My tutors say I’m clearly enjoying this experimental phase but my ‘scattergun’ approach is chaotic and can’t continue for much longer. Time management is/has always been a massive issue for me and I’m in danger of not giving myself enough time to bring the whole thing to fruition. Agreed. This has happened before. I really must look for and find specific aspects of materials to research, e.g. changing common perceptions of a particular material; its use/density/scale. All this investigatory work needs driving towards something, finding a direction but not necessarily a destination. That can come later.
To help us set out on our individual journeys with purpose and intention, we have had 2 days’ intense brief writing workshops. It is now entirely up to us to decide criteria for success; set ourselves targets; work through ideas and their iterations; refine it and advance towards our various outcomes. We have been pushed to take a good hard reflective look at ourselves and our work. This is very personal and not a comfortable process at all to do in a group. Luckily, I have some excellent peers and we helped each other through the traumatic self-analysis.
It’s been another difficult week, somewhat exacerbated by the hellish brief writing exercises. With cleaning muddy gunk and grease off my chosen materials occupying much of the week, proper work on my FMP didn’t really start until Friday morning. I played around with the variety of lines and links in paper chains. How can they connect together while retaining interesting visual qualities and movement?
This twisting of metal chains is awkward and forcing the links to move in a way that they don’t want to. There’s a lot of rubbing/scraping and manipulating the lengths into position sounds horrible. I hadn’t expected noise to appear in my list of reasons to discontinue a line of enquiry. However, I saw that much more could be done with the free-moving chains so I continued with my paper links. Joints and intersections were becoming increasingly fun to figure out and experiment with. I found I was able to create surfaces and planes just by looping or hooking shapes together. With this in mind, there’s a lot to resolve using the chains themselves next week.
On a different matter, I attended a one-off workshop with our metalwork technician on how to use geometry and simple mathematical principles when planning and marking out. This was a fascinating session involving only a pencil, ruler and a compass. We were shown little techniques to find and recreate repeat angles and lengths accurately without laboriously measuring everything in millimetres. Enlarging calculations using ratios was also a useful reminder and reawakened lessons from my GCSE days from the early 1990s. I can definitely see how I might apply this way of working to my current project.
This week, I have spent ages collecting, dismantling and cleaning spent parts from bikes that I’ve been given by bicycle workshops in Bath (John’s Bikes and Green Park Bikes). Most of this was cogs and chains salvaged from the waste metal bins used by their mechanics. I also tried to crochet strips of rubber inner tubes around a wire frame rather unsuccessfully.
Prompt questions to help us in the writing our own briefs:
- What’s feeding into my project? Look at everything in detail and also as a whole
- What do I want out of it? And the Degree Show itself?
- How will others see me and my work?
- What’s important for them to know/understand about me? And the project?
V&A Museum garden exhibit
Naum Gabo, Pevsner
macrame, crochet, knitting, loops (Bath Spa University Degree Show last year)
Alfie’s (London antique shop off Edgware Road)
Saloua Raouda Choucair, the Lebanese artist, +her application of geometry within her work