Neighbourhood - project brief
Thursday 15th Nov:
Given our new project brief called 'Neighbourhood' in the Location of London - Stockwell was my given area. I found it to not be the most exciting places of all time, in fact I really found it quite hard to find inspiration from the area. The one thing that did strike me however was the contrast in colour created by multiculturalism in the area. It tended to be monotone, very mundane buildings with a sudden vibrany added when there was a local off license or, typically a Brazilian style cafe. There didn't seem to be much other colour apart from these independent shops/cafes. It sort of made me feel that they were out of place, not due to them not being English but rather because they were the only things which exuded energy to the area - the typical London buildings seemed dull compared to these little shops and cafes and made it feel like they would be suited in a more energetic area. This is something which has always interested me - the idea of culture coming together to create liveliness - I would love to look further into this.
I loved hearing about Mays (my partners) background and how the culture in Thailand is so extremely different, not just from the people but with food, transport and simply the way of living. She gave me insight into how Thai women look at Western woman and there is this desire to look similar - something I found very interesting and perhaps will look further into. It gave me insight into how perhaps the culture within Thailand shapes her way of thinking and acting around others. Especially with men being seen as greater in the Thai culture - perhaps this could create a sense of little self worth or lack of confidence?
First day of our new project in our new groups:
The day was spent developing research and translating that through collaging and samples.
I felt properly prepared for today - I had lots of research to work off about Thailand and the spiritual side of their culture. This enabled me to have a solid base to work off and for once I wasn't over thinking things as I was clear where I wanted to start off. I focused more on the shapes from the collages I created rather than thinking about the meaning I can create behind the textiles I was creating which is normally what sets me back as I get too ahead of myself too early.
I was able to experiment with lots of different ways of 'construction' in terms of textiles - I found It useful starting with one construction method eg weave, and then seeing how I can use the same pattern/formation of textile and constructing it in a different way. It was interesting seeing how different methods of construction evoke different moods. Weave with organic materials I found to be more delicate, where as stitching with the thread I found more harsh.
I learnt with my textiles, contrast with materials is important as all my colours compliment each other.
I have never done print before so I found today exciting as its something new I have learnt however I didn't find it as hands on as other methods of construction in textiles. I much prefer to work with actual textures and translate them in different ways rather than sticking to 2D formations. However I did find it useful as a way of looking at my research within my sketchbook in a different light. I was picking out shapes and marks that interested me and ways that I can experiment with those. I would have rather however wanted to translate these shapes in the form of different textures rather than prints.
I also was able to stick to my colour palette quite well, and it clarified that the colours complimented each other, as previously I was sceptical about this. Another downside however was that I found it to veer away from my initial research and the concept I was focusing on so now I need to bring it all together into my sketchbook so clear development is shown. I think I need to perhaps collage my initial samples with my print and find a way where they can work/compliment each other?
Evaluation on print 1
I think as my print has quite obtrusive shapes within it - none of them being a small or subtle pattern, having the layout being quite sporadic works well. Its not too 'in your face' and evenly balances out the print. I didn't want to line the shapes within the print, as they were meant to be as I wanted maintain the idea that although these Luk Thep dolls were a great source of peace for those who believe in them, they are rather unordinary and not traditional within the other cultures around the world.
The colours I feel also balance one another out. I think the fact blue is a cold colour and orange is a warm means that they compliment each other. This then allowed the purple and black to stand out and not get lost behind the vibrancy of colour next to them. I think however if I was to re do this print or develop it further, I would want to experiment more with spreading the purple shape out, as there are some areas of the print which look a bit too muddled because they're all pushed together and I feel I could have created a bit more harmony within the print by doing this.
Experimenting with dye:
I took the concept of women bleaching their skin in Thailand as my colour focus and experimented to see how I could create an image of ombre and peeling with dyeing fabrics, foods and other multi media. I wanted to create an image of colour saturation and fading, linking to the before and after of bleaching skin. I have never used dye before so although quite stressful as I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing, it meant that I just did it randomly, with no specific process to follow. This meant that the outcomes were very very experimental, not all working as some materials didn't soak the dye up well eg the fibre. I added salt to some of the samples which soaked up the dye well and created this crystallised image, something which I would like to experiment with further.
My favourite sample was using green dye and a sanitary pad as this was a very soluble material which was dyed throughout the different layers. The top layer was a very faded green/grey and then once peeled it had soaked all the dye up so was much darker. It created different dimensions which I loved.
I included this sample in my second print along with the shapes from previous research.
