I had a clear idea on which workshops I wanted to explore, but in looking at the research photographs I had collected I saw that in fact my eye was far more interested in netting or open textured woks. It was obvious to me that I needed to look at this closer and go with where my instinct would take me. I am not a skilled knitter or with a crochet hook and this also appealed as it was where I would stretch myself, it was out of my comfort zone. I worked in crochet on a large hook and found a simple enough pattern of which I could produce a length of open patterned work.
length of crochet in a simple shell pattern.
The pattern isn’t remarkable though it does have a repeat pattern that I thought would create a pretty regular pattern in shadow. I was wrong.
The spotlight was positioned on the ceiling approximately 4 foot away from the piece of crochet. I loved the subtle effect of the shadow, but wondered how useful this would be? How would I replicate this with other materials, should I replicate this, what could this effect be used for? I then brought in another spot light to the left and this light was harsher and was positioned about 6″ from the crochet. The effect wasn’t dissimilar to the previous shadows. I had thought that this would show the actual pattern of the crochet a s a shadow. I wonder why this diffusion of the pattern was happening.
When I had been researching artists use of light and shadow I had been intrigued by the work of Tim Noble and Sue Webster, who had compiled a formless array of random objects which when light was passed over it formed a distinct and recognisable shadow onto the wall beyond.
Noble, Tim. Webster, Sue. 2012 Young man [wooden step ladder, discarded wood, light projector] At: http://www.timnobleandsuewebster.com/youngman_2012.html (Accessed on: 23.06.2015)
Webster, Sue. Noble, Tim. 2009-2010. Wild mood swings. [2 wooden step ladders, discarded Wood and light projector] At: http://www.timnobleandsuewebster.com/wild_mood_swings_2009-10.html (Accessed on: 23.06.2015)
My only conclusion was that because the yarn and thus the crochet was a soft material with no real hard edges the light must have played through it in some way. The materials used by Noble and Webster where all solid materials that have hard edges and, distinct opaque areas where light could not penetrate. If I wanted to create a solid crisp shadow I would need to keep this in mind. Given that I decided to see what shadow something solid cast. I placed some plates, spoons and forks on a friends glass dining table and using the light above managed to create some shadows onto the floor that had the crisp , easily recognisable forms.
I then took a photograph of the shadow this pattern cast on to the ceiling. This light was cast from the ceiling light through the glass table then reflected up from the floor back onto the ceiling. Complicated yes, but that was the journey the light had taken to give this effect on the ceiling.It was diffused as I expected but some items are recognisable. My thought then is how would I use this information? I have no idea but at least I was beginning to understand a little of how light, reflections and shadows can work.
I am not sure why I find myself looking for what creates a crisp shadow but I needed to follow my curiosity.
I had a couple of Heddles made form metal, and wanted to see what shadow such a dense material would cast.
I began with a spot light close to the heddles positioned at the front about 8 inch away.
Nothing obvious in shadow on the wall behind?
The shadow behind is not obvious even from taking a picture close to the heddle.
The thick edge of the heddle is casting a bluish tinge onto the wall but still not much sight of the hard vertical lines? There is only a small amount of the bars showing to the right of the picture.
This photograph was taken closer to the heddle which shows some of the shadows but they are still not clean and crisp as I thought they may have been.
I switched to the heddle where the rods were spaced father apart. This was showing more of the form of the heddle.
Above is a photograph where i am peering over the heddle onto the wall. Here we are seeing the vertical rods which are further away from the heddle.
Here I positioned the spotlight above, shining around 4 foot above the heddle. The shadows I had expected appeared.
Here I like the cross hatched effect created by the heddle and the shadow.
In this picture I have the heddle leaning against the wall the light again from above. These are the shadows I thought I would get regardless of where the light originated from. It is becoming clear that I need the light further away from the object. In Webster and Nobles images the light since was quite a distance away from their composed item. No doubt they will have gone through the exact same process I was working on. Where to place the light source for the best shadow effect. This would account for the shadow starting to appear on the first projections of the heddle farthest away from my spotlight.
Here the shadow is getting more defined and crisp.
And there it is!
My thought then turned to what shadow I would get if I stretched the crochet length over the heddle? I was chuffed and very pleased with the effect.
Whilst it wasn’t a crisp shadow of the pattern, I found the effect was almost like a marbling effect. It was slightly stronger shadow that my first crochet experiment, but on reflection not too dissimilar. Was my expectations different, or had I simply taken a step from wanting to predict and stage a shadow to one of being excited by whatever the outcome was? Had my mindset shifted? I was sure it had.