I will admit to just having had a little cry. The reflection that I wrote, and deliberated and pondered over just vanished as I was about to save it and cannot be recovered! Computers!!!
Having received confirmation of passing my first module: A Textiles Vocabulary, I feel I am in a better position to review this work. I now see from my marking breakdown how the assessors use the criteria – whilst the feedback doesn’t justify any of the statements with proof for their findings I know that part of that is my job to signpost and the assessment is summative rather than formative. However, there is a very useful ‘Overall Comment and Feed Forward’ paragraph at the end that I wish to contemplate through this review/reflection. The last sentence states:
‘It is clear that you felt you owned the course and the work coming from it – I suggest you continue to work with the same energy and freedom in your subsequent courses.’
At the end of this Part 2 of MMT, I am able to share that I now understand that it isn’t just my created textile surface that is a playground, a landscape: but it is the whole textiles domain – and the way I find my first footing onto this is via the course notes. There are times where I have faithfully followed the map (followed the exercises) and this has resulted in exciting sampling, particularly in Project 1. However it was advancing into Project 2 where I found the map of course notes took me to a psychological brick wall, unanticipated and without warning. I felt downtrodden and limited by the exercises and felt constrained and inhibited – I found it a struggle to express myself. However, timely intervention by my tutor – asking the right questions and helping me navigate onto my own path, that really iterated how important it is for me that my sampling combines meaning, intention, expression as well as acquisition of technical skill and practice of process. It is critical for me that what I make matters. It is imperative that my work is true to me. It is vital that my work speaks of me. The struggle for this has meant that at times I feel I am looking at where I’m putting my feet and from my knees down all I can see is swirling fog. I cannot see where I am putting my feet – I could be walking off a cliff or into a crevasse, I just have to trust to a forward motion keeping my eyes ahead and knowing that if I stay true to myself everything will be OK. This has become my ‘go-to’ for sorting samples as I work. Is this sample speaking or is it voiceless? Is there something here that can be used to speak? Is there something in this sample that isn’t yet working but given a little translation service could perform more clearly?
I have learnt that I constantly seek to challenge myself with creating something new, learning something new or innovating a new path. I track off into my own wilderness and the satisfaction from creating something that expresses without words is immense. There is still experimentation of course that comes from trying to fit pieces and processes together to see what technically works and what expressively works. There is a merging of applying new skills to new ideas that really inspires me to keep pushing and struggling. I suspect my worst enemy is myself, pushing the wrong way on doors! My principle drive still remains – I wonder what if… It is exciting to be lost in creating and imagining and exploring. It is a challenge to communicate what I feel, but it is that challenge that keeps me pushing on. My biggest breakthroughs as a result of this Part have been the last samples in Project 2 and the evolution of my drawing as a recording of what I feel as I create the samples. That has been quite electric and exhililarating. I am thriving on the complexities! And here hangs the truth, the golden key for me – complexity, meaning, voice.
To use the assessment criteria:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills:
I feel in this Part my research and experimentation has enables me to develop a breadth and depth of visual response, using a wide variety of materials from glass and steel to paper and fibre. I have worked with familiar more refined techniques: e.g crochet and threading, as well as unfamiliar and improving techniques: welding and fusing with a heat-tool. My observational skills have been shared using my camera, drawing app and sketches as tools, but in the process of sample making these skills are my constant feedback and aid for direction. As I’ve explored exercise I have enlarged my repertoire of techniques that will enable me to communicate my ideas, my meaning and feeling, more effectively. Some samples have been useful aids that do not work in and of themselves but contribute to the development of the next sample in series and therby contribute to my progress as a whole. Sometimes the samples are mere words or sounds and it needs the right translation to enable them to speak. I have felt really excited by the scultptural compositions that have been discovered over this part and continue to push for a blurring of boundaries and transitions between media.
Quality of Outcome:
My research and questioning has enabled me to realise ideas through the actualisation of thoughts and feelings in sample work. I have acquired new knowledge of practitioners and their works and processes by imitating and then innovating. By underpinning my knowledge with inspirational practitioners (either because they inspire me as role models, or their work engages my visual imagination or I am repelled to find my own way) I feel I have been able to realise my ideas and communicate them in my sketchbook and the blog. My judgment is becoming more consistent as I look to myself for value appraisal rather than being concerned as to whether a sample is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I judge both process and production by the yardstick of: is it speaking truthfully or is it false and contrived.
Demonstration of Creativity:
In this Part I have struggled to find a way of expressing my own meaning whilst remaining true to the requirement of the course. I have undertaken much analysis of my motives, my ideas and my use of technique to convey these, whilst simultaneously looking to how other artists have found their truth in their work. I try to push the boundaries and challenge my own concepts and bring something new into being. I believe that at the end of this part my work speaks much more of me, and thereby opens the door for new discoveries about who I am as well as who I am when I am creating and ultimately creates a bridge between my working speaking to me as well as my work speaking of me.
I very much enjoy increasing the breadth of contexts for my practice not just from within the Arts field and textiles domain. I relish the mental agility and academic debates that flourish from my reading and engagement on the forums. My research is an integral part of my learning and unites places I go with what I see and what I read and how I think. A whole new world of possibilities is opening up to me wherein I find some kindred spirits (Louise Bourgeois/ Elka Kazmierczak), inspirational works (Anthony Gormley and Andy Goldsworthy and all those I have documented). I am hoping in the blog and sketchbook to show how this context informs my own practice.
It is an exciting landscape!