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.
  • Art · MMT - Pt5 - Stage 5 - Sorting · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    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 - Part 3 - Molding and Casting · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 3 – Molding and Casting – am I finished?

    For me, getting the exercises done for this part of MMT has been done in record time, that was my intention but I’m still doubting myself and whether I have done enough.

    I’ve gathered all the samples together. This time I’m submitting my assignment the proper way, I’m going to do some considered selecting and only send the very best (of what I’ve done) to my tutor.

    There’s a couple of batches of little blocks strung together, lots of painted ’tiles’, some scrunchy experiments, and some resin and pasted castings. Let’s be honest this has to be enough!

    There are some little interesting pieces that could be developed, the majority are ‘failures’ and that has been an interesting experiment. Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of failures but usually I can rework them or repurpose them.

    Or, I’ve been working in a comfortable technique that I’ve been able to force into some semblance of effective if not wholly successful. I’ve never done something where I’ve had so little control over the finished sample. With Molding you have a little more control, you can rub away the pressing but Casting is almost totally hands off after the preparation work.

    You can prepare like crazy, fill a bag or tub with lots of interesting elements but there is no guarantee that the plaster won’t totally cover the elements or the resin won’t twist or obscure the little additions that you so carefully added.

    There is a pull to work harder and to test an idea again and again, changing small actions to see if I can create different results. But I’m not going to go down that path. This exercise was about sampling not resolving. I will come back to these mediums, I’ve loved the plaster of Paris and I didn’t even block the drains like I did with much embarrassment when I was a kid.

    For now this is enough, I’m going to do the selecting, the displaying and the blogging and get the assignment submitted. I’m looking forward to the printing part of MMT which probably means it’s going to be the most frustrating of the lot.

    Art · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Part 2 - Assignment 2 · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Assignment 2 – Tutor Feedback

    I was pretty chuffed with Faye’s feedback. I had submitted a huge amount of work and I really appreciated her patience in pounding through all of it. We have agreed that with Part 3 Moulding & Casting I will send less of the actual samples and submit photographs instead. This will allow me to be more experimental with scale, though this is being slightly hampered by the weather and not being able to get outside to do any large scale sampling. But for that I might just have a plan.

    Faye highlighted the samples that I’d made that were more pared down and simple. This pleased me because I had tried very hard to produce some more considered and refined pieces. The only problem is there is a little voice in my head questioning if following this route blindly is the best way, am I losing a little of myself and my style my paring my approach back just a little too much.

    I thought this was an interesting comment and I’m going to have to adopt this approach if I am to finish Level 1 of this degree within the prescribed timescales. I’m really trying not to worry about time running out but seeing it as an opportunity to fine tune my working processes.

    I think that is the main thing to take from this body of work, Sally- try to start extracting more from your ideas and see the value of things being a little more muted. Don’t stop having that initial burst of play, but just be aware of what things have more visual value than others.

    Your blog is good, but like we discussed, you don’t have to write so much for each post- often a lot can be said visually with just a few bullet points.

    Look forward to seeing what you create within the next project!

    I have also been thinking about submission for assessment after this feedback, with A Textile Vocabulary I sent pretty much everything and the left out bits were forgotten not omitted on purpose but this time I’m going to be more selective with the items that I chose to send and I’m going to look at ways to present my work so it creates more of a story for the assessor. I’d like to make it into a 45 minute demonstration/presentation rather than just an outpouring of work.

    Art · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Part 2 - Project 2 - Wrapping · MMT - Pt2 - Pj2 - Ex1 - Straight Wrapping with Threads · MMT - Pt2 - Pj2 - Ex2 - Wrapping with Material and Threads · MMT - Pt2 - Pj2 - Ex3 - Uneven Wrapping · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 2 – Project 2 – Wrapping – Reflection

    I don’t think that I’ve worked as hard as I should have at recording outcomes, I’ve used this project to look at critiquing but I haven’t yet worked through the article that I like so much to start applying the criteria laid out there. I didn’t want to delay submitting Part 2 so I could do that and though I’m sure to get plenty of further opportunities.

    I also didn’t do any sorting to select what I should send for marking, I like to send everything but I am going to reflect in this blog and do a brief overview of the ideas and samples that, given time I would have experimented with further.


