Installing the Masters Show

I have spent the last two weeks frantically trying to get everything ready for the masters show (which opens this Friday, 19th August at 6pm) and preparing for assessment.  Assessment is over, just the external assessor to meet tomorrow so I have  been able to concentrate on the work I am presenting in the end of year show.

Almost done, just a bit of individual tweaking and a few extra shared jobs (such as getting the drinks and snacks for the opening evening).

Back into University tomorrow with the deadline looming!

Perthshire Open Studios

I am starting to prepare for POS (3-11 September 2016).  I have a venue number (71) and am on the Blue Route.  Its quite exciting and daunting at the same time – I have never opened my studio up to public view before (yes, I know its really a shed!).  Lets hope the weather is better than in this picture because I want to have my current den/finger knitting project open for visitors to work on.

my shed

Craft vs Art

One of my current projects (den) relies on two things – firstly public involvement and secondly that art and craft can co-exist in relative peace.

In recent decades craft has suffered quite a severe decline and this has led many people to question exactly what craft is compared to art.  I believe they are two ends of a spectrum with lots of overlap in between.  Art has moved away from making in a way that craft has not.  Centuries ago St Francis of Assisi said:

 

I know lots of crafts people out there who put their whole heart into their work, and equally, many artists who do not make objects of any kind, so this definition is no longer completely relevant.

(This image is from quotesgram.com)

A dream is a montage

The exhibition I’m joint-curating is getting closer.  We have the selection of books, we have the theme, one of the team has designed the posters and we are just waiting for them to be printed so we can spend a lovely(!) day distributing them around the area.  This is the legwork you have to do in exchange for all the exciting bits.

dream is a montage poster

It’s a really interesting exercise, but there is that element of doubt because even though I have not created the artwork (in this case the books) I feel as though there is a part of me in this exhibition and that I am opening that part up to scrutiny by the general public.  Not the most comfortable of feelings.

A Week of Words

Before Christmas I decided to spend a week just writing whatever was in my head.  I set myself parameters, the two main ones being that it was done over seven consecutive days and the writing was done three times a day – I stopped whatever I was doing to whip out my notebook and scribble.

The finished product will not necessarily make sense to everyone because it is what I was thinking or doing at the time, but that doesn’t matter.  I was interested in the visuals of the words.  I have used this writing to create a sample artist book that will be developed further as time goes on.

Here is a small portion from that book:

week of words book 1Day 4

Still dark

Hungry, need breakfast

Unlock the shop

Finally daylight

Having lunch, now want to sleep


 

 

Its an interesting exercise and one I will return to at some time as this project develops.  I also wonder if it could be developed further.  As it stands it is a simple journal style of writing and was somewhat cathartic (I chose an up and down sort of week).

The Familiarity of Known Relationships

This project is developing fast.  I’ve jumped from the thinking stage to the planning stage in one quick leap. It could be quite frightening if I let myself worry too much about it simply from a point of view of keeping everything under control aFingerknitting for the Den projectnd not letting anything escape – I don’t want it to end up a bit like trying to get hold of my cat to take her to the vets – as fast as you get hold of one end, the other is wriggling free and scratching in the process.

People are coming forward wanting to be a part of the project, and that’s even without any sort of advertising.  Last semester when this idea first began to develop, I was worried that I would not get enough people creating ‘fronds’ for me to create a den of any size with but I am starting to think that won’t be a problem.

Maybe one of the main attractions is that no skills are needed?  The process of finger knitting is a comforting memory for many people, often associated with childhood and this is exactly what I want to tap into.  TS Elliot apparently talked about the ‘familiarity of known relationships’   I’m not absolutely sure where the quote actually came from but I think something like that is going on here.

The first finger knitting session will start soon.

Assessment time

I’m finding assessment time at university to be interesting – its like I’m standing back looking at myself work.  There are two main thoughts running through my mind – firstly, it feels like its distracting me from my real work and secondly I’ve discovered that a lot of my ideas and research are still in my head (mild panic is setting in!).  I understand that if I want the certificate at the end of this I have to be assessed so I just need to play the game.

What would a world without assessment be like?  Would we push ourselves if nobody else stood looking over our shoulders?  It would certainly change Education.  It would also change business and employment – imagine no more yearly appraisals!  It would also make it more difficult to categorise people and events.  Would this be a good thing?  We rely on labelling people far too much so perhaps it would be good to stop.  Who knows?  Maybe its time we found out!

Nicky Assmann – Radiant

In the Tent gallery in Rotterdam was some work by Nicky Assmann.  My favourite was a series of acrylic hanging triangles.  These colourful triangles which looked very like bunting rotated and as I walked around them reflections came and went, colours changed and all in all created a magical experience.

radiant rotterdam

The colours were vibrant, the movement held my attention and totally immersed me in the life of the piece, even the colourful shadows on the walls were part of it.  It made me think of Summer – I guess that’s the ‘bunting’ effect.  The main effect for me, though, was the feeling of total immersion it created – the movement, colours and reflected light held my full attention.  However, I think the size of the installation was vital – the effect would not have been so intense had the installation been any smaller.

All her pieces concentrated on physical sensory experiences.

radiant rotterdam2.jpg

This one was one of the pair of copper sheets called Aurora Studies – perhaps because of the colours in the Aurora Borealis.  The sheets have been treated to cause them to oxidise and these colours are the result.  It would be good to see these sheets again in a few months or even a year’s time as the oxidisation process will have further progressed and I believe they will look very different.

 

 

 

Rotterdam

I just returned from a visit to Rotterdam where I and three other students on my course met up with some students from Lille University in France.  We took part in a workshop inspired by work currently being shown by our  course tutors – Tracy MacKenna and Edwin Janssen.

The first thing to say is that Rotterdam is a surprising city.  Before I went I had visions of an industrial city and port that had had to rebuild itself after it was flattened during the Second World War.  What I didn’t expect was the sheer imagination put into that redevelopment.

Two main things I noticed – firstly, buildings had their own style, it was very mixed styles throughout the centre, but it worked well.  The second thing was that most buildings were multiple use – people lived in the same buildings as shops and offices were housed – see this picture of the market hall which was surrounded by flats which arched over the top of the very colourful central hall.

market hall rotterdam
Market Hall, Rotterdam

The result was a lively, vibrant city centre

There was interesting architecture everywhere we looked.  We stayed at the Stay Okay Hostel which was in the ‘Cube Houses’ just across the square from the market hall and the railway station.

cube houses rotterdam 2

cube houses rotterdam 3

Look at the building next to them.   Around almost every corner is interesting architecture.  Plus lots of public art.