Collar Piece: ALICE FOX

Alice Fox: Spurn Point
Alice Fox
Based near Bradford (where local architecture still resonates with it's former status as international centre for textile manufacturing in the 19th century), landscape and a sense of place are integral to Alice's work. The work is quiet & contemplative in nature, embodying a spirit rather than a direct represenation of the natural world. This sense of place is captured on fabric and paper using a variety of print and mark making techniques often using found items which rust and stain with fascinating effect.

"My work develops through layering up marks and textures, building up subtle surfaces that combine the textural qualities of textile and printmaking processes. I use found metal objects to make rust prints. I love the way these develop with a kind of alchemy: no two are the same. I set things up and watch them develop, responding to the marks that appear with further layers of print or the contoured lines of hand stitch. Found items, their identity often a mystery because of the action of the elements, are used in collagraph prints: specimens laid out for inspection. Marks are made on fabric; impressions are made on paper like imprints in wet sand."              www.alice

Alice Fox: 'Tide Marks' book detail

Integral to Alice's practice are the finds she makes - the found objects such as rusted lids, smooth edged beach plastic and ancient nails which provide a link to the place where they were discovered. How then would Alice feel about being presented with an object, the shirt collar, for which she had no connection with where it came from? Here is how she tackled the challenge:
"When it arrived I pinned the white collar to my studio wall for a good while before I considered what to do with it. I began by studying it as if it were some sort of specimen, investigating its make-up, structure and features. I drew it, photographed it, took prints from it and slowly took it apart, documenting the process. At each stage I took a print, initially blind embossing (putting it through the press with damp paper and no ink). The marks it made became slowly more ragged and dis-shevelled as the edges were un-done.
 It was so pristine and white that I daren’t mark it with ink initially, knowing that once I did there would be no going back. When I eventually plucked up the courage to do so, the prints it made have wonderful detail where the loose threads caught the ink. I've used found fabrics before for printing with and I love the marks I get from those rough edges. 

Once I'd deconstructed my collar and made those lovely print and embossings from it I had thought I would do some sort of collage/wall based piece from them. But then I started playing about with the prints and cutting them up and the stiffness of that paper was like the starchy collar and I found that these sections I'd made suggested pages. I experimented with the first book form, not knowing if the binding would work or be neat enough. It made this lovely curved form, like the curved collar and it just seemed right, so I continued.
Alice Fox: Book 1 in progress

I cut up two other prints and folded them into different shapes. The end result is three small book forms from my original prints. They can be opened and displayed in different ways, which I like.
Alice Fox Finished Collar Piece: Book 1

Alice Fox Finished Collar Piece: Book 1 detail

Alice Fox Finished Collar piece: Book 2
Alice Fox Finished Collar Piece: Book 2 detail
I have really enjoyed the process of this experiment. I wasn't sure at first how I would deal with someone else's 'object' as I am used to working with things I've found and that link to the place where I found them. I tried various things with my prints that didn't work but it is interesting to find a finishing point that I hadn't forseen - a proper journey!"

As part of the exhibition which accompanies the finished collar pieces there are two framed works on paper from Alice's original prints, which complement the books beautifully. This work is currently on show at the Shell House Gallery until 19th July 2014.
Alice Fox Finished Collar Piece: Book 3
Alice Fox Finished Collar Piece: Book 3 detail