Greif cast out
Plaster Longs is an installation of hanging bone-like objects. Each Plaster Long is cast by hand using nylon stockings and hung individually to build up a floating forest of vertical forms that seems to have appeared out of thin air.
This installation marked the start of my art and design education. It came at the end of a year-long Art and Design Foundation Course on the north edge of Bristol, at what was then called Filton College. It was a relatively small course, with pretty basic workshop facilities, but what we lacked in practical resources we like to think we made up for with imagination.
The workshop and studio making Plaster Longs
For me this year also coincided with the first year of my life without my Dad. He died suddenly in my last year of school. What I am only able to see with hindsight, is that moving straight onto my foundation course at Filton College was probably the best place I could have been. The year long, hands-on creative exploration of materials and making processes, free of national curriculum agendas was effectively art therapy.
Over the course of the week long installation of Plaster Longs, the weight of the plaster and the small air bubbles trapped inside caused some of the Plaster Longs to crack and fall to the ground. I gathered these broken bones and lay them to rest in a cardboard casket beneath the others still hanging.
The casket for fallen Plaster Longs
Development and experimentation
The installation was developed through a series of iterative, intutitive material experiments, exploring texture, weight, light and form. This started on the pages of my sketchbook and progressed to physical experiements. It included a smaller hanging installation of floating scrim (fibre) tubes; they were hung with fishing wire to hover at a consistent level, just a centimetre above the floor. They appeared to grow out of nowhere and disappeared into the white walls behind, yet also softly echoed the movements of passersby.
Experiments: floating fibre longs
I documented Plaster Longs in a small handmade photographic book, and produced a series of ink, charcoal and pencil sketches also bound as books.