Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tacita Dean

This is the interview that was displayed on a different floor to the projection, Dean talks deeply about the meaning within the piece and the way she works which I find fascinating.

I have tried to embed the video,  but for some reason it won't work for me, I will have to figure it out but here is the link!

London Tate

London Christmas lights!

I went to London this weekend and went to the Tate Modern and National Gallery for the first time as well as seeing the Christmas lights and many Chistmassy things among the mad business! There were some really interesting exhibitions on at the Tate including a massive film installation by Tacita Dean, documentary photography and interactive exhibitions.

The work by Tacita Dean as part of 'The Unilever Series' was a giant 13 m tall portrait projection displayed in the Turbine Hall, using 35 mm film which she had experimented with, chopped up and taped back together, added colour to, rewound amound other things. There was a short film on one of the upstairs floors about what she had done which was really interesting. She wanted to make a portrait film without actually uses images of people as we typically know portraits as.  I found this short film interview with her really interesting as it gave more of an insight into what she had done and how she had done it. When I saw the giant projection again later on in the day I had more of an appreciation of the concept behind it. It was fascintating to see the way she worked and developed this idea, seeing the process she went through, working vigorously on her own for hours. The experimentation with the film in the chopping up and reordering meant that she did not always have a plan of what she was going to do, this made it more exciting as she did not have a set plan she had to stick to. In the interview she talked about how she often gets accused as being nostalgic for using 35mm film as appose to digital. Although she says, 'Keep film and digital as two seperate medias. I am not nostagic as what I am doing is of now. Nostalgia is when people look back to a better time, I get accused of being nostalgic a lot but I'm not'

To my excitement as well, one of my favourite illustrators Sara Fanelli had her timeline on display in the Tate which I did know about but it had not entered my mind until I was there! There was also lots of interactive activities surrounding the timeline with her input in them including a post a postcard activity where you could add art periods/movements to the timeline that may have been missed. There were also virtual screens where you were able to tour some of the time periods in Art including Pop Art.

Photography; New Documentary Forms

This exhibition 'includes recent work by Luc Delahaye, Mitch Epstein, Guy Tillim and Akram Zaatari, as well as two important earlier works by Boris Mikhailov. Between them they cover subjects as diverse as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, studio photography in Beirut, elections in the Congo, everyday life in pre- and post-Soviet Ukraine, and power production in the United States. Each room concerns one discrete project, in which the artist calls into question the relationship between the documentary value of photography and the museum as its proper context.'

Boris Mikhailov photographs Ukraine through the time of Communism and the Soviet Union. Some of the images were shocking and revealing of this complicated time, I found the photographs very interesting as there were many contrasting images within them. For example, the photograph below second from the top on the left of the soldier holding a pink flower. The soldier is a sign of war, conflict, power in his uniform yet he is holding a pink flower and smiling at the camera, seeming soft, a total contrast in the reality of what may be happening seconds after the photo is captured.

Boris Mikhailov

Boris Mikhailov

Guy Tillim captures events in The Congo around the time of election in 2006. He captures a time of conflict of unrest in a time of social and political change.

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim

Akram Zaatari

Village Fete Proposal

As our brief is to devise and deliver a stall in groups for the Village Fete during the workshop I spoke to Joe Alexis and Emma Fish and we had similar ideas about what we want to do, we have teamed up to produce a handmade card stall. The cards will be Christmas themed and we are all using different making techniques. Joe is going to screenprint and I am going to use felt and embroidery. I have a few ideas about designs for the cards such as robins, gignerbread men I need to think about how many different designs to do according to the number of cards I am making and the time it takes me to make each card.

Initial Proposal

What is our stall?

Selling Christmas cards and possibly decorations.

How much space will we need?
  • A table to put all cards on display. 
  • Display the cards in boxes, show boxes? Making it easy for people to flick through. 
  • Display an example of each design. 

Why is it attractive to our audience?

  • As our audience is art students, students and teachers they will be interested in handmade crafts and buying them. 
  • They will appreciate the time and skill in each card and their individuality. 
  • They will be able to buy individual cards or sets giving them a choice. 
  • The cards will be affordable and unique. Its Christmas card season!

Strategy to get people to the stall;
  • Brightly coloured table cloth attracting attention.
  • Plate of sweets.
  • Tags with prices and offers e.g. 1 card for a decided price but 2 for a discounted price.
  • Give people the option to mix and match.
  • Sign saying what we are selling, emphasis on handmade.
We then asked approximately 10 people Vis Com how much they would be likely to pay for a handmade Christmas card and the majority responded saying they would pay £1.50-£2.00 as they are handmade and unique. They also said they would be likely to buy packs if there was a discount price. 

