Friday, October 22, 2010

more tactile labyrinth making

You can only teach by creating an urge to learn.  
Victor Weisskopf
Knowing that the participants left the workshop yesterday curious to work more with labyrinths and willing themselves to find out more reassures me that the workshop worked!
Linking up some strands in finger labyrinths and the tactile work inspired by the buttons and painting being too flat I commissioned a local crafter to make the tactile finger labyrinth out of wood this flow of work continues into making a finger labyrinth which I started at the workshop yesterday. It is also an an altered book project.
I wanted to make a finger labyrinth and came up with a plan. 
A few weeks ago I went hunting for a large second hand childrens board book, I knew roughly the size I wanted but I had some difficulty locating it. But found this at the Gorey indoor market second hand book stall (which by the way is a real treasure trove). It is roughly 29.5cm squared. it has a nice bumpy top and right hand border. Perfect but did n't really want to pay €4 for something I was going to cut up. So I did and it has been sitting patiently waiting in my studio to be transformed.
Yesterday during the labyrinth workshop I drew and cut out the shape - wall and path of a finger labyrinth - within the book. 
Beginning altered book finger labyrinth. Roisin Markham
I am debating should I put velvet or sandpaper or some contrasting texture for the cut out wall?
My original idea was to glue the stencil of the labyrinth to the back page and paint it white. But as I continue to work on it the ideas evolve I love that. I shall be exploring, questioning, asking, sharing and looking for your opinions.
What do you think of it with tinfoil in the background? I like the idea of it as a template or a stencil. Where children can trace the shape on to paper with crayons. originally I was thinking of something more sophisticated and grown up but I kinda like this too. It is playful. I might introduce two pages one on either side for different textures.
The path is to be placed on another page
Wall cutout and path relief. Altered book project. Roisin Markham
The plan is to work on this project in the exhibition space 'of earth and soul' on the third floor at 96 South Wexford Main Street over the weekend. I look forward to your input and having playful fun with this one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Labyrinths and other forms of mazes

Thinking about my blog post yesterday and Rose Hughes comment about
"I also find it intriguing how a motif may capture us in our youth and continue to move and grow within ourselves throughout our lives"
I thought about all the other avenues and interests that I know now link into this area of interest: landscape mazespotagers, parterres, garden design and the places I had to visit like Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley, the beech maze at Russborough House, the labyrinth below the fountain in the centre of Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo. The corn maze that I loved just outside Dublin in the 90's.
I feel like I have finally given myself permission to full engage with this motif. What was it Dorothea Lange said

Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion... the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.
Here are some pictures of the completed labyrinth made during the workshop this morning. It now awaits interaction in the exhibition space at 96 South Main Street in Wexford. Come and explore.

Labyrinth in situ 'of earth and soul' expo 2010
 I also started working on easy make finger labyrinth that I will blog about tomorrow. I'll take more shots of the detail of the Labyrinth at the weekend. Be interesting to see how people respond to it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Labyrinths and your creative or mediative process

Tomorrow I am looking forward to sharing some of my work on labyrinths at the workshop.
The shape has been dominating my work and its presence can be seen in my current exhibition online preview here.
At the opening of the exhibition a friend commented on the fact that as a teenager I was always drawing mazes and this is indeed true. I love that our connection and her knowledge of my creative work can see the link to the labyrinth and how far back it goes in my creative consciousness.
maze doodle circa 1985
Roisin Markham
As a teenager I was fascinated with Celtic knot work in both manuscripts and metal relief work reflected in such Irish treasures like the Book of Kells and Ardagh Chalice. Perhaps this is where my love of typography came from too.
After learning how to do celtic knot work I developed my own take on it for my portfolio for art college. It too evolved and became my doodle that I did idly everyday everywhere. A maze doodle that is linked to this labyrinth work even now.
Amazingly I did come across some examples of the doodle after being handed a crusty biscuit tin of old letters and photos. I love that I can share this with you so that you can see how old my link is to this topic.
For the workshop tomorrow I plan on teaching people how to draw labyrinths, and explore the idea of what it holds. I'll speak a little on what this work has brought me to insights into process, discovery and reflection on my journey living creatively every day.
Have you got an image or motif that you use, collect or it catches your curiosity?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tactile art for 'earth and soul'

