Third Term – Helping the Third Years

During this term we were assigned to a Buddy System which is a paring between my year and the third years to help out with their work and exhibition space. I feel that this has been an enormous amount of pressure on us as we are in control of their appearance of their space and some parts of their actual textile work.

I had to prepare my buddies space by filling in holes, sanding down rough patches and painting the walls. This put everything into perspective with how much work there is and how presentation is everything in art and design. As I will have the same system I have been working hard to achieve a high standard for my buddy so she is happy with the outcome and to lessen the stress levels on her and the up coming deadline and final show of work. I have been ensuring that I can put 100% into this as I would expect the same from my buddy next year and be able to trust them with this responsibility.

It has also given me an understanding of how precious time is as art takes time to get right and it is important to grasp the skill of good time management early in preparation for next year so it doesn’t come as a shock in the near future. As a buddy I am working at a fast pace to keep up with her and what she needs doing. The jobs that she has got me to do have not all been expected and gives me something to think about when the time comes. These aspects have been helpful to find out now rather than later when I know what to expect and get done quickly and efficiently. She has shown me that my work space and studio is a good place to work as well as home and both are beneficial for the production of work.

It is always positive to see other students work as a source of inspiration and knowledge of how this can and should be done. From this experience I have started thinking of ideas as of what I can do for my final year project. As a am travelling this summer I feel that my photographs from Thailand and Singapore will be an excellent source for a starting point for the production of ideas and drawings which would then trigger my final collection. However, it is early days and from my buddies work I can see that not just one idea will stick and constant development is needed for a perfect collection. Unfortunately I was unaware of the amount of money that is needed for the final show and this has become a worrying factor and added stress on my expectations next year. Fundraising and a job is something that definitely needs to be considered to ensure that this does not affect my grade.

Another key factor that I have learnt that support from peers and family is crucial to keep you emotionally balanced when it comes down to things going wrong or taking longer than they should. I am grateful for this experience however it has been stressful and hard work on myself  as it is a lot of pressure on second year students. Personally I thought my buddy was very unorganised and did not give direct instructions as to what I was meant to do, she was very unclear at times and sometimes I felt I had to take charge as she was confusing her self as well as me. She was nice and we got on fine but it has made me realise that organisation is key to avoid time wasting and for quicker production of work. Next year I will be sure to take on board her mistakes as well as the points she has taught me.


Charity Work

Last week I attended a charity event called 107 days to raise awareness for ill treated patients in care homes. In this case, it was for a young boy known as the Laughing Boy who drowned due to lack of care and interest in the best interest for people of a disability. We were able to create patches to then build a quilt for the family of Connor Sparrowhawk who suffered from autism and epilepsy. It was a lovely experience to take part in, where anyone can take part.

These are my patches that I produced for the quilt, I cant wait to see the finished product.


First Hand Sketches

From my feed back on my previous Highland cow work, I was recommended to draw them from
my home town where I was able to sit and draw them for a couple of hours and this is what I came up with.

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I really enjoyed this exercise again similar to the previous first hand drawing exercises, this is definitely a valuable skill to keep up with.


Dissertation Writing

I am half way through writing my dissertation proposal and some parts I am finding more challenging than others such as  the literature review and chapter selection. In preparation of writing I am reading literature in relation to my research. However, I am struggling to find enough from just one book to create a literature review for my proposal, let alone three books.

Also the chapter selection is proving more difficult than expected. I am finding it hard to place what should be in each chapter how ever I know this is the early stages yet and can be changed later on if I am not convinced that it is correct. On the other hand, I do feel that I am getting on progressively with this research process and my dissertation is starting to build a body frame. I have been in touch with my tutor who has been pointing my in the right direction with questions towards my research and proposal.


