Inspired by Frottage

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Frottage is defined as “a technique in the visual arts of obtaining textural effects or images by rubbing lead, chalk, charcoal, etc., over paper laid on a granular or relief-like surface.” As an exploratory assignment for the Advanced and Intermediate Painting classes on our first full trip to Nîmes and Pont du Gard, students were asked to collect textural documentation through the process of frottage. What started out as a simple travel assignment transformed into a surplus of inspiration for later drawings, paintings, concept development as well as exploring back into the found textures themselves.

What started out “in the spirit of play,” as Professor Sandra Reed put it, evolved into another way of thinking. “The textures had completely different line variety and pattern…which gave me a new vocabulary for mark-making,” says senior painting student Sujay Shah. After bringing the rubbings into the studio, students were encouraged to draw back into them and find shapes and other imagery within the organic marks. Painting student Carolyn Hepler-Smith brought the textural elements directly into her paintings, challenging herself to find a way to manipulate paint to communicate the same marks.

The inspiration doesn’t stop there. Along with evolving their own analysis of frottage, students were challenged to demonstrate the process in a workshop held by Professor Reed as part of the celebratory events for the opening of Maison Basse.

The workshop involved supporters of the Maison Basse preservation project who were enthusiastic to learn. The spirit of play was certainly in the air as the visitors ventured out into the courtyard of Maison Basse to collect textures using a variety of papers and drawing tools. Students Sujay, Carolyn, Kayla, Sami, Mizuki, Melodie, Daniel, and Aaron offered guidance for our guests. The process of frottage helped everyone to loosen up, and since it’s seemingly effortless, everyone left with something special to share with their families.

by Kayla Cloonan B.F.A.Painting

photo credit: Kayla Cloonan

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3 thoughts on “Inspired by Frottage

  1. Pingback: Seriously Interesting | LACOSTE 84480

  2. Pingback: Kayla Cloonan: Stitch & Stain | LACOSTE 84480

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