Christabel Budd is a mixed media creative practitioner studying BA(hons) Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth. Her work is inspired by experience, reacting to her environment, places visited and the atmosphere of a place, which is described using a limited palette. Her work initially begins with observation of a place, quick expressive location drawings and snap shots to capture her viewpoint of the place at that moment. Often these are then translated into knitted sculptures or 2D images.
WHY I KNIT INFLUENCES EXPERIMENTATION IS KEY PIXEL PERFECT SIZE MATTERS THEORY FEEDS PRATICE ONLINE LOOKING GOOD COMPETITIONS, EXHIBITIONS AND WORKING TOGETHER FEELANCE PRACTICE AND SELF-PROMOTION WHERE NOW? BIBLIOGRAPHY
Untitled Mister Mourao (n.d). [online image]. Available from: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2011/10/ vasco-mourao/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 2 Untitled Mister Mourao (n.d). [online image]. Available from: http://surfaceandsurface. com/2012/10/30/mister-mourao/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 3 The Orange County Government Center. Whelan, R. (2012). Challenging Brutalist Building Under Threat. [online image]. Available from: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142 4052702304746604577380153823222564 [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 4 Flur (corridor) Demand, T. (n.d). [online image]. Available from: http://www.saatchigallery.com/aipe/thomas_demand.htm [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 5 Architecture: San Jose (2011).[online image]. Available from: http://globalgraphica.com/2011/04/16/architecture-san-jose-brutalism/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 6 From the Series â€˜Fictionsâ€™. Dujardin, F. (n.d). [online image]. Available from: http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/architecture/articles/2011/october/06/brutalist-architecture-the-remix/ [Accessed 12 May 2014]
Figure 7 Badezimmer/ Bathroom Demand, T. (1997). [online image]. Available from: http://premierartscene.com/magazine/ thomas-demand-in-berlin/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 8 Cityscape? Opie, J. (1998-9). [online image]. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ opie-cityscape-p78314 [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 9 Untitled Peake, N. (n.d). [online image]. Available from: http://www.weloveartanddesign. com/2008/09/nigel-peake-at-tiny-showcase.html [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 10 The End is Far Olek. (2013). [online image]. Avaiable from: http://arrestedmotion.com/2013/03/openingsolek-the-end-is-far-jonathan-levine/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 11 Castle & Sun. Klee, P. (1928). [online image]. Available from: http://dayoftheartist.com/2014/01/31/daythirty-one-paul-klee-one-eye-sees-the-other-feels/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 12 The Gas Station Project International Fiber Collective. (2008). [online image]. Available from: http://www.sergetheconcierge.com/2010/10/knitting-graffitti-dont-be-sheepish-celebrate-wool-week-october-1115-uk.html [Accessed 12 May 2014]
Figure 13 TM3 Home 04s Eboy. [online image]. Available from: http://hello.eboy.com/eboy/2014/03/20/tm3-home-04s/ [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 14 Pixel Superheros Akkaya, E. (n.d). [onine image]. Available from: http://www.123inspiration.com/pixel-superheroes-by-ercan-akkaya/. [Accessed 12 May 2014] Figure 15 Silk scarf designed for colour chart exhibition at Tate Liverpool Zuzunaga, C. (2009). [online image]. Available from: http://www.cristianzuzunaga.com/collaborations/tate.php . [ Accessed 12 May 2014]
Yes, I like to knit. No, I am not “old.”
Chen, C. (2012)
WHY I KNIT I love to knit, and showing others how versatile knitting can be as a drawing tool is vital to my practice. I enjoy looking at the man-made from technology to buildings and using knit to recreate these. By doing this I hope to not only give these objects a sense of home but also to bring knitting forward into the modern era which is heavily dominated by technology and metropolitan areas.
