Looking back over my work for this Assignment my main emotions are pleasure and excitement. I’ve noticed that “exciting” and “interesting” have become my go-to words. There have been lots of failures, samples abandoned, things that were OK by the third attempt, but I can understand my tutor’s advice “so much creativity is about disappointment … the trick is to put everything down to a learning experience, another step towards a positive outcome”. I’ve taken lots of steps, some not ultimately in my preferred direction, and despite such disappointments overwhelmingly I am enjoying the journey.
Some thoughts on the formal assessment criteria of the course from my perspective, beginning with sketchbook work as it touches all aspects.
In my review of assignment 1 I identified sketchbook work as an area requiring improvement. My tutor found some positives, but agreed I could push myself more – “There is no need to expect these drawings to be great works of art or to take a lot of time. A range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” I have tried to develop my sketchbook and looking skills in a number of ways.
As well as referring back to them during exercises I am storing these pages together as a useful ongoing resource.Sketching as an entry to work immediately before beginning an exercise was useful, for example 11-June-2015. It was also occasionally a barrier (28-July-2015), but in the event I was able to work past that – it made me more conscious of what I actually did want to do, by contrast to a path I chose not to take at the time. I sketch to capture ideas or plan for specific samples, using different media and on the computer. Often it is diagrams or text, trying to work out a technique. Similarly I have used sketches to record a method used, as part of maintaining this work log. I’ve used a range of media to record and review samples produced, and generally have met my goal of at least one sketch at the end of each section or session of work. It’s an improvement, but I think I can go further. At the end of the final exercise I did a series of sketches a couple of days later, then reflected on those sketches separately (2-August-2015). I got a lot more out of that process than when forcing out a quick something at the end of a session. It’s a matter of managing time and energy. I’ll try to adjust my work process and the balance just a little during the next Part of the course.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
Quality of outcome
In her earlier feedback my tutor suggested I “continue developing [my] writing style and look for new ways to talk about [my] work”. I have made a few attempts with mixed success. A couple of sentences writing about sample p2-18 (19-June-2015), weren’t too bad. A slightly longer piece at the beginning of writing about the extended joining sample (2-July-2015) was very stilted and sounded like a parody. Some phrases when writing about sketches of wrapping flowed quite well (2-August-2015). Overall there is a lumpy, uneven result – my habitual chatty style, some more lyrical passages, and a few leaden thuds. It seems to work best when I am presenting or reviewing my work, writing with a little distance, rather then when recording methods and outcomes. I will continue trying to develop my skills, perhaps with an occasional post with that specific focus.
Demonstration of creativity
Throughout this Part I have tried to take risks, to work out of my comfort zone, to attempt work when unsure of the outcome. I’m coming to feel almost encouraged by failures as proof of working on the edge – and the contrast makes the successes sweeter.
My general approach to work remains methodical and planned, for example starting with a set of guiding principles for the first exercise (6-June-2015), and looking for joins that really took advantage of an overlap (22-June-2015). However I frequently ignore the plan as opportunities present themselves while working.
An example of deliberate risk was sample p2-24 (22-June-2015), when I chose materials that seemed unlikely to work. The particular application failed and is best remembered in my sketch from the day. However the actual materials looked rather good side by side, and I would like to try them again in a more supportive context.The technique and one of the components were used in p2-33, part of my extended join sample, and worked very well. It felt like a risk to take a hammer to a sample (22-July-2015) but I find the result deeply moving. This feels like the seed of something that could be become significant. At the moment it is empty of meaning, the result of materials and technique rather than concept, but there seems enormous potential for expression of any number of themes. On the other hand the idea of emptiness or violence that are just that – no meaning or purpose, the leftovers of a random event – is intriguing although out of character.
I’ve written above about research in the context of my sketchbook. I’ve found the combination very useful.
I’ve begun using pinterest boards to capture and augment research – see https://www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/. Pinterest feels a two-edged sword. It’s become a good way to capture new visual information and ideas quickly, and to track them back when needed. It can be a distraction, like general web surfing, getting lost following threads. It can become empty – the cover of the book with no substance behind it. I’ve tried to slow myself down and ensure proper attribution by tracing items back to the original source rather than just repinning. So far I’ve found it useful with care and as just one component of my approach.As well as separate posts focusing on particular artists I’ve referenced influences within my recording of exercises. The research of Christo not only suggested ideas for wrapping, but was a source of criteria when assessing my results. My consideration of wrapping space (31-July-2015) was an extreme case where research of multiple artists combined to inform a practical sample.
I’ve used a lot of time, care and words in this Review. It may be excessive but I think it helps me to consolidate my learning, to get all the value I can out of the effort and discipline of following the course and to be clearer about what I want to achieve in future work. It feels a risk to put this out into the world, but isn’t that akin to the risk of exposing oneself presenting meaningful art? It will be interesting to compare my thoughts with the more objective and experienced response and recommendations of my tutor.
T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Review
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping