On-going experiments

There is a strange transition period when boxing up work for submission. I have followed my tutor’s advice using simple boxes to present each part of the course and I have selected from the samples that she has seen – both successful sampling and works in progress and samples that were less successful, yet moved the learning forward in their own way.20170104_192737.jpg

In between times  I’ve continued to explore using the asemic text and gestural marks, creating fabric with these marks then turning these into form – notably being influenced by the visit to the Wellcome Institue and seeing the dolls used as healing forms. This is an area of my own work that continues even as the course ebbs and flows around me.

Library of images show transition from paper doll form stuffed with polyester stuffing, to fabric forms stuffed with same stuffing in ‘stoney-faced’ doll and later stuffed with the remnant off-cuts from the fabric: ‘heart of glass’.

Sketchbook drawing has become a very much daily event, and this is a huge leap forward for me from where I was last year. I continue to explore how the paint moves, how it creates its own distinct marks, how it layers, how it responds to being splattered, poured, dripped and blown, how it writes with a glass dip pen, and the difference between the same colour in watercolour and acrylic – and further how these are with different papers and different size sketchbooks.

Other experiments include creating a simple, textile form of a flower…then adding the splatter and drip to see the impact on the ground and composition.

I continue to be curious about how to blend powerful inner topographical representations with subtler vehicles for conveyance. Subtle shock versus blunt impact!

Part 5 – Artist Research

As I consider the impact of my feedback for part 4, I continue to spiral round again to Imran Qureshi. In my feedback the bloody pieces of part 4 have created a dilemma that I’m not sure I yet comprehend, but will come clear to me as I discuss matters with my tutor in due course.

I am still taken with giving voice to these silenced utterances. So I looked again at Qureshi. And Bourgeois. And Emin. And my feedback. And ponder. Qureshi concerns himself with life and death, violence and beauty. He enjoys these dualities. Yet he consistently claims that his art concerns what is going on around him – within him, in his local environment, in the World. I am concerned at giving sound or shape to those invisible wounds that people won’t tolerate to be seen or heard.

I’m typing this and I don’t know how to write clearly. I’ve reflected on my feedback but respect my tutor’s request not to put the report online. It has been suggested that I need to develop more subtlety and sensitivity. Qureshi ‘wanted an element of attraction and repulsions at the same time…Something that invites you in and then repels you. Or repels you at first, then invites you in later – working in both ways.’ There needs to be surprise and questions. Thus my current exploration as to what pain looks like and how it would take on form in a particular space. But there’s a concern as to what my pieces say without story to support them. Then I found this on Qureshi (from The Guardian):

‘But the meaning is not immediately apparent without the installation’s title – And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, a quotation from the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, writing about those whose suspicious deaths have never been solved.’

Qureshi works at these extremes of scale: the Roof Garden installation at the Metropolitan Musuem of Art in New York., his miniatures drawing on the Mughal tradition he is trained in – e.g. the works for the Barbican ‘Where the Shadows are so Deep, the 3d works, the giant canvases such as ‘Give and Take’…

…why is ‘scale’ so contemporary a concern or proof of artistic intention? I think the Egyptians had this one covered  from pyramids to hieroglyphs to mummified crocodiles. Why is it still seen as demonstration of skill/talent/prowess? What is it about scale that has us so enthralled?

I think there’s also a certain arrogance – look how much space I can fill with my work, look how much room I need, look how many resources I can devour…hmm…think there’s more to consider here.



‘Imran Qureshi: The Roof Garden Comission’ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 2013


Assignment 4

I am beginning to understand this part of the work, this assignment section, which is to help signpost this work for assessment and feedback.

It doesn’t mean I am growing to like it any more or find it any easier.(Further to Tutor feedback on Assignment 4 I have amended and modified the preamble to this self-assessment).