To do;

  • Discuss between us how many cards we should produce each.
  • Figure out a set price for individual cards and packs, taking into consideration the cost of materials etc.
  • Buy parcel string to tie around the cards. 
  • Think about how to make our stall as successful as possible, affordable pricing covering costs and also making a profit, make an attractive stall.
  • Sketch ideas and designs for the cards, how many different designs to do?
  • Estimate how long each card will take to make, think about the best way to produce them in the time we have and to a high quality.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Some Beautiful Paper

I went to London this weekend and whilst looking around some of the art shops I found this amazing paper made by banyantreecrafts, it is really beautiful and I wish I could afford to buy more! There were loads of different textures and imprints on the papers. The one I bought is brown and lightish brown where leaves have been printed or pressed onto the paper. I have put it on my wall, I may frame it.

'The traditional paper-making techniques used have been handed down through generations of artisans. This particular project is run by two brothers and their cousin, themselves second-generation Tibetan refugees, seeking to improve the lives of fellow refugees trying to build a new life in Nepal. It currently employs 160 people from under-privileged backgrounds.
Every sheet of paper is handmade individually on a muslin screen, making each one unique & giving a natural, uncut edge to the paper. After drying in the sunshine the paper is dyed using a variety of vegetable & chemical dyes, including Tibetan tea, walnut shells and pomegranate. Traditional hand screen printing techniques are used for the decorated giftwrap.'

In the shop there were many other handmade products including books, frames, purses, plates, ceramics, mugs, the liest goes on, all made with eco consideration and from across the world. Many of the products were made by Paperhigh who make a lot of books and paper in interesting ways using all sorts of materials such as bananas! On the website you can read about the history and the people who make the products.

I love paper making as I discovered in Communication Technology 2, I really want to do more, I wonder if I could do it at home too?

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Village Fete Ideas

For the Village Fete we have to devise and deliver a stall to make as much money as possible for charity. We need to come up with innovative ways to make money, developing a marketing strategy to promote and run a table top business for the day and make it a success.

I have been trying to think of a few ideas of possible stalls and themes for it, ideas so far...

  • Paper cut cards, transferring illustration using a craft knife
  • Felt decorations
  • Felt food, Christmas theme?
  • Laser cut cards
  • Paper stars 
  • Pyrography illustrations
  • Christmas tags to tie onto the handmade thing whatever it may be
  • Stamps?
I need to consider these ideas and what will be possible to produce within the timescale, using materials and facilities I can and consider the cost of materials as to how much people will pay for what I am selling.

    Monday, 21 November 2011

    Jillian Tamaki

    I think I have fallen in love with this embroidery by Jillian Tamaki. This patchwork quilt is made up of monsters among other things all hand embroidered, it must have taken a very long time indeed! Over summer I began to try my hand at embroidery and I am really getting into it, I find it difficult to make it neat on the on the back of it but I like the image the threads create on both sides. It takes a long time to create an image but I really like the aesthetic it creates to the illustration, they come alive!

    These hand embroidered covers took 2 months to complete and are really beautiful, making very interesting and alternative book covers to the normal covers we see.

    Monday, 7 November 2011

    Comm Tech 2 Evaluation

    All posts are labelled Communication Technology 2

    The Communication Technology 2 brief presented me with a chance to really find myself. As I am interested in exploring so many different avenues I used this project as an opportunity to explore processes I have previously never had the chance to learn. After being inducted into Ceramics, Paper and Glass and seeing what was available to do down in the workshops, I developed a sense of excitement at the prospect of learning something new and this became my initial starting point for the project. At the beginning I wanted to dive in and try everything, getting really stuck in and see how my own ideas and interests I could apply to the new techniques I was learning. As the project got going it became apparent that the processes I was working with were very time consuming, this meant I didn’t get to try everything I set out to. I wanted to discover something I may have an unknown passion for and develop confidence in my area of practice. 