    Sample 1

    Stitching feathers together on the sewing machine worked really well, the delicate structure of the feathers was hardly effected and it would be interesting to see how many you could stitch together and just how easy it would be to attach them together using the fibres not the stems. Could I use dissolvable fabric as a stabiliser. Then could the resulting pieces be added to wrapped bundles or moulded with plaster of Paris for Part 3.

    Sample 2

    Balloons have featured a couple of times in both the wrapping and joining projects. The solid matt but vibrant colour contrasts well against natural surfaces. The clash of the man made against the nature has potential. It’s a subject often covered by artists so there’s probably not a lot of new ideas or views to be discovered but it doesn’t stop me telling my own story.

    The elasticity and the fact that the rubber doesn’t fray offers plenty to experiment with in terms of seeing how far the material can be stretched, pulled, twisted etc.

    What I do struggle with is thinking of ways I could use this way of joining as it stands. It could be an embellishment on an embroidered piece but then my ideas dry up.

    Sample 3

    Back to feathers, I think it’s the colours and the delicate finish of flighty feathers and woolly background that I like so much about this sample. The composition is simple but the elements are beautiful in their own right. This opens up lots of questions about materials. Is is cheating to use already beautiful items?can you become too reliant on their attractiveness and general appeal?

    Sample 4

    It was at this point that I could really see some value in making samples for no reason other than testing a technical method. Here it was joining pieces of paper or fabric together, aligned without a gap or an overlap.

    The idea of making a piece and them cutting it up and repiecing it is quite common when quilting and wet felting and it’s a technique with huge potential for creating interesting and complicated patterns from simple beginnings.

    The added advantage of repeatedly cutting and then sewing back together is that you create something with lots of flexibility, which means you can keep remodelling it to make even more interesting shapes. It’s a little bit like origami but the sewn joints are far more flexible and stand up to be refilled again and again.

    The potential of this technique is huge, I can see big old quilts made into towering 3D structures. It could be used to make prototypes for sculptures made in tough leather or even porcelain.

    Sample 5

    I’ve chosen this sample because although it’s made in the same way as the previous sample I see the potential of the materials in this example. How’d have thought Jaycloths could be so attractive. If I was ever to do a project based on rock formations I would include this method and the same or very similar materials. Every time I look at it I see granite and the striations in different kinds of rocks, especially those in Widemouth Bay in Cornwall.

    Sample 6

    I couldn’t not include this sample, everything I make from this piece of tapestry that I bought from a charity shop works, it’s like it contains some magic that allows it to easily transform when handled and changed.

    I would love to make a series of these 3D sculptures from different charity shop finds, the question then is, would you add more decoration? Or surround them with other items? I think if I did I would have to be very considered in my approach so as not to create something overly cluttered.

    Sample 7

    This sample almost answers the question I asked above, I’ve added a small extra element and that doesn’t over power the result and the gaps create breaks in the flow of the curved lines which could be filled by other elements or just as a viewing window through to interesting items place behind or inside the 3D structure.

    Sample 8

    I’d like to work on the scale of this sample. I think the layout and composition works really well, there’s a harmony between the lines that suggests light pouring through a window or clear rays passing down across windows in a building or through the branches of a tree. I think it could be at least A3 and could be made up of different items sewn together to replicate the tapestry and then cut, placed and sewn in the same way.

    Sample 9

    I’ve included this one not because I liked it but because I don’t. At the time I decided not to use the manipulated silk paper as the items to be joined by the feather stabbed straws because I thought it was being lazy, it was being too reliant on the instantly attractiveness of the papers and the painted feathers. I went for the more challenging option and it’s boring. Sooooo verrry boring!! I apologise for that.

    Sample 10

    This sample worked on so many levels; the process of cutting, twisting and joining was very tactile and satisfying, the materials complemented and fell together well (that’s the advantage of using something that someone else has already put a lot of thought into) and there’s potential in replicating the technique and design with lots of different materials (leather, metal, wood etc).

    Sample 11

    Playing with size and materials comes straight to mind for me when I look at this sample. This method of balancing items and holding them together with strong wooden pegs makes the Joining an integral and visible part of the piece not just something to be hidden like stitches when English Paper Piecing.

