I grew up in a 1950s Scottish new town which was entirely imposed upon the landscape with little or no involvement of the people inhabiting it. the staid monotonous urban scene I saw around me had plenty of open spaces however every bit of it was planned. To me it lacks any kind of natural growth the souless grassy knolls and flower displays did little to refute the dullness.
The lack of substantial trees and any sort of organic built environment was numbing.
I find this confirmed by researchers at the University of Sheffield where they have found that parks rich in species are not only beneficial for the environment but also for people's general levels of well-being. “This research shows that biologically complex surroundings appear to enhance a person’s well-being more than those spaces less rich in species.”*1 it follows that the same is true for our man made environemnt.
The vibrancy of a good city is in its nooks and crannies and in ithe way it absorbs and adapts to things around and in it. In post 1950's urban areas poorer building menas the atmosphere is generally grimmer than older parts. However whilst out in London I realised the preservation and promotion of city trees makes what would be a grim area more livable.
Several years ago I was mesmerised by the light filtering through a grove of trees beside a busy petrol station in Glasgow. The wind kept the canopies in constant oscillation and animates the light through the negative spaces between the leaves. This had some effect upon me, as if it was something I had never noticed before. the different branching and leaf forms give each species its own distinctive resonance or rhythm
Throughout the course I have had this in the back of mind and found similarities in the geometry, islimi and calligraphy classes.
For my essay on Li I looked into the forces behind tree growth and found similarites in all natural things.
For my Masters I have chosen to look at Jali screens as a replication of the effects of leafy canopies. Traditionally screens are use in Mosques to separate:
-male and female areas
-religious and secular areas
Besides visual separation, the perforation allows gentle light to filter through and encourage natural ventilation jalis are a combination of geometric forms and shapes derived from nature, showing strong Islamic influences. They are said to ''create the impression of unending repetition believed to be associated with the infinite nature of God.'' *2
With my Jalis I hope to replicate natures ability to diffuse light and harsh surroundings harmoniously. I have extensively photographed tree and plant forms, following the progression of of the seasons. With the definite line patterns of branches in winter on to the budding and blooming spring and now into the lush layered foliage of summer. by looking closely at the unique qualities of tree species I hope to see something of what gives them their unique oscillating rhythms
I have chosen to produce a series of screens to deal with different elements of plant structure. I will make several contained, one piece screens showing a different natural scene akin to Chinese painting.
I have looked at plant structures to create components that can be configured into screen or decorative purposes. As in nature form often following process I hope to allow room for development and organic growth from the processes themselves.
I plan to make a example of nature's fractal and diffusion of forms in a series of plaster blocks that gradiate from simplicity and solidity to delicate and complex lattices.
With the use of moulds, formers and clay extruders to generate multiple leaf