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MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Self Assessment

Before I become totally absorbed in Ideas & Processes I suppose I should finish off MMT.

My off the top of my head thoughts are:

  • The samples I’ve produced are better than I like to admit
  • I take too long to recognise an idea that needs developing
  • I’ve enjoyed the course more than I thought
  • I’m going to have hell of a time presenting the work for formal assessment
  • I’m still finding it difficult to describe and vocalise what I do, but not as ‘very’ difficult as before
  • There’s a disparity between what I’ve loved doing (e.g. creepy collages) and what other people have enjoyed

Assessment Criteria

  • Technical & Visual Skills
  • Strengths: interesting composition, wide variety of materials, good design skills, good visual impact,
  • To Improve: use of colours – have more patience, more attention to fine detail needed, more sketching and recording of samples
  • Content
  • Strengths: effective research, well developed sketchbooks,
  • To Improve: quicker decision making,
  • Creativity
  • Strengths: full of big ideas, clear personal voice
  • To Improve: pushing ideas further, test & expand personal style, being braver
  • Context
  • Strengths: broad range of sources for research, venturing into responsive art (ecology etc)
  • To Improve: more effective critique of own work
  • Conclusion
  • Well that’s concise, I could go into far more detail but it feels like going back over old ground. This course has been a challenge and at times it’s clicked and flowed and at other’s it’s been frustrating. It’s often taken a while to find my path through to samples that are inventive and interesting, the plaster work was particularly stubborn and I now have a huge pile of strange lumps of stuff that I’m not sure what I’m ever going to find a use for!
  • There’s also a small part of me that thinks I’ve missed an opportunity here to have gone even more crazy, to have stopped worrying so much about the outcome and just experimented with abandon. I look like the kind of person who could and would do this but underneath there’s still an uptight and controlled Capricorn who’s frightened of making a mistake and retreats at the first sign of confrontation.
  • I’m now embarking on the next stage of this journey, time is tight and Ideas and Processes is already giving me lots to think about, especially in terms of how much importance I give to my art work, how I prioritise and how determined I’m going to have to be to complete within the deadlines. This clearly overlaps emotionally with the reluctance I have to being freer in my work, if I crack one, then maybe I’ll crack them both.
  • Art · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 6 - Prototype/maquette making · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Project – Prototypes

    When I stated to think about the concept of prototypes I was thinking about my bigger idea of working on a series of pieces outside in a park or nature reserve environment and how I would present this idea to the landowner to gain their approval for my project.

    I’d got my drawings and some photographs from my research visits and these would be the basis of a portfolio style proposal. Then these prototypes would be the tactile, hands on examples of what I would be creating on a larger scale in selected areas of the parkland.

    I’ve made 4 prototypes, the first is more adventurous in colour but doesn’t have the gentle beauty of the other 3. It was the test, the loosening up piece and I wouldn’t necessarily include it in the final proposal.

    This smaller piece is the best of the 4. There is plenty of movement and areas of interest and clear contrasts of light and dark. The shell is held tight and bound into place with rough string that is like the tendrils of vine that would grow over and round an foreign object left on the ground in a woodland.

    I’ve experimented with a few more foreign and slightly more ugly elements in this piece. The bark ties this piece to the last and provides a good backdrop to the shell and seed heads. The melted glass came from a burnt out car and this has been bound up and absorbed into the more natural elements.

    This final piece has an element of grandeur created by the inclusion of the piece of dried palm trunk. It’s beautiful in its own right and I hope this wrapping does it justice . The most alien element in this piece is the slender orange thread that ties the shell down.

    I’m still finding it very difficult to choose the right language and tone to be able to speak coherently about my work. I find myself stumbling, and the description doesn’t flow as well as I’d like. It’s especially hard after a long break away from working and sometimes I just want to be able to create and not have to describe what I’ve made. I know this is an important and integral part of being an artist and I’m hoping that Textiles 1: Ideas and Processes will encourage and help me to develop the right vocabulary.

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    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Tutor Feedback on Ideas

    It’s a while ago now, life’s very busy at the moment, that I wrote to Faye about my initial ideas for my final project. She’s very good and consistent in her advice and again she encouraged me to look hard at my samples and really focus on what I wanted to make.

    These are my sketchbook notes.

    I took some timeout to look at the pieces that I’d made for MMT and the images from the research trips and decided that the more natural piece was the most attractive and appealing of my samples.

    This wasn’t an easy decision, I’d wanted to be more bold; be more adventurous with my choice of materials but time is very tight and I’d need to spend more time working with the manmade items to make then really work.