â€˜There is practically no activity that cannot be enhanced or replaced by knitting, if you really want to get obsessive about it.â€™ Stepahnie Pearl-McPhee. (cited in Goodreads Inc, 2014)
A lot of my work stems from focusing on particulars that I enjoy in an area. Being close to graduation most people are talking of dreams of ending up in big cities in particular London. I have never been a lover of cities and so by focusing on small details that I find pleasing I can distract myself from the overcrowded, unfriendly atmosphere that I find so unappealing. Translating these details in knit then allows me to take these elements out of the city scene and make them feel more personal. I am also interested in the contrast between these urban areas and more rural areas. The differences between the overall appearance of the landscapes. Not only in terms of composition, and building placement, but also in terms of colour. Iâ€™ve found myself recreating urban areas using colours of my choosing. In all cases, brightening the image. However in terms of recreating rural landscapes Iâ€™ve kept consistent to the colours of the original landscape. Personally I feel this shows how unconsciously I find no need to change natural areas, whereas I liven up urban areas to make them more personally engaging.
A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.
Paul Klee (cited in BrainyQuote 2001-2014a)
Throughout my major project I have been greatly influenced by brutalist architecture and the perspective within the photography of Thomas Demand, as well as the linework of artists such as Nigel Peake, and Mister Mourao. The exaggerated perspective of Thomas Demand has led to a greater understanding and interest in composition, angles and perspective, which shows in my work.
Emphasis on line has also made led to a better understanding of line, the variety of textures that can be achieved with a single line, and the importance of detail. Finding the balance between enough and too much. Too little can leave me feeling work is underdone but too much and the pieces become too complex with no focal point to draw in the attention of the viewer. The cubist construction of brutalist buildings and their arrangement lend themselves perfectly to my block drawing style. This minimalistic approach to drawing is further supported by research into work by Julian Opie.
In terms of knitting artists such as Paul Klee, Olek, Mike Toft and Matt Kroner have been a great influence within my practice as well as the works of The International Fiber Collaborative (IFC). Olek and IFC have helped me understand the importance of scale. Knitting is at itâ€™s best when it overtakes an environment. This can even be in the case of using many small sections of knit to create one large piece. (as with IFCâ€™s installations).
This idea has greatly influenced my work in termms of creating a final outcome. By making lots of small knitted pieces, they stand alone as individual images but can be put together to create a large piece. Klee, Toft and Croner have helped with the simplification of my work to knit from. Comepletely breaking an image down and only leaving what is necessary.
EXPERIMENTATION IS KEY My extensive experimentation with process and my current use of knitting has helped to develop my drawn work within my final major project. To begin with I would have to draw simplified images to be able to turn them into knitting patterns. However this mini-
Although my image making has become minimal I
malistic style of drawing has
still think it remains important to be able to distin-
refined my technique into
guish what you are looking at. I take away as much
what it is today. Although
as I can whilst still enabling the viewer to make out
I still enjoy looking into
what they are observing, similar to the workings
things in detail, everything
of Julian Opie. I initially started the image mak-
is simplified, to the extent
ing process simply using a standard hb pencil and
that sometimes images are
paper. This developed to coloured pencils and the
just an assortment of angu-
occasional watercolour. I often use Photoshop as
lar block colour shapes that
a tool to see how the image translates when the
may depict an entire land-
colour is uniform. This helps me decide whether
scape. Itâ€™s also stopped me
to translate an image to knit or not. Final stages of
looking at tone in detail and
making are translating the image to knit and sub-
more breaking colour up, so
sequently knitting it, tidying the edges with crochet
that an image will consist of
and hiding the cut threads. I find it vital to crochet
only a few colours in block
the edge as this can be the different between a knit-
ted image looking rough or clean and finished.
You want experimentation. Every once in awhile, you stumble upon something that blows your mind.
Jeremy Stoppelman. (cited in BrainyQuote 2001-2014b)
PIXEL PERFECT There is a direct relationship between the knitted stitch and computer pixels. To create an image for knit I have to break it down stitch by stitch, working to a gird where one square equals one stitch, this is similar to the way pixels make up an image digitally but in a less complex manner. This process of breaking down an image effects scale. For example working on a larger scale gives me the opportunity for more stitches, and therefore the ability to get more colour and detail.
To begin with I was attempting to create images that were no smaller than A4, however this meant creating a single image, from drawing the original, to translation to stitches, and finally to knit was taking up to 2-3 days depending on complexity. By decreasing my scale to working on 10x10 squares Iâ€™ve had to force myself to be less detailed and include fewer colours. I can now make preparations for several one day and knit them the next, meaning at the end of 2 days instead of having one large image I can have several smaller ones. Pixel artists such as Eboy, Ercan Akkaya and Cristian Zuzunaga have influenced the breaking down of colour to stitches. With emphasis being on the latter 2 as my images became more simplified.