To use the assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills:

I came to this part with very little experience of printing except some evening classes in dry-point etching and the usual hideous experiments in school with rock solid lino and blunt tools (that still successfully impale the carver). However, knowing this module was coming up I applied to a local printing company (INTRA) for a free course in gelli-plate printing. I had to fill in various forms to explain what I would be doing with the learning and why I deserved a place, and how I would use it. I was successful. I was therefore itching to immerse myself immediately in process-research rather than reading research. I explored different inks on the plate, different surfaces to print on and different ways of composing the monoprints.  I did experiment with collatype and this is not a process that I wish to revisit. It does not work for me. I assert Right 2. As I progressed with the exercises it became apparent to me that one surface and one mode of printing was not enough for one composition. The explorations with acetate and brusho opened the door to the most exciting demonstration of printing on my terms.

Again, as in Part 3 when I started combining techniques and actually composing forms then meaning began to be emerge and a sense of communication developed (Right 4).

As a design process for me printing is a fragment of a whole, not something that fulfils in and of itself, except for the blind back-drawing monoprints that have an importance that I sense is currently in its infancy. Again, as Part 3 I feel that with Project 1 of Part 4 in particular I have been able to move from showing visual and technical skills to communicating ideas.

Quality of Outcome:

Sharing the ‘green heart’ sample on the forum enabled me to understand that the work I was beginning to produce had a high quality due to the ambiguity of the image – evidenced by the varied and complex responses my audience shared. Pushing for greater depth on the back of this at first produced many technically refined prints that showed the ‘quality of outcome’ in process but lacked any ambiguity, or multi-facted layering in concept. In this part I have pushed my work through from ‘looking good and technical sure’ to having real voice – poignant, uncomfortable, personal and universal.

 Demonstration of Creativity:

(edited post feedback)

I wasn’t happy with printing relegating me to a 2d surface so I explored 3d forms, printing on plaster, printing on transparencies, layering, using 3 printing in combination with the gelliplate. The work became visceral and started asking its own questions. It created in and of itself separate from me.


I continue to relish the research and lines of enquiry that my works open for me. This is tantamount to my sense of learning and sense of progress. I have researched from a wide variety of platforms (Right 8)– media, on-line, paper-based, exhibits, galleries and podcasts as well as researching the work of other artists (Cas Holmes, Xtina  Lamb – INTRA) by attending their workshops and learning what printing means to them in practice and principle – learning in parallel and series. I now see where my work is beginning to find its family in the art world. I’m still determined to slice my own trail, but I can now see who inhabits the surrounding landscape.

(edited post feedback 27.10.16)


Response to tutor feedback ass.3

I have annotated my feedback and been dwelling on it before I consolidated my ideas in a post.

It has been really helpful to have a critical eye cast over my work as my tutor has not only been able to give me direction and refinement advice, but is noting emerging themes.

Emerging themes/ lines of enquiry noted in feedback

‘ a focus upon the inner landscape, gestural expression, and the inner form or writing or expression.’

‘unraveling the inner machinations of our minds or souls.’

‘relating to the inner landscape, unexpressed, inner language or workings beneath the text.’

‘the interpretable, jumbled, fragmented, hidden language…what to reveal or conceal, giving glimpses, enticing te viewer into wanting more.’



It might be advantageous to go back and look at areas identified as requiring revisiting:

The paperclay odds and ends pot: ‘A great experiment, perhaps worth extending, with refining, taking the most successful elements and recasting. Making a mini-series.’

Look again at labelling: ‘I would recommend that you clearly either label photographic images or list components. Example@ Sample 2, resin, 3d pen, plastic water bottle, frozen water.  This makes it much easier for me, and assessors to locate and identify experiments tested.’ Duly noted. To action.

I need to look again at the post I wrote concerning gestures and marks as I have evidently expressed something that is presumptive. ‘Remember validity is in the eyes of the viewer.’

Areas to take forward and develop:

Continue to explore medium of resin due to successes in this assignment.

‘Consider testing other materials, I can imagine free falling strands of words, slipping language, squashed vocabulary, spiky, harsh, curses, there is so much more to explore.’