    In the end it was too big a project at this stage. But the natural wrapping are a good stepping stone and I had really enjoyed making the sample above and it had worked really well visually when set against an interesting backdrop.

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 3 - Sample Making · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 4 - Recording Outcomes · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Project – Sampling

    Usually sampling means testing a technique or experimental way of making an item, in this instance I have modified that to mean experimenting with a way of making an imagining real. I didn’t actually make anything new, I used samples from earlier parts of MMT but I did take them outside to experiment with the vision I have of fitting my future pieces into a specific environment.

    I wanted to get an feel for sizing; will I need to make large pieces to get the right effect? How does the natural light impact and how can I work with it to take photographs that will translate well at assessment? Have I got the confidence to stand out in the open making art? And, the really difficult one, does my idea have potential, does it work?

    I decided not to ‘make’ my samples in the venue that I have chosen for the final pieces; I didn’t want to over use the place and lose the magic of anticipation. If my samples work then I want to be enthused not left feeling that I’d done it all before.

    In the end I went to Haughmond Hill on the outskirts of Shrewsbury. I walked for a good long while with my rucksack of samples, looking for a suitable spot. I wanted somewhere that was already enchanting, somewhere slightly out of the ordinary.

    Finally after much searching and a stop for a rest I thought, bugger it! Just have a go!!

    On the hill there is a lovely lookout with some very pleasing stone obelisks. I had a play with placing one of my wrappings on and in one of the stones.

    This was fine but it’s more using the backdrop to better display the piece rather than the environment being part of the art work.

    I continued walking, with 2 very happy dogs; they love the walk at Haughmond and found a small grove of trees I quite liked. Here I tested some different ways of placing the wrapping amongst the many branches, in the final pieces I would like the wrapping to include and be intertwined with the actual branches.

    Light was a huge problem; shadows would almost obliterate the wrapping and it was difficult to find the exact place where there was sufficient contrast of sunshine to shadow and tree (natural) colour to the brights of the ribbons and balloons.

    Careful selection of a site for the final piece will be required and the use of photo editing to enhance the resulting images.

    I continued on looking vainly for the root of a fallen tree, in the end I came across a tree with a big section gouged out just above the root. There were lots of little crevices and hook like protrusions to work with.

    First I tested out placing the joined trash. My plan (vision) is to place similar item in the twists of a tree root to replicate the images I see, often when driving, of takeaway cartons that have been deliberately thrown from car windows or carelessly lost by being blown out of over loaded bin and off picnic tables that have finally been trapped by hedgerows and tree roots.

    Here the contrasts of natural/manmade worked really well. The items that I added to the cans and cartons are to replicate the way that nature soon tries to subsume these alien items into its world; plants grow up through the gaps, shots push through and seeds and fallen leaves fill the wells of the cups and tubs.

    If I decide to continue with this idea them I would like to add more natural embellishments.

    The wrappings worked much better in this place, they slotted into the gaps and started to looked like they were part of the backdrop. That sense of them having growth there rather than placed there was starting to develop.

    I particularly liked this image with the balloon wrapping fitting almost flush into this gap but I have decided that this idea still works best in the jumbling twists and turns of tree branches.

    This little hanging that’d bought as an after thought also worked well with some good contrasts. I’ve still not decided if it’s going to make it into the final pieces, that I’m still ruminating on.

    The final wrapping is the most beautiful and that surprised me. I thought I was looking for contrasts; the shock of the plastic against the beauty of tree bark and leaves. That’s certainly what works for my brief, it is what I’m aiming for, but regards beauty this placing is the one that works best. The result is more subtle, more pleasing to the eye.

    The dilemma now is beauty over brief? Aesthetic over impact? Can I balance the 2 things? That’s the challenge here. My message is that nature can and will subsume, breakdown and eventually eliminate our thoughtless littering and tipping and she’ll do it beautifully. But and this is a huge but, at what cost? At what point does the natural world become over stretched and worn out by this constant bombardment? When does it become so chocked that it can’t function as it should and it turns all eyes onto eliminating and subsuming these alien invaders, will we survive through this? When the water is poisonous to us, but nature has evolved to deal with it; through the creation of new species that can thrive in tough places but we haven’t kept up or evolved in time. We depend on this environment as it is, we need it to survive so why are we hell bend on draining, covering, littering and raping it to the point of breakdown, it’s beyond me.

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 3 - Sample Making · MMT - Research

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Making a Plan – Rough Draft

    Drawing? It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘can I?’, ‘can’t I?’ stresses of drawing. But, when you start looking you soon see that many of the great sculpture’s and architects start their designs with very simple, energetic and gestural sketches.

