Overall Course Review
I have spent around 15 months on this course and enjoyed covering a wide range of both practical and research exercises. Looking back at the strengths, weaknesses and goals I originally outlined at this stage of my development I can see that I have made significant progress. Much of this I put down to excellent guidance from my tutor and a willingness by myself to be open to taking her advice on board.
I went way overboard on Assignment one and did far too much work. I found it difficult to scale back to small samples after having just finished a large piece for the final stage of the previous course. Although some parts of this assignment weren’t received by my tutor with huge enthusiasm, and I can now see why, they still provide me with a valuable experience and something in my sketchbook to return to another time and develop further and more successfully. Despite this, I was very pleased with the results from my gecko research and the final designs for this part.
One of my main goals was to improve my free machine embroidery, leaving behind some of the more traditional hand embroidery, and achieve better integration of materials into cohesive art pieces. I found the workshops in Assignment three to be particularly helpful. The theme of Reveal and Conceal outlined in the manual lends itself to this with layering, incorporating a wide variety of surfaces, cutting back, manipulating, twisting and so on which all encourage the student to use a multitude of items in creating more complex pieces.
I found the various netting techniques extremely interesting as this was something completely new to me and it provided the knowledge I needed to make a net when it came to my final piece for this course.
The screen printing section involved a lot of work, organisation and supplies, all of which ensured that the results I got were the best possible. Experimenting with different printing media was exciting and the instructions on how to use thickened dyes was excellent.
I learned valuable (and many) lessons during this assignment as many things went wrong forcing me to adjust, start over or abandon certain aspects. A systematic approach was essential to obtain prints with multiple layers and as planning is one of my strengths I enjoyed this and the outcomes I achieved.
Although I didn’t use printing in my final work it is something that I will be using more frequently in the future.
Assignment 4 provided an opportunity to look in-depth at a number of artists and designers, some recent and some not. I wrote a decent analysis of my thoughts at the end of the assignment but would like to draw OCA/governing body attention to the following comments I made at the time:
This assignment (4) has been pure research and assignment 3 was pure hands-on sampling. I wonder if there is scope for these two to somehow be amalgamated. I enjoy both areas and would love to research an artist, or two, and then work on pieces within the same sphere but develop my own style. As an example: rather than just produce deconstructed or disintegrated samples (as per workshop 7 assignment 3) I would like to research artists within this field, look in-depth at a piece or two of theirs and then move on to the creating aspect. It feels that a good marriage could be made between these sections which could produce better quality work as some research/material knowledge will already have been attained before attempting the practical parts. It would also encourage students to be continually looking at other work and artists throughout their studies.
The stages in Assignment 5 – Personal Project were well set out and straight forward to follow, providing a step-by-step approach to the design aspect of my own piece. However, making the storyboard and being encouraged to add material samples and detail some fairly concrete ideas before the actual sampling seems strange. How do you know if your chosen media will give you the outcome you are looking for if you haven’t already made some trials? I would prefer some attempts at small samples first followed by constructing the storyboard once some definite outcomes have been achieved.
Overall I found the course to have been extremely positive. I’ve added to my skill base – especially with the screen-printing, learned how to research other artists in-depth and have achieved the goals I set for my development to this point. I am much more confident with my free machine stitching, which has enhanced my work throughout, and I understand better how to plan and execute an art piece without losing the freedom to change, evolve and adapt the piece as it progresses.