Pewter Live 2

Today I was finally able to use my mould and I have to admit that I was really excited to try it out.

All I had left to do was carve out the pouring hole and risers. I used a lino cutting tool to cut away the silicon and eventually I managed to get something that I could pour the pewter into.

T

he preparation for the pour was pretty simple, it was just a case of getting the equipment out and taping the mould together.

After that I put it into the sand pit and I heated up the pewter ready to pour it.

Once I had poured it, I waited a bit for it to cool down before opening the mould.

I was really impressed with how well it worked. I knew by looking at it that I would need a bit of work done on it to get rid of the seam lines, but I was really pleased with it.

I sawed the spew off and also the little bits that leaked slightly. I then filed it with my small files to finish it off a bit.

I really like how it turned out but I was just thinking that maybe I need to put something on it that’ll define the lines better.

I also poured another one, however I don’t think I taped it tightly enough because it leaked slightly and so the horns didn’t fully come out. I might keep it as is because I prefer how how the cheekbone turned out.

One of the things I have realised from doing this is that I would like to find somewhere to buy my own pewter from so that I have a bit more flexibility with playing around with things.

I decided to take it home so that I could complete it and make it into a necklace. I had some leather thing at home which I thought would look perfect. I wanted to tie the look off with one final thing. I just seemed a little incomplete as is. I added some jump rings and small beads to them and I think that finished it off.

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Field Zine 1

As a part of our Field module, we needed to make a zine to show what we’ve taken from Field into Subject. I wanted to make a couple of blog posts just to track my ideas and what I’m thinking.

I haven’t got much in the way of visuals yet, but I have an initial idea which is to either track my anxiety levels through the time or to make a guide to others who have social anxiety to help them through Field. Since I did a project called Information is Power which was about designing information in such a way that it empowers people to learn, I could transfer those skills and empower people to cope better with Field because it is hard when you have social anxiety.

Pewter Live 1

I was thinking that as well as doing my Utopia project, I might also have a go at doing Pewter Live. I figured since I was planning on doing jewellery for my project, I might as well enter the competition.

I decided that I wanted to make an antelope skull because I just wanted almost like a test dummy piece to practice modelling.

When I was researching how jewellers make the blanks for their pieces, I came across a material called modelling wax and I managed to find some on Amazon and ordered it.

I was actually really nervous to try this modelling material because I have always really, really struggled with modelling with oven bake clay and things like that.

When I tried to model with the wax though, it was really easy to use. I loved that it didn’t have that weird elasticity that I find oven bake clay has. I also like that it becomes maluable with heat and then solid once it cools down. This means that you can prod it about to make it move into the basic shapes and then let it harden and you can shave and carve into it to get more precise shapes.

I decided to do an antelope skull with slight tribal patterning on it and I put a ring in between the horns for both functionality (it can be hung) and aesthetic.

Make Your Mark 2

Now that I have cleared up some of the things that I wanted to clear up in the project, I needed to define my actual project.

I decided that I wanted to carry over some of the themes from my BAMS project and explore the theme of Utopia. I wanted to look at Utopia because I was reading a book about a typographer called Paul Renner who designed the typeface Futura. I was fascinated by how political visions collided with design and how they evolved together. I also love dystopian films and so I thought it could be interesting to look at the opposite.

I was thinking about how to examine the idea of Utopia because it’s really easy to just do my opinion on the matter, I thought it should be better informed than that and I had this idea that it could be really research led. I then decided that I wanted to do two ‘strands’ to this project. To help organise my thoughts I drew up a diagram. Essentially I will be doing two projects under the same theme but they will tie together.

I’m interested in tying in printed media with jewellery. So for now I think I’m going explore that idea by asking people what their Utopias are and researching political and philosophical theories.

Make Your Mark 1

A New Project

Now that I have finished my Field module this year, it’s time to get back to the ranch, my own desk. This is both a comfort to me and also bit daunting.

Whilst Field was a very mixed bag for me, I did enjoy the fast pace of it though, admittedly, it is not a sustainable pace for me. I am nervous about going from a very punchy ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ speed project to a very long one.

I know from past experience that I can struggle a lot with long projects. It is mostly to do with retaining my interest in a topic for a prolonged space of time, thus I have devised a couple of strategies that I have not previously tried before. I am, however, confident that they will help me (they better!).

