Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vicki O'Shea: Ruminating

Whilst I haven't had much time at the moment for physical doing I have been thinking lots about the BAO book project. I have been allowing the title I am working with Other people, other rooms to just float in my head almost aimlessly to see where it will go, whenever my mind is free it pops up and I ruminate on it for a is never too far from the surface.

I have not put any pressure on coming up with a definitive plan, I don't like to have it all plotted out too decisively...I never create that way and like to allow the work to just evolve as I go is not always the smartest or fastest way to work but I do enjoy the meander. I know that each step will lead me to the next and I just trust that it will evolve as it should. At this stage there are three different perspectives of the title that I keep thinking about. Some more dominate than others.

The idea that I seem to ponder the most is from a psychological viewpoint. I see Other people, other rooms as parts of our psyche. The hidden parts of our persona that we conceal from others and even ourselves...the different people we are on the inside, in our own head, in the various interior spaces that make up who we truly are. I have in the past dreamed of being in a large rambling house that has secret rooms, Jungian philosophy suggests that this is about exploring our inner being.

As my work is usually about that which is invisible, the hidden parallel world that co exists with us but is hidden from view, another interpretation is via a paranormal lens, suggesting the space in between, the matter that cannot normally be perceived by the human senses, where other rooms exist, with other people and spaces from the past...left over energies that can be almost palpable but just out of reach.

The third thought is of a more literal sense but I can see its connections to the other two ideas. I live in a 3 level old 1952 post office which ceased to be a post office at the end of 2008. My personal living quarters is on the top floor and was where all the post masters and their families resided over the years. The ground/middle floor is where the public part of the post office was and the basement is where the storage and mail sorting areas were. It is a large building and a bit of a maze with all its rooms, many that interconnect and accessible from different ends of the building and others that are hidden spaces and rooms within rooms...the basement has 7 separate rooms and that does not include my studio space. I have been living here alone but definitely feel other presences and the previous life of the building within its walls. I am just about to start renovating the middle floor which will become two self catering studio style holiday apartments and so within my home there will soon literally be other rooms for other people.

Although the ideas are quite different I do like the fact that they can overlap with each other exploring the notion of the physical, the psychological and spiritual planes. In some way they will all play a role even if only in the initial pondering stages.

In view of the fact that I have not made many books I decided the structure needs to be fairly simple for this my very first edition. I wanted to have a form where parts were hidden or could be viewed only from a certain perspective. Initially I thought maybe a Jacobs ladder style book where you are not sure as to what page you will open up the book to. However the structure relies on ribbon or paper bands that I find interruptive and distracting.  So I have since been playing with the accordion fold and have come up with a very simple structure that I think will lend its self to the feeling I am trying to convey.

The structure consists of two narrow lengths of paper folded and stitched together to create a boxed in format...that I hope will allude to an interior space where there is no real access and viewing inside these pages is difficult and only by looking down and within.  I can make this larger with more 'rooms' if necessary...but at the moment I am just playing with the two lengths.

I haven't really thought much about the imagery as yet but that will evolve as I start making. I feel some or all imagery will be on the inside of the 'rooms' where it is not so accessible to view.  I had planned to create a few collagraph plates to experiment with some ideas last week but came upon an unexpected stumbling block. Iceland being the tiny place it is, one cannot expect always the availability of many items that one has been used to. So when I was at the hardware in Akureyri (2hr drive) before Xmas and stumbled across shellac flakes I was pleasantly surprised, however I did not dream that I would have trouble finding the solvent methylated far I have not been able to buy it in my little town and am on the hunt.


Sara Bowen said...

Your post office sounds intriguing, Vicki, although I'd feel slightly nervous about the idea of sharing it with "other presences" within its walls... I like the simplicity of your structure.

Julie Russell-Steuart said...

There is an incredible amount of surface area to work with in your design. I like the idea of tension between what is accessible on the outside and what may not be on the inside, and the little teaser glimpse possibilities for suggesting interior content.
I also had considered the Jacob's ladder structure for another idea, but felt that the bands would just get in the way of images and text.

Helen M said...

I love the way your work is progressing Vicki, especially the idea of secret rooms and our hidden inner lives. I don't use sketchbooks either, but just let the work evolve in the making.

Ampersand Duck said...

If you don't want to stitch the folds together, Vicki, you can half-slit the folds and insert them into each other to weave them together. It's a lovely quiet way of making the pages do what you're wanting them to do and there's little bulk as they fold back down together.