In an email dated 23 May 2017 (Eastaugh, 2017), I gave an outline of my plan for assignment 5 as follows:
- Getting carried away and making too many samples, leaving insufficient time to develop ideas and write up.
- That the surface treatments might overcomplicate the ideas and detract from the aesthetics of the simple geometric shapes.
- Size, structure and scale of individual units
- Light/shadow, opacity/transparency
- 2D vs 3D – to consider the surface as structure without back or front and enclosing negative space.
- Flexibility/rigidity of all or part of the surface/structure
- Too consider disciplines outside textile practice for inspiration (in particular architecture).
- A review of previous work (output/selection: A constructed surface was chosen as the development concept)
- A phase of experimenting with different surface treatments (output/selection: a strip with ladder-like cut-out holes)
- A phase of exploring different ways of joining, configuring and grouping the strips (output/selection: a twisted strip)
- A phase of sampling with the twisted strip, exploring size, placement, colour (output/selection: A design for prototype/maquette)
- Making the final prototype/maquette.
The experimentation into surface treatments did not prove particularly fruitful in relation to developing a constructed surface. I concluded that it was an over complication which detracted rather than enhanced from my concept. Although I had spent much time and effort on the diversion (in effect an extension of part 1 of the module), the experimentation nonetheless bolstered my visual vocabulary. The output of my experiments was a strip with ladder-like holes.
Exploring different ways of joining, configuring and grouping the strips was also problematic. Frustratingly, my samples presented as surface pattern rather than exhibiting the rhythmic, textural qualities that I sought. A simplification of approach led to a successful outcome (samples 7 and 8), and I was able to move onto the final phases of sampling for, and making my final prototype/maquette.
As well as a tendency for overcomplexity, I recognised that I had probably been too hasty in disregarding from some of the my concepts (for examples, see sketchbook page 23 “Zip teeth edges”, and the insert between pages 40 and 41 “Twisted loop”, sample 2, and the insert on page 44 “Figure of eight”, sample 4).
It was timely that one of the areas of suggested reading/viewing in my assignment 4 feedback was Bruce Mao’s “An incomplete manifesto for growth” (Mau, 2010-14) – a list of directions about how to encourage creativity and development. Number 2. on the list “Forget about Good” and number 3. “Process is more important than outcome” were especially pertinent.
Thinking back to the start of the assignment, I was over anxious about producing a “good” output, so instead of of sticking with my ideas and trying to look at them afresh, I simply moved onto the next. Mau suggests that to be innovative and grow it is necessary to remove the constraints of the judgement of outcome and venture into the risky and unknown.
When it became apparent that my approach wasn’t working I “allowed events to change me” (number 1. On Mau’s list). Taking influence from my contextual research and guidance from my tutor’s emails, I came up with simpler ideas which I investigated thoroughly. I began to get more fruitful results and exciting lines of enquiry.
Although I chose sample 11 to develop as my final prototype/maquette, I feel that could also have developed successful outcomes from samples 9 or 10. With additional time, I would have like to investigate further variations in scale, colour, layering and materials. In fact any of these samples could easily have been turned into a series of related works.
I love colour, and particularly bold contrasts of hue, as reflected by the two colour schemes in my sketchbook (pages 19 and 57-58). These reflect an attempt to portray drama, passion, (perhaps even anger or violence), and form an important part of my personality and creative voice. The Japanese aesthetic (which had strong influence on my final piece), however, celebrates natural materials, a gentle sensitivity towards nature, weathering and the visual manifestation of use and wear. I feel an affinity with these Japanese sentiments too, and felt that my colour schemes were incompatible with the direction I wanted to development sample 11. I reluctantly had to drop them from my final piece, but hope that they might find application in future projects.
I sought to extend my sampling by considering placement, in particular with respect to materials choice and the effect of light on a full scale realisation of my maquette. I also touched upon the use of image projection and lighting effects and the benefits of multi-disciplinary collaboration,
How well did I address the points in my assignment 5 developmental action plan?
Problem areas to improve:
1. To make sure that I use sketching to record my responses to sampling – in particular to assist with development (such as design and composition), and as a springboard to propose further ideas.
2. To make sure that I consider and record how I will use the technical and aesthetic knowledge I am acquiring to inform my practice.
The key learning point that I took from the study visit was the way in which Paul Nash used process to develop an idea (exemplified by room 4 of the exhibition “Life of the inanimate object”). Starting from an object (e.g. A chair leg, tree root or park bench), Nash prepared a series of sketches, photographs and collages and used these to investigate scale, placement and groupings. He also focused on particular areas of interest – for example details of form or texture.
I was pleased to have been able to contribute (for the first time) to “Edge-Zine”, (an arts magazine produced by a small collective of past and present OCA students, co-ordinated via Facebook). To date, three issues have been published, the most recent being concerned with the topic of “Growth” (Edge-Zine, 2017).