Linda Tudor PSG :: Peter Parkinson

Linda Tudor

sketch by Linda Tudor

I have worked with Peter on several courses, learning forging techniques and enjoying the conversations that so often happen between artist craftsmen from different disciplines. The common ground between two seemingly disparate fields quickly became apparent. Not only the importance of good observation, drawing and design, but the manipulative techniques of braiding, wrapping, twisting, spiralling and the use of the repeated unit, that occur in both.

Peter and Linda working on metal

For my own part, I became more aware of the wonderful iron work in our towns and cities and the way in which a hard metal can be made to apparently flow, curve and twist as if it were a ribbon or draping fabric. Also, looking at metalwork has made me appreciate how important form is, especially where colour and surface decoration are minimal.

Like Peter I enjoy pushing the boundaries and seeing what unexpected things a material can do. To this end, I have created "Medusa", loosely based on a jellyfish. Repeated sections of layered and stiffened wool are made to stand on their edges and describe a three-dimensional, organic form.

Medusa by Linda Tudor in Creative Dialogues

In teaching students from other crafts disciplines, Peter has in turn, been curious about the techniques used by them in their own fields and has learnt techniques from textile artists and basket makers. The piece exhibited here is made using a traditional, spiral plaiting technique, used by corn dolly makers and basket weavers. Tapered straws or willow wands tend to produce a conical form, whereas here steel rods-being parallel-give rise to a parallel spiral.

To quote Peter,

work by Peter Parkinson

Since much of my work is both fairly large scale and commissioned, I do not have as much time as I would like for experiment. As a result I have odd sketchbook notes of forms, processes and ideas I would like to try, which often never see the light of day. This piece derives directly from the corn dolly spiral plaiting technique. I have always been interested in the approaches and techniques employed in other crafts. In this instance, it seemed to me that there is an untapped source of metalworking ideas in the processes and structures, which can result from simply hot bending one element over another.

work by Peter Parkinson in Creative Dialogues

detail of work by Peter Parkinson in Creative Dialogues

This piece was intended as the first of a series, which would develop through the blacksmithing approach of progressively forging the section of each element from one end to the other before plaiting – tapering, flattening, or twisting and perhaps dealing with the projecting ends of each element. I am still looking forward to trying the others.

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