At the start of this first project I was really unsure as to what to expect from this new course or how I would find it – after working for the previous 2 years on my first two courses it has felt very strange to be starting again and also somewhat nerve wracking in truth.
The format of the course has been very different to A Creative Approach as this is a relatively new course and I have found it much easier to navigate and work through as a whole. I have also found the fact there was a theme running throughout as a useful anchor point to keep referring back to and to work with and alongside as well as learning extensively about a new artist I had not come across before.
The article on Edmund de Waal lead me to the work of David Hockney, Hogarth and Grayson Perry which in turn has provided some interesting reading – I will be adding blogs on The Rake’s Progress by Hogarth and the subsequent work of Hockney as the story has fascinated me perhaps due to one of my previous courses being art history!
Throughout this first project I have realised my mind is more enquiring that it has been before and I am happy to go ‘off tangent’ and look in new directions for research or ideas whilst still keeping in mind the theme or the requirements of the exercise – I feel I am in effect ‘loosening up’ in my approaches. I have come to OCA from a City and Guilds quilting course which was very rigid in its approach – my tutor I discovered was 80 and there was one way only … hers … and as a consequence I now recognise it has taken me time to feel free to explore and create without feeling I have to stick to doing certain things despite the encouragement of my first tutors! I have stayed in ‘safe zones’ with previous work I feel and during the course of this first project I feel I have almost dispensed with those zones and am willing to go off the path and find new methods or new ideas and the exercises have lead me through familiar subjects but new ways of thinking.
One of the areas I need to work on is making connections between the exercises and also whether certain themes or artists recur – it was only towards the end of this project I fully understood how the exercises connected and also the re-occurrence of artists, not just de Waal but for me Noelle Cuppens as well as Grayson Perry. I have printed out a paragraph from the course material to remind me to reflect regularly on my progress and to annotate my images in my sketchbook as well as questions suggested and this has been stuck on my notice board in a prominent position as a reminder on what I should be doing.
What has been really interesting is the fact I have explored a lot more of my own personal identity than I expected with the journey, music and place being key exercises – my partial deafness almost felt like an advantage for the first time as I was able to listen to the same piece of music but hearing it completely differently and therefore providing totally differing resulting paintings as well as realising the benefit of potentially carrying a dictaphone or even just wearing my hearing aids instead of trying to ignore them!! I loved using the words although the first exercise (1.3) I feel is my weakest of this section – I found that infuriatingly frustrating as it is much more difficult than you realise to only use paper to illustrate what a word means. On the other hand exercise 1.4 made me think and work through ideas to produce a result at this stage I am reasonably happy and it also gave me the unexpected opportunity to resurrect an old love of calligraphy in order to create my piece of work.
During this first section I really hit a day of feeling my course work was a long slog of continued exercises and quietly questioned, albeit it very briefly, whether I could really finish my degree but then I realised how much I wanted that goal and instead of feeling it was a long slog I had to change my way of thinking and start really enjoying what I was doing and studying even if that just meant looking at one exercise at a time and no further. I am only taking the relevant project out of the file at a time and looking no further ahead and this method is working really well as it does not seem daunting and it is just a set of exercises and since I decided to change the way I thought I have had a real change of attitude which I now feel is showing in my work – or at least I hope it is!!
- Demonstrate understanding of a broad spectrum of textile techniques to inspire creativity: I feel at this stage I am already starting to show this understanding through my ability to use different techniques on the various exercises.
- Demonstrate skills in generating ideas through drawing and mark-making and textile techniques that illustrate a range of texture, tone, composition and line: this is an area I am gaining confidence on – during my first course I felt my mark-making and composition were weak areas but I feel that I am gaining in confidence in these areas now and have been considerably happier. Mark-making, composition and line have all been apparent in some of my pieces of work and in particular can be seen in exercise 1.6 with an increasing confidence in using differing textures in exercise 1.7.
- Demonstrate basic skills in research, analysis and critical writing: this is the area I feel that I am at my strongest as one of my previous courses was art history and this I feel has given me a solid foundation although as I write I am awaiting assessment results – time will tell if this area is indeed my strongest!! I have learnt to really enjoy the research etc and in fact feel I am starting to thrive on it although I am still heavily reliant on internet sources in part due to finances and in part due to my local library not having the books I may require. My fiance has started his own classics degree now and with the combination of us both doing course we are considering getting a reading card for our local university as that would enable access to a much broader range of sources than can only benefit us both and help further with research.
- Reflect and analyse your own personal development and creativity: this is the area I need to get into a regular habit of doing throughout each project – I have tried to reflect on each exercise as I have done it and am starting to reflect on my emotional responses to my work as well as to art works or subjects. I am aware that one of my weak areas is the ability to analyse my own work in a critical manner and this is something I really need to work on.
Overall I feel this has been a seriously enjoyable first project although now I must await my tutor feedback and see where my corrections are or what I need to work on.