    I worked closely with technicians down in the workshop and with Andy in particular. I feel that this worked extremely well for me for this learning project. I found that having the technicians there, keeping conversation and constant dialogue helped  develop a working relationship with meant I got to try lots of different things which in turn fuelled ideas I had never considered and trying processes I never knew were possible. It was interesting to see the different approaches to processes and techniques by talking to both Dom and Andy. They both encouraged me to try different approaches to using clay and ways of making mugs to begin with. I found I worked best in the studio for full 9-4 days as it meant I got a lot done. I was trying to learn processes and work with materials quite out of my comfort zone so it was good to have the technicians there to offer advice and ask any questions I had. It is a very good thing that I worked well this way as the processes I was learning required the facilities and materials in college such as the kiln and I needed a lot of guidance before trying them out on my own. I found that after learning each process I could go off on my own and explore the materials and become more skilled independently. I found this useful as sometimes if I had arranged to learn something and the technicians were busy I wasn’t stuck for things to do.  This happened a few times when I arranged to work with Andy using glass, I got set back a few days but I used the opportunity to make more paper and glaze work out of the kiln. I found it was good for me to talk to them about what to do the next day and make a plan for each day, using a diary was key for me in this project to plan my time, it worked really well as I stuck to my plans; arranging times to come in to learn each process such as clay, glass, porcelain, paper with their help. From developing these relationships it has aided me in talking to technicians from other workshops such as woodwork. I arranged days to come in and work there and asked the advice of Matt and Jonathon about what is available and possible to try. I got to learn how to whittle wood which was new territory and tiring work. This work had a knock on effect for the pyrography pen work as I got to ask Jonathon’s advice about the best wood to use it on and gave me some key pointers and gave me some wood cut offs to experiment with. I discovered that I thoroughly enjoy using the pyrography pen and the aesthetic it creates. I want to continue to develop my skills using it and applying my illustrations to wood.

    There were times when I felt frustrated as I was learning new processes and for me there was a lot of trial and error involved. However, looking back I think that this was an important part of learning for me as it helped me get to grips with the materials and processes. Such as in woodwork, whittling wood made me realise just how hard and strenuous work it is. You have to be very patient and skilled, it is tiring work and I had never factored this in before. Working with clay, porcelain, glass and paper is very time consuming which can be frustrating. I managed to fill the time in-between waiting for my work to dry and go through firing by coming back to work which was at different stages in the process e.g. When clay was drying I glazed my work out of the biscuit firing ready to go through its final firing in the kiln. I was pleased about as it meant I wasn’t stuck for things to do. I often got frustrated with the material I was using especially porcelain, glass and wood whittling. It didn’t always do what I wanted to and was unpredictable. I need to learn how to handle the materials and learn about its properties in more depth. Using the oxides and glazing was really frustrating as you just don’t know how they will turn out. I have actually ended up happier with the very first mugs I made at the beginning than my most recent ones as the glazes and oxides did not turn out as I had hoped and I was disappointed.

    Above shows one of my first mugs which I am more pleased with.

    The glazes and oxides did not turn out as I had hoped on these three mugs and I feel that the colours have ruined the aesthetic of the carved illustrations.

    I tried to arrange an induction to the laser cutter as it would have really benefited my work and what I wanted to create but it is booked up until Christmas. I need to learn how to use it and also how to work in illustrator to create files for the laser cutter. I have come to a point where I need to get over my fear of using illustrator and other programmes as it will really help to develop my work not only by creating files to use on the laser cutter but also to develop my programme skills and add different elements to my illustration. I think it will also open up different styles and aid me in becoming surer of my area of practice. 

    I discovered a few ceramic artists who combine their work with illustration such as Laura Carlin and James Ward. 

    James Ward

    Laura Carlin

    At the beginning of the project I wanted to explore different ways to apply illustration and images onto objects and discovering these artists has fuelled my ideas and inspired me further. There are many different ways to print or paint onto objects but I particularly like these two artists and feel that I need to pursue this avenue of discovering further with laser tran and using pottery paint or pottery pens. There is so much I still have to discover in this one area and I didn’t get to fully explore in this project but I am hoping to during the year. I feel happy having found this whole area of combining illustration with objects using different materials and techniques. I felt worried that I had to define myself as one thing but as the project has progressed I have begun to feel more comfortable with the crossovers in in my area of practice; making, illustration, crafts. I did not know how to approach combining them before as I had never tried working with ceramics, glass or even wood, it was intimidating as first.

    I found blogging useful in documenting what I was learning and the skills I developed. I found it useful to have my camera on me all the time to document the processes on my blog step by step. I made aims at the end of each blog for the next day which mostly worked well. Although, because the project was going in so many different directions I didn’t always get everything I wanted to do done. 

    I have discovered a couple of areas of practice I have a real excitement for such as clay work and pyrography. Pyrography is a really fun and interesting approach to illustration that I had never before heard of. I really like the aesthetic it creates.

    My illustration applied to wood using the pyrography pen.

    I would like to continue developing my skills using these materials and processes to use in my future practice and discover more ways to combine making and illustration will be an on-going process. I got really stuck into clay at the beginning of the project, I was learning so much. However I think this prevented me from pursuing other processes and materials as I got caught up in working with clay. I had to go back and look at my original goals and set myself off again in the direction of learning about glass, wood, pottery, paper, painting and printing onto objects. I feel that this prevented me from doing everything I wanted to in the beginning because I spent too much time on using clay and making mugs. I need to learn not to keep reminding myself of my original brief and goals and not get too absorbed in one thing. I am disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to use the pottery wheel or use the metal workshop as it was being moved over reading week and everything was a bit chaotic. This project has opened up a whole world of opportunities for the direction of my work that I want to continue to explore. I have developed confidence by delving into the unknown and going to talk to technicians in the workshops available. Being surrounded by students from different courses doing all sorts of different things helped me as I got into conversation about what they were doing.

