Field Reflection

Now that I have finished field, I am able to reflect on how it went and what I learned. The first thing I learned was that I am not doing wood working again. But in all seriousness I learned what I feel more or less comfortable in how I like to operate.

My first field project was The Sustainable Artisan (which was a wood working project but I didn’t know that before hand) where I realised that I like to be in quiet and controlled environments where I can focus easily. I find that noise is distracting and the wood workshop is very noisy and I hated having to ask everyone to cut the wood for me because I can’t use most of the machines. I just like to be able to get on with things on my own terms.

However doing that project did reaffirm that I do like designing things, I think I have always leaned closer to designer than artist even if I don’t clearly sit in either. I enjoyed the design phase and I like to see how I can solve problems or bring problems to the forefront of people’s minds.

My second project was Information is Power and this project was much easier for me to manage because I knew I could something for it that I would feel comfortable trying to execute (basically it wasn’t wood working). That is to say that the environment was so much calmer and it was easier to focus because I wasn’t nervous about asking permission for everything.

I was excited to learn more about graphic design because I have been interested in it for a very long time. I don’t know if I’m much good at it, but at least I feel like I’ve learned more about the decisions that go into graphic design. The first thing was that I realised that graphic design doesn’t have mean making everything quite literal, it may seem kind of weird to say but it just made me realise that you can abstract things and move away from stereotypes. I’d always had it in my mind that graphic design isn’t really abstract thing but then we made this thing with abstract shapes and it worked.

I also learned how to deal with a group of people I didn’t really get on with. I learned a lot about that because when reflecting on it, I realised a lot areas where I didn’t make myself as present as I should have been.

Overall I am glad to have had the opportunity to look at other areas of practice such as graphic design because in the Maker course there is not so much to do with graphics. I think I learned more about dealing with people and ways that I like to work and how it makes me feel than technical things. I think this is reflected in my zine because it is more about the way I felt than my actual field outcomes.

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Remaking My Sustainable Artisan Outcome

My first field project was The Sustainable Artisan. As is evident in previous blog posts, I did not enjoy it and I created this outcome that in the end, I was very ashamed of. It was not representative of what I can actually achieve. Because I have a major sense of pride and honour I decided that I would remake the piece of trash into something I actually like. I went onto eBay and bought some walnut veneer and gorilla wood glue. I was determined to get this done at home since the problems I had last time was largely down the environment I was in.

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This was my original piece made from oak with a cloth lining, I apologise to the oak tree that ended up in this piece of rubbish. It’s wonky, it’s not waxed or treated in any way, it doesn’t have a bottom, I couldn’t even be bothered to make any kind of join or even sand it properly. The idea behind it was to be a wall mounted planter but I got so stressed and upset and anxious that it just went really badly.

I started this remake by getting my veneer and cutting out some rectangles. I made sure to alternate the grain to get the best adhesion when it came to gluing. I decided on three layers of veneer for each side.

Some of the pieces I cut out. Thankfully veneer is nice and thin so I was able to just cut it with scissors.

I then arranged then into piles.
And now came the question, how do I essentially vacuum form this without a vacuum bag and jig? After looking around my room I saw that I had this big poster tube and it had a good radius for the size of my pieces. With hindsight this part was dumb luck and so I should have taken the tube into account before cutting the veneer. So I devised a plan on how to do this based on a few problems I was likely to encounter.

Problems I was likely to counter:

  • The glue would stick to the tube and mess everything up.
  • I wouldn’t be able to replicate the pressure necessary to make it work.

In figuring out what to do about these problems I was able to create a plan that would work. First off, the glue would stick to my poster tube and adhere my veneer to the tube so I figured, why not line it with cling film? And then for the second problem, creating enough pressure, well I have duct tape and clamps so that’s not an issue either.

I started by wrapping the tube in clingfilm.
I then put the veneer pieces on after applying glue to them and wrapped those in cling film to get the initial bend and to make sure it would hold its shape long enough for me to put the duct tape and clamps on.
I then very tightly wound the the duct tape around it.
I did the same for the other half of my plant pot and this is what my makeshift vacuum forming set up was like. I didn’t end up clamping it in the end because it wasn’t really necessary.
Once I had my curved pieces I glued the two halves together.
Then because I was planning to rivet the pieces I drilled some holes into the wood.
Then I used a pop rivet gun to rivet the sides for extra strength.
I added in a bottom and this was the finished product. I have since put a plastic lining in and have put an aloe plant in and I think it looks so much nicer. It is something that I am actually happy to have around and use and I am not ashamed of it.

