An alternative workbook (or not?)

Sampling for ‘Bridging the Gap’

I have long been fascinated ,and appalled in equal measure, of the ‘Vile Victorians’ and the underbelly of the society that existed in those days especially with regards to the treatment of children.

From using children as chimney sweeps, for prostitution, child labour, workhouse conditions and not forgetting the notrious baby farmers, especially ‘The Ogress of Reading’, Amelia Dyer.

I found it incredibly hard trying to keep a sketchbook/workbook for this subject. The most I could hope for would be a book filled with text and images I had gathered and I couldn’t really see that being of any benefit.

A lot of what I do is process based which means making lots (and lots) of samples.

But the question was how to show my progress in such a way that the samples could be viewed in order and all together rather than attaching to pages in a sketchbook. I also thought it would be good to be able to handle them and look at them closely.

So I decided to make a box/case to put the samples in.

It is a very sturdy piece of kit made from double-skinned 3mm greyboard then covered with gesso and acrylic paints the case measures 61 x 52 x 17 cms. (appx. 24 x20 x 7 inches for those of us that are ‘old school’)

The handle and clasps were taken from an old wooden box and it has antique brass looking corners to protect from knocks.

There are hooks inside the lid to hang some of the samples and two lift up drawer sections which contain several 3D pieces.

The case holds over 100 samples I have made using different techniques and ideas for finished pieces, all on different fabrics and all labelled so I don’t forget how I made them and which materials I actually used! It looks a lot tidier since this photograph was taken as all the samples have now been grouped and held together with ring binders.

I have mainly used this image below throughout.

I found it far easier to use the same image as it was the processes I was sampling and once I had decided what I was going to use I then played with other images. Storing the samples in this way means that they could all be used in future projects if needs be.

As a group EAST likes to show their workbooks/sketchbooks alongside the exhibition and I’m hoping that this way of displaying my thought processes will be acceptable. What do you think?

Now here’s an interesting fact: Did you know that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed 60 years ahead of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to children? (1824 and 1884 respectively)*. I think the Victorians have got a lot to answer for!

* Information taken from Wikipedia so therefore may not be totally accurate

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