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Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Studies 1996 - 2012. Photography by Tobias Titz

I feel all of my work is in a state of becoming. In this way each is a sketch or study for something larger, smaller, in a different material for a different function or simply to be enjoyed in a new way. Cameron Bruhn (the now Editorial Director of Architecture Media) succinctly described my process in his review of my very first solo exhibition RECENT in 2002 in the following way:

FORMS WERE GENERATED UNCONSCIOUSLY BY Waterson’s engagement with the techniques and material of her craft. Like the architect Louis Kahn, she asked the brick what it wanted to be. Waterson’s process answered the question. She probed the physical limits of her materials through a study of structural forces, repetition, spatial manipulation, and scale. She probed the metaphoric through association, subversion, and memory.

extract from The Architecture of Being by Cameron Bruhn 01/02 Artichoke

The small studies pictured above are a selection of my firsts. They are a special record of the very first time my feelings came into being through materials. They are a constant link to the essential ideas, qualities and forces that inform my process and, like a ribbon on my finger, remind me of why I make.

Within the range of studies displayed in TRACE are models for Array 2007 (that became the 20 x 30 metre RAIA Ceiling Installation for the Queensland Architecture Awards) and also little constructions for future works, maybe to become jewellery, screens, ceilings or lights… or all of the above.

Trace 2012. My quick photography as we installed the exhibition. They are so beautiful!

All of the studies are hand-made except one related set Trace 2012 and Crown 2010. They are my first experiments using SLS and 3D Printing. I worked with architect Domenic Mesiti to ‘trace’ Crown (Part of the Komodo Series),  simplifying the parts down to a continuous surface; like draping a soft material or skin over the bones of the original form. Trace at the presented scale is close to the size of a bracelet – but could be scaled up or down. Patricia Lee, Talented Product Design Officer at Palamont, prototyped TRACE bracelet for the exhibition.

Special thank you to Domenic Mesiti and Patricia Lee for their amazing skill, expertise and professionalism.

Norman Johnson (How We Create and Manager of Palamont) and Patricia Lee (Talented Product Design Officer at Palamont) prototyped TRACE bracelet for the exhibition. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Scale Screen 2012 by Christina Waterson (Detail). Photography by Tobias Titz 2012.

The development of Scale Screen occurred over many years. This project was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body (through a New Work – Established – Australia Council Grant)Scale Screen’s origins are linked to my Bloom Series Home-wares and furniture range, launched in 2009. From the outset of the development of The Bloom Series, I had always envisioned Pixel Screen (pictured below) to be realised in coated sheet metal.

Pixel Screen part of The Bloom Series 2009 by Christina Waterson. Photography by Jon Linkins 2009.

Through the Australian Council Grant I rationalised the design of Pixel Screen in coated sheet metal to ensure modularity, as well as fabrication and installation ease. Importantly throughout this process I maintained the essential qualities of the original artwork. The streamlining of Pixel Screen however meant the adaption was different enough to warrant a new name. The name Scale Screen comes from the form of the elements that make up the screen. They look like reptile scales (especially Brown Snakes or Frilly Necked Lizards, and also like the opened mouth of a Frilly Necked Lizard) so the name directly reflects this quality and also references my unique country Australian childhood;

The surface, colour and depth of the Scale Screen project is informed by the skin of Taipan and King Brown snakes. In my hometown of Sharon in Queensland, the remnants of shedded snakeskin on timber joists proves a reminder of the local reptilian residents – snakes rub on the rough joists to break their skin for the process of shedding. Amongst Australia’s most aggressive and poisonous snakes, the beauty of their skin belies their potential danger. I play with the duality of the notions of protective efficiency and deadly beauty as being inherent to Australian native flora and fauna.

In the foreground: Scale Screen 2012 Photography by Tobias Titz 2012.

A distant and more acute view of Scale Screen 2012 to the right. Photography by Tobias Titz 2012.

My works are intended to be experienced in space, time and light. This is particularly clear in the development of Scale Screen 2012. The patterns within its surface are 3-dimensional; they are patterns that exist in space – new patterns are revealed and continuously evolve as you walk around the work.

I applied the knowledge I gained through the Australia Council Grant Research and Development to other subsequent commissions. Taking Flight (pictured below) uses the same fabrication techniques as Scale Screen but has dramatic differences in form and concept.

