Field: COLLABORATION: What do we have in common?

Today, we got together as a field group and decided to talk about the similarities and differences between our ideas and ways of working as a starting point. We talked about how our perceptions of the Hidden city were very different and that we weren’t sure how we could merge our ideas into one. After a long discussion and debate, we decided that we definitely wanted to collaborate together to create something artistically. We started focusing on and discussing the strengths of each individual within our group.

I talked about my strengths being quite expressive drawing, mixed media work and painting. Steph and Beth stated how they were highly interested in fabric, however Beth was more interested in print and pattern and Steph felt her strengths lay in more hands on stitch work. Being from a ceramics background, Chelsea said she loved clay work but her strong points included glazing and crackle work. Rachel felt she was particularly good at black and white line pen drawing and digital manipulation of imagery. It was a valuable insight to know everyone’s strong points but again there wasn’t much common ground between our disciplines.

This Led us to consider what it was that we really did have in common, we thought about this from many angles and considered how we could incorporate all of our practices. We came to the conclusion that the one thing in common we have throughout all of our disciplines is DRAWING.


So, We have decided to incorporate our different styles of sketching, different mediums and different surfaces to produce some sort of collaborative drawing. 

We are planning on making a large-scale collaborative drawing with a body of smaller ones leading up to it. We had the idea of maybe making the smaller ones into a collaborative diary/book that everyone could put their own stamp on. As of yet, we are not sure whether to draw lots of images from our own ideas or decide on one but we will just start drawing and see how it goes.

We say drawing in its loosest sense, because we thought that as well as drawing with charcoal and pencils and pens, we could all add in our own practices. The textiles girls quite fancied stitching into the paper and maybe adding bits of material to it. I was thinking of adding some paint and thick palette knife work and Rachel was thinking about digitally printing edited drawings and adding them in/collaging them on top. We are hoping that something visually very interesting will come out of this project because even though we are all drawing, we will all draw very differently because of our artistic backgrounds.



The initial inspiration for this final piece using petri dishes to create an art piece was a mug I forgot about that still have some tea in it. After I eventually remembered about it the bottom had started to mould and reminded me of how a sample in a petri dish sometimes looks. I instantly thought about the more scientific side to things decaying and started to work on how I could incorporate Petri Dishes into an art piece. Below is an image of the mug that inspired this thought.


I immediately got hold of some petri dishes and started filling them with things that would decay over time, like bread, milk, yoghurt, tea, juice and combinations of two or more of these ingredients. I wanted to see how they moulded in a dish with little air and different conditions to how I have moulded things before. At this point, I was not really sure how I was going to use these pieces to create an art piece but I was confident that eventually I would. Below are images of some of the petri dishes before and after they have started to mould. Some of them have become very interesting objects and will continue changing over time but I did not feel that displaying these objects alone as art was enough.


petri dishes 2      petri dishes

I decided to paint the inside of some more petri dishes with fake mould to create a juxtaposition between the real and the not real. This idea was inspired by Vija Celmins “to fix the image in memory” which plays with post perspective by asking what is real? In this work, there are two rocks, one is real and one is an imitation.  There is the same principle as a hall of mirrors. This undoes the notion of realistic artwork because we have no idea which one is art.


To fix the image in memory series – Vija Celmin

Creating real and fake moulding petri dishes and displaying them altogether does make the viewer ask themselves which ones are art? Are they all art, as one piece? Are the petri dishes miniature paintings or symbols of decay? that is up to you. By doing this, I have tried to show a juxtaposition between things changing over time (real mould) and preserving time or capturing a moment in the decay process (fake mould). Interesting things are happening when displaying these two notions together. In my opinion the piece that I have created from petri dishes is one of my most successful.

petri dishes petri dishes 2
“Petri Dish Artwork”

The juxtaposition between the real and the fake within decay is something I have explored over and over throughout the project and I feel that this piece sums up my findings accurately which is why I chose to display it as a final outcome. Also, it almost bridges a gap between science and art and I like how it looks aesthetically. It will be interesting to see how the real Petri dishes mould over time and how they look in relation to the ones I have painted. It is interesting that this final piece will continue to decay.