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