Working in a group this morning I found very useful as we got hands on with the materials straight away which meant that we were very experimental and it was an extremely useful way to gain insight into the ways in which other people work. However, as we all had different research and concepts we started doing our own sections which in hindsight wasn't the best idea as there wasn't much thought going into the structure or the form of the piece, which is always a key element. I think more focus should have gone into the textures and forms we found interesting and combining them to make a visually appealing piece rather than rushing and trying to get it done in the time limit. It was very loose at first and looked messy however when we pushed it together to make it tighter it worked well, with the choices of materials looking good next to one another. I enjoyed using a mixed array of materials, especially the clear tubing as it created this circular structure within the weave, adding an extra dimension. I think for next time, we should plan ahead the textures and colours which influenced our initial research and figure a way to place these all together to compliment each other as this weave was quite 'touch and go'. We should have also taken into account the image of the weave as a whole, as we didn't focus at all on what the back would look like, so it ended to being a mess. But overall, I was happy with the complimenting colours and the form of the weave.
I really enjoy this weave and knitting sample. I used arm knitting which created lots of negative space and a delicate image. I then concentrated the weave in a circular rubber ring which I thought captured my concept well - the idea of dolls maintaining good spirits within them and good fortune. The fact its concentrated in one area represents this yet still maintains the delicacy of the Thai culture. The less concentrated areas are there to show the mundane and ordinary lives of those who don't believe in these 'Luk Thep dolls'. I think the colours work extremely well together. The rubber ring stands out as its the only non organic material used which draws attention to the weave within in, making it the focal point, in similarity to the dolls.
I think my favourite part is the small stitches which I have weaved within as they are not boisterous, I like the idea maintaining finer detailing. It also works to dilute the weave within the rubber ring.
I think to progress it further I should look at the shapes created within the knit. I also noticed that the stitching in the back creates some lovely shadows which could be interesting to develop?
Development sample - weave and rubber ring
Response to development sample.
With this development sample I was focusing more on the shapes I could create within the weave rather than the materials used. I was trying to maintain the contrast of negative space and concentrated areas within the sample. This was an attempt to develop my two previous samples however as I didn't focus as much on materials, which I should have, the sample I feel didn't work as well. I like the technique of threading different loom yarns together, I think this manages to capture negative space well however due to the materials chosen it looks too hectic. The orange is very vibrant and then the bin bag is also a harsh material which picks up on the light and draws attention, so rather than a delicate draping image being formed, its all very hectic and there is no balance. I feel the rubber ring is lost within the piece as there is too much happening above it. Lesson learnt - don't sideline materials when experimenting - think about the piece as a whole and the elements which make it.
Meeting with Pauline Moon - Time management and Workflow
- Get my thinking onto the research page - respond to what I like about the artist - What does the artist make ME think about?
- Eg - Mona Luison (favourite artist) - When looking at her work, I see this Childish image and vibrancy created through colours and materials. She builds her textiles up massively creating this huge, boisterous piece of energy which I enjoy this as I think that this youthful side of people is missed out when we become adults and focus on other things which we deem to be more important eg money.
To help with time management:
- Focus on the project brief more as this will help mould my research and the parts I find interesting to take from it - this will then be easier to visually portray in my sketchbook and will create less stress for myself when thinking about what I need to present.
- Reflections are there to help make decisions about future development of samples - this will help me as less time will be spent on stressing about what to do but rather actually creating.
I must remember that:
When I have all these ideas, jot them down visually, I don’t always have to make them. Being more precise can help rather than trying to shove everything in my sketchbook which, in hindsight makes it too hectic.
I found colour research very useful I have never really focused on the reasons why I have chosen a particular colour. Normally I just see what colours go and what colours compliment the others rather than really researching behind the meanings. I found it useful and actually helped me think about my research. I get to know the actual psychological thoughts on colour and it seems as if its all a social construct. Colours in themselves have no meaning but we have assigned the meaning by association eg seeing ‘red’. It has helped me realise that different tones within colours create different moods, so when choosing a palette I need to be more specific. Rather than just saying, ‘oh i’m using purple’, look further into the tonal range and see the effects of each and their meanings. For my current project, its all spirituality, which the colour purple represents but also suppressing womens empowerment, so I have chosen a darker violet as if were to use a lighter one, a more innocent, light hearted image would be portrayed.
Entirely colour focused today. I think the main lesson for me today was the realisation that actually colour has a much larger impact that I thought - I tend to go for instinct when choosing colours, for example ones which either I am comfortable with and have used before, or ones which I instinctively know compliment one another, however they can help hugely when trying to tell a story. It is important that when I choose colours, I think deeper into it, are they warm or cold colours? Can different tones change the mood of a piece? Its all relevant and thats something I need to keep in mind when developing an idea. I have also realised that I need to show development more with colour, experiment more with different ranges and rather than sticking to 2d swatches or drawing materials, actually look at whats around me and play around with objects and how placing them in different ways can perhaps produce alternative shades of the same colour and what effect that would have?
When placing the different objects I had with a multitude of different colours, it was an eye opener for me. I think I work best when I'm hands on with whats in front of me. I was looking at how I can match colours and textures together as a whole, seeing how they can have relationship - eg I tried to recreate the netting of a Badminton racket by layering violet CD cases and seeing whether they had the same effect. Its made me realise that every aspect of a piece is equally as important as the others. I tended to side track colour as I didn't think it was as important as texture and form, however I now know I was completely wrong.