My strategy for surviving the long haul project:

  1. I am not going to think much further than the week ahead. I have to take it week by week, one day at a time. If I start thinking about how many months I have left to do this project, it’ll stress me out or drive me crazy, I’m not sure which.
  2. I am going to pick a ridiculously meaty topic. That is as it says on the tin, really. I am going to pick a topic that is really dense and I am going to interrogate it from all angles.
  3. I am going to break things down into sections. I want to do a variety of things and so I will make different types of things to ensure I won’t get bored of doing one thing (I’m basically a five year old and have to retain my interest in this way).

I feel confident that I’m going to have more fun with this half of the year than I did last year, I think it’s partly down to not having had this brief given to me at the start of the year. I felt like last time having a brief going on for the entire year was far too much for me.

I have also been doing a bit of reflection since field and thinking about some of the things that I could have done better with and I want to use this project as a way to achieve some of my goals.

My personal goals:

  • I want to be a better public speaker. I want to become better at speaking in front of groups. I used to actually be pretty good at this however, I lack consistency as to whether or not I’m going to be ok about talking. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes I’m a wreck. I find it easier when I am the first speaker, but there are many situations when I cannot control when I am set to speak. I have also found that if I am talking about my work, it doesn’t necessarily matter if I’m happy with the work or not, I may still find it difficult. I saw in the assessment criteria that I would have to give a presentation about my work and so I just want to get better at doing so.
  • Writing. I want to be better at writing. This is a strange one because I actually love writing and I am quite good at it, but when I was reading my past blog posts, I was really appalled at the quality of my writing. It feels like it has deteriorated. I think that also reflects on how little I’ve read because I have a visual stress problem that has only very recently hailed a solution. I always think that when you stop reading, your writing goes to hell too. The main problem I found is that all my sentences were running into another, it was a little chaotic, really. I think it was that struggle to control and edit my stream of consciousness whilst writing but also retrospectively. I’d like to improve the quality of my writing and hone my voice, not for academic writing but for more leisurely writing. I love writing and I really find myself missing my A Level classes in the timetable. I especially love creative writing and poetry. To bring myself back on point, what I essentially want to do is to improve the quality of my blog posts, I think to do that is to respect the readers time , which is important to me.

Lastly, I’d like to set out and reflect upon more creative goals I have for this project.

When reading through the brief there was a lot of thinking about future endeavours. Making connections, gaining work experience and contextual gallery visits. This really terrifies me. It is hard to do these things when you struggle to define yourself.

I do not know if I am an artist or a designer, I do not know if I want an MA or to look for employment. If I did look at employment I wouldn’t even know where to look because I have no idea what I want to do. I know what I like doing but I don’t know what kind of job would be good for me.

All I do know is that I do not want to be self employed or a freelancer. I don’t even really know how to talk about my practice to people because I don’t know what my practice is. It comes from loving a lot of different things, for example, I love graphic design, have done for years. I also love illustration, drawing characters, making costumes, making small pewter objects and then there’s the part of me that just reveres the written word. The part of me that grieves the fact that I am no longer (formally speaking) a student of the English language. There’s the part of me that loves film and finds analysing things like film and books fascinating. I also love helping people in all  kinds of ways.

It just feels like a bizarre limbo that I’m stuck in, it’s like a still phase of time and I think that’s an introspection that academia risks inducing, being trapped in one’s bubble of life because there’s no immediate major change, it’s all one huge phase of education.

I hope that doesn’t make it sound that I hate education by the way, because I don’t, I just feel overwhelmed by the constant reminders that I am completely lost but all I know is that at the moment it’s safe to be but it won’t be forever. At some point, I need a career, that is the fact of it.

My current ideas in terms of creative goals are to explore working with small metals, because I enjoyed that for BAMS and to teach myself some other skills.

My creative goals:

