Through this research I have explored the potential that lies within material-based form-finding and the physical act of making, exploring the inherent connections of these processes to an embodied perception of the object. The path of my research has not been one of theoretical extrapolation, but rather, one of reflective, practice-based research, undertaken through the making of, and reflecting upon, sculptural forms and designed objects, and contextualised within a broader community of practice. The establishment of, and engagement with, the field of creative practitioners that form my community of practice has been integral to my research, as has the act of reflective practice, bringing about a fundamental shift in understanding that my processes of thinking and making are not hierarchically separated – that research and practice are not separate activities, but rather, are intimately intertwined. Reflective practice based research has revealed that, for me, the physical, hands-on, embodied process of form-finding using ductile, responsive, elastic materials subjected to tension and compression, provides the experimental pathways that give life to form and the possibility of an object – an object of embodied tension. Pressure and gravity, tension and compression, torsion and stretch, dimple and swell, we have direct, physical experience with these sensations and, as such, when we read them in an object they find resonance in our own bodies, in our muscles, our movements, our breathing, our memories. We have, within us, memories of moments of tension, of anticipation, of longing, implicit sensual memories, haptic memories, brought to the fore in a moment of recognition. The outcomes of the research provide insights into the interconnected nature of physical and perceptual tensions and their role in the activation and apprehension of the object, and importantly, provide insight into the nature of creative practice, providing a specific, instantiate study and an enduring record of an active creative practice within the context of a community of practice.
Examiners: Grace Cochran, Bill Fox, Peter McNeill Supervisors: Professor Richard Blythe, Assoc Professor Paul Minifie