Making a decision about my tag designs

I started to realise that the most effective way to design my tags would be to speak to other people and watch them interact with my blind, as I have reached the stage where it is most important to consider audience interaction. Even though I want people to think about which blind cord they should pull, I think it is important that the tags give some direction when given a closer look. This is what made me consider using 2 simple steps, with one tag minimising the possessions and the other clearing them completely. I aim for the viewer to follow this journey and consider the role that possessions play in their lives.

Watching peers interact with my blind

I noticed that my peers were getting confused about which blind cord/tag to pull and I immediately started to think of ways to simplify this. I thought about making the tags  more obvious or completely taking away one of the blind cords. However, I later started to think that this confusion actually plays to my piece and helps to communicate the feelings associated with hoarding/minimalism. This is because it reflects the inner turmoil people experience when trying to dispose of a sentimental possession. I am going to keep both of the cords hanging, however I still need to think of a way to make my tags more meaningful.

Tutorial about the tags attached to my blind

After discussing my final piece with Sorrel, I realise that the tags attached to my blind lack meaning and don’t reflect my research very well. At the moment I feel that I have come to a block, as I can’t think of any ways to improve my tags. I therefore aim to speak to my peers in order to gain a range of new ideas, as I think this is the most effective way to quickly gather fresh inspiration.

Artist statement

First draft

‘The more stuff you own, the more your stuff owns you’

To remove clutter from our lives is to gain a clearer view and greater happiness

Feedback

  • Very concise, which fits into my focus on minimalism
  • Make the statement more minimalistic – both sentences communicate the same message
  • I would like to keep the sentence about us gaining a clearer view, as this is what my blind shows and what the viewer will experience when they interact with my blind. However, I think that I need to replace the phrase ‘clearer view’ with a single word that has more impact.

Final statement with improvements 

To remove clutter from our lives is to gain clarity

Finishing my final piece

I now feel satisfied that my blind has enough possessions stitched into it to look cluttered. At the beginning of the week I was unsure whether I would complete my final piece in time for the deadline, however staying very focused enabled me to finish my piece within the time frame. Through this week I have learnt that the best way for me to stay motivated is to create daily time plans and keep my deadline date in my mind. I also found it very effective to ask for regular feedback from peers and tutors, as this helped me to understand what my viewers will think, so I could adapt my exhibition piece to be interesting to my audience. I am now really looking forward to the private viewing, as it will be interesting to see how family, friends and strangers react to my piece.

 

Final Evaluation

The first piece of primary research that fed into my concept was our group research activity around Kendal at the beginning of the project, as one of my peers was looking at shop window displays and suggested the concept ‘objects of desire’. This interested me, however I wanted to narrow it down and my visit to the National Museum of Iceland helped to achieve this, as the interactive display immediately made me think about why we are so attached to our possessions.

After exploring a range of ideas surrounding human attachment to possessions, I found that I was most interested in the contrasting lifestyles of hoarders and minimalists. Watching the Minimalist documentary helped to form my project, as I decided to partake in the ‘Minimalist Challenge’ and this was very influential, as I could apply personal experience to my work. I also found that gallery visits were very influential, as I discovered more artists and techniques to take into workshops. Seeing the ‘Venus of the Rags’ at Liverpool Tate was especially influential, as it gave me the idea to use the contrast between colour and lack of colour to represent hoarding and minimalism. This practical technique was carried throughout most stages of my final piece development. On reflection, I realise that my most influential pieces of research were primary, as I discovered less obvious ideas which helped to make my final piece more meaningful.

After spending two years studying A Level art, starting the foundation course was quite a shock to me, as I wasn’t used to researching topics so thoroughly, especially when it came to primary research. I feel that I have come a long way since sixth form, as I have learnt that this research only forms the basis of a concept and it is the practical development that has really pushed my ideas forward. At the start of the year I wouldn’t have been able to synthesise ideas all my development together to form a conceptual final outcome, as I was so used to designing a final outcome and sticking with this idea throughout a whole project when studying art at A Level. I have also found that reflecting on my work throughout the foundation course has helped me to recognise my strengths and weaknesses, which I used to my advantage during the FMP, as I knew what to build on and improve.

