I actually feel quite a sense of relief to have reached the end of Part One and be in a position to receive some feedback. I found the exercises huge in their scope and the possibilities endless.
The greatest difficulty I had was getting started. I don’t mean I sat staring at a blank sheet of paper because I starting making straight away. I just found it took me two or three exercises to get into the swing of things. I don’t know if it was because I started working in a loose A4 folder rather than the spiral bound A3 sketchbooks I am used to. Something just didn’t feel right.
At the time I remember thinking choosing Pleating (1.4) for my first exercise was really sensible because it helped me work through the uncomfortable period where I tend to seize up and become controlling and rigid. Looking back during the Selection Process, I noticed the samples I produced early on are dull and look like I was trying too hard. I chose to submit 1.4.6 because it stands out to me as being the least self-conscious of the lot.
I previously identified that I find starting new projects difficult. This time I was prepared for it and actually made notes about what happened and how I was feeling. I can not say that I found an answer to the problem but it was interesting to keep track of. I wonder if this phase will always be a part of my process or if I will find a way around it?
Actually acknowledging the difficulties I was having was quite cathartic. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on and question some of the beliefs and rules I have constructed for myself over the years. This gave me a greater understanding of who I am and how I deal with problems.
I am left wondering if pleating really was the best place to start, I don’t think it did me any favours, it almost seemed to feed my anxieties! I spent more than three weeks on this exercise alone and as a result have only completed a total of seven. Hopefully the work I produced across the rest of the exercises is enough to show my tutor what I am capable of.
I am generally quite pleased with what I have produced. I felt frustrated at times, that just as I felt I was getting somewhere with a technique, it was time to stop and move onto the next exercise. This, however, is the nature of sampling and I think I was able to note my intentions and move on. An example of this would be the Incidental Brusho piece I included in my submission. I would have liked to stop and translate this into an embroidery, what did instead was make a yarn wrap of suitable materials to serve as a reminder for when I do get a chance to return to it.
Having just packed up my work from ATV, I noticed how much better I have got at discussing my work and evaluating it. I noticed this time it has been easier to make links to the artists I researched, yet I do not think the integration of my visual research, (photographs of trees) was so clear.
Pushing the boundaries and responding in an individual way has become increasingly important to me. Looking at Silvia Beccaria, helped me to identify this. Some of my samples are bolder than others, the Selection Process gave me an opportunity to determine which ones stand out in this respect. It also left me wondering have I done enough in terms of materials? For example in the fusing plastic exercise most of the samples were made from carrier bags and embossing only on paper and foil. It is difficult to balance my desire to investigate every possibility and permutation with my need to keep this degree on track and finish in the required time frame! I felt I could have given each exercise a month rather than a week!
Looking ahead to Part Two, the exercises appear much less broad. Each one focusses on a small aspect of joining or wrapping which will give me the opportunity to explore each method fully. My head is already filled with possibilities, I hope, now the nerves have gone, to dive in and be myself.