Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

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.
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    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 · Feedback from tutors · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 4 - Assignment 4 · MMT - Part 4 - Mono and collatype printing

    Part 4 – Reflecting on Feedback

    I was hoping to move quickly onto the final part of MMT but I’m not finding it easy decide what to take forward from what I have done so far and my latest feedback on Part 4 has sent me into even more confusion.

    Faye’s immediate comments were very positive, far more so than my own assessment of what I’d done and therein lies my problem.

    “That said, once again, you failed to recognise successes enough and drive even the tiniest idea further”

    What is going on in my brain, am I too focused on completing the exercises just driving forward just to get it done? Is the statement true? What ideas am I missing and why do I feel that I’m doing plenty.  Am I working hard but in the wrong direction? or on the wrong things?

    During the early parts of MMT I did take my ideas further but I had to stop experimenting or I would never have got further than ‘joining’. But even at this stage my tutor didn’t think I was experimenting enough. I don’t want to get into a review of the course materials but I had felt at that point that I’d gone far further than the course brief had required.

    “….but you should now be at the stage where you see the potential in your ideas and WANT to see how they might be investigated further”

    I feel trapped, stuck in the ‘how do I know (recognise) what I don’t know?’ I’ve tried to find articles, teachings or explanations of how to assess what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. There are practical explanations where you look at balance, conflict, contrast based on specific criterian. Then there are more emotional guidelines where you are guided by feelings of interest, instinct and passion.

    Most of MMT has left me empty. Apart from some of the early macabre folded papers and the snapped plaster casts nothing I’ve done has made me feel anything much more than disappointed. I haven’t wanted to see then taken any further.

    At this precise moment I feel like I’m begging for approval to carry on as I am, I want someone to pat me on the head and say ‘there, there it’s all okay, you’re brilliant, don’t worry’ and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we’ve been here before. For heaven’s sake why can’t I get over this.

    “Extract strengths more and try to become aware of elements that really work”

    Is it because it’s a fact that nothing in MMT has raised any passion or interest in me? Or is it because I don’t have confidence in my skills and abilities to take these samples any further. What am I failing to see here?

    “I definitely, definitely want to see a range of messy, free, uninhibited samples, but I hope also to see even just a few pieces that show this recognition and investigation”

    This feels to me just a little bit unfair, I have lots more work but I have been working towards only sending a selection of my ‘best’ work to my tutor. The last time I sent everything it was such a huge amount that I still haven’t received it back from my tutor and that was 3 assignments ago.

    Is it me then? Am I failing to show/demonstrate what I’ve done? Do I need to streamline my approach, focus on some small part of each sample and work in a linear way from sample 1, building on a single attribute and testing that?

    Could it be that I’m following the Stages as laid out too robotically? At Stage 2 (sampling) I make lots of samples and record (probably not enough) the outcomes and then move onto Stage 4 – Sorting. Maybe I’m just not reading, or ‘getting’ this module?

    This is another example of me not understanding the instructions:

    “It would be great to see you explore combining other line qualities into your prints (stitch, collage, pen etc)”

    The last intruction in Part 4, exercise 3 – the final one says ‘Once you’ve printed with your first block, record what you’ve learned and move on to making the next until you’ve printed with four collage blocks. If you’re feeling confident, consider using any of the monoprinting techniques to enhance these final collage block prints’. In Stage 3, clearly after the making of the samples it asks you to consider ideas that you may want to develop further. It doesn’t say do them.

    I am already over the alocated time for this whole module and I still have another final part to complete and that’s with the added presure of the final Level 1 deadline breathing down my neck and a whole 3rd module still to do. Am I moaning and making platitudes or am I really not up to this.

    “…..or see the value of how they look in a digital format”

    This is something I always do, maybe less that this stage but cutting, chopping and changing/editing my work using my iPhone and iPad is instinctive but maybe this time Ive been guilty of hiding this work on my Instagram feed and not printing out the results or adding the results to my blog.

    As you might have gathered, I really feel a little bit lost at the moment. I don’t know how to review my work with an impassive, professional eye. I do not know how to prioritise what I have to do.

    I do feel like I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve used materials and techniques that I never would have considered  before and I’ve created a workroom full of samples but is that enough? Do I have the academic, artistic brain chemistry to recognise and develop the potential of any of my work?

    Will the penny ever drop?

    “You definitely can do this Sally, you just need the penny to drop about recognising your strengths and you will be away”

    At this point I just feel like giving it all up. I feel like I have followed the course as it’s laid out and that within me I have learnt anything about how to approach my work and how to take it further. The feedback on my first project is the same as the last.

    Am I that irritating contestant on one of those challenge/bake off/masterchef type programs that just isn’t listening? Have I totally missed the point of this module all together? Am I trying to be a general when I’m clearly only foot soldier material?

