A2; Tutor Feedback

Once again, I feel that my tutor has ‘hit the nail on the head’ with my feedback. I wasn’t surprised by what I read, I sort of had a sense of what was working and what wasn’t, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Cari has been able to identify exactly what the issue is and steer me back on the right track.

Tutor name: Cari Morton 
Date:  30th May 2017

Overall Comments:

Another well-developed submission, Nicki. Overall, the work felt investigative and questioning. Some more really interesting ideas have emerged through this projects. The ‘wrap/unwrap’ idea, in particular, could be really interesting to explore in part 5.

Assignment Feedback:  Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis, Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity: 

You’ve developed a good body of samples in response to the exercises. It’s great to see you react to your ATV feedback by exploring scale to a greater degree. The washing machine pipe completely envelops the spoon, changing its role within the structure and creating a form completely different to your other samples. It was good to see you trying to work more quickly to develop less refined, more experimental samples like this. Keep working in this way in future projects, putting the emphasis on playful investigation over refinement. Well done, too, for leaving unresolved ideas within the blog and sketchbook, ignoring the urge to resolve everything prior to presenting it to tutors/assessors.

You question in your reflective writing whether your samples are ‘mixed media’ enough. You’ve used a range of unusual materials (e.g. washing machine tube, strimmer cord, etc) but there are times when more traditional approaches have resulted in less experimental samples. Your use of patchwork and quilting felt a little too easy,
perhaps too practised or comfortable, at times. You return to it a lot, perhaps at the expense of more experimental methods.

You’ve made good use of found materials to create interesting forms and patterns. Rather than “is this mixed media enough?”, perhaps the question could be “have I transformed the materials?”. The hooks and keyrings were unified by a lively repeat pattern; the slices of plastic tube knotted together with loose red and green threads, again became part of a new cohesive structure.  These samples transformed the materials into something new and novel. Your use of hot glue, which can be very hard to use in a sophisticated manner, was also interesting. The foiling completely changed its visual impact: it highlighted the irregular form of the glue in a way that made it a relevant part of the design (rather than a bodged joining method, as it so often looks).

Whilst the contextual research clearly informed your work, sometimes it seemed to draw you away from the key focus of the exercises. I loved your passionate response to Ptolemy Mann, resulting in the development of the striped organza piece but this focussed more on the coloured pattern than the nature of the join, which took time away from experimenting with other methods. You discuss in your log a desire to “stop diversifying and ‘go deep’“. Remember to balance this desire against the focus of the L1 courses on exploring new materials and processes, and challenging yourself in new ways. You highlight this urge to resolve and refine yourself, and it was great that you found Rebecca Fairley’s ‘A Question of Development’ post helpful in exploring when to stop and move onto the next idea.

Sketchbooks:  Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity: 

You’ve developed a good body of drawing and used it well to both plan for and document your samples.

Far fewer ‘diary-like’ entries than before. Keep working on this to minimise the number of paragraphs, so you rely more on succinct notes and visuals to communicate and evaluate your ideas.

It’s great that you regularly evaluate your approach to your sketchbook in your reflective writing. It was good to read you considering the role of space in the sketchbook and how it allows more ‘silence’ within which the drawings can be heard. Not all drawings need this kind of space, for example quick developmental drawings make sense as part of a cluster, jostling for space with notes, as your ideas unfurl. More refined drawings do perhaps need more room to breathe. Consider the role of the drawing and whether it needs space to communicate clearly.

Learning Logs or Blogs:  Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis: 

At times the learning log is can be diary-like, focussing more on what you did rather than why or whether it was successful. Try to emphasise the evaluative over the discursive. Also consider the quantity that assessors will have to read through at assessment.

You’ve posited on the blog that your learning log might need revising. Consider the question I asked in part 1 feedback: what is the role of the learning log in vs. the sketchbook? Now you’ve refined the sketchbook, how does this change the role of the learning log?

In terms of context, you’ve looked at quite a lot of practitioners, Scott and Gomes particularly relevant to the focus of this part of the MMT course. Some others may have prompted you to stray away from that focus, e.g. Delauney and Mann took you towards pattern, shape and colour. They seemed to inspire ideas somewhat tangential to the exercises. You realised this issue with your Mann-inspired organza quilting, so you incorporated the sponge underneath. Mann’s use of colour within structures could have been used to inform more targeted use of colour within your wrapped samples, for example, rather than a flat pattern. Critically consider how your research informs the work in a relevant way. Focus on artists who use appropriate materials and processes to help inform your investigation. Discuss their work more formally on the log, considering how they use materials and techniques, as well as the ideas that underpin the work. These entries can be more academic in tone and will prepare you for the essay in the next level 1 course.

Suggested reading/viewing:  Context: 

I recommend Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth as a way of encouraging you to think laterally, to approach an idea from an alternative direction.
Pointers for the next assignment:

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Explore the broadest potential of the materials and processes you’re exploring – be experimental with structure, scale, shape and volume, as well as pattern, texture, colour and decorative elements.
  • Push yourself to keep exploring imperfection and irregularity.
  • Avoid considering outcomes/products, focus on generating a wide range of samples which exploit the creative potential of both process and materials.
  • Emphasise experimentation over refinement.


I will reflect on this feedback in my next post here.


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