything was made under the pressure of a press and mounted on printmakers scrim was again alluding to the pressure that humans exert on the natural world, and particularly the pressure exerted on this forest to be so many things at once. I think that angle is something that would have to be directly communicated to the average viewer though as it's not an obvious connection until it's pointed out.

I used many different techniques to create this piece - collagraphy, etching, lithography and monoprinting. Sometimes in combination. I also tore prints up, rearranged them and stitched them back together. Trying to echo the immensely varied views, uses and feelings in the forest whilst creating prints that could sit together as one piece was challenging! I tried to use the palette and repetition to keep it flowing.

The piece was much complimented by my course mates and lecturer which was lovely. I was particularly pleased with the zingy orange hints which I think pulled it all together. After weeks of having the separate pieces pinned up I knew something was missing, but it wasn't until I found a bright orange log in the forest that I realised a hint of colour could pull it all together.

Having made all the prints, figured out how to arrange them, stitched them together and foraged for a couple of sticks the final hurdle was delivering it. I managed to find a box that the print could be carefully concertina folded into but the stick was less simple. I decided to wrap it in brown paper so it couldn't catch on anything... but I got rather a lot of funny looks on the train and then especially on the tube. It turns out tube ceilings are surprisingly low!

The exhibition itself was fascinating. There were approximately 100 first year MA Arts students taking part so as you imagine there was something for everyone and everything from a tower of cardboard boxes to an incredibly beautiful oil painting of an Italian church scene. If you'd like to see the 'official' pictures the exhibition was photographed by Belinda Lawley to give you a little taste here are some pictures I took (I did love the lobsters!).

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