‘Headings’ – 2017 – Chrystal Roc plaster and seed heads.
I have not quite finished this piece but there’s not too much further to go with it. It sits on the chest of drawers in my bedroom, next to a window. It looked so peaceful in the morning light. I was planning to cover the whole of the vessel with seed heads but my children said that it looked finished. I think they may be right.
This piece which drilled into my attraction to the poppy seed heads I had gathered, and finding a way to incorporate them into an artwork has led me along particular lines of thought; attraction and its part in the continuance and evolution of life, how we are agents of evolution and what we do and think matters.
I am self-employed and have a variety of revenue streams; well some are trickles, and some are dry river beds for most of the year. But they all add up. One of the more steady flows of income is gardening. I am not a horticulturalist but I know how to shape a hedge and keep most things alive. One of my regular gardens has beautiful poppies that grow in greater number each year. This is them.
Although poppies don’t flower for long I wanted some for my own garden. The beauty of the flowers had lured me like a bee and turned me in to a slave to its need for proliferation. Evolution through a random variation of spreading; unlikely but I was happy to do the poppies bidding. So once the flowers had gone by I pruned of all the seed heads and collected the seeds as the heads dried up and opened. I have quite decent tub full now. The dried heads are beautiful things in themselves so I kept them. I put some in vases around the flat and the rest were stored head down in a plastic tub. Here they all are.
I started doing some direct casting into clay. This is a simple process, of making a bed of clay and then building a wall around it to the depth you want your relief to be. Press in to the clay with an object such as a shell and pull it out. Pour plaster into the empty space with the wall holding it all in until the plaster ‘goes off’ or hard. Turn the hard piece upside-down, remove the clay and you’re left with a fossil like cast of the object. So I was doing some direct casting and I was hunting around for different things to press into the clay and tried a dried poppy seed-head. To my surprise it was tough enough to withstand being pressed into clay and pulled back out again. Here are a couple of pieces I did using this technique. The second one I painted once the plaster had fully gone off.
The story doesn’t end there so look out for further installments