Katie Anderson

Artist based in South West Scotland; interested in people, places, materials and collaborative practice.

Tag: sculpture

Tattiefields: Reflections

I’ve been out of habit of reflecting on work, due largely to having taken on a little too much the past two years or thereabouts. With Tattiefields having been finally installed and launched last month, I have finally had the opportunity to consider the project as a whole. Here are the first considerations:

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The process of leaving a work

I don’t enter into making work half-heartedly. Works have to spend long periods of time being mulled over in my mind and on paper long before they become communicable, never mind entering the physical world, and even then, they do so tentatively, and through a form of extended internal discussion around process and material.

Tattiefields began as a work for me in November 2016 – although the site and back story existed long before – and over the course of two years the work has lived with me more or less constantly, before arriving on site in September this year to begin it’s life ‘on site’. The production phase lasted near enough nine months, with various intensive periods interspersed by periods of waiting, and slow pace.

By comparison, the installation was a whirlwind of movement, change and finality as at the end of the day, we were required to pack up and go home, leaving the works to grow their evening shadows across the park.

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Image credit: Euan Adamson

In the run up to the final installation – a date which was unsettled and ever moving during the summer, I mused over the act of leaving a work in a place. The Tattiefields sculptures, which are intended to be permanent additions to the site, are hoped to settle into the place, to become part of the landscaping and surrounding area.

A public artwork, has certain aspects of gift-giving attached, in that I was spending large portions of time considering, and creating with the intention of then placing it within a location to develop a new, and somewhat independent relationship with the other residents of the location. But it was also unlike traditional gift giving, I was aspiring for associations of gift not to be primarily about value, or necessarily a relationship with artist and reciever, but about creating a relationship between artwork and receiver – in this case, residents of the place and the objects themselves.1

The work is also intrinsically a part of me. I have grown with the work, and developed new interests and approaches as a consequence of the project, (as well as having earned the title Princess Tattie, Tattie Lady etc.) To leave ‘casually’ the work to the elements and the place has imprinted the work into my memory. I check back regularly, driving a circular route around the site, and pausing to touch and check each element of the work.

It is settling in already.

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Image credit: Galina Walls

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Following the conclusion of this project I’ve been left with the sense that Public Art is a series of relationships between

the artist – and the artwork

the artist – and other makers and contributors – and artwork

the artist – and place – and artwork

the artist – and residents – and artwork

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Image credit: Galina Walls

Each of these relationships forms a new network that informs the work, and our on-going understanding of the place. In this way, it is not possible to claim exact authorship, even with a project that has been heavily developed independently, as each of the relationships created has grown the project in new ways.

Many of these were built through chance encounters, casual conversations with neighbours and the generosity of local residents who gave their time and efforts to support the projects development.

The relationship with other makers and contributors was a new one for me personally, as the first project where I have worked extensively with others to create an artwork. The process has been intensely rewarding and humbling, and I have so appreciated the calm, patient and sharing nature of each of these contributors.

Creating works like these draws some interesting questions about the balance between authorship and ownership. The authorship I explain a little bit more about in an earlier blog2, the ownership in that for these works to be truly successful, the ownership cannot be solely with the artist or client – in this case the housing partnership who officially ‘own’ the works. For an artwork to truly belong to a space they also need to belong to the people who occupy and reside within and surrounding the space. Each of the houses immediate to the site overlook the work, and hopefully as they become part of the place, the residents too can feel a sense of ownership towards them.

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Becoming ‘Resident’

At a recent workshop I led collectively as part of an interior architecture course, I asked the question ‘what does it mean to be resident of a place?’ How do we ‘reside’ I, or occupy place? In the development of the Tattiefields site this has been one of my on-going questions. The sculpture too will become a resident of the place, but this also asks a bigger question of us as people, and as citizens of a place, to reside are you also an active citizen, or is being resident a passive role?

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Image credit: Euan Adamson

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Public art and the monument

In many ways, this is the stereotype of public art – monuments in places (‘what do you think it’s going to be?’ ‘A giant tattie, for sure.’). In a certain way, Tattiefields is a monument, albeit to a vegetable rather than a historical figure, but it also seeks to determine an alternative approach to permanent public artworks. One that plays a close relationship with the place and the people, whilst also drawing out the less well known narratives of a place, celebrating the everyday and commemorating unique memories and identities of the places we live in. It’s all a question of scale.

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Image credit: Euan Adamson

 

1                For more on gift giving, have a look at Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, a book I have never yet finished but has influenced my thinking about gift giving.

