Border Crossings – Stop Judging Others

After a spiffing start to the year I am trying to hit my stride as far as burying myself in work goes. A welcome distraction if only I could find a glimmer of the motivation I had when given the Border Crossings brief. My enthusiasm was prematurely stunted with bad feeling so perhaps the best way to deal with this is to create the project around it?
For this project we were told we were to define our own identities and how our culture has influenced us; if you are from Scotland or where you consider home. The idea of ‘home’ is an idea I would struggle with.. I have moved A LOT throughout my life making it difficult to connect with one place. Some would say this would benefit me in this project however it has become evident from last semesters project that I research too many different ideas which would make it difficult to chose and develop one idea.

What to chose?
What defines me?

This brief is to be split into three projects, I have come to understand it as; Project 1 : Who am I? Project 2 : Who am I within my culture? Project 3 : Looking at students research of Ljubljana culture and creating an outcome.

I began by, as suggested, mind mapping all the things that make me, me. I came up with all the obvious nonsense you learn to bore people in a foundation french class..

I like skiing, going to the cinema and la bibliothèque.. Blah.

It seems to me.. It doesn’t matter who I am, what appear to matter is what people think about me. Doesn’t matter if I am not aggressive or being defensive is just the way I am, I will forever be labelled as a bully rather than forth rite. I could say anything about myself but people have already made up their minds as to who I am. So. My aim for this project is to look into all these small aspects of my personality which lead people to these conclusions.

Body language,
Accent/Language,
Fashion,
Music,
..Are these aspects manufactured to ‘build a wall’?

Or am I all these things due to my ‘culture’, upbringing or simply a response to peoples behaviour which I perceive as unfair?

I intend to research all these different aspects and find appropriate ways of depicting how this ‘wall’ or this ‘vibe’ is projected.

It would be arrogant to assume this project will make a fraction of a difference as to how people perceive and behave around others. Maybe it will at least remind people that not everyone thinks life is peachy, if someone is not bright and shiny -not to take it as a personal attack.

Can anyone think of an interesting way of depicting bad feeling? I think the key word I’m looking at is Emanating.

Cheers.

Working towards a deadline.

I am one of the sad and people who enjoy the fast and furious rush towards a deadline. As it looms ever closer I find myself more inspired, increasingly wired and less healthy looking through lack of sleep and food. I don’t work this way because of the need to catch up, I work this way because if I don’t I’d kick my ass for not giving it everything and always going that little bit further. None of my work, do I consider, is finished! Always a work in progress, as soon as you think something is finished you have reached a new point of arrogance which will only limit your development as a student or a professional designer. In my eyes someone who is profession is just a student under a new title, throughout my career I hope to never get bored with feel as though I have nothing new to explore or experience in my specialist area.
Reminds me of what Mike Press said about the curve which most of us live our lives, his idea is to constantly reinvent yourself otherwise it’s just a slow and agonizingly painful decline towards the grave.

This particular deadline I have been quite hyped about however, not entirely confident. Confident I will pass, YES, I have done all the work required and more, my problem is; it look so different from other work I have seen. My main concern is that my work doesn’t fit in because I am not as abstract or ‘pattern orientated’ I would rather have a ‘pattern accent’. People have tried to reassure me that because I am different it’s a good thing, in the big bad world yes, in an institution where people adhere to trends and follow a structured way of developing… Not so much. Perhaps I’m just being paranoid, the work is there, it is coherent and visually readable as a thought process with extensive research over a broad area with plenty of variables considered.

At least I can whole heartedly say nothing I have produced was created to make my tutors happy, something they particularly like.. Blow smoke up there arse for lack of a better term.

Well that’s enough procrastination for one coffee break. Time to get back at it.

Wish me luck my darlings! 🙂 x

Printing and inking while blinking

Working towards out assessments we took part in week blocks of intense workshops as a taster to our possible specialist areas. I’ve always kept and eye on printing because it’s wild and playful.. And you get to be messy and end up with truly stained hands 🙂

Turner judged artists by how dirty a persons hands and finger nails were and believe that art is animalistic and you must get fingernail deep in paint to be an artist.. I love it, it’s how a live me life, head first, tongue out, work fast (to save getting attached because at any minute you could destroy your efforts by bravery tests).