    There’s something strong and forceful about the wooden piercings, they hold together a delicate and elaborate structure that would simply tumble apart if not held together so confidently.

    Sample 12

    I’ve included this sample because it presents lots of potential at the different stages along its creation. I included lots of different elements as I went along and without photographs it would be very difficult to know what was hidden inside the package. My feelings about this intrigue me; am I ashamed that all the insides are hidden? Do I need to justify why all the best bits, the jewels in the seed heads are not visible? How would I display and explain this in an exhibition. This sample has potential not just because of its design but also because of my responses.

    Sample 13

    It’s the twisted newspaper that I’d like to take forward from this sample, it’s an intriguing yarn and I’d like to experiment with it further. Maybe unwrapping some of it, or adding it into my moulding samples. Will it make interesting solid lumps in papier-mâché?

    Sample 14

    In the past my driver for sorting and selecting would have been what I liked and what I didn’t. I’d have used my feelings and instincts and picked what I thought was attractive. This exercise has made me question that method and has made me slow down and start to look at my samples with a colder more practical eye. I’ve cast a couple away already because all I could say about them was I loved the way they looked. That’s just not enough and possibly not even that important.

    Now this sample has a bit of both, it’s interesting and nice to look at and it could be further developed and taken forward pretty much as it is. It could be used to create a series based on a daily or weekly walk with treasures collected on the walk. It has potential as a journaling/recording tool.

    Sample 15

    This is another design/technique which would work well for journaling, and I would, if I had time use is as a platform for documenting my responses to subjects in the world that worry me, political issues like pollution, human slavery and less dramatically historical events and memories.

    This little hand grenade of ripped cloth and human hair could very quickly have an interesting back story.

    Sample 16

    And this one’s here because it’s pretty and it makes me happy. Sorry, I’ve learnt nothing !!!

    Art · MMT - Part 2 - Joining and Wrapping · MMT - Part 2 - Project 2 - Wrapping · MMT - Pt2 - Pj2 - Ex1 - Straight Wrapping with Threads · MMT - Pt2 - Pj2 - Ex2 - Wrapping with Material and Threads · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Pt2 – Wrapping – Sketchbook Analysis

    Art · MMT - Reflection · sallyharrisonart · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    Scary Scary Criticism, or is it?

    I’ve gone a little off piste over the last couple of days and become obsessed by methods and the various different views of how to give and receive criticism.

    Fired up by reading an article from the University Of Colorado Boulder called Evaluating Art: The Principles of Critique I’ve started to put together my own principles of critique as a guide on how I should generate, provide and receive criticism.

    Sally’s Principles of Critique

    1. Acknowledge the work, always remember that, whatever the result, the maker has invested their time and energy into their creation and at some point has probably had to battle their own creative blocks and invested a fair amount of faith and hope in an imaged outcome.

    2. Develop The Abundance Mentality from Stephen R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; there is limitless amounts of success and creativity to go round.

    3. Recognise yourself; are you over overconfident; can you separate your own sense of accomplishment and feelings from the work, or do your insecurities dominate you and do you attempt to influence the reviewer by offering the work with a list of excuses and apologies for its shortcomings?

    4. Adopt the right mindset; let go of your own desire to prove yourself, or to sound cool and accomplished. Step back from your personal views on the type of work and the person who make it and look at the work in an unbiased and clinical way.

    5. Act with maturity as defined by Hrand Saxenian in his Maturity Continuum.

    The ability to express one’s own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others

    6. Remember it is virtually impossible to develop, improve and grow artistically without critical evaluation. It’s a necessary part of the process and resistance will only hinder your progress.

    7. Look, look and look again. Squint, stand back, turn and look from different directions, see the work through fresh eyes.

    8. Research and develop a process for breaking down what you are seeing into its constituent parts following the principles of Reductionism.

    9. Present your feedback in a concise and considerate way.

    10 . Learn how to sift and review your feedback and decide what you want to act on, anything else you can file away (you might want to return to it later). Remember feedback, even your own is advice not an instruction and if it’s ‘useless’ you can easily recognise it from this Julia Cameron’s quote from The Artist’s Way

    8. React to what you’ve got; hopefully if the critique has been done effectively you’ll be making improvements and feeling the synergy of collaboration and if not then maybe there’s still something to be learnt from your reaction, but never, ever stop. As Julia Cameron says ‘ creativity is the only cure for criticism’.

