Thursday, 27 November 2014

The wheels are turning...

Piccadilly, Manchester
I've had my first tutorial, with Jane McKeating who is the Associate Head of Design at MMU, she who has written (good) embroidery books. 
I was afraid she was going to tell me that my 'concept' wasn't 'conceptual' enough...But she was just really interested in my artwork and my ideas of what and how I was going to stitch, I feel like I've been given permission, not to stop reading intellectual and academic texts but to do my practical work alongside that, with equal importance, and not to worry about how I was going to make it become one whole (let's just hope that happens naturally). I feel I can get on and do a body of practical work and stop worrying about it. Her main advice and focus was on my embroidery which was refreshing and got me excited again. She thinks I'm 'precise'. I can't wait to get home and do some PROPER work.
Unfortunately I have to lug my portfolio and overnight bag halfway across Manchester first.
In other news, our lecture this morning was cancelled and this afternoon's session was for international students only. 
So... I had my health & safety embroidery workshop induction and had to prove I could thread a Bernina sewing machine, I expect it will get slightly more difficult. Next week I get to learn how to use the software for the 12 head embroidery machine- cool.
This respite also gave our CT mapping group a chance to decide what we were actually going to do and how to move forward. The dynamics have changed a little but I think it will all work out...for my part, I am going to photograph a contested territory near home, which will be put on a map, one of a series of 3. I am thinking Seal Sands... that industry vs nature thing we've got going on and maybe Seaton Carew, that quaint little seaside town we've got, as a 'non-tourist' resort. After Christmas we'll decide how we are going to present it; so far this involves a buffet, as we decided a plate of buffet food could be said to be 'contested' I.e. prawn vol au vents fighting with sherry trifle = a mess on a plate.
Oh, I also offered to help with some (very) early-morning, guerrilla-style, paste-up, street-art* for an installation piece two of the group are doing (I'm knitting the balaclavas!)

*I have used the hyphen incorrectly... for effect.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

How to change the world with embroidery...?

Before I reveal the answer I shall update you on my beautiful day...

Starting with a 'CT' (know what it is yet?) meeting in the canteen at 9.30am to devise a plan for an early little reconnaissance outing. I think I was kind of still a little asleep. We didn't make a plan except 'to just set off', but it was suggested that we could go somewhere, return, then individually draw a map from memory where we had been, and layer the results on top of an actual map and each other's. I think that would be kind of interesting although I'm guessing scale may be a bit of an issue. It would be a fun 'aside'. 
I feel I should be doing more of the 'suggesting' within the group instead of taking more of an admin role (i.e. writing the minutes for our Facebook page!) Mmm, I was reminded today that this module has the same number of credits as our Practice 1 (main design) module, damn. However, I do know that this option was the right choice even when I see what the 'Object in Context' people are doing.
Anyway, we were looking for examples of contested territories which we can then map. I think we discovered about 2. But the Urbexing was fabulous anyway...

The rest of the day, everyone except part time year 1 (which includes me :-)) did their Pecha Kucha presentations about their (practical) work so far, with varying degrees of charisma. Nick's was brilliant but he is from Liverpool. I found that most had no physical work either by the look of it. They could always be hiding it though. Unfortunately, they all had really good, amazing ideas that would change the world, or at the very least improve it for some marginalised, disadvantaged, disabled, or 'needy' part of society by inventing/designing an incredible product or such like. So much so that they would be deserving of a Noble prize or a knighthood. (This may be a slight exaggeration- 2 weren't that good). So... in terms of my confidence levels being fairly healthy this last week it has done a lot of damage in that I have now decided I must sort out my stuff RIGHT NOW and fix it (well on Saturday).
Honestly, I know what my problem is, I want to continue with the project I started in the summer, i.e. develop it and see how exciting it can get. To be fair I don't even have that much - just some drawings, photographs and paintings and half an embellishment sample. But, what I need to do is throw all that out and start afresh with nothing - however, I really don't want to. 

So the answer to the title question is.. 
'You actually can't, so just make it more fabulous'.

Finally, I have devised this confidence graph which I will plot for the duration of my MA;

Friday, 14 November 2014

Nothing Doing...

