T1-MMT-P4 Reflection on tutor feedback for Assignment 3, glorious failure and suspended disbelief

A long title, and it’s taken me a few weeks to sit down and type it.

In my own review of assignment 3 (12-October-2015) I described the exercises as absorbing, fascinating, and I was proud of my work. I wrote of my new and fragile sense of accomplishment.

The feedback from my tutor was very positive, with comments on exciting ideas, curiosity and energy in approach, and “a good mixture of successes and failures”. In her report Rebecca identified strengths exhibited, with specific examples and an explanation of why they are important. This was a wonderful confirmation of my own sense of achievement, and it makes the general course expectations clearer and more personal – I know the behaviours to pursue, repeat, strengthen.

Positives include:

  • Returning to previous parts of the course for materials and techniques, building on knowledge;
  • Using a range of drawing techniques and media to explore samples, getting the most information I can from them;
  • Embracing failure – interesting things happen when we take risks;
  • A consideration of composition, helping me to make decisions about the direction to take;
  • Taking a technique and exploring it further.
  • My writing is articulate and analytical, my research is varied, my blog is organised, my photos good.

    So far so wonderful. But…

    it arrived just as I was coming to a thudding crash in printmaking (not really sure “thudding crash” makes sense, but it certainly captures the feeling).

  • I’ve found only minor purpose from previous materials, a little printing on cardboard or texturing with a previous sample.
  • So far I haven’t found a way to draw or extend what I have printed. In the last assignment I was exploring a three dimensional sample in two dimensional media, which is a very open process. Everything currently is so flat.
  • Prints are so familiar I’ve found it difficult to let go of expectations. I haven’t been able to treat a failure as a discovery of new possibilities.
  • I’m experiencing printmaking as something very technical, and finding it difficult to attend to compositional and aesthetic concerns.
  • Stuck in the fundamentals I don’t feel close to finding new territory.
  • Previously I had some great, new materials. Now I’m using very nice mainstream printing inks. Nothing seems quirky, fresh or experimental. It’s all so flat – physically and emotionally. Getting a great report for previous work just seemed to highlight how off-track I’ve got.

    I’m continuing to challenge my mindset. Right at the beginning of the assignment I noted the different focus of this course to a printmaking course (18-October-2015). Even when I don’t like a print as a whole I’ve tried to find a detail or something positive about each one. In some work yet to be posted I’ve tried to follow up or develop ideas. Also yet to be posted is more research, very focused on little details from other artists which I might be able to adapt to my use.

    Perhaps the most important challenge-to-mindset relates to my tutor’s remarks on the vulnerability of the artist. “It was very interesting to read your understanding of how vulnerable the artist is. Even though this is scary it is also very positive. It means you are at the point where interesting and exciting art/design can be made. It is evidence that you are taking risks and perhaps challenging preconceived ideas. The balance of not being too precious yet taking your work seriously is important. In my experience many artists, even very successful ones feel vulnerable when their work is first out in the world. Some avoid preview exhibitions nights in case the work is viewed negatively.” (Rebecca Fairley).

    How much more vulnerable we are to our own inner critic? My old harridan seemed transformed. I could look at an apparent failure and find it glorious, or if not glorious then shrug and move on to pursuing all the other possibilities being generated. Now I’m not finding exciting possibilities. I’m not being open, letting go of expectations. It’s harder to nurture that vulnerability.

    I need to let go, find fresh eyes, lighten up. A favourite story – in maths at school the teacher would introduce some new, bizarre topic and say lots of things that didn’t mean anything and didn’t hang together. Others in the class would interrupt with lots of questions, trying to make sense of all that new information. I’d sit back and accept everything as a given. I suspended disbelief. Later when we’d had the complete presentation, worked examples, etc, it would make sense (or not, in which case just following the instructions usually worked). It was effective, and overall I got further than the ones who needed results straight away.

    I need to suspend disbelief. I need to see what is happening in front of me, challenge those preconceived ideas and the inner critic. Maybe I’ll find the potential, find new paths, new risks to take. Worst case I do an adequate job, just following instructions. Turning up and doing the work is a good thing, and maybe if I give myself a chance it will lead to better things.

    T1-MMT-P4 Reflection on tutor feedback for Assignment 3, glorious failure and suspended disbelief
    Textiles 1 โ€“ Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 4: Mono and collatype printing
    Reflection on tutor feedback for Assignment 3, glorious failure and suspended disbelief

    6 Responses to “T1-MMT-P4 Reflection on tutor feedback for Assignment 3, glorious failure and suspended disbelief”


    1. 1 karenwoodfield November 9, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Good to hear your experience of receiving feedback. I am working on A4 and A1 at present as I am attending a print making course at my local college as I had very little experience of print making and no equipment at home. I think printmaking is very technical and as its a new skill it takes longer to get the basics under your belt before you can leap to the experimental stage. I am planning to use some of my prints in some of the exercises from A1. I am also hoping to add drawings/painting/mark making over the top of my prints rather than actually draw my prints. Also perhaps use my prints in a collage, all at the wishful thinking stage. Good luck

    2. 3 edithunderdal November 10, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      I had to do Printmaking 1 as the third choice on level 1 whereas you folks have Mixed Media which would have suited me better. I SCRAPED THROUGH AT ASSESSMENT! I found the whole course heavy going and missed textiles. Never really got into the swing of it!

      • 4 fibresofbeing November 10, 2015 at 11:43 pm

        I’m very glad to avoid Printmaking 1. I actually did Understanding Western Art as my third choice and although I missed textiles I’m really pleased to have that background. I switched over to Mixed Media from a false start in Exploring Ideas. You’re doing some interesting things in Contemporary Practice, which I think will be my next module.


    1. 1 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Sorting | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm
    2. 2 T1-MMT-P4 Mono and collatype printing: Review | Fibres of Being Trackback on January 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm

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