Archive for the '5.7 Reflection' Category

T1-MMT-P5 Tutorial summary/formative feedback

Earlier this week I had my final tutorial for the Mixed Media course – for the first time a video call with Rebecca followed by a brief summary document. It was very helpful to hear her feedback, to be able to ask questions, get clarification, and I think she found it useful to understand more about me as a student, my interests and responses to the samples and the course. There was a price. The connection got quite choppy towards the end, making it hard to hear everything. Also when I spoke there was a strong delayed echo which made it difficult to keep focused and coherent. Even a slight murmur of agreement as Rebecca was speaking could cause a glitch. It worked better when we each spoke in blocks, rather than a fluid conversation. Rebecca quickly followed up the call with a brief written report, and I took my own notes, but I miss the more extended reports of purely written feedback. Still, a very valuable experience and a contact method I’d use again in the future – but not every time.

Click here to read the written report.

Overall Rebecca was very positive about my work and more especially my work process, noting I am clearly engaged and have made the course my own. I can only agree – the process given in the MMT course is a wonderful fit to my natural way of working and I feel empowered by it, equipped for my ongoing creative explorations. The course gave a level of structure combined with openness to interpretation, both supporting and freeing. I’ve had a wonderful time!

Rebecca commented that I was thorough, probably too thorough, in the initial Review stage. She wondered if I would be able to emerge and go on to new work. I can see that, and I may have commented in this blog that at times I felt almost overwhelmed by the number of ideas and potential avenues generated. My natural methodical approach and a desire to both tick boxes and demonstrate process to tutor and assessors probably accounts for it. I can’t regret having created an amazing resource that I can return to for material in the future, but it would be worth being open to a more instinctual, flowing approach.

Research has been an integral part of my work throughout the course and I was pleased that Rebecca saw how it has influenced and shaped my work. I think taking Understanding Western Art as my second OCA course was a good choice for me, providing research skills and a basic framework of knowledge which I can build on. Rebecca suggested I keep looking for the way people develop ideas. I think if I keep reading, keep looking, keep curious, that should happen. I quite often go to lectures etc, but it could be worth doing more to seek out the voice of artists themselves, not just commentators. For example I found it fascinating to listen to oral history interviews with Claire Falkenstein (11-Mar-2016), and a panel discussion including artist Dane Mitchell entirely changed my understanding of his work (20-Mar-2016).

Rebecca was very positive about my sketchbook and my use of drawing as a tool. Frequent and varied drawing was a major goal for me in this assignment. I might freeze up if asked to do a drawing where the end result is the drawing itself, but I enjoy functional drawing – to see, learn, understand, to record not a picture of an object but what I see or feel about an object. There’s no right or wrong result in that, so it’s easy to be loose and exploratory. Rebecca cautioned me not to stop – a good reminder as my drawing has fallen away a bit during this transition period.

We discussed presentation and what to send for assessment. Great news is that Rebecca is not fussed about mounting work etc – she’d be happy with large photos rolled in a tube. The assessors quite happily rummage through work and it’s important to send a variety that they can handle.

However I need to be very specific about what exactly is my Final Piece. Good call, given at the moment I don’t know myself. Rebecca was encouraging about my videos, and suggested a film – something that could be viewed on a largish computer screen. She sees film as increasing in importance in distance learning, and given my interest in installation it makes a lot of sense. Photographs are another possibility, large (say A3). I’ve already printed out a few that size on glossy paper. I’d like to go for film as the most effective way of showing what most interests me, but want to find a way to step up the quality. Wheels are turning.

Interaction with other students was another topic in our conversation. It’s been directly influential for me, with research into other students’ work (7-Feb-2016). In addition I’ve been helped by research suggestions, general support and of course inspiration. All of this was of interest to Rebecca. It’s a little way towards the sharing that happens at a bricks and mortar university and shows that distance learning is much less solitary these days.