Taking Flight 2011

Conceptual Photography of Scale Screen’s sister work Taking Flight 2011 (Folded Aluminium wall relief commissioned by Aurecon) directly used the skills and knowledge from developing Scale Screen. Photography by Jon Linkins 2010.

Taking Flight 2011 by Christina Waterson installed in Aurecon’s Brisbane Head Office Reception. This work aimed to capture a sense of action and growth; similar to birds alighting from a forest or the flourish of blooms in spring. Photography by Jon Linkins 2011.

Scale Screen 2012 Detail by Christina Waterson within Trace at Pin-up Architecture and Design Project Space. Photography by James Braund.

Scale Screen 2012 Detail by Christina Waterson within Trace at Pin-up Architecture and Design Project Space. Photography by James Braund 2012.

I would like to sincerely thank the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body for assisting the Scale Screen project.

Shadow Set (Studies) 2012. Photography by Jon Linkins.

The studio photography of this work was undertaken with the exceptional Jon Linkins. Taking studies into the vacuum like atmosphere of a photographic studio is a fantastic moment to really see the work for what it is. This step is essential in seeing with fresh eyes. It ensures the true character is witnessed and may shine through in the photography, in later text and descriptions, and even in the work’s name. Jon and I intended to play with the scale and arrangement of these particular pieces to emphasise their strong presence and character of form and material. The final descriptive text below (edited kindly by Fleur Watson from Pin-Up Architecture and Design Project Space) was informed by these important moments in the studio:

Shadow Set is made from reclaimed black rubber. The material’s darkness, fluidity and overlay suggest the transient quality of shadows moving across a surface. In Shadow Set, the objects suggest they haven’t quite settled on their final form. Like hands casting a shadow of a rabbit, the source object is allusive – one may see a hint of rhinoceros beetles, bats, jellyfish, currawongs and flowers in the overlapping arabesques.

Shadow Set (Studies) 2012. Photography by Jon Linkins.

Installing works in a gallery environment is also an important moment in the process. Every installation in a new environment is different. For Trace at Pin-Up Project Space, we installed the pieces in a hanging cluster. Light was used to throw the distinct interior forms of the pieces as beautiful shadows on the wall. This re-enforced their nature and made people aware of space itself: the space between the elements within the work, between the lights and the walls of the gallery, and between the works and their shadow. Photographer Tobias Titz documented this quality beautifully.

Trace Installation Shadow Set (Studies) 2012. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Trace Installation Shadow Set (Studies) 2012. Photography by Tobias Titz.

My Winston Churchill Fellowship Adventure

My Winston Churchill Fellowship Research took me to Japan, China and Turkey to investigate the origins or (as I put it) the space hidden within the ancient patterns of these cultures. By space I mean:

– physical space (scale, depth, color, dimension, composition)

– non-physical space (accumulated knowledge through history; belief, meaning and intention; culture and way of life; nature and need; technology and local materials; the individual maker’s touch, and contribution)

– and the space of experience (built environment or architecture) in which the patterns are experienced as part of a greater whole.

Therefore my research was very rich and multi-layered, as my focus encompassed not only art, design and architecture but also the essence of the places visited and people met.

The space of experience at The Forbidden City, Beijing China.

Looking through my photographs of the intricate carpets, engravings, metalwork, carving, mosaics, ceramics, and textiles from each of the places I visited, one can only be inspired by the craftsmen and the objects of their making. When you experience them first hand you can feel their life and energy and see the imperfect marks made by their hands. The small discreet deviations from the ordered structure and repetition of the patterns made them human and importantly showed the mark of the individual in the transmission of stories, beliefs and skills from generation to generation, across materials, processes and culture.

Details that make the whole, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Turkey.

Colours and Patterns of Nature, Colours and Patterns of Place; Oriental Rugs at Liberty of London.

Materials and colors are of the place. They stem from the original natural environment of the time. The artefacts were made from these materials by people out of need in their everyday lives. The primitive patterns experienced record ancient man’s connection and dependence on nature and season. The meaning of the motifs, colors and significance of a pattern subtly vary from country to country, workshop to workshop, and artisan to artisan. There is a strong relation between purpose, material, and technique with place, and the realized form of the patterns.

Beautiful Spatial Bamboo Weaving with Ohashi-san, Beppu Japan.

The relationship between nature, making and beliefs in each of the countries was paramount to understanding their patterns. In Japan in particular patterns were based in simplicity, subtlety and beauty. Within the objects of their craft they ritually captured and used materials and processes that revealed the transient nature of their life and surroundings (the passing of seasons, light in the morning, a spider’s web under a new moon). This revealed their deep understanding of the imperfect and impermanent qualities of space and objects with the passing of time and through nature’s forces.

