• Sarah Jane

Clay Cushion...

I also got the idea to experiment with clay as well as wire, when making my cushions and bought some air drying clay. It was fun to go back to making with my hands, rather than a brush, needle or pencil. There was something freeing about carving with your hands without plan but with direction only. I also felt that I had to be quick when moulding the shape as I was worried that the clay would dry whilst not kept damp, so I would keep a damp cloth nearby as well as a small pot of water so I could keep my hands damp.


It was interesting to see this piece develop. I started to mould it while using Beth's cubes as a desk while helping her with her project in PS1, and as I would cover it with a damp cloth it became an interesting object to hold as it looked light and soft due to the fabric covering it, yet when you picked it up it would be this solid, hard object. This contrast of hard and soft really interests me and relates back to the ideas behind my cushions, I think I will explore this idea further, possibly by draping fabrics over the final piece perhaps?

It took a lot attempts to get the shape right, and I'm still not 100% happy with how the shape came out as it doesn't look very fabric like, however I did like how the corners came out, and there were visible elements of material in the shape of them. At first I had it standing up with a flat base, but I thought that it might look even more cushion like if I made the base the same as the top, by pinching the sides together to form a 'seam' and to pinch the corners and bend them in slightly, again trying to recreate the look of cushion corners. It's difficult trying to recreate the lightness of fabric in such a solid and rough material, and to try and not have visible finger prints was also a challenge, but in the end I was happy with the shape.


After finalising the shape, I began to roll out pieces of clay to mark out the letters of the text. I wanted it to be similar to the cushions I had hand made with embroidery and fabric. I found this process both tedious and relaxing at the same time. It was difficult to get the right thickness of the clay for each letter, and to stick them onto the piece without it breaking or looking too lumpy. As it was drying, the lettering did become a little unreadable, but the texture of the text was really interesting. The subtle hint of text worked better than having it become obvious like fo example embroidery on my cushions.

For the last two words I decided to experiment with the clay and pressed some fabric with embroidered text into it. I liked the effect it had, and it gave me the idea to possibly water down some clay and dip fabric into it and to then let it dry. This could be something I look into for the next unit, possibly using statistics or my own personal experiences as the text to link it back to me perhaps. I like the idea of having the text being made indecipherable, difficult to read, causing the audience to want to look closer to understand what is being said.

Overall I think this piece was interesting and successful to a point, it allowed me to experiment with a material I haven't used in this way so far, and as allowed to me to step out of my comfort zone so to speak. I do think that to develop this further I could look into possibly doing casts, using different materials such as rubber, wax, or some other materials that are hard, rough and uncomfortable. I think I could also look into thinking more about how to incorporate the text, whether I develop this idea of having it shaped and 3D, or to imprint into it with embroidery and so on, to really try and capture the message that I'm trying to convey.

Furthermore, I did get another idea while making this piece which involved me casting or imprinting my embroidery, and having that imprint of the stitching as a stand alone piece. This could be something I look into in the next unit perhaps, while focusing on my theme of workplace sexism and harassment.


Things to do next:

- Explore materials further?

- Develop methods of displaying text?

- Fabric and clay?

- Possibly carve out workplace objects?

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