One great thing about the direct conversation was being able to discuss future options. I’ve thrived in MMT and want to grow in that exploratory, sampling approach. There’s an update coming soon to one of the existing level 2 courses, making it closer in approach to the new level 1 courses. A brand new level 2 course is coming out in September. The apparent catch is that the new course fits better done before the revamped one, which would mean taking a break from study until the new is ready. I think this will suit me very well. I have unfinished business, research strands I want to follow up, some learning to do on lighting and photography, plenty to keep me busy, engaged, learning. I had a similar wait when I transferred from Exploring Ideas to Mixed Media for Textiles, and with hindsight that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. So “what next?” seems to be answered.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. First I need to clarify my Final Piece, bind the sketchbook, check the Assessment guidelines, research postal rules, select samples to send (focus on those mixing media), develop a packaged presentation telling the story behind the outcomes…

Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Tutorial summary/formative feedback
T1-MMT-P5 Tutorial summary/formative feedback

T1-MMT-P5-s7 Reflection – Mixed Media for Textiles

The goals I set when starting Mixed Media for Textiles (20-Mar-2015) were:

  • Make the course my own.
  • Take risks and challenge myself.
  • Surprise myself.
  • Enjoy myself.

For me the course has been an outstanding success on all of these. I have taken sidetracks, for example into 3D printing and the 3D pen. I have interpreted various requirements to suit my own interests, such as exploring presentation as prototype/maquette-making in stage 6 of the final assignment. My attitude to risk and failure has changed dramatically, actively seeking to push boundaries and seeing failures, whether opportunities or not worth following up, as a normal part of the process. My confidence has soared. It’s been a very busy, enjoyable, engaging, revealing year.

The working process provided in the course seems a very good fit to my personal preferences. The cycle of Research – Sample making – Recording – Sorting, always experimenting and exploring, works well. Sometimes in practice rather than a well defined sequence the different stages seem to overlap, but I think that actually there are micro-cycles of making-recording-sorting happening in virtually every work session, while research is ongoing. A workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016) gave me a way of developing my own briefs, and the combination of process and self-generated briefs offers a way of working in the future that really excites me.

One of the most satisfying parts of the course has been taking new materials and techniques and developing them across assignments. For example:

  • Failed plastic bags producing a dribbly mess plus interesting samples – p3-33 (14-Sep-2015)
  • Plus a quick sample with the dregs of resin coating a leaf – p3-37 (also 14-Sep-2015)
  • Plus a mixing stick left in the resin pot which had developed a little “foot” of resin (not photographed)
  • Was combined with a heat-distorted organza sample from an earlier assignment – p1-75 (21-Apr-015)
  • To create a new sample, p3-46 (23-Sep-2015).
  • Building to a new technique that could be used in further samples, such as p5-4 (31-Jan-2016)

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That development merged with a different sequence:

  • Crumpling and shaping paper, for example p1-15 (30-Mar-2015)
  • Was used with mono-printing, p4-32 (27-Oct-2015), to create additional texture and pattern in the print.
  • That sample was later reformed in a vessel shape and dribbled with resin (see earlier sequence) to create sample p5-3, part of my final collection (31-Jan-2016)

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Sketchbook work has been integral through most areas of the course from initial research (for example 20-Mar-2015), recording samples (such as sample p2-2, 6-Jun-2015), an exploration of mark-making, media and scale (28-Sep-2015), developing ideas for sample development (included on page 047 15-Feb-2016). I struggled with maintaining a sketchbook during the printing of assignment 4 (one exception was developing the design for print p4-37, 3-Nov-2015), but refocused and came back strongly during assignment 5 (for example page 015, posted 10-Jan-2016). I extended my skills in additional workshops, for example mixed media with Graham Marchant (24-Jan-2016) and a mind-opening workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016, the results ongoing as seen page 054, 27-Feb-2016). Through these and more I have experimented with a wide range of media and substrates.

