Plundering the past

Plundering the past50cm x 50cm

Continuing to revisit previous work, picking up old threads and tying up loose ends. Plundering the past was completed a couple of years ago prior to the start of my quilt-based work. It explored many of the themes and ideas that have started to re-surfaced in my current work.





First Inkblot nearing completion


The piece is still undergoing changes. Changes that appear to be significant at the time, but when reviewing the shots taken that document the work’s progress they appear to be quite minimal. The basic structure and composition was set up from day one, most of the work has been in building up the surface detail and maintaining a balance across the picture frame. In some cases this has also meant obliterating details that had become too dominant.

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I have also focussed on achieving a wider range of textures and stain effects to give the piece more variety and get the right balance between what appears to been intentional and accidental marks.

My current research into Hermann Rorschach, his famous inkblots and their cultural influence is proving most interesting. I am intending to create a series of ten, 1 metre square images. This corresponds to the number of images that Rorschach had reproduced for his well known test. Although Rorschach experimented with inkblots his final images were actually paintings.These he carefully constructed to resemble and suggest quite specific images. He was also aware of the need to create images that could be interpreted as a whole, while also allowing the viewer to focus in on small seemingly irrelevant details.

Blots and stains

With a desire to start painting again I find myself returning to an early fascination with Rorschach’s inkblot test. So far all my previous attempts at creating works based on these well known images have ended prematurely hinting at something worthwhile but failing to deliver. I am hopeful that the time is right to take these experiments forward and produce a new series of metre square aluminium pieces.


The first of these shows promise. I have reverted back to using an earlier method of working. In this work I have coated the metal sheet with a layer of paper collage, consisting of plain newsprint and copies of tailors patterns. The idea was to test the twin ideas of Rorschach inkblots and images of dressmaking and tailor’s patterns to provide the basis of some new pieces. Initially I had intended to develop these two topics independently but in my reluctance to make a decision about which one to tackle first I combined them. The tailor’s patterns were obliterated quite quickly but did help structure and inform the direction of the piece.


The piece has undergone several changes already. This is likely to continue until the correct balance is achieved. A key starting point came from the previous piece “When history fades the stains grow deeper”. In this quilt work, a strong pattern/design was gradually eroded and obliterated until in existed partly defined and partly as a trace or ghost. The idea was to do the same this time using the inkblot motif. At some point my interest in rugs and textile design has also begun to creep in.


Stitched and stained

Spent the last couple of days working on my Faded history quilt. The whole thing is now stitched together and I have begun to work on the staining in between the patterns. As can be seen in the image below I have be concentrating on the top half of the piece for the time being. I now have a better idea of where I want to go with it as a whole although I may have to lighten a couple of areas. Using filler you can’t be 100% sure of how much paler it will be when its totally dried.lots-of-stains-20.05-19-august-2018-


Continuing to fade


Bit of a disaster, after spending hours on the final panels pictured above. I left them outside to dry off. Unfortunately forgot all about them during a rainstorm and most of my hard work has been washed off. The previous panels should be fine once they have dried but the newer ones will need to be re-coated.


Work in progress.