Field Module Reflective Writing

Drawing Philosophy, Module 1

When it came to choosing which modules to pick, I was undecided as there wasn’t any information on each of the subjects. Drawing Philosophy intrigued me as it was something I never attempted before in terms of philosophy in general. I thought that this new experience would benefit me in my drawings and my idea concepts that would affect my textile practice. With this I attempted to reflect on past projects and how I could push myself in boundaries that I was uncomfortable with previously to then reach a confidence level higher than before.

In my past work I was aware of my weaknesses when designing. I drew much of representations of what I saw and just turned it into a design. In this course, it gave me a new perspective on drawing. It gave me a chance to question what drawing really was which has made me become open minded when it comes to drawing in my practice. I feel like I have developed a new confidence in my individual practice and have become stronger in expanding my variety of drawing styles and skills. Throughout my time in drawing philosophy I was able to experiment till no end. This was such a good experience as this has now prepared me in future projects in which I can demonstrate my nearly found personal expertise in specific drawing tasks. Below is a type of drawing that I would never usually produce as it is so loose and relaxed compared to my normal tight intricate style. I played about with different ways of drawing that was so unfamiliar to me which allowed me to work out what would be utilized in my work and what would not.

Another learning outcome I acquired was the ability to express myself more in unfolding ideas. I discovered that all art work should have a kind of relation to either the artist or the audience to make some kind of connection. I believe my work lacked this in some respect; it did show aspects of myself in it but not enough to really express and feel it. The lectures taught me about embodiment in my discipline about how I use my materials and the relationship have with them in terms of control and usage. From reading on Collingwood’s theories on art during lectures, I do believe that a drawing should have more embodiment and expression in a suitable time and intent of the work, rather than a clear mirror image that again could still be used in the correct place that may still be a work of art, but lacks in feeling and a connection through the artist and the work and the artist with the viewer and the viewer with the work. From expressing more in my drawings I feel that I have developed my own style to relate to my embodiment during the process. All this linked together has built up on my knowledge of understanding myself and my work more. I will continue to further my understanding by building up on this experimentation with irregular materials throughout the rest university which will also benefit my actual subject area, textiles, and stretch creative meaning throughout my work. Practicing performance and use of materials in an unconventional way is another boundary I have been pushing throughout my drawings. This in terms of using bleach as an unconventional way. Bleach is something that is very hard to control and not always a known outcome occurs. Not drawing with a pencil or pen asks whether anything else is really a drawing.  Another way I have been adopting this theory is by drawing without looking. This links in with the expression vs. representation aspect. By looking we are only seeing not feeling. Here is where the embodiment relates as I have also been involving myself through my drawings by feeling the materials and using my hands to make the marks and also my feelings, involving my actual mind and thoughts processing this
into drawings.

This was an outcome I would have never come up with before. Using newspaper and painting over it expressing my own style and embodiment by using my fingers to move and actually feel the paint. This was one of my favourite pieces of work I produced from this module. I produced similar pieces like this with different materials to stretch my understanding further.

Collaboration with students from other practices was interesting to work with when participating in miniature projects such as Drawing in Conversation. With this I was able to see how other people reacted to my art work and I would have to do the same. The outcomes of this were completely random but inspirational pieces of work built on from a relationship between each artist. In result of this I developed an understanding of respect and perception of contrasting work to my own. In the picture above gives a good example of how unique and creative the outcomes were. This was something that was actually mentally challenging but enjoyable at the same time.

There was a part this this course I struggled with which was the reading of theories and texts to do with the philosophy of art. As said before I was pretty closed minded about what art was and couldn’t really see a theory behind it. However, some texts did fit in with what I was trying to create in my work. This confidence in reading has benefited me in terms of constellation and my dissertation research and writing. This was something I felt I needed to improve on and I feel that I have done that independently. Over all my experience of this first module was a mixed one because normally I am used to such tight deadlines and specific criteria to meet, whereas this was very laid back and gave me some real time to experiment but on the other hand it was difficult know what the final outcome was and became very confusing at times. Also with my drawings even though I feel that they will benefit me in textiles when it comes to drawing designs in an expressional manor, I did not produce any textile pieces except for a bleach sample, as I feel that they did not suit both the module and my practice in textiles.