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt5 – Final Piece – Initial Design Idea

    Test the idea of making a single or multiple wrapped constructs in a natural environment, possibly Attingham Park. Using a mixture of objects found and collected within the park and objects I have gathered or prepared in advance.

    Make it aesthetically pleasing by working with the natural backdrop, adding splashes of contrasting colour and the element of surprise and drama by including alien manmade elements.

    Work in response to the current issues of plastic waste building up in our natural spaces and how we and nature are going to adapt and react to this.

    Will our unspoilt areas become ring fenced alien environments, visited like zoos and only for those that can pay as all around we allow the rest of the world to fill up with litter and become a huge dust bin, will nature let this happen? or will it subsume all those discarded fast food wrappers into its habitats and evolve, finding ways to thrive despite our best efforts to hold it back.

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 5 - Final Project · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 5 – Final Piece – Review

    So what did I really enjoy:

    • Making the folding mechanisms with photographs that I could manipulate to create interesting distortions,
    • Creating the layered cut outs with a strong repetitive pattern and contrast of colour surrounded by white card,
    • Using strong design elements like wooden tooth pics and feathers as rods to join contrasting materials of felts and plastics.
    • Creating manipulated sheets by cutting and resewing papers and fabrics that could be twisted and turned into 3D structures and shapes.
    • Taking found objects classified as rubbish and altering and distorting their appearance by cutting into them and rejoining their edges with natural elements like drift wood.
    • Gathering and wrapping together a variety of elongated materials, like twigs and straws with both natural (fabrics, ribbons and wire) and manmade bindings ( balloons, elastic bands)
    • Trapping unruly and fragmented elements (hair, crumpled dried leaves, snippets of threads) in plaster and then splitting the solid blocks to reveal those elements now constrained at the roots by the plaster.
    • Building layered prints using negative spaces to create strong tonal contrasts.

    The theme I have identified as emerging from this work is one of contrast, particularly of tone and of choice of materials.

    My intention with this final project is to investigate and experiment further with these contrasts to develop a considered approach to bringing together natural and manmade elements using some of the techniques of joining and wrapping that I have discovered over the last 12 months.

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 4 - Assignment 4 · MMT - Part 4 - Mono and collatype printing · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 4 – Assignment 4

    It’s been during this module, Mixed Media for Textiles that I’ve started being far more selective about what I send off to my tutor. My natural desire is to include everything, just in case I’ve missed a gem when sorting and selecting. I knew that I needed to improve my skills in selection and to accept that, even the honed down amount of work I am sending is still a substantial piece of work.

    These are the pieces that I’ve chosen and I have displayed them in a sketchbook. They are only tagged into the book and not stuck down so that both sides of the prints can be viewed.

    Monoprint with Mark Making

    Monoprinting with aluminium foil as a mark making tool

    Water colour drawn monoprints

    Oil paint drawn monoprints

    Single layered stencil monoprints

    Light over dark layered stencil monoprints

    Multiple Layer Stencil Monoprint

    Block Collage Print

    Silicon block print

    Photograph Collage Print

    Paper and cord collatype print

    Sticker collage prints

    Leaf Skeleton Collatyte Print

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 4 - Mono and collatype printing · MMT - Pt4 - Pj2 - Ex3 - Collatype Collage Print · MMT - Pt4 - Project 2 - Collatype Printing

    MMT – Pt4 – Pj2 – Ex3 – Collatype Collage Print – Part 3

    I went back to simply practising and testing the collage block technique for the final 4 prints.

    What worked:

    • Rubbing away the paint before making the print
    • Using collage items with a similar height
    • Using a rolling pin to emulate the pressure of a printing press

    What didn’t work:

    • The quality of the final prints was murky
    • The images weren’t very interesting

    It was the print made with pre-cut foam pieces that made the best quality print and I would be tempted to use foam sheets if I ever make a collage print again.

    What I’ve learnt:

    • Use a sealant with good smooth coverage
    • The nicest and prettiest items don’t always make the best prints
    • Testing the print with a tracing paper rubbing is a useful test of the end result
    • Overprinting and layering how I make the best prints.

    Art · MMT - Part 3 - Molding and Casting · MMT - Pt3 - Pj2 - Casting the Internal Space of a Vessel · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt3 – Pj2 – Casting The Internal Space of a Vessel.

    I’m sorry that the blogs for this part of MMT have mostly been pages from my sketchbook but I’ve been on a tight deadline (I want a good 12 months to finish Ideas & Processes and I’ll have done 3 years of Level 1 in March) and because I’m not going to send all of my work for assignment I’ve had to be more visual and explicit in my sketchbook.

    This blog covers the work I’ve done with plaster and Polyfilla. This just leaves me with the resin samples to write up and the selecting for assessment. I’m really hoping to have the package on its way tomorrow or Wednesday morning at the latest.