The realisation just hit me. Seven weeks and I've done nothing 'creative' (it feels). Not even mixed a colour. What I have done though is (beat myself up and) some thinking- i.e. tried to conceptualise by osmosis. 
Actually I take that back. I now realise I have not 'done nothing', I have been unconsciously imbibed with new vocabulary, been sucked/enticed into the new way of speaking and thinking (a little), I still can't do it (at all well) but more positively and in response to this realisation, I have come up with these questions I need to ask myself... 
  • Can my work translate to large scale installations? 
  • Do I want it to? 
  • What other applications may my work have?
  • Why do I want to do what I want to do with it?
  • Does my work need a use (other than to look gorgeous !!!)?
And in relation to my theoretical research on my initial inspiration:
'the finding/uncovering of objects left behind in a derelict, desolate landscape, that which gives a sense of ‘place’ and an emotive response to the viewer' (new!)
  • Why are these objects left? Accident or design?
  • What do these objects mean? What did they mean to someone once? What do they mean to the other?
  • Why do some people (me) search them out? How does it make them (me) feel?
  • Why do I want to go to Chernobyl?
So...I have changed the emphasis of the direction of my research (slightly), not sure whether things are becoming clearer; if I am changing things to make more sense or if I am just further muddying the waters? Time will tell, I look forward to seeing if I feel I can keep it next week! But I definitely should stop loitering and take some action.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Good day... (Week 6: Already?)

For a quick synopsis scroll down to *

On my way... again

Wednesday evening, I'm on the train and it's on time so let's hope I make my connection this week, it would be nice.
I feel less trepidation this week; I think we may get into some artwork... although I haven't brought ANY art materials or even paper with me! I am also expecting to meet my personal tutor and have to explain my work (again), hopefully I will do a better job of that this time. I have some photographs and a piece of embroidery in my bag so I can at least resort to some visual back up. I do intend to work/continue with the studies I did over summer, developing those and producing new, more textural, study sheets, alongside producing some  samples and learning how to tambour. I borrowed a hook a few weeks ago and have not yet managed to get started. But this weekend is completely free for me to MA.

Journey Reading

On my way back...again.

Just a note; I missed my connection last night by ONE MINUTE. Sigh. It upsets me as it costs me taxi fare and half an hour. Out of 6 journeys, this has happened 4 times, not a great record (also not my fault).

My day starts with a 10am lecture on Contested Territories, so thats where I will start...
We talked about the 'Impact of Empires', well not me personally, I was trying out the strategy of keeping my mouth (mostly) shut to hide my ignorance. I didn't know much about the topics but there is an improvement... I accept that I don't know anything about Orientalism for example, but I DO know quite a lot about Chinoiserie (no, I know it's not the same), so... I don't think I'm that stupid. I just know about other/different things.
I have to say what struck me most was the thought that I can't imagine EVER studying anything in another language. omg. English is a second language for a large percentage of the class and wow they're good.

So then I took an extra lecture, over lunch (I KNOW!!!!!!!) about Dutch Design Week and it was great.. just looking at interesting and beautiful things, and the In Vitro Meat Cookbook.

Practice 1 Session: How to talk the 'talk'...

(Obviously this is exactly what I need to know
I think it goes like this...
  1. Choose a metaphor e.g. 'spinning a yarn' or, make one up (not quite sure if this is allowed but I have)
  2. Apply said metaphor to whatever it is you are talking/writing about
  3. Choose words to describe your 'thing' that work with your metaphor

For example:
So I'm going to 'pan for gold' and sift through the layers of silt until I find glimmers of preciousness and nuggets of value (which will keep me going). I will be examining fragments and findings from the past and continue until I find enough gold to make THE ingot of all ingots.

Key Words:
Elusive, Precious, Determination

*   Today I have learned:
  •     How ridiculous and tenuous is the link I made to conceptualise and contextualise my work, the one between Dark Tourism and Urbexing. BUT I do have a solution. (And after all, I have started planning my trip to Chernobyl.)
  •   That maybe the reason I have felt intellectually inadequate when I didn't understand what some people were talking about was because those people were actually not making any sense, they were just doing it with big words to make it sound good.
  •   And I still haven't met Nigel.