Things Behind the Sun, Module 2

This option again I didn’t know what to expect but once I started it I instantly knew I was going to enjoy it. It was very hands on from the start. From previous projects I took much inspiration from nature and organic forms which was exactly what this module was about. This was an opportunity to further my skills and develop them while gathering first hand drawings from the landscape from the great outdoors. This definitely increased my understanding of my personal capabilities and expertise in drawing from nature. Although this was a new module, I didn’t want to forget what I learned in Drawing Philosophy with my newly stretched styles and abilities.

During this option we visited lots of places such as Southerndown beach and the National Botanical Gardens of Wales to gather quick sketches and carry out various drawing exercises to create particular outcomes that came with knowledge behind it.

This was such gainful exercise in relation to inspiration; it is a technique I used independently on self-organised trip to another outdoors area to again collect small sketches to be then used to later develop in my studio work, and I will definitely be using it continuously throughout my studies and projects. Independently, I decided to take a trip to Roath Park in Cardiff to do some more drawing similar to the National Botanical Gardens of Wales. These were a bit less man made than the gardens as nature grows where it wants to which had a much more organic fresh feel and was sort of more inspiring than the gardens. Water has always been a challenge for me to draw but being in the same environment for a period of time gave me a little time to practice. As it was a clam day the water had some brisk movements which gave me a variety to experiment with. I had some effective outcomes that I was actually pleased with considering I wasn’t able to do it before. The designs below were created by combining those smaller sketches with also the techniques from Drawing Philosophy, in result I felt my work became stronger and I developed a variety of textile samples.

After a confident start in the dye room, I decided to start again by creating small project solemnly by choosing one of the 100 drawings different from the usual flowers and push myself into something I was slightly less confident with, which was a really loose outline of a highland cow. Shortly after designs started progressing quickly, I started strengthening my technique and improving my time keeping on my project. From this brief development, I was drawing up ideas for a continued project after the field module is over. In doing this mini body of work I feel certainly more assured that I am capable to push outside my comfort zone by creating my own boundaries to push and achieve new levels in my work. Although this might not seem as such a huge development in my work, however confidence in pushing myself has always been an issue. I am certain that the whole of field has related to my study and practice. I felt like I could get an actual outcome from this which would strive me forward to create my own project over summer breaks and after university too. I was never short for ideas and came up with sculptural 3D pieces that just kept building up to new exciting ideas to work with. They could be applied in my final year as well which is a valuable early insight to initial idea stages.

In conclusion to this last module, Things Behind the Sun was my favourite and most influential. I felt that I could take all the skills from the first module and put them in to use with the developed ones from the second. In relation to my practice this module was more beneficial as I was able to produce actual textile samples. I have matured in myself and in my work and embraced field by participating fully in both options. It made me think about my past work during the last term on designing croquis for my choice of company and I could see that this type of module would have benefitted me in producing more interesting unique designs, especially when I was stuck after doing so many which was a common problem. Now I know what to do when it comes to being stuck for inspiration with my work. I feel that I did enjoy the second year of field more due to the fact that it was split in to two sections which kept motivation and interest more than prolonging a whole single field module. They were good exercises that I feel benefitted me for future projects. However I did prefer and expressed myself more in Things Behind the Sun, rather than the blander first module which was more often confusing with what they wanted. After speaking to some of the group from that option they agreed that it was not organised well, resulting in giving us little expectations for the next. Most of the time, we were all struggled to know with what they wanted us to do or to produce because they did not elaborate in any detail. I feel this represents in the feedback I was given from both modules, where in my opinion was a moderately harsh grade was given in Drawing Philosophy considering I took part fully in each session and produce a good body of work to what I could relate to them and what they wanted. I am happy with the mark I was given for Things Behind the Sun as I do feel that I worked hard and enjoyed it from the start to end. I would definitely recommend this option to other students struggling for inspiration in their work.