Trying to recreate the holes within the racket by layering
Looking through the negative space within the hangers to see what I can capture
The main thing gained from today was understanding the development process more. For me, its important to look back at previous samples and analyse the textural relationships, colour combinations and detailing between my samples, which I deem to be successful and from that experiment further with combining these aspects. It's all about trial and error. I think also after my talk with Patricia, this being the first time I have spoken to her during a project, rather than at the end, I've got to experiment more with unconventional materials, adding that extra element which would hopefully make my work more memorable. Step outside my comfort zone. It doesn't matter if the samples aren't always successful as this is part of the development process.
In terms of my sketchbook, to make my story telling more clear, when laying out my work I need to focus more on placing images and samples all together, across a double page, so its more visually clear as at the moment, I am collaging two separate ideas next to each other so sometimes this is hard to understand for those who aren't myself.
I think through this whole process so far I have been drawn towards textiles for interior, veering towards this idea of sculptural textiles. Things I learnt from today regarding the development process and making it clear of the direction I want to take throughout my sketchbook:
- Document everything, showing both my initial thoughts and final thoughts so it brings everything together nicely
- perhaps create visual brainstorms at the beginning of each project ( this could useful to refer back to if I find myself loosing track?)
- always respond - makes it more personal and shows your take on the research you have found
I talked to Katie about how I can make it known within my sketchbook that I want to veer as far away from fashion as I can get, simply because its too technical and she gave me insight into some useful ways of how to do this:
When thinking about the pieces that I have created, think: 'Where do I want this and why do I want it here?. How do you see it within a space? Which artists do you like and why?' To show these questions within my sketchbook I should do drawings and illustrations giving an idea of where I visualise my work. I found this extremely useful as it shows that the development process doesn't just stop when you've created you're final pieces but rather, the next stage of development occurs. For me, I think it will be useful to think about where I see my piece throughout my project, as perhaps this could influence the materials I use or the colours. I didn't do this for my current project so I think this is where I will start to develop again. Its made me realise that art and design is all about problem solving but you should always be able to adapt you work into the environment you wish it to be in.
In terms of Crit this afternoon, i found it one of the most unhelpful sessions. It was all extremely hectic and no one gave me feedback even within the small fit sessions. I find it extremely aggravating when this happens as I want to know where I can improve and if I am doing this right thing but I think people get nervous stating if they don't like something. I guess if this is how it makes me feel when no one gives constructive criticism, it will push me to give more to others as in the long run it all helps.
Today was extremely insightful into the work that I should be aiming towards for my BA course and the layout of portfolio. It made me realise the importance of editing your work to show the route you want to take - for me its important to really show the story and influences behind my textiles but also show that textiles is 100% the route I want to take. Although its too early to have a style, its hugely important to show who you are within your work so they have an idea of what you're like as a person and the way in which you work. The main thing I learnt I guess is to make your work personal. I did however find today very stressful as I'm still in the stage where I am comparing myself to others and the work that they are producing, it feels like its very competitive and I don't enjoy that. I have to stop comparing myself to those around me, as otherwise I won't be able to create work which reflects me as im trying to be like others, so I must remain confident.
In terms of portfolios, its important that I don't try and shove everything onto my pages thinking that this will give me a better chance of getting onto the course, as its quality not quantity and its important that its clear where my influences came from and how I have developed these. I have to be tactile with the pieces that I choose. I do think however I need to create more samples which show a breadth of skills rather than sticking to what I feel comfortable doing as this will show I am willing to learn even if I don't necessarily enjoy it.
We were continuing today with creating development sheets for our portfolios. There were a few things which I realised I need to focus on for the next few projects:
Although my development in terms of researching and responses are more clear, when it comes to final outcomes, I should have little swatch samples along the way which show material development and this is all part of the editing process.
In terms of colour - I guess with this most recent project I have stuck to the three colours however the tones vary a lot so I need to stick to the same tone so its clear that they are all part of the same project and this is easily established when looking at my portfolio sheets.
I need to annotate my sketchbook more as I'm now relying on my collages to tell the story. Having these annotations will also help visualise which aspects of my sketchbook are the most relevant and show my visual story when placing samples on my portfolio sheets.
Possible portfolio layouts.
Key things to note when doing portfolio + development sheets:
Page 1: Intro - research - maybe add a word? Gives more clarity.
Page 2: Research development and design development fused/ how ideas are turning into my first thoughts and responses.
Page 3: Samples, could still have drawn response to contextualise
Page 4: Textile page
Page 5: Outcome
Pointers for my work:
My portfolio sheets are not my sketchbook, I must not try and cramp everything onto one page. Less is better.
I also must take serious care of my sheets ie no scruffs or marks as this will give a bad impression.