    Little Afterthought

    It’s funny that this blog has been one of the hardest I have ever written, it has taken me ages and I’m currently berating myself for how little I have produced for a whole day of hard work, is that ironic or what!

    Art · Feedback from tutors · MMT - Assignments · MMT - Feedback from Tutors · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 1 – Surface Distortion – Video Tutor Feedback

    This is the first time I’ve received my feedback via video. 

    I was worried that using this method would give me nowhere to hide if the feedback was negative and I was upset but Faye was brilliant and I actually found the face-to-face conversation really useful.

    After the call I thought I better write down all the feedback swirling about in my mind as quickly as possible.

    Art · MMT - Part 1 - Reflection · MMT - Part 1 - Surface Distortion · MMT - Part1 - Assignment 1 · MMT - Reflection · Textiles 1 - Mixed Media for Textiles

    MMT – Part 1 – Reflection before Assignment 1 

    I have to confess that I have sent Part 1 off to my tutor for feedback so I’m playing a little bit of catch up now with the blog. I never find this review bit easy and I haven’t done myself any favours by doing this after the post has gone ….. too late now if I want to change or add something. 

    This has been a really interesting set of exercises and as I worked on my contents sheet I was satisfied that I had covered most of the areas.

     There are a few less appealing areas of course, like embossing for example. And as is always the case, there seems to be so little work for all the time I have spent on it. 

    The brief asks me to reflect and review looking at 3 categories :

    1. Working Practises

    What’s good? I’m inventive, I love to experiment and I never get caught up with the brief (not anymore), I’m willing to take risks and I’m always drawing on things that didn’t go well by updating and bringing them along for the ride to include in later experiments. It’s hard to be inpartial but I do think I have my own visual language, you can tell it’s my work and I can feel this becoming more and more evident as I continue with these studies.

    What might cause me problems? I’m messy and I don’t write enough down. 

    During this part of MMT I have made a few forays into explaining why I like something and using works to explain how an image ‘speaks’ to me. I know I have a long way to go with this but I’m very keen to keep a good balance between interesting dialogue and droning on. 

    I’m also probably not drawing enough, I might be making too many samples and not going through the research, make, review, remake cycle enough. But then that could be me being a little bit too harsh on myself, I have after all worked out of the brief by bringing together what I have learnt from each exercises into a body of work (Assignment 1 Sketchbook)

    2. Results from Sample Making

    What’s good? Again,  I am creative (all goes towards that 20% of the assessment criteria for creativity) and I’m inventive. My samples are a good mix of simple experiments and pieces that are one step away from being resolved. I’m not sure that my technical skills (40% of the assessment criteria) would totally satisfy an old time City & Guilds assessor but the fact that some of my samples could conceivably be put on display must meant I have some skill (gulp!) 

    I have made more effort with my critical thinking this time and I have 2 clear examples:

    This blog post: MMT – Pt1 – Pj2 – Ex4 – Cutting Holes

    And this sketchbook entry:

    What might cause me problems? Do I follow an idea through enough? I think my weaknesses here are with how I express/document my ‘discernment’ and ‘conceptualisation of thought’. This makes up 20% of the marking at assessment for Quality. I will be interested to see what result I get for this with ATV and what Faye makes of what I have done so far.

    Another concern is the balance between sketchbook script and blogging, will assessors have the time to read and consider the commentary written in blog form. I’ve set up menus for this part of MMT and I hope this will help point reviewers to exactly which blog post goes with each sample/exercise.

    3. Links between research & practical ideas

    What’s good? Oh do I love to research, Pinterest is my close companion and I have a passion for magazines.  I think that I present research well in my sketchbook and when I’m on form you can see the links between what I’ve been looking at and how I’ve taken that forward.  

    What might cause me problems? During ATV Rebecca was often reminding me that I do lots of research but that there was very little evidence that I considered this research when working to a brief. I’m still finding it difficult to find a way do this simply and easily. I get very fed up with having to add the appropriate referencing and I often don’t do it at all, don’t get me wrong I put in the artists name and a link to their website and I’m really hoping that this is enough.