Print p4-36

Print p4-36

Research informs and underpins a lot of the work done in this course, together with large sections which have been more materials led experimentation. Research on Degas (22-Oct-2015), including an attempt to copy directly from his work (print p4-36, posted 27-Oct-2015) helped me work through initial problems and discouragment in the printing assignment.

p5-sketchpage 036 b; 20160129

p5-sketchpage 036 b; 20160129

Encouragment from my tutor, Rebecca Fairley, to really pick apart my research material to learn from it, bore fruit in my work on Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016). The watercolour sketch shown here (posted 31-Jan-2016) was one of many based on Lowndes work, and shows a piece that was pivotal in my presentation efforts in the final assignment.

Lorna Murray Making Space 2014 Detail, inset full view

Lorna Murray
Making Space
2014
Detail, inset full view

As well as focused research based on specific coursework I enjoy going to galleries, exhibitions, museums, lectures and so on, and as well as general enrichment these often provided insights relevant to my course. For example Lorna Murray’s work seen at the 2nd Tamworth Textile Triennial (22-May-2015) became relevant research for joining straight edges with a gap (14-Jun-2016), and in this Reflection I realise would also have been of interest to my development of a collection.

Interaction with other OCA students has been of growing importance to my experience of distance study. I read many blogs, maintaining a blog roll at http://fibresofbeing.blogspot.com.au/ and there are ongoing relationships via comments and in general discussion on the OCA textiles forum. More directly various students have assisted me during this course, for instance allowing me to include their work in research (7-Feb-2016), responding to a request on the Forum for research suggestions, and after another request giving thoughtful feedback on my video attempts (including 5-Feb-2016).

My time management has been strong throughout this course and I believe that is both a cause and an effect of relatively low stress levels and high enjoyment factor over the year. The course promotes experimentation and sampling, which really has no defined end. From the start I have had an overall timetable, which has become more detailed when working on a particular section, down to weekly and sometimes daily goals. I stop when I run out of time (making sure there’s sufficient time left to complete wrap-up, blog posts etc). I’ll be submitting this assignment two weeks after the original date set, a follow-on from an extra two weeks taken on printing and year end break. There will always be loose ends, more I wish I’d done, more ideas and enticing paths to explore. I could always do better – but at the cost of not doing something else. I think this is worth recording, because it’s something I want to hold on to.

Assessment criteria
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
Throughout the course I have tried to give care and attention to my making. I have a range of textile skills built up over the years and working in mixed media gave me the opportunity to adapt those and develop more.

Sample p5-12 In progress

Sample p5-12 In progress

Not all experiments have been successful. An interim stage of sample p5-12 (23-Feb-2016) had a beautiful simplicity, an intriguing shape, and I was very tempted to stop at that point. However I had further development planned and felt impelled to take the risk. The final result is problematic. It was useful to give height in group presentation, it provides a link between plaster, resin and organza samples. However there are technical flaws and clumsy elements. It is much less satisfying as an object in itself.

Sample p2-3 a

Sample p2-3 a

Composition and attractive presentation of work, especially using photography in this blog, has been a goal from the beginning of the course (shown is joining sample p2-3, 6-Jun-2015).

Sample p5-43

Sample p5-43

This led to the decision to make photographic and video presentation of my collection of samples the final work in Assignment 5, including photo sample p5-43 (12-Mar-2016).

Quality of outcome
This blog has remained the mainstay of my presentation of work. Feedback on its organisation and ease of navigation has been positive, and it’s certainly a central part of my creative work, recording almost eight years of explorations.

Recently I have added video to my presentation methods and I see that as a valuable addition to writing and photographs. During the course I have also created a series of pinterest boards, which allow easy collation of inspiration and potential research subjects and also a quick method for me to trace back to specific samples.

Demonstration of creativity

p5-sketch with 3D pen - sample p5-7

p5-sketch with 3D pen – sample p5-7

Sample p2-6 Side view

Sample p2-6 Side view

Mixed media for textiles has provided a lot of opportunities to experiment with materials. My approach has been to work repeatedly with a relatively small set, finding new variations. For example drawing in plastic filament with a 3D pen allowed creation of new work, such as p2-6 (11-Jun-2015) and provided a means of sketching / recording / focusing on other samples, as seen in a sketch of sample p5-7 (6-Mar-2016). I believe this approach both stretches and deepens my skills and knowledge.