The finished product with my aloe plant in it on my windowsill.

Exhibition at Dyffryn Gardens

This weekend my mum and I went to Dyffryn Gardens to have a look at an exhibition by a Japanese artist called Takumasa Ono who was doing an artist residency with the National Trust.

We went because we both enjoy things like Ukiyo e (woodblock) prints and the traditional ink paintings. This is what we were expecting when we went, traditional Japanese artwork from the Meiji period so imagine our surprise when we found a hall full of vibrant water colours and the artist sitting in the corner very much alive and well.

I didn’t take photos of the paintings because I wasn’t sure if it was allowed and he had prints of some of them available to buy and so I did not feel comfortable taking photos of his work.

If I’m being honest I wasn’t a huge fan of the paintings, although I could appreciate the fact that they were very good and very accurate. You could definately recognize the different places that he had painted. I think the only reason I wasn’t so fussed on the paintings was because they reminded me too much of caricatures and I’m not really a fan of those.

However we did get a chance to talk to the artist. He was very friendly and he talked to us about how in Japan they actually observe and create with three perspectives. The birds view from above, the human eye level and the view from the below, the toads view. I found this to be a very interesting idea and I like that I now know something new that I can take when I look at Japanese work in the future.

After looking through the exhibition we looked through the house. The house is lovely though it has been going through major restoration since 2008. Also none of the furnishings are original which is a shame however it did mean we were allowed to sit in the seats and play the grand piano and the billiards table they had there to recreate the house as it would have been. The funny thing is that I have been to so many of these types of houses at home and abroad where the objects in the house are very much off limits that I still felt very awkward about doing so.

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Some photos I took of things I especially liked.

 

Make Your Mark 4

For my project I was making an adaptation of a book character however I don’t really think anyone understands what it’s supposed to be so I’ve kind of given up a bit. I have made the jacket I just don’t really know what to do with it. I am going to exhibit it with my pewter things to show some skill development.

In terms of designing the costume the images above show my sketchbook pages. I tried to keep it book accurate and also practical for someone of that position.

Below are some 3D models I made to visualise it. I made the model out of tin foil and masking tape which I then painted.

I made one model and just changed the patterns because it’s more efficient to do it that way than make several models.

The one that I settled on was the bottom one. I felt that it was the one that best fit what I was going for.

Some of the earlier designs seemed a bit too sporty for the kind of thing I was going for. I wanted to go for sinister rather than sporty or too flashy because the occupation of the character is sinister.

In terms of actually fabricating the jacket I decided to make my own pattern. This is new for me since I tend to buy patterns and alter them to suit my needs or I can often find a pattern that fits what I’m doing without the need for alteration.

I knew the kind of material I wanted to use. I wanted to use a faux black leather. This is because it has all the right connotations to me. Black leather is intimidating and dense and powerful. However in the end I managed to find a faux black leather that had a kind of sheen to it that I found added visual interest.

However before I went ahead with this jacket I needed to draft my pattern and make a mock up to test my pattern.

Above are pictures of the initial pattern I drafted. Drafting the pattern mostly involved taking my measurements and a bit of guesswork. However guesswork is ok since I made a mock up to test the pattern to make adjustments accordingly. Naturally for the mock up I used a cheap material so that of the pattern was wrong it wouldn’t be on my nice material.

The sewing of the mockup went fairly smoothly although I managed to get how to sew the arms in muddled up so they didn’t go quite right, but that’s why we make drafts!

I will discuss the draft and the fabrication of the final thing in the next post (because I need to take photos).

Make Your Mark

For Make Your Mark and Pewter Live I looked at a few inspirations and references.

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For Pewter Live I was focussing on antelopes and koi carp. My main inspiration was Thomas Sabo jewellery because I love the themes they use and how bold they are whilst not being blingy. I also find the patterns on the jewellery really beautiful.

I also used photos of skulls and koi carp to use as reference so I wasn’t just making up the forms.

