Assignment 2 Reflective Commentary

I began work on Assignment 2 in early November 2011 – six months ago. Over the past week I’ve been selecting work to send to my tutor, making three neat folders to represent six months of work. It’s interesting to look back at earlier project work when it has become less familiar to me. It’s been with me so long I’m having trouble letting go!

There is a huge amount of work in the assignment – colour, design, printing and painting. From blogs and student forums I know others have struggled with Assignment 2. I’ve found the work interesting and challenging, it’s all material I want to learn – but I’ve found it hard not to panic at times, feeling I’m not making progress. Possibly OCA should consider rebalancing the division into assignments, given I’ve heard that other Assignments are considerably lighter (they need to be if I’m to finish within the two years!).

After Project 3 I am even more aware of colour combinations and their impact. I enjoy colour mixing in paints and dyes. Stitching I find more unpredictable and harder to adjust, with additional considerations of texture, shadows, direction of light etc. I think it was worthwhile to work in both hand and machine stitching.

I found Project 4: Developing Design Ideas very challenging. I was often grinding through, almost trying too hard. In the end I was pleased with some of my results, but I don’t feel I have developed a strong working method in designing – the beginnings are there, but unless I am careful I easily fall into old habits. Having said that, I feel I am building a personal vocabulary of images and themes that are beginning to recur in my work. Without wanting to limit myself, I think this can be a strength if I continue to develop the material, almost working in series.

My initial approach to Project 5: Painting and Printing was methodical, building up a resource library of different fabrics printed and painted using the same techniques. Later I was able to experiment more freely with technique and design, and was very excited by some of the results achieved.

In every stage of the course I’ve been challenged by the need to balance breadth versus depth of experimentation. In general I have probably erred on the side of taking ideas further rather than quickly trying a wider range of things. For example I wonder if my large jug printing in project 5 stage 4 is too similar to the orange/black scribble – a blocky effect, reduced palette, positive and negative versions of motifs. However there are significant differences in design and technique and I feel it shows I have developed and extended ideas.

Often I found I had to break work down into smaller steps. If I am trying to think about and learn too many things at once I can get overwhelmed. However in the end I think I was able to meet the major objectives.

Throughout the assignment I’ve continued working in my sketchbook, going to exhibitions and reading. I feel I am looking around myself each day in a different way. I’m definitely interested in formal assessment and continuing development.

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May 2012

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