You know at exhibitions there are often signs saying "Don't touch" I've long haboured a passion to make work that has a sign that says TOUCH, PLAY, Discover... an exhibition about full on engagement and tactile discovery for the sense of touch. I think that is why I originally learnt how to make felt I envisage large wall hangings of interactive art.
My exhibtion 'of earth and soul' is exactly where I am right now. But work has been evolving I'm exploring 3D. It has started with paper, photography and has moved as far as film but not quiet into 3D...
Although I have been saving a sheeps fleece to work on at the exhibition and make a felt tactile labyrinth to explore with hands.
Labyrinth path freehand drawing
For this exhibition I asked a local crafter John Kenny (you'll find him at the Coolgreaney farmers market the first Saturday of every month) who works in wood to explore and collaborate on making my designs.
I gave john the drawing and some photograph's along with a glass marble. The idea was that the blue line was to allow a third depth of a finger into the smoothness of the wood. A small glass marble to be able to roll around.
I am delighted with what John created, a carved shallow groove into sycamore wood. The piece is 31.5 x 28.5 x 2.5 cm and will be offered for play at my exhibition but will it be offered for sale? there is a question.
Finger Labyrinth 

Monday, October 11, 2010

What is painting for you ?
Twitter is an amazing communication tool - it engages people in a complex web of communication activities interlocking relationship, building diverse communication structures, tribes and all in the simplest and most effective way of 140 characters.
Anyway on Friday last I started tweeting about the preview of my exhibition, its over on the CreativeDynamix blog.
What ya mean you have n't seen it yet?
GO straight away and look here, I'll wait till you come back...
Okay what did you think? Which one do you like most? Did you leave a comment, I'd love you to leave a comment... Do you comment on peoples blogs?
@RevezNexus retweeted my preview tweet and I asked him had he had a look this was the reply
@RevezNexus  yep ...& quite like the paintings ..;-)
I thanked him for the the feedback and wished him a good weekend to which he responded
@CreativeDynamix you too creative soul..: what is painting for you?
Now that is a great question. I found myself returning to it all weekend...


  • A pure form of self expression 
  • a starting point for a conversation with you and others
  • When I start painting I just paint
  • I tell stories with colour and brush stroke
  • Often when I paint I go to a place between the earth and somewhere else, it is like a mediation - a big soul connection for me; I don't always end up in that place but when work is going well I lift a brush or open a tube of paint and I am there
  • I process things when I paint
  • I write and journal as a lead in to my painting so it is very much a layered process
  • Dynamic energetic
  • an important part of my positive mental health (my husband will tell you I'm a complete pain if I'm not painting I get full of angst and tetchy)
  • my way of making sense of my world

Where do you funnel your creative energy into? What is that choice for you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Trusting that you do know

I paint. I journal on the paper or canvas first. Then I paint. I seldom start with an idea of the outcome in my head. This takes courage. This takes detachment. As the painting evolves sometimes quickly I follow an inner sense of knowing and go with what seems to be right. Visually I know when something is right or not. Colour is critical in my abstract paintings, forms present themselves and are typically flowing.
Yesterday morning I finished a painting that I started years ago I'm trying to remember how long ago it was four or five years. I know this because it links to a series of paintings I made titled 'Inland' and one sold at a show I curated for Microsoft Ireland in July 2005. The painting reached a point I liked but was incomplete, it has lived on and off an easel in my studio. I always knew it had potential there was something about the simplicity of the washed background and the depth of the dark green shape. The blue used to go straight and directly to the center it was never right. A few years ago I was determined to finish it, it watch over my studio from my easel for months surveying what I did there. Gently mocking me for not being able to finish it. Until yesterday I never knew how to complete this painting.
inland ii, 2005 - 2010
78 x 55 cm on 360gm watercolour paper.
I had two paintings to finish last week for my up and coming exhibition 'of earth and soul'. I worked on other things for fear that in the process of painting them I would ruin them. Of course that's happened before. I knew I had to quieten myself so I could follow my authentic voice that brings me into my creative flow. Not always easy to get into or stay when so many things require your attention like running a business or being a Mum you run on others time tables. I'm not complaining its just something I constantly work with as part of my reality when making creative work.
I hardly ever paint with white, its just not something that comes up this is buttery creamy white complimenting an almost light green gray.
I'm looking forward to taking this work to the framers Monday morning. Some of today has been spent compiling all the information documenting, measuring, naming and getting ready to push this work out in to the world. Presenting it for sale, for viewing my piece is almost done.
The second painting is green and proving impossible to photograph! it's perplexing.

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