The project 107 Ways of Doing and Making celebrates experimental making practices. It represents my thoughts and values as an artist as well as a teacher of secondary school art and design.
When I began teaching, I realised that sculpture taught in secondary schools often fails to reflect the exciting, shifting and chaotic reality of contemporary practice. Perhaps due to lack of time, class sizes, or the pressure to create polished ‘final pieces’, past examplars can be over-used in the classroom, sacrificing experimentation and innovation.
I want pupils to problem solve and play with materials, to sketch and think in three-dimensions. I became passionate about sculpture myself when I realised that rules surrounding making could be invented and broken - there was no ‘correct’ way of making.
Richard Serra created his “Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself” from 1967-68 to investigate process. He made work in response to verbs such as ‘to drop’ and ‘to roll’ by dropping lead and rolling steel, for example, in highly inventive ways. Serra’s strategy embraces discovery and values process over product. It gives the maker an opportunity to let go of imagery and immerse him or herself in the potential of material.
I made the sculptures in this book by giving myself a set of limitations: each object had to enact a verb from Serra’s list; make of use materials found locally (nothing was bought); and be made in no more than five minutes. The process was invigorating - it brought to light processes and ways of acting with materials that I had never tried, it forced my definition of sculpture to become more elastic, and challenged my definition of finality. The result is a compendium of sculptural possibilties.