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.

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