The second Arts Council Commission for new work in this year’s Trail went to Della Rees and she talks about her project below. The images she sent were taken over a period of several weeks and give a real sense of how the printmaking aspect of this project unfolds.
1. Please tell us about the project for which you received your Commission?
‘Remains of Home’ is my third site specific installation for the E17 Art Trail and I was thrilled when this project received one of the Artist's Commissions.
I began researching this project while there were still Gnomes all over the place so a year ago now. Continuing to draw inspiration from William Morris, originally I had intended the piece to consist of a band of wallpaper around the William Morris Gallery but as it is a listed building, consent couldn't be given for this. In hindsight rather than a setback, this was the best thing that could have happened as it has meant continuing the relationship with the supportive staff of Walthamstow Fire Station and the site of Morris' birth, his first Home. This also provided the opportunity to link two sites, both once the Homes of William Morris.
2. How does this work relate to your previous artistic practice?
My art practice is engaged in provoking different experiences of art, through the use of unusual sites / situations and the re appropriation of materials and processes. This manifests in 'Remains of home' as the installation of handmade wallpaper - an internal domestic item in an exterior urban setting - and the design itself contains elements often overlooked but everywhere in our urban environment. I hope the quirky nature of such a piece will surprise and engage a large audience. The cabinet in the William Morris Gallery 'Remains of Home II', provides a link between; the two sites, the two types of art venue, the two pieces, the two processes and their presentation.
3. What challenges have you encountered in realising this work?
'Remains of Home' is much larger in scale than anything I've done before and this has bought its own difficulties. Although I have worked in print before, hand wood block printing over 60 meters of two colour wallpaper is a completely different task! The initial research helped with what types of materials and their durability but other things were more problematic. Having chosen colours inspired by Morris I had to work out how much ink I would need to mix for that much printing, rig up systems for printing a block of that size without a press and then drying it, and all this was after figuring out how to get the design to work as a repeat pattern but remaining fluid, intuitive and yet wallpaper like. These difficulties overcome, the end is in site, the process of making has been hard but very enjoyable (not finished yet) and the installation will be a completely different task!
4. How cool is the E17 Art Trail?
I think the E17 Art Trail is brilliant, I really enjoy being part of it and am pleased to see it moving forward year on year. I hope Laura, Cris and everyone involved get the recognition they deserve for all their hard work!