Unfortunately during my print week I damaged my foot with a large metal drawer and was taken to hospital.. Ouch. Missed my print week because I was unable to stand so instead I got to do all my printing in my own time. Also got half a table all to myself..

Playing with disperse dyes, my own mixed acid dyes, and lots of other weird and wonderful colours.. Played with my exposed screen

With lots of masking techniques with stencils for bold dramatic structure or for emphasis on colours.

My key pages and themes were taken from my quilling development; creative my designs in a more illustrative way as opposed to abstract. I was also led by my early obsession with colours bleeding and blending which was a difficult task to pull off without looking as though I had just messed up a print. All colour schemes were taken from my Natural Pattern research…. More photos to follow 🙂 x

Looking in greater detail..

For the Change by Design module we have continued researching and developing our ideas in response to the RSA brief  ‘In the Round’, from which we discussed ways of connecting young people with 3D objects. We thought of several ways we could accomplish this and decided we would spread an idea, a viral meme, with a ‘make your own’ instrument plan. This was a way of reconnecting children with the world and objects around them and removing them from their digital screens but exploiting the online world to spread the idea.  For assignment three we were asked to further research certain elements of our chosen product; I decided to focus my research on the potential benefits of this type of product; Improved spatial awareness, team building, ways to help understanding/following instructions and also ways of helping behavior problems in younger people and also the positive impact on a young teens social standing or mood. Using the Cross search method I came across a variety of books I found helpful but in particular; Emotional & Behavioural difficulties, Theory in Practice; Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton.

The book is fundamentally about alternative ways of education to motivate and communication with young troubled people; each chapter touches upon a different issue ranging from how teachers can affect performance, the stigma attached to troubled teens, seeing problems in context, the nature and developement of behavioural problems into the importance of relationships. All of these topics are vital and key to our ideas of spreading a viral meme.

The book discusses, which I think to be the most important issue, children with behavioural problems do not bring it on themselves they are usually in fact an outcome from a poor environment or lack the so easily overlooked acceptance and nurture teaching and home environments are meant to provide. When referring to troubled children they are exposed to the stigma of being ‘maladjusted children’, as they were categorised until 1981 Education Act, which reflects a perceptual model, a stereotype. The education system is full of these ‘maladjusted’ individuals and are singled out and segregated by their teachers either due to this stigma or the teacher is just not equipped or capable of controlling their students. Due to the changing perceptions of student versus teacher, student versus home life; the nature of the school system, and how its management may create rather than ameliorate difficulties in the learning and behaviour.  In 1945 being a maladjusted teen  was a category of handicap, maladjusted teens were those who ‘show emotional instability or psychological disturbance and require special educational treatment in order to effect their personal, social or educational readjustment’ (Laslett, 1983). This is something I strongly disagree with, the idea of sending a child to a special school will not heal any emotional damage or aid in any confidence building, if anything will add to their self-esteem issues and effect a future career or further education.

Another key chapter I found incredibly interesting as well as useful was the look into the importance of relationships in young developing minds. The author discusses the main corner stones of any healthy individual needing a strong and stable support network; family, friends and self-worth. Without any  of these features a child will struggle and could go on to develop coping mechanisms or even mental health issues such as Borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD in particular has no known original other than the similar family history relating to; physical/sexual abuse, neglect and mental abuse however, there is no medical proof this is the case there is also a possibility of being a female based hereditary mental health condition.

The importance of relationships I’m sure anyone can see is key in all ages of life, to a young developing brain even more so. Relationships as a child influence your future romantic, professional and social relationships; simple people skills. The author continues to comment on how this can be combatted in the early stages through dynamic psychotherapy, addressing the issue, assessing the issue and following relevent steps and phases to change the childs state of mind. These are unconscious processes to aid anxiety and psychic pain, defence mechanisms (which is the main reason children with behavioural issues act out), motivational drives; developement phases.

‘One of the reasons why emotional experiences are not assimilated into our conscious view of ourselves is the anxiety (psychic pain) which such material may cause. Feeling unloved or unwanted by one’s parents, for example, is not easy to accept. While it is possible for considerable amounts of anxiety to be tolerated, even for relativity long periods, and while a certain level of anxiety is helpful in fostering optimal performance especially in competitive situations, high levels of anxiety can produce serious emotion distress.’ This passage I thought was the most powerful to convey the importance of stability and how fragile and delicate young minds are without the correct type of nurture and guidance.

