Sunday 15 October 2023

Making Dry Stone Walling for Hendon & Holborn

For my penultimate MA exhibition, I decided to return to dry stone walling and revisit and refine 'A World We Share?', a piece first presented in December at 'Up in the Air'.

'A World We Share?', 2022, by Carolyn Murphy

This work is fundamentally a large repeat pattern etching, which is embossed and hand-embellished. It's a time-consuming process because of the size of the metal etching plate, which takes time to ink up, wipe and then add a roll-over layer. It is embossed while the paper is still wet. This stage takes about an hour to complete.

Adding the roll-over


The embellishment process involves watercolour painting, ink rubs, pencil and Indian ink - all designed to emphasise texture and depth.

Adding watercolour

Embossed and embellished surface close-up

Because this is a repeat pattern it will create infinite dry stone walling and the design will match up. When I first presented the work in December 2022 it had straight edges and consisted of 3 x 4 panels, hung from an overhead support.

I was fairly happy with the piece at the time but felt it had more potential, so I decided to make one and a half times the amount - another 18 etchings. This gave me a total of over 7 square metres to play with for a new installation. At home in Manchester I experimented with the layout, finding the kitchen floor too small.

Kitchen floor checks

Testing going round corners

I also experimented with going around corners with tests in my studio space.

I particularly wanted to make more of the edges and organic form, so cut and reassembled the sections in Hendon in the BA studios where 'Present Continuous' our exhibition was taking place in September 2023.

Emphasising the edges

The result was a radical shift and the artwork was attached directly to the wall with Velcro and extended
around two corners in the space. It had the feel of a spreading organism. Cutting the work up was a leap of faith, as I had to then reassemble, using the cut piece elsewhere, like a huge jigsaw.

'A World We Share?' September 2023, Hendon

In October 2023, 'A Space We Share?' was shown as part of my first solo exhibition 'Reclaiming' at Holborn Library along with two other installation works. Here it was mounted high on a flat wall, backed by panels to aid the installation. It fitted the space well and seemed to grow out of the Library wall, fitting well with the Festival them of 'Grow'.

'A World We Share?' October 2023, Holborn Library

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