BRIEF – Critically evaluate your journey through your final project and ask yourself.
- How /why something worked or did not work.
- How you could do something differently.
- Assess your progress throughout the course as a whole.
- Write 1000 words
Looking at this project overall I am very happy with the concept and feel the final outcome represents the idea well. I know that I am fortunate to be able to visualise what I want to achieve and find ways of resolving any design issues to make it possible. This is something that I have always been able to do but I recognise that my ideas are becoming more complex in nature than they once were and this signifies growth. I do wonder, however, at what point I might become too ambitious and I find myself frustrated that I can’t resolve something. Currently I am working from home with home related equipment and a restriction with space but I guess when that time comes it is the point at which the home worker makes the transition to becoming a serious and committed artist/designer by starting to work outside the home. I am also aware that my work needs to be sent via the post and this perhaps is my biggest frustration to date as consciously I’m always thinking about size and portability. I accept there are always going to be considerations for installing artwork but feel my wings might begin to feel a little clipped at times. Good photographs would always show details if I decided not to physically send an item but it can never replace the tactile nature of work.
I approached this project as if it were a real life professional project taking into account all the requirements and outlines of the brief – to reflect some aspect of the location, have personal meaning and to consider the sustainability aspects. For my own reference I also kept a tally of the materials I bought for costing purposes should I decide the sell the artwork – I felt this was good practice. The concept as a whole was to continue the research of Etymology in the English language and create a large patchwork to represent the English language being patched / made up from other cultures. The patch work would be one of the many references that I wanted to make towards traditional techniques and revisiting them with new approaches. However, I found the words I had at the start were no longer suitable by the time I was ready to use them, probably as the location was so historical and the words felt modern and meaningless. I didn’t find the answer immediately as I became side tracked by other ideas but eventually resolved this by using words that related to the traditional textiles techniques that I had used. Using words with a strong history gave them more depth and integrity and therefore more suitable to use. With one of the dictionaries also came a magnifying glass and I really wanted to include this within the work so decided to outline stich the highlight chosen words, in a similar way to ancient manuscripts made the starting letter oversized – this adds some viewer interaction to the piece and I really like that idea.
The intended location was The Bodleian Library but after a guided tour I realised it was not possible due to the strict conservation policies. All was not lost as the tour explained the history of The Library being the complex of buildings and how The Divinity School was the floor directly beneath the Library and had received considerable reinforcement work to allow the Library to be built on top. I felt this was a suitable alternative and it also offered many more practical reasons for displaying artwork. To reflect the location 5 visual references appear within the work, the scanned aerial vintage map has been digitally printed, a digitally manipulated and printed image of the Library windows, salvaged Oxford University Press dictionaries, a digitally manipulated hand printed image of the stone carved ceiling and finally a tessellated patchwork pattern that makes a reference to the stone segments in the ceiling.
With regards to sustainability I have approached this from various angles. I focussed on using the most environmentally sound substrates that I could given my design choices. Using the knowledge I had acquired throughout the coursework I used hemp and organic cotton, an eco-friendly paper fabric made from recycled bottles and handmade paper made from bamboo and easily renewable crops. I recycled damaged dictionaries and used traditional techniques like patch work, smocking pleating and hand skills.
Looking at the work critically I would ideally like to make the patchwork section much larger to shift the balance of importance but for this project I feel it was the right scale. At the start I had intended to make one long curving length but decided to change the orientation and make it in sections to allow more flexibility for different locations and also for ease of hanging due to weight – although it is not heavy at all. This just gives more options for setting the height of the individual pieces and different formats. The main difficulty I experienced was controlling the temperature of the encaustic wax. If it gets too hot it becomes sticky so keeping this at a workable temperature and working quickly with many different substrates required focus and a methodical approach. I would have liked to have created a large printed and stitched paper design but I realised this was not going to be possible with the restrictions I had.
I am not that happy with my press release as I feel I have included information that I wouldn’t necessary do if it were a real project. For example I feel a real press release would not include the ideas behind the work and the reason why I chose my site but as these were asked to be included I have done so.
I found the story boards also hard to complete as the format was small and the subject and required content huge so to get the right balance of professionalism and explanation of concept hard to achieve. I feel as a professional artist I might possibly present my ideas with a Power Point presentation and some handling samples allowing to show the source inspiration, ideas, visualisation and options fully, more easily and possibly more professionally to gain their confidence in my idea. Artists can appear unrealistic sometimes with blue sky thinking but a digital presentation might allow for others to understand the concept better.
When taking an overview of all the work and assignment evaluations in this course I feel I have made considerable progress with each stage. Part one, Exploring materials I now look at and wish I could do some parts again differently but I know that shows my development in design ability and ability to assess my own work successfully. I would never allow myself to submit work that I wasn’t happy with so I can’t say I feel any part did not go well, it’s more a case of being able to recognise my own development.
I am very pleased with my progress and proud of my achievements so far and I look forward to the next stage with excitement.