Drawing on all I had read and learned from the book thus far the most relevant information to my brief was educational responses and curriculum developement. This surprisingly short chapter discussing simple ways of helping children improving many aspects of their life and mood as well as thinking. As the author lists many alternative medicines and ‘special’ schools, he then makes an interesting point that subjects which are already party of every school curriculum were found to make the best impact and induce dramatic changes within pupils. These areas were; drama, physical education, MUSIC, ART and CRAFT. The author goes on to discuss why these specific areas help and what they help,

‘Physical education helps increase awareness of self through its concentration on bodily strength, fitness and co-ordination. Drama, like imaginative play, is an occasion for releasing feelings and discussing and interpreting them. MUSIC offers help in understanding changed of mood and the pleasure of creativity in making one’s own music. Art and craft activities help provide alternative means of communication, distraction and relaxation from all other tensions and the success which comes from overcoming frustration in surmounting difficulties and producing a finished product.’ This passage embodies all that our design ideas are based. Creating  an outlet for young people to vent and be part of something bigger, for this to be so simple is inspiring and yet heartbreaking. For all those people who have faced hardship and struggle with their adult lives because these symptoms were not recognised when they were a child and their requirements to be a happy individual were not met.

For my second research piece I found Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, a book of articles which brings together a number of major contributions to the analysis and conceptions of learning during adult-hood. It highlights continuing debates and issues about educational policy and practice and also the relationship between teacher and pupil touching on topics like self empowerment. Each chapter looks at the topic is an analytical view of the subject drawing on sociology and psychology.

This article employs the same ideologies of  Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties -Theory in Practice however applies them in a different manner; Kolb also discusses alternative structure and teaching practice but has a much more simplified and less specialist method which could easily become part of a teachers arsenal or a completely new way of training teachers for young children.

After reflecting on what I have read I feel that I have a better idea of what our idea should do and how it can help those in need of release. Each of these writen works have inspired me and pushed my motivation to think of how to spread the word/meme . Our product is about a trend, people getting together and creating musical insturments that may not even make sound but it will be drawing young people together, giving a support network to those who may already have a happy and life but also give those who don’t a chance to have a happy future. It is imperative for this trend to be an outide school activity or it will not seem as ‘sticky’ or cool to participate in, if young teens are paranoid and anxious about being judged for joining in with a school activity we must take our product somewhere that all children can compelled to join in. By using our simple instrument making techniques and perhaps recording online tutorials, we will provide possible troubled young people with creativity which I have found can help work though issues and frustration. A type of art therapy.. The musical aspects of this idea also contribute to other aspects of perhaps the more technical than creatuve audience and could help promote competition and well as a ‘band bond’. I thuroughly enjoyed reading each of these peices and I feel it has benefitted and broadened my feild of research yet at the same time made me more focussed on my specific goal.

Paul Cooper, Colin J. Smith and Graham Upton, 1994, Emotional & Behavioural difficulties – Theory to Practice, London.

Mary Thorpe, Richard Edwards, Ann Hanson, 1993, Cultures and Processes of Adult Learning, Oxford, Chapter 9, The Process of Experimental Learning, David A. Kolb.

As a group we met up with another CBD group to discuss our findings and give feedback on eachothers new ways of thinking as a result from our further research.

The original critizm of our idea was  how to get it known without introducing it in school, and new ideas of posters without words have emerged, online tutorials or ‘catch-phrase’ songs which can be recognised from a far as a ‘The Battle of the Pop-Up Flash Orchestras’… for example, catchy theme songs, the Dr Who theme tune, Alton Towers -Hall of the Mountain King. Imigary: – Live long and posper, devil horns to a thumbs up. (Shown by Alice)

Bomb Project

During the uni open day, where lots of young hopefuls roam around looking at things pretending to look interested; we, as current students, were required to lead by example and show ourselves in our most industrious of states. To ‘sell’ the uni we were encouraged to speak to the young undergraduates and tell them about our experiences as well as wow them with out ‘Bomb Project’ which was spread across Jewellery, ID and textiles students; The brief was to use A4 white paper o create a form/structure or installation/intervention within a space. We were told to look into how other artists manipulate, fold, glue, cut or tape paper and make something which transposes it from it’s original plain and recognisable 2D form. This I found completely pointless.. Asking all craft design students to use paper rather than playing us to our strengths I thought was rather counter productive; if I were an undergraduate student visiting a perspective university choice to apply I would be encourages by watching students in their own particular field and flourishing! Jewellery makers running riot with blowtorches blow up amethysts; Textile students dying, sewing or knitting, sketching even!