The changing of scale greatly sped up my working process. It meant I could experiment with more imagery, meaning not only have I managed to knit works relating to urban landscapes, but rural and my hometown as well. It’s also meant I’ve had more practice with the finishing preparations of my work. I think this definitely shows in more recent work as the winding of back threads and finishing is a lot neater meaning I have finished pieces of a higher quality than before. It’s also a lot easier to maintain tension on a smaller scale so the final images are of a better structure than the larger ones.
THEORY FEEDS PRACTICE Research is key to creating imagery that works. Initial stages of research tend to be the same, to see if something similar has been attempted before. This gives me an idea of the ways this topic has already been approached and to use this to inform my work. These preliminary stages then lead to an extensive period of experimentation. Looking at the different ways my desired image could be reached. Creating imagery however I feel appropriate until I come to a conclusive method to be used. I use a variety of methods to create imagery both analogue and digital. I feel my work shows the direct relation between the haptic and digital. Using the computer as a tool to translate imagery which can then be used to create tactile hand-knitted images. No matter what method I choose to use, drawing is always a vital part of image creating. I find it essential to create as much imagery as possible from observation. Iâ€™ll take a few pictures to further documentation but to me drawing is the most important element. It captures your view of a place at that particular time. The aspects you chose to focus on and what you choose to leave out is a purely individual process. It couldnâ€™t be achieved in the same way through a photograph. It also allows you to get an understanding of the scene you are looking at across.
Drawing for my major project has helped me establish how important drawing is, especially freehand expressive drawing. Before this project I’ve always been much too meticulous about drawing with each one taking a large amount of time. Trying to get as much detail as possible, making things look just like what I’m observing, using rulers for straight lines. However I’ve finally realised how much more interesting not only freehand work is but the images that I’ve taken very little time over. I feel this revelation happened properly on the university trip to oxford. I wanted to fill as many page as possible on the joinery there. I found myself filling page after page of new material, as I couldn’t focus on anything for too long due to the speed the coach was traveling at. This experience drove my ideas, looking at things that we are directly related to, our surroundings and environment. Talking a walk, seeing what’s around you. If you go out with the intention of observing you notice things you would not on your average day, therefore walking often fuels my urge to create. I now find it important to depict my journeys, being able to create imagery fast has become vital to me. Documenting the vital details to remember aspects of my journey, not only the look but also the feel of the journey.
If we knew what is was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? Albert Einstein. (cited in IMDb 1990-2014)
ONLINE My process of working has changed greatly over the last year and I expect it will keep doing so as my ideas develop. I donâ€™t feel that this is an issue so long as I keep my blogs and website updated to allow for any gradual change. Keeping my website and portfolio updated will be crucial so potential clients are able to see fresh current work (if they are interested blogs will allow them to see older work).
Iâ€™ve found online presence to be essential to self-promotion. I have 2 blogs. A Tumblr, and a Blogger. They both contain a collection of work in progress and final images. My tumblr however is slightly less rough and more interactive. I promote this as my blog as it is intended for others to see. My blogger however has more of a diary feel, a blow-by-blow of my work which is there for me to be able to see the progress of my own work.
Aesthetically I have aimed for a minimal, clean look to my website, in a bid not to overwhelm people with a loud design and too much imagery. Iâ€™ve also only uploaded what I feel to be the best of my recent work. Iâ€™ve included sketchbook work so that it can be seen where the original imagery for the knit comes from. To make my website I had to come to terms with using CSS, to make the small yet vital changes to items such as type and colour. In making the website I have learnt to re-write basic CSS coding to tailor the aesthetic to my needs.
Is a great place to interact, get your work seen and get in contact with like minded people. I use instagram as a quick and easy way to update both my tumblr and twitter at the same time, and pinterest as an online mood-board.
Having a physical portfolio as well as a website is important for me due to the way I work. It also brings to light how key good presentation is. This wasn’t something I’d thought too much about while creating work. Knit is a difficult one as although it’s 2D the back is often just as interesting as the front. However in my opinion to have a box of loose knitted work feels too un-thoughtful and unprofessional. I therefore think in terms of a portfolio it’s good to mount 2D work and have one sample that can be handled by the potential client. This allows the client to fully engage with my work, not just with its aesthetic qualities but its tactile nature also.
