Resurfacing Bookworm

I returned back to University this week! I feel quite nervous about progressing into my final year, but I’m also very excited to start taking my practical work to the next level.

To kick-start my creative juices, I took a little trip to the University library. We have a large collection of art, design and craft books, as well as a huge archive of online journals.

Seeing as my designs have started to grow in scale, I thought it would be good to look into the realm of sculpture a little more. I started off with James Kelly’s ‘The Sculptural Idea’ (1981).

This had some really strong concepts in it that I liked, and a few really interesting statements that I could potentially look into with some more depth for our contextual studies unit for this academic year.

“To be a practitioner one works hard to refine those ideas and forms that have relevance to oneself and the world.”

“Sculpture is dependent on space. Without space, sculptural form would not exist.”

I then stuck my nose into some books about particular sculptors, including Andy Goldsworthy, Tony Cragg and Nancy Graves.


There are particular elements of each of these sculptors that draws me to their work, and for different reasons. I think it is important for me to keep an open mind when researching, because you never know what you might take away from someone else’s work.

One particular piece of work I discovered; Nancy Graves’ ‘Variability and Repetition of Variable Forms’ (1971) I found particularly interesting. I really loved how this piece is arranged, as it reminds me of looking into the forest, and I found myself naturally picking out the negative spaces from it, as I do in a forest landscape.

In fact, James Kelly references this piece when discussing negative space in ‘The Sculptural Idea’ (1981):

“Negative space is primarily the area of air mass that is not occupied by matter but has a direct proximity and influence on the appearance of form.”

I decided that I would take out the book about Graves’ sculptural work, so that I could look closer into her concepts behind her work. I also want to look more closely and the way she colours her bronze sculptures, as it is a unique way of working that I want to learn more about.


If you don’t hear from me for a while – I’ll be stuck in my little research world!

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