    I first came across this on a visit to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao and my first introduction to the architect Frank Gehry.

    Inspired by Gehry’s very expressive early design sketches, I researched a small collection of designer/makers that used similar techniques and even had a go myself at translating some of my ideas into quick, simple renditions of how I envisage my final piece(s) to be.

    Art · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 3 - Sample Making · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Making A Plan – Mindmap

    I find it very difficult to work on a piece, be it a sample, experiment or resolved when I don’t have a theme. I like to have to be making a response, it helps me if I have an over arching subject to return to for inspiration and reference. It’s very on trend at the moment to be concerned about rubbish, particularly plastic waste.

    Every day I’m presented with more examples of man’s invasive effect on his/her environment and every day I worry and mither about what I am doing to contribute to this and what I can do to help reduce my plastic use and general wastefulness. And more often than not I fail miserably to do anything even vaguely significant. And, this got me thinking about the waste that is caused through general carelessness and general ignorance; balloons, bags and papers caught by a breeze and blown away, the full pop bag left on the pathway to be collected later and then forgotten (my husbands personal bug bear). Just by virtue of the sheer amount of disposable items that we use on a day to day basis there is going to be litter blown into hedges, grass verges and tree tops.

    As I ruminated on this and set about matching the places I had identified in Attingham Park and the possible art installations I also matched them to examples of general littering that I see on a day-to-day basis. Some of these I labelled as (in general)caused by carelessness and some I labelled intentional.

    Art · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 2 - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Mentor Session

    ‘For good ideas and true innovation you need human interaction, conflict, action, debate” Margaret Hefferman.

    A very good friend came round today to help me review all of the work I’ve done so far for MMT and to mentor me as I develop my design ideas.

    The first parameter that we set was ‘sifting and syphoning’. My thought processes must work like a funnel. I must focus, focus, focus! Almost like a family tree in reverse.

    As I talked about my ideas Anne pointed me towards the work of Andy Goldsworthy and I will be researching him in more detail. At this point not looking at anyone else – focus!

    Then we looked at my work and identified the samples I’d worked on during MMT that had really resonated with me. The ones that absorbed me, that made me lose time and spoke to my soul.  And these techniques I will concentrate on, no deviation – focus!

    We looked at the photographs I’d taken in Attingham Park and discussed how I could marry the most interesting settings with the selected techniques.

    Finally we talked about how I can draw these 2 things together and work the ideas up into a considered and cohesive series/body of work.

    Following this discussion, many thanks to Anne, I wrote these notes.

    Series

    Narrative – Eco vs Ego, how humans effect the landscape, this planet will subsume the plastics but is the damage done along the way justified? Trauma? Even manmade comes originally from the earth.

    Influences – Andrew Goldsworthy, look at how he works in the environment and his views on decay and change, and natural and manmade.

    Visual Images – Contrasts, green & brown muted colours. I will develop this with my own ‘natural’ elements and then incorporate bright synthetics like balloons, takeaway cartons and bold fabrics.

    Select – 5 visual locations/5 techniques, each different but selected from the broad reach of the body of work produced from the MMT exercises. These need to reflect the theme and relate to the landscape in some way – Focus!

     

     

    Art · MMT - Research · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Research Visit

    Attingham Park Research Visit Notes

    Large amount of woodland, easily accessible but very busy.

    IMG_0154

    Historic venue, very well maintained and has hosted sculpture events in the past. Including How to Survive in the Coming Bad Years,  This was a large structure built by artist’s Heather Peak and Ivan Morison made out of mud. Remnants of this building still remain in the park.

     

    Plenty of fallen and cut down branches and interesting hollows and backdrops for displaying/complementing my potential art pieces.

    Lots of interesting shadows but not a huge amount of variation in the colour and the shapes of the natural environment.

    It’s gentle, cosy and comforting, there is some drama created by the tall trees and the density of the plant growth.

    It would be difficult to work with so many people using the park, permission would be needed to go into the more secluded areas.

    Colours are predominately green and brown with blue sky so would provide a consistent back drop to bright flashes of colour. A less natural composition in my pieces would probably work best.

    Could rubbish be collected from a nearby location and then included in the work to highlight the choking effect of plastic on our natural environments. Our motorway slip roads are full of abandoned plastic, Juxtaposition? Ring-fencing nature whilst all around the plastic mess builds, or is this too obvious? A little hackneyed?

    The environment is already creating it’s own wraps and structural constructs.