As well as exploring a particular material it has been rewarding to use multiple materials creating related visual effects. For example there are many samples using corrugations. There were holes cut and shadow lines in cardboard in assignment 1 (including p1-129, 7-May-2015), corners in assignment 2 (p2-25, 27-Jun-2015), a similarity of form in a more ambitious join in p2-5 (7-Jun-2015), molded, distorted, stitched corrugations in composimold in assignment 3 (p3-33, 6-Sep-2015), at a stretch one could include the accordion pleated printing of p4-32 in assignment 4 (27-Oct-2015) but actual printing on corrugated cardboard (28-Sep-2015) is a better fit with the theme, and finally, in my opinion most beautifully, in plaster in assignment 5 (p5-11, 23-Feb-2016).

Context
I find the process of reflection in this blog an important part of seeing, focusing, on work done. During the final Part of the course I used a physical sketchbook in a more consistent way, but also periodically uploaded and reflected on each page. I have found it very useful to look at the work after a short break, with fresh eyes.

Sample p2-79_Completed

Sample p2-79_Completed

As described above my research has included both in-depth analyses and more casual influences. One interesting exercise which was based on a combination of multiple fragments of research was wrapping an outdoor space, marking the changing boundary of light and shadow (sample p2-79, 31-Jul-2015). The link to the wrapping topic was perhaps tenuous, but it led to some intriguing ideas and outcome. With hindsight one can detect my ongoing interest in exploring space.

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

Sample p2-4 Front and backlit views

Another ongoing thread is based in the work of Eva Hesse. I did initial research on this artist in the context of joining and wrapping (7-Jun-2015) and a response to her work can be seen in sample p2-4 (a separate post 7-Jun-2015). Hesse’s work was again relevant to my research in Part 5, looking at collections of vessels. As detailed in my reflection of that Part (27-Mar-2016) that research is ongoing.

“Ongoing”. Having reflected on the past year’s work it feels very appropriate to finish with that word, because that is what I want to do. Go on. It’s just not clear to me on what path. As described previously there are loose ends (20-Mar-2016), and as detailed above I feel this course has equipped me with a process to continue explorations. I know I am interested in objects and space. There’s another strand around art movements of the 20th century, both mainstream art history and the fibre arts movement. On the other hand I am not at all interested in working in fashion or furnishings, nor in colour forecasts which seem relevant primarily in those fields. I have learnt and grown so much studying with OCA, and in particular in this course. I enjoy structured learning, partly because I often discover more than I expect in things I thought I wasn’t interested in. But there is only so much time. I’m not sure which way ongoing lies.

T1-MMT-P5-s7 Reflection – Mixed Media for Textiles
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 7: Reflection – Mixed Media for Textiles

T1-MMT-P5-s7 Reflection – Part 5

Having reached the end of the coursework it’s now time to reflect on this Part and the course as a whole.

Conscious of loose ends (20-Mar-2016), having remained experimental and exploratory, this moment feels anti-climactic. I can’t point at something as the culmination of a year’s work.

What is my final piece?

I started with the idea of a collection of vessels, and there was a deliberate choice (10/1/2016) to take on the challenges of bringing more varied works together in an effective way. I have returned to that choice, questioned it, tested it, many times during the work. I anticipate that exploring the implications around this will be an ongoing strand of investigation and interest.

Reviewing work in previous parts of the course generated a huge number of ideas for potential development. My goals became more focused – using materials already identified, combine ideas from multiple parts of the course, a collection where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, to edit fiercely (18-Jan-2016). I wanted to make the spaces between just as important as the individual pieces.

I found the volume of ideas identified in the review stage almost overwhelming, a feeling that has resurfaced during this Reflection. There are so many leads unexplored, I can feel myself resisting the sweep of the course, the need to tidy up and move on. I want to move In.

Sketchbook work: The sketchbook has been a central element of my work during this Part. I’ve been much more consistent in adding to it and using it to record, to plan, to think. I’ve met my goal set at the beginning of the Part (10-Jan-2016) to step up effort in this area.

