Week 3 has been exciting. On Wednesday I had my induction to the digital print machine in the textile print department and printed fabric with pictures of my daughter and Thursday was presentation day and Statement workshop.
The Artists I have been looking at, those that use clothes to make their sculpture, talk about clothes being embedded with the history of the wearer. The fabric, which I am making into clothes, literally has my daughter’s life printed on it. It was inspired by her, she had seen a model wearing a dress made from Polaroids, which were images of the model wearing different outfits and my daughter thought it was great, she wanted one. So rather than polaroid photographs of her in different outfits, I made a collage of images of her from her childhood, edited with her help. Not having an art programme on my laptop at the time I printed the images out and used scissors and glue to put the collage together, clumsily blurring the edges with white paint then scanning it into the computer to upload onto a pen drive. It was very exciting learning how to use the equipment In CSAD and so easy. Plug in the pen drive upload the image, duplicate, resize, whatever and print. Your image is flipped onto paper which you then transfer to the fabric using a heat press. There are several different fabric types to choose from and swatches to show you the results. I chose three different types of material, a heavy structural type, a poly cotton and a light floaty one. The only downside is that the process only really works with synthetic fabrics. However, I will be able to use reclaimed fabrics so that is a compromise I am happy with. I couldn’t wait to make it into something. I wanted to start draping it and pinning it together. I went down to the fashion studio to borrow a mannequin but there was no one there. Apparently, they are very precious about their mannequins so they probably wouldn’t have leant me one anyway. I’ll have to take one of mine in and of course making my own sculptural mannequins is something I want to do.
I was tired and I needed to move my car. Also I discovered I hadn’t brought any CD’s back with me, after taking them home last week to finish off the segment of the ball like I had intended, so I was a bit stuck.I took the opportunity too go to g39 gallery to see the latest exhibition which is called "The Principal Boy". As I entered the gallery the first thing I saw were large photographs of what appeared to be trans men or women made up to look like men, their facial hair obviously make-up. Behind the dark blue curtain was a stage set like installation that looked like 'skull Island', this is a reference to Peter Pan and the women in the film that is showing on the screen imbedded in the large skull are all dressed as lost boys and doing their make-up in a workshop scenario. The rest of the film is reminiscent of an amateur pantomime, but also includes reference to the artists experiences learning mechanics at school and the old YTS scheme. They are obviously younger than me as I wasn't allowed to do mechanics because I am a girl, they "presented as a girl" and were the only one in the group but they were there which was a step further than I got at the same age. I enjoyed the installation. the film was well presented, even the seating was made to look like rocks. I didn't register that everything was blue until I read the accompanying literature but it made sense. I liked the use of the Lost Boys as characters and the pantomime references as a way to explore gender fluidity and identity.
I went back to the caravan which was exactly how I left it in a hurry the week before. I ate my dinner sorted all the stuff I needed to take home and had another early night.
Thursday is presentation day. The rest of the group have uploaded their images and I am looking forward to hearing about their practice. Of course, no one wants to go first so I step up just as Andre had expected. I am happy with my presentation and there is no questions or feedback particularly. Rosie is very good, articulate and fluently confident in her work. She presents a piece of work which she made around a now demolished building. Andre is excited by it because drawing and architecture are areas he is interested in. It is really interesting, large scale drawings which began with rubbings, worked into with more wax crayon then covered with ink, they cover half of a room. Cora Jane’s work is really interesting too. Using light and paper cut outs she is exploring identity, who she is and how others see her using the objects that are around her. She speaks well and appears confident in what she is doing. Meg talks about feminism and the domestic, craft and switching materials. She is honest about how she feels about her degree show work and sure about where she wants to take the work. I really like her ideas. She is making a vase out of carpet pieces and has a still life in a frame on her wall already. Ellie’s collage is challenging environmental issues, playing with scale and humour. Joe wants to make satirical paintings but his background is in music so he hasn’t studied art before, Andre directs him to “Outsider Art”. Paskaline is inspired by super realism, animals and TV make-up shows like Glow up. Daniel shared a piece of work he made in his local park, of a dog made from leaves on a frame of pallet wood. He has worked in set design and talked about making things out of one material to look like something else and wanting to get away from that by allowing the materials to communicate their truth. He struggles to articulate this (I’m not sure if I have truly understood what he was trying to get at either). His inspiration piece is figurative and he talked about the materials being able to say more about the emotion of the figure than the actual expression on its face. Andre said he couldn’t read the expression on the face so I pointed out that this was because he was a man and only used half his brain, scientific fact. This shocked Meg but I don’t think Andre heard me. If he did he didn’t acknowledge it. We had a laugh. At one point Andre was wafting air into the room using the door and said “I’m a performance artist you know. Some people would pay me a lot of money to do this!”. “We’re not paying you” I retorted to which he replied “ Someone is.” Fair play, we actually are paying him. We then watched a film about “Crits”, how different tutors approach them, what they are for and how to get the best out of them. I wish I’d had someone to discuss the "Maiden, Mother, Crone" piece with because I might have realised how the materials didn’t fit with the title. There is such an obvious connection between the milk jugs and motherhood and the earth and the end of life, therefore the Crone. In hindsight I could have simply called it “Motherhood”. Motherhood was the inspiration, the starting point and it is an exploration of the emotions that come with it. I will change the title in future.
In the afternoon we were sent off in pairs with a set of questions to answer in an exercise which was aimed at trying to help us talk about our work and therefore write personal statements. I was paired with Ellie. It was really hard to follow what she was saying about her work and type it at the same time. She was actually much better at explaining herself that I got written down. We uploaded the statements/answers and then all read them together, Andre pointing out interesting/usable sentences.
From my answers he highlighted the “manipulating materials and OCCUPATION OF SPACE” part. He emphasised the fact that women have been denied space and that we, as women should embrace this and shout about it, therefore my occupation of space was important. I can work with that and I am already starting to understand my practice a little more. The 'Why' is not a complete mystery but it is far from in focus. Andre recommended a book which I have got out the library “Vitamin 3-D, New perspective in sculpture and installation.”
I got home and did some sewing. The material is now a skirt but it will need more work if I am to exhibit it. The girl didn’t want to wear it for her birthday weekend but we got photos for the exhibition in November.
In other news, I managed to curate the Sculpture Cymru “Thinking” exhibition at Hereford Courtyard in the couple of hours that I had to do it between jobs on Monday. I am hoping to find time to go and see it hung before we have to take it down. Work is easing off now. By the end of the month I will just have my one day a week at Celf o Gwmpas and Uni so my calendar will be clear to focus on the Uni exhibition which we will be hanging in the week of the 14th November.