Monday, 22 June 2009


I've been nonchalantly researching mirrors, as I work on various things, the notion of the mirror is an integral part of the story of The Lady of Shalott.
In medieval times mirrors were made from highly polished stone, usually formed from volcanic deposits such as obsidian.
I do love a bit of Tezcatlipocl - aka The Smoking Mirror...

An obsidian mirror is associated with witchcraft, so why is The Lady of Shalott not depicted as a witch?
Contrasted against the Victorian process of creating mirrors with a layer of silver on glass, then adapted to aluminium that forms contemporary mirrors.

What is interesting is that I've been playing with broken mirrors. Not ones that I've broken, no, pieces of broken mirror found. Apparently I should grind the mirrors up should they have stolen my soul!

Of course, at one stage I did write on my own camera "The Lady of Shalott" in reference to the fact that she sees the world through a mirror.
How mirrors are used in telescopes - Sir Lancelot at one point is described as a bearded meteor blazing a trail,
" The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy. "

So I started to think of Lancelot as a constellation seen through a telescope. And his horse, a Trojan horse....
thinking of the phallic symbol of the telescope.....
Wondering how I can represent that with Sarah Lucas in mind but moving on from the level of tabloid satirical critique.


Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Lady of Shalott / Brothers Quay

Last night I was tinkering around in my studio; I have made a boat for the Lady of Shalott, which still needs finishing elements, but is otherwise taking shape.

The Lady of Shalott doll doesn't stand up. She has articulated wired arms and legs, and sits nicely, but she has no means of support when standing unless I prop her up with a support of some kind.

So I found an old mirror frame, for a small bathroom mirror, in which the mirror itself fell out ages ago. I have taken the doll out of the box to experiment with ways of photographing her on location around the city.

She is now stepping through the mirror frame, upon which I was thinking of attaching more broken mirror shards for that Lady of Shalott drama!

I awoke this morning and was looking at her in the studio, looking like something from the Brothers Quay, and figuring out in my head how to animate her. She firstly needs more heads, and I lament not making her original head detachable so that I can change them for animation purposes. I may adapt her for that reason, but I don't like the idea of messing with the original (and finished) doll.
So I think I'll eventually start to make extra heads and then decide later.

This is inspirational:

I want to have her on my dressing table, in a sewing box, with cotton reels and pincushions, as she is her own tapestry, being a doll and all.... dolls and mirrors.

I wanted to create Brothers Quay type animations during my degree, but never had the time or the technical knowhow to really do it justice.

I'm thinking of The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer as a reference for exhibiting the Lady of Shalott doll for a Brothers Quay style installation at the Summer Gala...

Friday, 19 June 2009

Lincoln Artist's Market

I will be selling a range of work at Lincoln Artist's Market on Sunday 28th June 2009.

Some of the work is illustration, including cards and paintings, and some is related to The Lady Of Shalott, ie mirrors with quotes on (written backwards) and of course I would hope to receive commissions for Lady of Shalott dolls.
The last artist's market was at the end of May, so I have images from that.

The Lady of Shalott doll will be displayed for commissions.

This weekend and next week early, I hope to take the Lady of Shalott doll on location around Lincoln.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

As well as considering The Lady of Shalott, I have been working on optimising my website. And I decided to test whether my metatags are working.
I was also trying to equate in my mind the work I'm doing now with my previous work based on A-ha's Take On Me video.
At first it felt or seemed as though I'm going for a complete departure from it, but fundamentally the philosophy is still the same.

Whilst checking my metatags I came across this piece of Hindu philosophy:

I'm reflecting on my old installation, but also thinking about how it relates to this new work, and philosophically, The Lady of Shalott follows the same train of thought that links Dostoyevsky to Baudrillard, Borges, Philip K Dick, and seemingly all religious theological query.
Fascinating link with the mirror of Maya :-)

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Lady of Shalott

The return of the dolls!
The Lady of Shalott is the subject for my latest doll creation.
The Lady of Shalott forms part of a series of events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who wrote the poem The Lady of Shalott. This doll and related works create a discourse with the painting by John William Waterhouse currently on loan at The Collection in Lincoln.

"I am half - sick of shadows" said The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott can only view the world through a mirror, and as such follows on from part of my fine art theory relating to Baudrillard's simulacra and simulations. She is like Neo, trapped in The Matrix, until she DOES look at Lancelot for real and the mirror shatters, bringing a mysterious "curse" upon her. The poem contains many, many levels, regarding Lancelot's many suitors, unrequited love, terminal illness, drugs, medieval aspects of feminism, sex and the possibility that it refers to deadly STDs, the Victorian mindset regarding death and mourning, Neo Platonism and what Borges says about mirrors being monstrous etc.

These mirrors were made with quotes from the Tennyson poem printed backwards (can only be seen through a mirror) and installed in appropriate locations around the city of Lincoln. The Lady of Shalott is located very much locally to Lincoln, which would historically have been an island within the fen landscape, the hill with the castle at the top providing the "four gray walls and four gray towers" inhabited perhaps by the Lady of Shalott.
The Brayford Pool with its barges reflects aspects of the poem succinctly.

"From The bank and from the river,
he flashed into the crystal mirror,
'Tirra Lirra', by the river,
Sang Sir Lancelot"

"And sometimes through the mirror blue,
The knights come riding two and two,
she hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott"

"And moving thro' a mirror clear,
that hangs before her all the year,
shadows of the world appear"

I am planning to continue this installation for the Summer Gala, July 18, 2009, located around Brayford Waterfront in Lincoln. I'm thinking of including the Lady of Shalott doll somehow, and to re-install these mirrors around the Brayford Waterfront and beyond, to form an art installation that hopefully will enthrall and excite visitors, especially those who are aware of the Lady of Shalott work currently exhibiting in The Collection.

I am also wishing to gain commissions for Lady of Shalott dolls at the next Lincoln Artist market, Steep Hill, 28th June 2009.