    Although I didn’t enjoy glasswork as much I am really glad I got the chance to learn about what there is to do. I found it difficult to create images onto glass using the frits and I also couldn’t cut the glass very well or very straight. This really frustrated me and I got quite irritated whilst working with it, although I just need practice as I am not going to be good at everything for the first time. I found it fascinating that you can put found things into the glass such as leaves and natural fibres, the results were very interesting. The leaves came out black and you can just see the outline and textures of them. I am also really pleased with my glass bowl, I never thought I would be able to make something like this as I did not know how to go about it and this idea developed because of the constant dialogue and conversation with the technicians.

    I tried to do things out of the workshop such as using the pyrography pen and I tried my hand at some glass painting at home on circles of glass. I discovered after I had bought the paints that they have to mix the paint with a solution called vitrea. I found it hard to paint using them and it is because I didn’t read the label properly and I need to find out where I can get this solution from to mix the paint with and try again. 

    This project has broadened my horizons as to what I can achieve in my practice and how I can develop areas I am interested in already and ones I have never tried before. I feel that I will always want to experiment and explore but I am starting to feel comfortable with this now. I have been out of my comfort zone and it has got me thinking about approaches to work and what is out there in the real world in making, illustration and crafts. I have developed relationships with technicians in the workshops and I feel confident in talking to them and consequently approaching technicians in other workshops which I would not have done previously. I realised as I was beginning to learn about the processes that there is so much to make and so many materials to work with it is quite overwhelming. The materials and processes are very unpredictable and can be temperamental which needs to be factored. Time needs to be organised well and more in-depth research and knowledge is needed.

    Saturday, 5 November 2011

    Helen Musselwhite

    I really like this simple colours used with the light to create an illustrated lamp. I wonder if this kind of illustration is something you do on the lasercutter? I am going to get myself inducted onto it!

    Sara Fanelli

    I have just discovered this porcelain tealight with illustrations by one of my favourite arts Sara Fanelli!

    Friday, 4 November 2011

    Glass painting continued...

    More glass painting. I find it difficult to use these paints, the brush strokes make the colours uneven, I think it is too thick because I don't have the right vitrea solution to mix it with. I really need to find out what it is and where to get it from.

    Tuesday, 1 November 2011

    Glass bowl and Mugs!

    I am really pleased with the result of my glass bowl! Andy had to put it in the kiln twice as the first time the glass didn't dip into the bowl shape fully. But after the second time it fully dipped into the plaster mould and now is a fully working bowl!

    Some more mugs. I really like the light oatmeal glaze on these porcelain mugs, I want to use it again on my last few mugs to glaze and then use some lasertran images.

    I am a bit dissappointed with how the colours came out on these mugs, I put oxide colours over the carved illustration but the colours have come out quite dull and not how I would of like. This is a risk with working with oxides and glazes, they are unpredictable.

    I would have liked the colours to come out bolder and brighter, not so much as block colours.

    I am pleased with the monster mug! The colours have come out well with the monster image.

    I just used transparent glaze on this mug as I wanted to keep the illustration clear. I am glad I did as the image is still visible and would not have been if I had applied oxides as I did with the previous mugs that did not come out how I had hoped.

    So many mugs...

    I really like the wonky shape of this mugs but not the way the oxides have turned out. The colours are dull.

    Key points
    • The oxides did not turn out as I had hoped and I am dissappointed with some of the results.
    • Light oatmeal colours comes out well and I can apply this to my last set of mugs.
    • The carved images in the mugs come out well with transparent glaze.
    • Some of the oxides over complicate the mugs and remove the focus of the illustration.
    • I need to blend in the oxides when applying them to prevent block colours.
    • I like glass and I'm very pleased with the results of the bowl.

    Pyrography pen

    I have tried using the pyrography pen on more different types of wood. Creating an image onto ash wood here I found very difficult. I couldn't get the lines even and neat. It was hard to smoothly make a mark in the wood. The texture of the wood didn't feel right along the grain and against it and it does not look particularly good.

    I tried to create letters and woods on the wood which I enjoyed. The curves of the letters can be quite difficult, and getting the type the same size. I like the un evenness and hand written type though. This is jelutong wood.

    This is a significant number for me. I want to do more on this block of sapele wood. Its a darker wood than the previous woods I have been using. It is very smooth and easy to mark make onto and create images. I found the curves easier to do on this wood. I really like the darker, reddy tones to the wood and the number.

    To be continued...