Continue with investigation of ‘music informing mark-making.’

‘Extend your testing of materials. Perhaps explore traditional materials against unconventional properties. Keep pushing the boundaries.’

Immediate action

With Part 4, I have been working immediately on what seemed to me to be the most critical part of my feedback: ‘Be confident in your self-analysis, and analytical abilities, take time to access exactly what you want to express.’

I have therefore tried to implement some specific changes in the way I work. I have my sketchbook as usual, printing samples have been grouped into a portfolio labelled with the day of production – showing a chronology. But I have also taken a step back to reflect and understand what is being asked of me: in my making, on this course, in my reflection, through my research. I have been a little anxious to really prove that I’m doing all the things I do: the reading, the writing, the thinking, the questioning, the sampling – worried perhaps that others will be unable to see the ‘behind the scenes’ work. But, through this feedback I’m recognising that I can still do all these things, but it doesn’t all have to be blogged – so I’m experimenting with a journal – all the little research offshoots and tangents are gathered, but when the main shoot of work evolves, then I can blog this. I can keep a record of the reading by maintaining my Bibliography. Ultimately, the influences and critical studies should ‘stimulate exciting and varied lines of enquiry’ which will be evident in the progression of pieces.’It is on occasion difficult to identify the most important aspects of your enquiries.’ I need to signpost these in my blog, the journal writing can explore the paths to get there. ‘With heavy bodies of text it takes a long time to get to the main focus of investigation.’ This is of no help when assessors have 45 mins! A journal will allow me to combine text and visuals for more fluency. Asking for clarification from my tutor as to whether a journal would be an accurate means of investigating this feedback and development point she said something that made it all crystal clear.

‘I believe that writing is an essential element to your work.  It is key to unlocking ideas, concepts and personal philosophy.  Within your writing you are able to locate key factors that become drivers to create work.

Therefore, it is ‘a must’, that you continue to be able to express these thoughts and emotions.  Imagine that your blog will one day be your connection to the art world.  You decide how much you wish to disclose… Encapsulate those amazing feelings, emotive subjects and philosophies.  Imagine a song that really says everything you are feeling, how it touches us for that one moment – it is a direct hit!’

This makes sense. The song for the blog!

T1: MMT: Assignment 2: Reflection and Review

Here’s the plan to improve on my last attempt at reviewing and the previous attempt at sorting of Part 2, in order to make improvements based on my tutor’s feedback. 

Part 2 in 10 seconds: Strongest Lines of Enquiry:


Broken Barbie:

Sketchbook development:


Louise Bourgeois:

‘For Bourgeois, art was a means of “survival,” not a free career choice, and there was “no escape” from it. The “catharsis” or “sublimation” that it brings may be personally therapeutic, but its “vibrations” reach beyond herself to “universal” emotional situations. “Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.”                                             “How do we deal with our wounded?” is how she formulates the challenge of an artistic vocation.’

Learning Log:

See Bibliography for reference above- I have now added this page to my main menu on the blog- which I hadn’t realised I had forgotten to do too even though I’d been dutifully keeping it acting on feedback to Part 1

Part 2 in 10 minutes: Developing review of strongest lines of enquiry


For joining it has to be sample 5. This piece has 3d form: sturdiness, suggested depth and view through a space, yet also a fragility. There is the beginnings of later samples’ bridging space- joining being much more than simply uniting. I was able to extract much more visual inspiration from this piece by altering photos and playing with ink sketches and tiling selected views in my sketchbook. There is a pleasure in tearing masking tape as well as the semi-translucent property of this resource. There is also a sense of spine and ribs and I wonder if this played into the later mummified wrapping of Broken Barbie.

A possible additional sample from joining would be the wire and organza sample (ex2 sample 6). This piece takes the suggested ribs of the above sample and starts bridging the gap with these. The joining takes place away from the surface at the apex of the curve. The quality of space within the piece is still very similar but the joining has a levity – it is as though the join lifts the surface – the join could pick that organza surface up and fly away with it. Whereas in sample 5 above the joining seems to be giving a backbone – a rigidity, a strength to each element of the piece.

