Shadows Past and Present
September 12, 2007
This is the Long Man of Wilmington, a 69metre (227 feet) high ancient hill figure on the South Downs. I’ve known him since my childhood, and naturally he is part of the background ‘landscape of thinking’ that lies behind my proposed ‘Metamorphosis’ piece.
You can find out more about the Long Man on the web-site of the Sussex Archaeological Society.
The Long Man seems to change shape depending on the position you view him from, as is shown in these two sketches……
The image on the left is the Long Man as he appears from the foot of the South Downs and the one on the right the shape he actually is, as revealed by aerial photography.
Making ‘Metamorphosis’ requires drawing up a full-sized template and drawing a large image flat on the floor presents similar problems, since you can’t stand back to get a better look at the proportions of the work. Drawing a big image on the wall would also be impractical since I don’t have a high ceiling (nor a head for heights!)
With this in mind I’m hoping that tracing round different people’s elongated shadows on the ground will be a nice way of arriving at some interesting images. Furthemore, since the shadow templates will be drawn on the ground they should ‘look right’ on the gallery floor, whether seen from floor level or from above – eg. from a stair or balcony. Having traced a fair sized shadow it is an easy matter to square it up like a tapestry cartoon.
Just to get started my partner drew round my shadow as it fell accross a large sheet of paper laid out on the grass…….
This was traced at mid-morning and is 250cm (8ft. 2inches) long.
(Although it was just intended as an initial ‘try-out’ to get a feel for the process I like the drawing and may scale it up larger to use at some future date.)
Later I scattered the head and shoulders of the drawing with a few embroidered slate flakes just to get a rough idea of how the piece might eventually look…….
The final work will be on a much larger scale and with the flakes more densely placed. Also the flakes will be spread onto a plain white horizontal plinth and not on top of a drawing on paper. However I’m quite pleased with the early indications.
Work will be interrupted for a few days as I’ve to be at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC, Birmingham. I’m not exhibiting finished work this time but do intend having some ‘works in progress’ on the Embroiderers’ Guild stand, including the still unfinished ‘Studies’ piece (see earlier postings) and some shadow drawings.
I’ll also be stitching more slate flakes……
I’m hoping visitors to the Knitting and Stitching Show will find this blog and post comments about the show (click on the ‘how to leave a comment’ page if your’e not sure how to do it).
Looking forward to reading your comments…..