Very moving and personal experience of Karakami with Toto and Aiko from Karacho.

One of my key recommendations that came out of my research was to Foster further research and practice that reflects our own Australian natural environment and identity through our history, native materials, process and way of life. My exhibition entitled TRACE at Pin-up Project Space in Melbourne, was an opportunity to Explore these concepts in a series of new studies.

Trace maps and connects the underlying conceptual ideas that thread through the practice of Brisbane-based architect and artist Christina Waterson. By physically surveying the origins of her work, the new collection embodies a 3-dimensional ‘trace’, sketch or echo of past trajectories. A softening of material and a simplification of line results in Waterson’s return to essential forms and qualities. Like a stone smoothed by the tidal waters of the ocean, sharp lines soften to tactile curves and arabesques. A palette of materials that range from rubber, leather and felt resonate with a return to artisan values within the traditions of leatherwork, sewing, beading and macramé. A collection of work within the exhibition is informed by Waterson’s recent Winston Churchill Fellowship Research experiences… extract from Trace Exhibition Floor Sheet

The main body of text within this post includes key extracts from my Winston Churchill Fellowship Report.

Trace Opening Speeches: Norman Johnson (How We Create and Palamont), Fleur Watson (Pin-Up Project Space) and yes that's cheeky me. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Pin Up Project Space. Photography Tobias Titz.

I was so excited to finally share the works in Trace at Pin-Up Architecture and Design Project Space, Melbourne.  This opportunity to exhibit was made possible through the team at Pin-Up Project space. The generous support of How We Create (in mentorship, feedback, prototyping and sponsorship) ensured an amazing exhibition that is truly my best and most inspirational to date. After completing Official Duties I was able to enjoy catching up with the guests who attended the Trace opening.

Dear friends and colleagues Pawel Zab and Brett Duke. Photography by Tobias Titz.

New Scale Screen in the foreground was assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Norman Johnson (How We Create and Manager of Palamont) and Patricia Lee (Talented Product Design Officer at Palamont) also prototyped TRACE bracelet for the exhibition...Stay Tuned for details! Photography by Tobias Titz.

The beautiful Amy Hoffman (Light Project) with Simone Steel (Pin-up) who assisted in the lighting and installation of Trace respectively. Photography by Tobias Titz.

Ewan McEoin (Studio Propeller), Kate Rhodes (RMIT Design Hub) and Laura Sullivan (Pin Up). Photography by Tobias Titz.

Looking back through the space. Photography by Tobias Titz.

A very special thank you to Tobias Titz who captured the opening Night beautifully. Please see more of Tobias’ great work at his website.

We Begin

We unpacked the works and laid them out within the substantial space of the gallery. Some of the works were very very new and so it was the first time I had witnessed the parts together.

Kate Riggs follows my set out drawing of the NEW work Scale Screen.

It took us three intensive days and a few late nights to install TRACE. 

At the end of a late night Martyn Hook surveys the progress. My hands shake as I take this photo. I am so tired.

The works in the exhibition ranged from very small to quite large. A team of people worked with me to complete the installation. They included Kate Riggs (RMIT Architecture Student/Pin-up Student Assistant), Simone Steel (Pin-Up In-turn), The Martyn Hook ( Pin-Up co-Founder/Architect and Melbourne Editor of AR Magazine), Fleur Watson (Pin-Up co-Founder/Curator/Former Editor of Monument Magazine), and my dear friend and jeweller; the beautiful Anna Varendorff.

THANK YOU so Much!!!

Nearly Finished...

Jon Tarry Officially Hands over the Space. Yes I am doing a curtsy! Photo by Martyn Hook.

I had the pleasure of meeting Western Australian artist Jon Tarry. His exhibition Arrival Departure was the previous show to feature at Pin-Up Project Space. Great Work Jon!

Official Duties over… the truck arrives with my artwork!!!

Truck Arrives on Keele Street, Collingwood

Kate Opens the Gallery Gates!!!

I was so excited when the works arrived. They left Brisbane, Queensland on Thursday and Friday of the previous week.

Seven Crates in all jam-packed with inspiration!

Special THANK YOU to Ron Jumelet from Toll Group for transporting my works to Melbourne for the exhibition. Thank you also to Tony Schutte for tracking the crates and ensuring they arrived in time.