Whilst many others samples were innovated, these two pieces seem to offer further potential for exploration. The wire thread seems to be emerging as a strong feature of this part, mimicking the quality of line that results from biro and blindsketching. There is a freedom and expressiveness in this material.


The final sample that I would choose from joining for selection and reflection is the above soldered sample for ex 5 (ex5 sample f). Whilst this is  a first attempt at soldering and I discovered I could not get the solder to adhere to the waxed paper surface, a surface brought forward for samples in Part 1, I think the result has a visual impact that is worth experimenting with. I need to discover a way of ‘annotating’ the surface with this wiry thread- I wonder having experimented with the 3D gun currently in my studies fro Part 3 that I am unearthing a possible means. I like the contrast between the contours of the paper and the rivulets and droplets of the solder. I especially like the questions that the piece leaves – what is this landscape, where is it? With the way my developing creating is going (into the landscape of the mind) I don’t think this sample is exhausted of possibility. Thus I select it in.

On to wrapping!


This was successful as it marked a radical change in my understanding of wrapping and allowed me to break free of the restrictions of my previous sampling. It was a conceptual change and a symbolic change. Choosing an object that speaks to me symbolically and metaphorically was very important – and it also marked a departure from sampling that followed course notes into sampling that followed my intuition and need to express. This sample also open the potential dialogue between create and object, object and audience, audeince and creator.

Broken Barbie (see above for images)

Broken Barbie built on Flint. The piece moved wrapping of the flint into many layered wrapping, again obscuring the chosen object within. It has layers of form as well as layers of meaning and layers of symbolism. This piece allowed me to connect a real cry from within into and onto a piece. The wrapping became a process of communication rather than a technical process. this was another fundamental breakthrough in my understanding and creating. It also teaches me that not everything has to be shared! Some things can remain hidden but these can add to the poignancy and message of the piece. Layers of wrapping are like layers of a story, every time we come to it we might notice something new, everytime we revisit it we bring the place we are now in along to communicate with the layer that now speaks.

Grit and Pearl:

This piece pushed layering further, wondering how far this process could be explored. This is important for me as I was having to generate new but along a specific line of enquiry rather than generating and innovating another apparently unrelated sample. This piece has taught me that sampling can evolve in series. At the start experimentation must be broad and wide-ranging, playful and experimental, then when the trail is picked up this line should be pushed further and further to see how far it will go. This is a journey from my starting point of wrapping, rather than going back to course notes and staring another road out. A new door opens with this piece: what is the potential of an artwork to transform, heal and transport wounds. Back to Louise Bourgeois’ concern over the challenge of artistic vocation: ‘How do we deal with our wounded?’

Sketchbook work:

I am beginning to feel more confident in my use of the sketchbook. Interestingly although I have asked for all my work back from the assessment for ATV, in actual fact given the choice now, all I really require back are the sketchbooks. If I keep this in the front of my mind it helps me understand the purpose and importance of these to me, and ultimately to an assessor. On reflection I feel I have tried to include sample-making in the sketchbook this time, building on previous feedback from my tutor (part 1 feedback). I have also gone beyond the confines of the sketchbook sketching to a me-size scale and exploring intuitive and expressive line-making. If I had to select the one are of the sketchbook that is integral to this part it would be these works  (also shared here) and most importantly the angry sample that woke me up to my own psychological limitations as well as the potential for expressing myself in a language other than words.