After my previous projects, I have learnt that the most effective way for me to develop my initial ideas is to take a range of practical techniques into quick development workshops, as this stops me from becoming too focused on my theoretical research. I therefore based my early practical development around a range of primary photographs of individual’s possessions to cover all my initial, obvious ideas. After this, I began to look at artists and adopt a more abstract way of working. Working within my new specialism led to me developing my textile skills, as most of the textile techniques I experimented with were fairly new or completely unfamiliar to me. The dissolvable fabric was particularly interesting to use, as I hadn’t even heard of this medium before and the versatility of the fabric meant that I could quickly experiment to push my ideas forward.

Even though it was troublesome at times, I think the development of my final piece went well, as I went on a long journey by sketching out over ten ideas and combining these ideas to reach my final outcome. This idea of constantly developing a final outcome has taken me a long time to fully understand, however I have come to realise that a meaningful outcome can’t be produced from the first idea I think of, as the idea will always be too obvious and lack interest. I am pleased with the aesthetics of my final outcome, as I spent a lot of time choosing and stitching each possession to give a polished finish.

I have struggled with my concepts throughout the foundation course and unfortunately this was no different through the FMP. I feel that I have constantly been working with a concept, hitting a block and having to make a change. This has pushed my problem solving skills to the next level, as I have had to reflect on my work to think of solutions at several points throughout the FMP. Even though it is useful to improve my problem solving skills, I often felt that I was spending too much time worrying about work when I could have been pushing ideas though development. I think one of the reasons for this is that I always want my development pieces to be aesthetically pleasing and I therefore spend longer on them than I should. In the future, I aim to work in a looser way and be more experimental, as I realise I was often too precious about my work and I understand that the aim of a development piece is to push ideas forward rather than look perfect.

I have particularly enjoyed working on the sewing machines, as I had never used one before foundation and I feel this has worked to my advantage by enabling me to be more experimental. The sewing machines have also enabled me to combine my love for illustration with my specialism, which is something I hadn’t previously considered.

One of the most important things I learnt was that it is important to step away from an idea when I begin to struggle to visualise it, as I found that it was crucial to reflect on workshops to decide whether I should push an idea further or consider other ideas. When taking an idea on a journey, I learnt that speaking to peers and tutors about my process really helped to push the idea forward, as I was able to gather a range of opinions to inform my own. My peers were particularly helpful when I came to block with my final outcome, as a group discussion helped me to synthesise all my final outcome plans to form a new and more meaningful design.

In the future I will ensure that I continue to regular reflect on my work and ask others for their opinions, as I realise that it is very easy to become caught up in research and forget that the most important part of a project is to communicate a message. Even though I will be working with students within the same specialism next year, I will make sure that I discuss my ideas with people from outside my class, as I have found it useful to speak to peers from a range of specialisms throughout the FMP. Even though I prefer to work in textiles, I now understand the importance of working within a range of specialism during the development stages, as this unfamiliarity is what led to ‘happy accidents’ and the discovery of innovative ideas during FMP.

Reflect on the exhibition process, how did you find hanging and installing your work? What was the private view like? What comments did you get about your work?

I encountered multiple issues when installing my final piece, as I wanted the viewer to walk around my blind and it therefore needed to be installed in the centre of the room. My initial idea was to nail the blind rail into the ceiling, as this is what the rail was designed for and would keep my blind secure. However, this meant my blind was too high and viewers wouldn’t have been able to pull the cord. I therefore had to speak to tutors and peers to design a hanging installation which would be secure enough for people to pull on. This seemed impossible at first, however attaching transparent cords to a baton turned out to be a successful solution and I am really pleased with the overall finish.

Choosing a space to exhibit my work

We decided that the most effective way to install my blind would be to fix it to the ceiling, as this is what the blind is designed for. However I wasn’t happy with the height of the blind, as the ceiling is quite high and I therefore thought the possessions on the top half of my blind would be lost and hard to see. The cord turn the blind would also be too high and this is a key part of my concept. I spoke to Mike to see if he had any alternative ideas and he helped me to design a plan to suspend my blind from the ceiling with transparent cords. I like this idea and think the blind is well suited to hang in the centre of the ceiling, as I would like people to walk around the whole blind and interact with it easily. The only issue is that I am worried the blind will be unstable when people pull on the cord and I therefore need to ensure the whole installation is very well made and secure with multiple points of attachment. It was useful to talk about my installation with multiple people, as Annie pointed out that it isn’t very obvious that my piece can be interacted with. It is important to me that viewers interact with my piece, as this is a crucial part of my concept. I therefore came up with the idea to hang two pieces of ribbon with words stitched into them on either side of the blind cord. I am unsure about which words I will use and I would like to ask around my peers to see what would work best before starting to create test samples.