University Of Tasmania
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An exploration of the boat form and the element of water through craft based sculptural works

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:17 authored by Randall, NJ
This project seeks to communicate through sculpture different facets of humanity's interaction with the ocean, ranging from water as calm and reflective to water as a turbulent force. In doing so it reflects on both our intimate connection with water as well as our vulnerability in the face of its elemental power, using the boat form to explore these themes. The works are a direct result of my own lived experience, that experience being a lifetime connection to boats and the marine environment. Inspired by my experience as a diver immersed in the ocean being twisted and bent by the currents, I have imagined the boat form losing its buoyancy and sinking below the surface, losing its rigidity and yielding to the forces of the sea. To communicate this more clearly, the boat has been distilled down to its archetypal form by removing all elements aside from the hull as the hull is the element which intimately and directly connects with water. The reductivist nature of Constantin Brancusi's sculptural works has informed my project in this regard. Technique is key to my practice with my background as a furniture designer and maker and through this project the potential benefits and disadvantages of integrating digital technology into a traditional craft practice by digitizing the previously analogue cold moulding method is explored. Practitioners who take a craft‚ÄövÑv™based approach such as Matthias Pleissnig, Wendell Castle and Joseph Walsh have all informed my practice in the way that they create a synthesis of art, craft and design in their work My intent for this project is to demonstrate through taking a measured and considered approach to the implementation of digital technology, craftspeople can utilize the power of these tools to create more ambitious projects without compromising the integrity of their work. The final exhibition is comprised of three archetypal forms in space which respond to the contrasting characteristics of water through the boat form. They are intended to evoke a sense of our vulnerability in the face of the elemental forces of nature as embodied in the element of water which can both sustain life but also take it. The practical results were that it was demonstrated that the cold moulding has the potential to be successfully adapted for smaller scale projects with the assistance of digital fabrication techniques.


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Copyright 2019 the author

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