PDP

Second Year in Constellation

In first year I didn’t get on with constellation, I believe this was due to choosing which option to take part in which seemed hectic considering there was so many different seminars. In terms of development unfortunately it was a slow process as I did not get the option I wanted. This has made me more cautious of time awareness and deadlines which will benefit me in constellation, field and my practice in textiles altogether. The option I was given to attend was International Discourses in Art and Design. However, as I did not know what this option was about I was quite intrigued to find out about it. Before the first session, I decided to do some research about what it means and what it involved. I feel that I developed this from last year as I was less prepared and did not know what to expect, again this has given me a positive outlook on work as preparing early reduces stress which I often suffer from. Like last year, I was put with more students that I did not know from before from different practices which was beneficial as individual practices had different views and opinions which was always engaging to listen to as it gives a new perspective and new way of thinking. Being able to speak in public has never really been a problem for me, but it is always good practice for future speeches and presents I would be potentially marked on.

The Seminars Followed

While having the introduction to thisoption, it seemed similar to my first year experience, I couldn’t see the relation to my textile practice. However, I have always wanted to travel and taken an interest in international developments and issues of the world and its cultures. My tutor, Morag, spoke a lot about the order of life, how it has arrangements and then ‘the other’ and what this means. This took my interest particularly as ‘the other’ is anything other than yourself. As a potential designer in the making, I want to be open minded in what I do and break away from the norm, aiming to be ‘the other’ and unique. Then the connection with my work in the studio was met from developing ideas and theories. The research entwined with my other modules which allowed me to become more creative and involved in my physical body of work produced, which was confidence heightening and new discovered skills were founded from the concept of what my tutor was newly introducing. This was a positive development of understanding of constellation in relation to my actual practice, as usually I struggle with reading of textbooks on art theory especially. In this option, as the art work involved was Fine Art based which is something that is uncommon to me and that I never really understood or could relate to. Throughout the sessions this was my main weakness, which was stressful as this was the time for dissertation themes and questions to blossom. I feel this late start was due to a lack of variety in all practices not just textiles, if there was a wider range of art work and designers to read upon the process would have been quicker and smoother. This was mentally challenging for me as I do not see myself as academically levelled with other students. In result of heavy research I built a confidence in independent work and researching skills in the library. I have learnt that I don’t always need physical imagery to trigger an outcome but I am aware that this is still something to be improved on by more reading and library visits, this will continue allow me to identify new concepts in my work.

Personal Tutorial Process

Personal tutorials with my tutor were so much more helpful during the preparation for my dissertation research. While evaluating my progress I was able to critique and find my flaws in discussions to see whether I was on the right or wrong track.  I could actually get my ideas out and collect new material. I felt more concrete about my studies and the stress level was manageable, allowing me to concentrate on all deadlines for field and textiles. I do think that a relationship with the right tutor is crucial in such a process. This session were enjoyable but unfortunately were limiting in time building upon my work, although I comprehend that time is to be shared equally between students. On the whole my general experience of this year’s constellation was mixed, I have come far from first year but there is always room for improvement.

The Main Lectures

During the main lectures on dissertation preparations, I found very useful information was given out. As before these sessions started I had no clue whatsoever on how to come up with a question let alone write a dissertation. This build-up of the sessions was as daunting as writing the work itself. However, I did start to understand what was asked of me to present, because of this and also the fear of writing it gave me a kick start to just get on with it early to get a head start. I feel constellation is such a challenge to me; I’m working extra hard and to relate my work in an enjoyable but successful manor as I do intend to be professional and have goals to fulfil. With all the information given I can now achieve this and be certain that my work is the best it can be. Even though development in skills, concept and ideas is influentially important, I do regard that a positive reflection on my work and in me is just as relevant and essential in accomplishing a high standard of work.


PDP – Personal Development Plan

Through out Constellation I am asked to produce a personal development plan on how my sessions went. I would note on positives and negatives, new skills I develop and what I found useful and interesting and what I did not.


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