There are many examples of ideas captured and explored in the sketchbook which were later developed in samples. For example ideas on page 043, blogged 8-Feb-2016 were realised in sample p5-10 (blogged 14-Feb-2016) and based on earlier research of work by other OCA students. My sample is a woven rather than coiled basket, but materials and the use of heat distortion were as first envisaged.

I need to keep extending the range of media I use in sketching – for example I tend to avoid wet media due to extra time and mess involved. Building signatures of a book as I went will help in binding for submission but reinforces the use of the default white cartridge paper.

Research: In tutor feedback to the previous assignment Rebecca recommended I really pick apart my research material. My research on Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016 and numerous appearances in sketchbook and blog) was pivotal in the approach to the final presentation stage. Her use of space, volume and dynamic line is thrilling. In her work it looks effortless, inevitable, but my inexperience and struggles were very apparent.

I haven’t been able to show the work done to date on Eva Hesse, objects and 20th century art history. Reading progresses on multiple texts – Eva Hesse: 1965; Part Object Part Sculpture; Eva Hesse: One More than One; On abstract art. From a coursework and assessing point of view that’s a problem – there’s been influence on my thinking and making, but I’m not at a stage to make a coherent summary and provide evidence of that. Tant pis. That workstream is ongoing, and the personal value remains.

As well as going more deeply in some areas I’ve continued to look and read widely, but a certain flavour is becoming apparent. Gillian Lowndes, Claire Falkenstein (11-Mar-2016), Eva Hesse, June Schwarcz – strong women, quirky sculptural work.

Taking risks:

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-4

Sample p5-4, inspired by research on June Schwartz, seemed risky, “out there” and unpromising at one point (28-Jan-2016). When recording the sample my attitude to it was ambivalent (31-Jan-2016). Having worked with it extensively later in the assignment I’m amazed now to read my earlier comments – I find it dynamic and exciting, very useful to create movement and links in compositions, and the materials and methods used seem a totally reasonable development of previous work. My appetite and perception of risk seem to have changed entirely.

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7

Sample p5-7 (14-Feb-2016) is an example of risk layered on risk. It began as sample p3-50, rope encased in plaster. It was “developed” into p3-53 (1-Oct-2015), using repeated throws onto a cement floor. In the current Part the remains were further developed using layers of dribbled resin to create a bowl form (14-Feb-2016).

p5-sketch with 3D pen - sample p5-5

p5-sketch with 3D pen

It could be termed a failure, partly due to technical issues – grainy resin, large sections of plastic mold remain embedded, structurally unsound… but an interesting and different version of the basic vessel shape, full of voids and protrusions. It was later taken still further, “sketched” using the 3D plastic pen (6-Mar-2016).

My post presenting p5-7, 14-Feb-2016, provides a representative mix of risks, successes and failures. There are leaps of development from earlier samples, pushing the properties of my chosen materials.

Sample p5-9 with internal led

Sample p5-9 with internal led

A development of casting plaster in cable knitting led to an exciting sample. Using same fabric and the same glass vessel for a mold as used for the internal shaping in plaster earlier produced a clumsy, static sample in resin with molding materials permanently attached. Some internal lighting saves this sample from complete failure, but it was of no use in the later presentation stage.

Sorting - extended set

Sorting – extended set

Presentation of work: I chose to make presentation of my samples the focus of my “final piece”. This involved a series of photography sessions using compositional ideas developed based on research. In additional to Part 5 samples I felt free to include work from earlier Parts of the course (see Sorting, 28-Feb-2016).

The most influential research was of Gillian Lowndes (26-Feb-2016). A way to get deeper into the research, to pick it apart as recommended by my tutor, was given in a workshop with Ruth Hadlow (25-Feb-2016). The insights gained provided a means of moving beyond the balanced centre-of-the-page compositions I had been stuck on – as noted by tutor Rebecca Fairley.


The transition from Lowndes’s work on the left above to mine on the right looks strongly derivative, but there was actually quite a journey in selecting my background and props, and this was one of many arrangements.