 

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For my jacket I looked at real life examples of fireman to understand the practicalities and design choices on them. There were a lot of obvious things like them being looser fitting for manoeuvrability, high vis for safety and well visibility but not too many things that’ll get caught on things. I also looked at the uniforms from previous adaptations of Fahrenheit 451. I was interested by how minimal they looked and how much like policemen they were. However I also thought that maybe the design could have been a bit more visually interesting. I think the interesting thing about Fahrenheit 451 is that it can be read as either a dystopian or a scum fi novel and I think that could maybe influence the design. Since dystopian novels tend to be more grounded in reality then it would make sense to have something a bit more low key and reminiscent of uniforms that we already have in this world.

Personal Development Plan (Critique)

Personal Development Plan

This year has been an interesting year in constellation because it was so different from last year.

The study group that I got assigned this year was the Sustainable Lifetimes group. I was glad about this because I had done the Sustainable Practices group last year so I already had an interest and knowledge in it. I did sort of miss having a second study group and keynote lectures to go into though because I enjoyed the variety of last year. I also did not really feel like there was much variety in terms of the study groups we could choose from, they all seemed very object heavy.

I learned a lot about how we can control the way people treat objects and how long they hold onto them by considering certain design choices. Overall I enjoyed the study group and I think it was easy to see the relevance it would have on my practice. The only thing I did not really enjoy was the group work because it felt like not everyone wanted to be there.

In terms of what I would take to my practice, it was a little unclear. Obviously to be more sustainable but I have had trouble defining what it is I actually do and so it was hard to find a way to be sustainable when my interests are as changeable as the weather. If I am going to be honest I found that doing this module had a lot more impact on my personal life than anything.

The essay I wrote for this part of constellation was about the fashion industry. It was essentially a history of unsustainable fashion and the people who are looking to change it. My initial idea was to do something on the idea that we should stop indulging in fast fashion and pay more money for less clothes that last longer. It was going to be an argument for idea that less is more and we should pay for quality. It was also based around a question of whether or not people would take more care over their clothes if it cost more. For example I have a very cheap scarf from Primark that I just sling over my chair or shove in my closet when I am done with it. However I also have a Valentino scarf and I keep it in a dust bag in a box and am a little more selective of when I wear it because it cost so much money.

I have been interested in the sustainability of the fashion industry since my primary ‘television’ viewing shifted to YouTube and I discovered that people film themselves talking about things they bought when they went to a certain shop or bought online. Often these items are clothes. Whilst I do find this kind of content a little self-indulgent, I find it interesting to watch because it makes me wonder if this level of consumption is normal for anyone and does this kind of content make people want to buy more things? I wondered if it made people gain a skewed philosophy about the ownership of objects and what that means.  Through my research I discovered that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on our planet and it is a fascinating area of reading.

 

In terms of the feedback for my essay the main takeaway was that I sometimes go on a tangent and I would agree. I am a rather tangential person, I do it even when I am talking most of the time. I think to rectify this I will need to just be very careful and purposeful when I am writing and also to remember what it is I am trying to say.

I am also aware that sometimes I have strange turns of phrases that make sense to me and not so much to others and, again, I need to read my work and be mindful of that.

When it came to the dissertation proposal I was a little nervous. I have chosen a topic I like but I am very fickle with longer term projects. This is to say that I often struggle to retain interest in things. Even in my subject area I tend to do for weeks or so of a project before losing interest and starting something new. I do not know why I am like that. I have chosen to write about video games and anime however because they are my world or at least a large part of it. I have been an avid gamer since I was eight years old and have been watching anime since I was 12. Whilst I am no academic expert in the subject, I would like to think that I am, nonetheless, quite knowledgeable. I am at the very least very passionate about it.

Actually writing the proposal was a bit of a rollercoaster. Some of the sections came quite easily to me and others did not. The literature review was one of the sections that I struggled with because I was not sure on how to write one, I was not entirely sure what it was. I did go to a writing workshop though and learned how to write one there. It was very helpful and I am really glad that I went. Despite this though I still struggled to write the proposal because I had not read that much on the topic. I feel as though I might have read too much into the wrong kind of thing, I am not entirely sure. The other thing is that I was struggling to read fast enough and I felt that the reading was taking too long to actually get the literature review done and so I am perfectly aware that it is not the strongest part of my proposal and I am somewhat dreading having to do another one.

There were a lot of sources that I had planned to read that I will need to look into at a different time so that I can utilise them.

Overall I think constellation has been a mixture of good and bad although I am just looking forward to getting the dissertation done.