I feel my work is more suited to a gallery situation as I find it difficult to pinpoint exactly where I fit into the realm of illustration. The subject matter of my work tends to be specific to my interests and may be of no interest to others. Itâ€™s therefore the style of my work that potential clients will look at, and they way I create work that will get their attention.
COMPETITIONS, EXHIBITION Competitions and exhibitions are also great ways to promote your work. Competitions not only promote your work but are also a good way for you to see if you can work to a deadline. They show that you can adapt your style of working to a brief, often allowing you to engage in subject matter you normally wouldn’t. Exhibitions are good for allowing people to see your work first hand, therefore nothing is lost by transferring them to a digital or printed format. I was recently involved in an exhibition at the factory studios in April. I chose to put in a piece of work created in my pre-major - a knitted laptop. I felt this was best as it was 3d and so could be placed in an area where people could see a 360 view. I’ve found knit isn’t a very dominant realm of illustration neither is knitting 3d unless it’s a soft toy. My work therefore generated a lot of attention, with people posting pictures online. Through this I found more people were looking at my work online. This also led to an increase of people following me and outside feedback on my work. Having to set the exhibition up was a chance to work as a group, I often find relying on others quite hard.
NS AND WORKING TOGETHER I think this is the same with any creative person as you all have your own ideas with how you want things to come out. However when you pool your ideas, and manpower the result is better than couldâ€™ve been achieved on your own, as everyone brings a different area of expertise to the table. This is the same with group collaborations. Earlier this year I took part in a collaboration called paper club. The aim was for us each to produce a double page spread intended for a zine using only one colour. We were challenging ideas of colour theory and so we each had to pick one colour and represent it using another. This led us to the title muddled for the zine. Using only one colour meant I had to pay attention to tones for creating not only detail but depth. Working entirely in paper was also new to me and as I chose to create my piece using several layers it also meant I had to photograph my work which I wouldnâ€™t normally have to do. Using the camera equipment was new to me, however as I was working with a group, help was at hand.
FREELANCE PRACTICE AND SELF-PROMOTION
I had a stall at the Easter pictogram market event. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get not only my prints, but my knitted work out there also. However the event wasn’t as well planned as I’d hoped with no publicising on the part of the event runners. It was left down to the sellers to put the word out, and the hope that the general public would take interest. Having said this I think I did very well with my stall getting a lot of interest. People seemed to mostly enjoy the work in which I’d crossed my illustration with my love of craft. For example screen prints I’d turned into origami envelopes and knitted items with obvious visual inspiration. This event brought to light the importance of good marketing, no-one will know you unless you put yourself out there. It also made me think more of physical self-promotion like business cards. I made stickers with my blog and email on to secure the bags of purchased items, but it would have been nice to have a more professional business card to give out to those that showed interest in my work.
Once I started thinking about business cards, it got me thinking about other small promotional items that could be sent out. I ended up making business cards, postcards and badges. I used stamps created earlier on in the project to get the knitted textures quickly without actually having to knit for the badges. These could be sent out attached to the postcards, given out with business cards and also given as a free gift for any purchases of my work at future craft fairs or for other freelance work.
I had a stall at Boscombe crafts fair, which taught me that Location is also key, and that boscombeâ€™s not the right setting for trying to make money through art. The fair was in an arcade mostly used as a corridor to get from a shopping centre to the high street. People who pass through arenâ€™t prepared and so may browse. Very few people come through who are actually interested in art itâ€™s more people searching for deals. Therefore fairly priced art items to the bargain hunter will seem expensive.
“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.”
Zimmerman, E (1973, p.2)
Ideally I’d like to pursue a career in art therapy. I would love to be able to use my creative ability to help others communicate. This will also allow me to keep creating and hopefully inspire others to be more creative. It should also allow me enough time to pursue freelance work. As mentioned before I feel my work is best presented in a gallery setting and so after the craft exhibition would love to continue to exhibit. Not only on my own but also with like minded craftspeople/ illustrators.
Even if you fall on your face, youâ€™re still moving forward.
Victor Kiam (cited in Duran 2013)
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