Instead the young hopefuls were met with the glazed and dazed faces of the post-Halloween hung-over confusion, which can only be translated as:

‘What are we supposed to be doing’?

Met by the visitors glance of:

‘What’s this got to do with Textiles/Jewellery/ID?

HOWEVER! I did briefly have a lot of fun with this project.. It was good to finally do something 3D involving structure as opposed the mundane life of sitting in my isolated corner of the studio dying inside wishing I could be working on a garment… Something 3D… Something? That isn’t flat.. Simplistic… Repetitive… Generally under stimulating. This I feel is something I should discuss with my tutors however I feel I may be met with dragons fire breath if I mention anything to do with FASHION on my clearly TEXTILES course.

I digress.

The ‘Bomb Project’. I finally got to play with STRUCTURE! Hazzaaa!

Working with the foundation  idea of Cathy Carson and Wing Chan we developed the star pillar structures which were made in abundance over a long and strenuous day the idea of a city scape became apparent as the various sized structures were placed together in a small space.

 

With further changed to the front structures and more varying heights and circumferences of the pillars the idea was posed that the entire composition should be mounted with light in mind. As this project will be eventually marked as a photography project the idea of conveying the different contrasts and tones were always constant in our minds. The clumsy over-spill of light using a light box alone would have not been satisfactory, with the thought of competition in our brains and the reminder of our opponents progress evident we upped our game. Using black card/paper we would cut out the independent shapes of each pillar, after a long day previous I thought this idea was good but would be time consuming; a more efficient way would be to cut general circular shapes which we could stand shapes over. Smaller holes for spot lights.

During our developing ides we also debated as to how the holes should be cut; from the perspective of stability I suggested the holes should be cut with tabs as a type of support. One minor sneeze could have been the end of the whole composition.

 

We then compared the different light tones produced, the generic shape idea worked best for lighting thr base of each structure. -However! Cutting these circles into segments first made the whole cutting process a lot easier.

 

No light – Open hole -Structure support

After careful placement and a few last minute changes to size and strategic arranging we came to a happy overall placement.

 

Final thing we were to consider was colour and a way to show the city-scape-sky-line. In other words, black out the background and let our city sparkle!

The colour idea was posed that we should use crepe paper balls and drop them into each structure for a hint of light but the small subtle outcome was not satisfactory. We then discovered the colours that worked best were the BRIGHT colours when placed under the black base of each of the spotlights.

 

With a final outcome of….

 

Shortly after Star City was destroyed due to an imperative need to use THAT very light box. So I did not take any photos I would consider to be of a good standard. UNFORTUNATELY.

So Bomb project was a bust. -BOOM BOOM.

Rockin’ the print lab

Yet another print workshop done! And another workshop success. Today I mixed my own dye with the lovely David Ramsey and it was great fun, not just for the charming aprons.

I found if difficult remembering everything Norrie had told us in the induction but everything came swimming back thanks to the helpful instructions posted all over the walls. I mixed 400ml DS Acid dye with 2% strength (1% Violet, 1% Scarlet).

These to make this!

I remembered where all the boats, floats and goats were kept and tidied after myself but the most fun was mixing it all together.

Starting by measuring out all of my components then following the 3 simple steps to glory! Mix the Dye (4g) with Glyezin BC (16ml) and urea (8g) until there are no grains and you have reached a comfortable consistency before adding boiling water (80ml). Continue stirring while marvelling at your very pretty colour in a beaker or your bought tub.

Measure out your indalca (140ml) without making too much of a sticky mess, it has the same consistency as honey but I’m pretty sure it’s not edible. Then finally mix your ammonium sulphate (Thank you David for point out I was in the wrong cupboard)  with  boiling water (20ml).
Mix all together, without licking the spoon, and you have a pot of your very own DS acid dye.

Much fun especially when there’s a camera involved xD

Big thanks you to David for the images.