Learning Log/Context:

I have continued to hunt for contemporary artist whose work speaks to me, and to document this research. I have shared some of this research in my blog, maintaining a Bibliography as a new page (but only realising today that it was not apparent on my menu – hopefully this has now been rectified). With my tutor’s feedback sharing that it is not always easy to work out exactly which artist really inspired me it is important that I take more care sorting between reviewing an artist’s work for my own research and interest, and reviewing the IMPACT of artists that have really inspired me. In this part the most prominent artist has been Louise Bourgeois. I initially came to her work in ATV, but as is now apparent, didn’t really engage with the concepts behind her work, nor did I fully stop and engage with her pieces in order to understand what I was looking at. With the publication of the text ‘The Return of the Repressed’ I have discovered an artist from whom I have much to learn, especially the context of her work. The inner landscape. Psychotherapy and Art. She is my key artist conceptually for this part. As for artists who have impacted my sample making in process I must acknowledge the key piece of Nic Webb’s ‘Bound Form Bay’ and ‘Shared Vessel Poplar’ and Megan Singleton’s ‘Eight Thousand Daughters’. There is a direct link between their use of chosen medium and what I tried to make my samples do.

In this new review and reflection I hope to have shown that with the timely guidance of my tutor and her constructive criticism I can begin to select more effectively and clearly. I still have a lot to learn.

I must remember to allow an idea ‘to fully bloom’. There is enough summer in me.

T1: MMT: Pt2 Review following feedback

I have been reflecting deeply on my tutor’s feedback. She has made some incredibly astute and constructive points. Positives that I can continue to build and grow: e.g. ‘thought-provoking creative works…connected with the process…exciting dicoveries…it is wonderful that you push the parameters of an idea or concept.’ All very useful pointers that show me how to build on success. I’m also interested to note how many positives have evolved using related terms: ‘three-dimensional structuring…depth, movement…fragilitity…entangling…organic, sculptural form.’ I had never considered myself to have any 3-d skill at all. I hated pottery at school as couldn’t make the clay move the way I wanted, I had no access to wirework or metalwork or any 3d design beyond the construction of a garment which in my mind is piecing together 2d pieces into a 3d form. What I have been discovering in MMT and the latter part of ATV is that I like forming abstract structures that play with different materials and processes and space – so I take my tutor’s comments on these as a nod that these avenues are worth exploring further.

When I consider the overall feel of the feedback the impression I am left with is that ‘the work’ is going in the right direction but I don’t always record it in a way that is explicit to another, or traceable for someone who wishes to see how everything holds together. This seems to boil down to my lack of skills with selection.

I completely accept this.

I overwhelm myself sometimes. I input all this research as I love discovering, learning and then it all gets fed in, then something comes out many samples later and the line of inspiration is not so easily traced. But, if this were for my own makings and myself as audience this wouldn’t matter so much. What does matter is making it clear to: my blog readership: fellow students, tutor and assessors. Selection (and clarification) is important to learn – although it feels another world, what would happen if I had to present an exhibition no matter the venue. My tutor using this analogy really helped clarify where I have been getting in a muddle. I’ve seen It All as The Course or The Work or The Process.

I’ve been so worried about making samples that show I’ve got enough of ‘whatever it is’ to warrant being on this course. I’ve been worried about grabbing every moment to create out of fear that if I stop it will all dry up and never come back. I’ve been researching and gathering more to show how passionate I am about this chosen course and how excited I am at finding a whole world to discover. I’ve been experimenting and innovating as if my life depends on it. It has not been exhausting. It has been invigorating. It makes me feel alive. If I stop what happens then?

I’ve been afraid of not doing enough.

Not being enough.

What if I stop and look and discover…there’s nothing to see – nothing to me.

There it is.

I knew it would come out if I just trusted to this process of thinking on the page. Now I can see the problem I can work towards a solution.

Somehow caught up in the process of selection, I’ve muddled my neuroses in to make a kind of ‘if-I-select-too-much-I won’t-be-enough-because-people-won’t-see-enough-of-me-so-I’ll-be-invisible-again-and-my-work-will-therefore-not-matter- so-I-don’t-matter-therefore-I-am-as-I-always-thought:-nothing’.

Now to get over that and get sorting. I think I have a plan…