  • I want to do even more with metals. This will most likely be small metals like copper and pewter but I wouldn’t oppose working with bronze or other metals like that. I want to explore jewellery making and see how I feel about it. I have admired various jewellers for a long time, my favourite being Thomas Sabo. I love their ethnic designs, the boldness of them whilst retaining a degree of class by not being too ‘blingy’. There are also other jewellers that I like such as Tiffany, Chan Luu, Isabel Marant, Eddie Borgo and Chloé. I also like some of the small leather items by Prada.
  • I want to learn to put videos together. I want to learn to make videos and animations. I think it would be such a good skill to learn and since I love films and art direction in films it makes sense to me. Also because I want to look at making commercial ‘jewellery as escapism’ and so narratives of complex themes will help tie pieces together as well as the way that they’re displayed.
  • I don’t want to be afraid of doing ‘straight up art’. This is going to sound like a strange one, but hear me out. I have, for a really long time, been terrified of producing fine art. I love looking at it and I’m not afraid of it as such. Some of my favourite creators of all time are fine artists. I just never wanted to be in that category myself. Which is kinda weird and I would get fed up of having to do activities that felt too fine art orientated. I need to not feel that way anymore. Because I know that, on an instinctive level, I am never going to fully be a fine artist. I am not going to create that kind of thing. Not out of deliberately not doing that, but simply it is not my inclination or rather nature to do so. However, I know that I can draw things and reach into more abstracted things to inform all kinds of decisions and that doesn’t suddenly make it a ‘fine art’ project. I think I’ve really come to that conclusion after going into the graphic design Field project.
  • I want to learn low key publishing and book making methods to help document things that are interesting elements of my projects. This is also a weird one in some ways. I want to create a explorative and curated medium for things that are outside of my sketchbook. I want to include more creative writing and practice and reacquaint myself with really low tech methods of publishing such as print making and college. Honestly, I just watched some videos about home publishing and as someone who loves printed media such as magazines and books, I just got really excited about it.

I think that’s really it. This has been a lot of rambling and reflection but I needed to put it out there for future reference and I want to make sure that I feel fresh and ready for a new project.

 

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. Perhaps that is something that I have to work on, after all if I make it to a workplace, I don’t really get to call those shots, do I?

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. For my piece I wanted to highlight the lack of garden space in tower blocks and create a wall mounted planter to solve it. However what I ended up making because I panicked and got stressed by the surroundings and so I didn’t make something that I was proud of, it was a terrible piece of work that I actually just felt ashamed of.

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. This was mostly from doing the group tasks. To be honest, I found my group challenging to work with but I did make sure to stay engaged enough that I learned a couple of things. 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 realised that it’s a lot to do with context. I think as a maker this was valuable to me because I’ve always been scared of doing abstract things for fear that the work would be labelled as fine art rather than design, but being around people who knew how to do that in design made me think that I could further my own skills by exploring that.

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. By that I mean I allowed myself to get too easily frustrated when it felt that I wasn’t being able to contribute and used it as an excuse to give up a little. I don’t think I made myself a valuable member of the group and I really need to stop expecting people to hand me the opportunity to do that. It’s a lot to do with having a shy disposition but I know I have to try harder to overcome that get, well, anywhere really. It may seem weird that a week long project hit me like that but I think its’ because it’s been such a long time since I’ve done a group task like that.

Overall it’s been a mixed bag but I enjoyed my second field project which is an improvement on last year, so I’ll count that as a success.

Information is Power 5

The Final Pieces

Below are images of my final pieces for the project. All in all I’m happy with them. I think the masks could have been a bit more developed because I don’t think I ever really managed to clear up how to show what I was showing in the best way. Now that I’ve thought about, I have a couple of ideas but I think they do the job.

I think to improve the masks I would have made them more into a timeline type of thing but it was hard to find matching sets of data. I could find a month by month breakdown of pandemic death toll estimates but not for the war. I also could have improved on them by having stitched them on a machine but my last needle broke so I had to hand stitch.

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Above is how I made my mask. I didn’t manage to get photos of me sewing because I was a little frustrated at having to do it by hand and so I was just doing it to make sure it was done. After that I just did the dots.

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The piece showing death tolls. 
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The mask that shows injured vs infected. 
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I also wanted to include this small rhyme on a scrap of paper because it was the latest virus for children to have made skipping songs to and I also wanted to tie it in to my leaflet which has a bird on it. I think without this context the bird might seem a bit weird. 

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Above is the process of making the leaflet. I basically used a 0.8 pen and a brush pen to do everything and then I used an app called Adobe Capture which allowed me to take a photo and it vectorises it straight away, just to the lines so I don’t have to fiddle about with backgrounds etc.

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The half of my leaflet that details the ins and outs of the virus. It has a weird present tense but also retrospect thing because I wanted people to learn about what it might have been like at the time but also the shocking things about it that we only know now. It’s mostly hand drawn because I don’t feel confident doing all that in Illustrator but I thought it could look weird if my drawings were so loose and the writing was perfect and so I wrote all of it. 
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The front of my leaflet (please note that it reads left handedly because I’m left handed and sometimes I just want to make it easier for me to use) I colour coded the stats that are used on the masks because I wanted them to tie in and give the user a clue. I toned the colours down so that they weren’t obnoxious.