Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Development : Collecting materials and drying them

After doing some initial research I started to think about the different ways and different materials I would like to work with sticking to the natural world. Since this semester is about being experimental I had always wanted to try natural materials as a media for a project. It is a theme I've always been interested in but not went through with a full project about it before. 
Started out with a mind map of my ideas and key words that felt important to the project and some questions I had to ask myself about the meaning behind the project.

Such as what is my relationship with nature?
Why do I prefer natural environments?
How does it make me respond and feel?
What do I want to say/create with natural materials?
Are some of the questions I've been considering and have answered in my project ideas and reflective post.

I started collecting some materials from the back garden to see what I could find and experiment with. Theirs a lot of interesting things to find and see in nature just now since Autumn is here and lots of things are changing and growing. Which is showing the cycles of nature and reflecting this time of year when things are dying and preparing for winter. I took some textures from the grass/ground to the different plants that are growing and signs of life.

I collected some of the plants and put them in containers to experiment with them as media and also research how to preserve them.

I watched and read some tutorials on how to preserve plants and be able to keep them for a so I could use them for development and experiments. Their is lots of different ways to do this since plants can be so delicate even though I will be moving on to using trees as my main theme.

Using silica gel.

Pressing plants.

Microwaving plants.

These are just some of the examples of methods I was looking at of how I could dry and preserve my collected materials. Their is many other ways of doing this and some can take a longer amount of time and since we have a time scale for the project I thought about trying out the microwave method. I followed the instructions in the video and used a glass pie tray as my heavy object for the press.

A short sped up video I made while trying out this experiment.

It ended up working out very successfully and it even worked on a pressed flower head which was really positive. I will try out this method further and look at other ways of preserving materials. It was a good step in the projects development to be more hands on with the materials and try them out. More research will done into other types of plant/tree art as well as some photography experiments. I'll take my camera into the local woods and see how I get on there with more materials and visuals.

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