Sample p5-11 series

Sample p5-11 series


Sample p5-14

Sample p5-14

The journey actually started by questioning once again my choice of variety in objects (6-Mar-2016). It then moved on to a very static, centralised arranagement.

Sample p5-25

Sample p5-25

However some combinations of greater interest were achieved, and reflection in the sketchbook helped me move further.

Sample p5-41

Sample p5-41

Sample p5-38 b

Sample p5-38 b

Experimentation included black and white photographs and different viewing angles(12-Mar-2016).

Sample p5-54

Sample p5-54

Works seen in different exhibitions reminded me of the wrapping exercises earlier in the course, and led to another photo variation (18-Mar-2016).

I have printed a number of the photographs on A3 glossy paper for submission to assessors. They look much better in that medium than in blog-sized versions. Recent sketchbook work (not yet posted) has identified the appeal of photographs printed onto watercolour paper and I hope to produce some prints taking advantage of that texture before finalising my submission.

Experiments with video provided another means of experimentation with presentation. Early attempts were focused on recording individual samples – 2-Feb-2016 and 19-Feb-2016. A more ambitious video presented a number of samples arranged in space, 15-Mar-2016. I see significant improvements from each video to the next, the final presentation involving multiple splices of shorter segments of video and a separately recorded narration. There remains a lot of room for improvement, partly related to equipment, software and skills, but also a lighter more fun-filled style may have provided better results.

With that overview I now consider the assessment criteria.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Samples p5-4 p5-11 and p5-12

Samples p5-4 p5-11 and p5-12

In this Part I brought forward materials and techniques used throughout the course. This allowed me to use and extend skills already developed. I was particularly pleased with the plaster casting samples which echoed work with corrugated cardboard earlier in the course.

My compositional skills were put to the test in presenting a varied group of objects. Based on research my focus was on asymmetry, on creating a dynamic almost precarious sense. I believe the resulting work shows ongoing development of skill.

Quality of outcome
The use of video has been a valuable addition to my presentation of work. Especially given my interest in more sculptural work, video allows me to give a more complete presentation of the substance of pieces. I hope the narrations also give a better sense of my engagement with the work and the qualities I perceive in the pieces.

This blog remains the main means of presenting my work, and on a personal basis I refer back to it frequently. I post quite often, finding that recording and reflection an important part of my process. In this Part every page of the sketchbook has been shown and commented upon. Initially I wondered if this would be unprofitable double-work, but I have found it a beneficial addition. My hope is that this also improves communication of my ideas and development.

Demonstration of creativity
I have never seen anything quite like my quirky vessels, and I believe they demonstrate an inventive and playful approach to creativity. This course has encouraged experimentation, exploration, risk-taking, and I am personally convinced that I have flourished in this environment.

Rather than looking at particular samples, I believe my growing personal voice is evidenced in my discussion of Loose Ends (20-Mar-2016). There are strands of enquiry, a path of development, I want to pursue.

Context
While incomplete (see Reading below), I believe my research in this Part has been more focused, deeper and more relevant to the work I have been doing. There have been many small influences, an idea here and there (pinterest board at pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/vessels/), and a few major sources that I am sure will continue to inspire me. I feel that my internal artistic life / approach / understanding is becoming richer.

A number of times during this course, particularly when reflecting, I have felt vulnerable, in some way tempting fate by being too pleased with myself. I obviously still feel the need to acknowledge this. But I also have a growing confidence in my self, my work, my path. More on this when I reflect on the course as a whole.

Ongoing Reading

Fer, B. (1997) On abstract art New Haven and London: Yale University Press
Gaßner S., Kölle B., Roettig P. (Eds) (2013) Eva Hesse: One More than One Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag
Molesworth, H. (Ed.) (2005) Part Object Part Sculpture Colombus: Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University
Rosen, B. (Ed.) (2013) Eva Hesse 1965 New Haven and London: Yale University Press

T1-MMT-P5-s7 Reflection – Part 5
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 7: Reflection – Part 5


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Fabulous figure sculpting workshop with Kassandra Bossell!

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