2                https://katiejanderson.wordpress.com/2018/06/26/international-technician-day-everyday/

SSW Residency: Tattiefields In Process

After a very manic and fast moving two weeks, my time at Lumsden is once again up. For the first time, my trip to the Scottish Sculpture Workshop was project focused – I arrived on site, with a list of requirements to be completed in 12 days.

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As usual, turns out I was pretty unprepared – and over prepared with all the usual unnecessaries – but basically, sand moulds are complicated. A thing of wonder and beauty, but complicated. (Thanks to Logan and Ralf on work experience for getting this started off).

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Wax room, in which I have a love-hate relationship. And the overly complicated nature of sprue-ing up pieces.

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Sand mould 1 week later – still complicated. Pantera is the incentive in the metal work department for getting stuff done quickly.

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Ceramic shells, each incasing hollow wax pieces built up in layers to create a solid (theoretically) mould for pouring. Lessons learned there.

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POUR TIME. Three pours, over two days. Huge relief to get these done successfully. Thank you EVERYONE!

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‘Hot potatoes! – Is this ever going to get old?’ Nope. Really, still hot – fresh from the shells.

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With a little cleaning..

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And a bit more. Next stages include sandblasting and patinating, the final colouring process.

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More details. (With the lovely Moomin soft focus in the background.) There’s plenty more to see –  I’m saving the best bits for the big reveal, and the few processes still to go through.

Stay tuned, more to come soon! #tattiefields

 

Voices arrives in Wigtown

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Causeway End phone box is highly distinguishable by it’s white door frame (a recent replacement by the community council when the box was taken over). Push the rock to one side to enter, but please replace it upon leaving, lest the door bangs in the wind.

Wigtown Book Festival is underway – it arrived in a flurry – the tents have gone up, the shops have been stocked, the potholes have been filled (yes, seriously) and Astrid Jaekel’s work has transformed the windows of the County Buildings, to much admiration. The car parking is ridiculous to the point of hilarity, Reading Lasses is full, and suddenly reading books on street corners is terribly trendy.

After my own whirlwind of a week (leaving a trail of destruction behind) – Voices from the Phone Box has been reinstated. Originally a commission for the Environmental Arts Festival, the project – part audio collection, part sculptural installation – is taking residence in two phone boxes; Bladnoch a working box next to the distillery, and Causeway End – owned by Newton Stewart Community Council and located on the road from Wigtown back to the A75. There is also an exchange point for the two boxes located within the sci-fi portal that is the Time Machine, a separate installation created by Norrie, Christian and a hard working team in the County Buildings.

Running 24/7 (theoretically) the work plays out conversations with local residents from bone china telephone handsets.
 
Find out more about the Book Festival’s visual arts goings ons here
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The Bladnoch box is strangely magical – and also, a working box! So well worth an explore…

Pause for a moment, and listen.

“I Belong 
Wigtown. Port William. Whithorn. Newton Stewart. Sorbie. Mochrum. Elrig. Windy Hill.  Garlieston. Isle of Whithorn. 

Bearded Ham. Something primal. Traffic Lights. Invisible people. Hairdressers. I was ay’ wantin t be a l’rry driver. Mountains of Mourne. 

The flying butcher. Magic Hour. The kindness of folk.  There was always plenty o’ work. It’s all gone no’. BOS 648. Still living in the past here. A modern life. I never even knew Whithorn existed… 

I’ll never be a local.”

 
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Enter the Time Machine and prepare to look in unexpected places. If you are interested, it’s called a Dictograph.

Thank you to everyone who has given me some time in the past few weeks to contribute a voice for the work, without you it would be meaningless.

Casting New Objects

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Slip cast phone handset

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Getting carried away with cup casting…

 

The first couple of test’s for the phone box project came out of the kiln – now I have some more tangible, physical guide lines – I can really start to figure out the practicalities of wiring the innards of the handsets without ruining the visuals.

The cups may be a waste of time, and a waste of materials, but sometimes wastage feels important in order to make sketches more tangible – and helps get them out of my head! And besides, they feel so lovely to hold that I considered a photo would be better than nought for everyone else.

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Cotton wool and wallpaper paste

 

The bottles are something I’ve been pondering on for a while. It’s taken a while for a material that ‘worked’ for me to become apparent. Cotton wool has become a sort of intermediate, working stage whilst I figure out what to do with all the wool I’ve been collecting off of the barbed fences around about (mad? perhaps..) So hopefully the next step for these will be more exciting and visually interesting. I was quite excited with the level of detail that is attainable (a keen eye may note the brand labelling on the bottle), so there may be more of these to follow! The even more observant may note that I have changed my photo tactics in line with a useful comment last week. Time to find a new appreciation for photographing objects – an old Thomas the Tank engine lamp is coming in useful!