Looking back over this field project there are a lot of different aspects that I want to take into my subject project. Firstly coming back to working with clay has really inspired me wit my subject project after being stuck for so long on what I could possibly do. Exploring these different techniques and working with people from other course and also artists has really opened my eyes to the possibility of things that I can achieve through using clay. I haven’t thought of using clay in a very long time in my work but after completeing this first field project I want to explore clay more in a more mixed media way.
my most enjoyable moments in this project were the fabric and Slip workshop I did with Gemma Wilde and also the direct modelling of a foot with Natasha Mayo. Both these workshops I got really stuck into and enjoyed the most as I was just able to get stuck into Modelling without having to think too much about what I was doing. There are diffferet aspects of the other workshops that I really enjoyed and could possibly take into my subject project as well but these two were my most favourite. I think the fabrics and Slip workshop inspired me the most as I want to look at using different medias and experiment at a lot more in subject.
The lecture that I found I understood the most was the first lecture linked to Sustainability. I had never had any interest in the environment until I had a little understand into what sustainability was all about. After looking into Sustainability and watching a few keynote lectures explaining what the causes were and what we could do to help it really sparked an interest in me.
What I have learnt from this constellation is a lot of knowledge on what sustainability is, how it works and what we can do to impact it positively. Before starting the critical material culture brief I only had a basic knowledge on global warming and how the effects of our actions can damage the environment so greatly. I have learnt a lot from watching Lecture videos of people like Stuart Walker and Leyla Acaroglu who speak passionatly about sustainability and know we can improve it. I never really understood how important it is to give back to the earth when we take a lot of it for granted. A lot of damage caused by the human race can be fixed but not all of it will be. The ozone layer is something that will slowly heal and will go back to normal but destroyed habitats and pollution leading to extinction for some animals can not be. A lot of the pollution caused by us was never intentional and sometimes we forget that leaving a light on for an hour is effecting the environment and driving to the shops when it’s raining outside is effecting the environment when there was a pollution free way to do it.
This constellation has made me think about what I do everyday that might contribute to harming the environment and what I might be able to do to prevent it. It’s made me think twice about turning on my lights in the day and just opening up the curtains to let in as much sunlight instead or even just air drying clothes instead of using a tumble dryer all the time. Going back to Sustainability I am looking at ways I can link this in with my subject work. I think that creating a piece linked to the effects of global warming could be a very powerful piece. One of the main focuses when learning about sustainability was a lot about the double effect of recycling. When people see a recycling symbol on the side of a bottle or any kind of packaging they automatically think oh recyclable. Like buying that bottle was one of the important steps in actually recycling it. But what people forget to do is to recycle the bottle after they finish using it so instead it goes straight back to landfill. What needs to be done realistically is to just pay £3-£4 for an empty durable bottle and fill that up continueslu with water. But people see £3-£4 for an empty bottle or 70p for a filled thin plastic bottle. This seems like the easier lazyier way which is the way people usually favour. But almost every bin that you see outside in the city centres and he little towns are double sided bins for recycling and general waste. Doing this is now going to make it easier for people to recycle and people will be more inclined to do so. Since moving to Cardiff for uni I’ve noticed how much recycling is done here compared to when I’m at home. Wen I’m at home I have a general waste bin and a recycling bin that’s it. In Cardiff your given a food waste bin which I found really handy because it helps me keep track of how much food I’m wasting. Once you start to understand what can be recycled and what can’t its very easy to separate daily.
Through out the past five weeks of life drawing with Pip and Natasha I think I have slowly but surely been able to capture the figure in many different ways. After the first few hours of the sessions I think that in my drawings I have retrieved the information and some times even proportion well. At the start of these sessions I didn’t really understand what retrieving the information meant. But after focusing in I think what is meant by this is to document the main shapes of the body. For example, the main curves in the body, the shapes in which the limbs and torso are creating and also making sure the point of balance can be seen in each drawing. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about these life drawing sessions is looking ta the way the shadows can help with showing the point of balance. When using shading to show parts of the body and ground that are shadowed I think this helps to give the view of the drawing an idea of which wash the light is hitting the model which can also so which way the model is leaning and where the pressure maybe be.
Another interesting part of the life drawing was taking time to hold the pose and feel what the model was feeling. Where the pressures were on parts of the body from holding anposition for so long. I found holding the positions that Pip were holding very difficult as you had to find ways to spread the weight of your body instead of putting all the pressure onto one hand or leg. Thinking about how Pip held herself in the life drawing poses also helped me when drawing from her as I was thinking about how she was spreading her weight and how she was holding herself.
This idea of thinking also helped me with the Ceramic side of the life drawing as I had to find ways to spread the weight of the Ceramic figure with out it falling over. I had to look at Pip and the way she was holding herself to try and figure of ways I could use the clay to creat a three dimensional replica of Pip.
one part of this that I did find difficult was trying to find a way to create a skin texture on the clay. In the end I went for using the texture on my thumb but even then I think I could have found better ways to create the skin texture.
Over all I think that these life drawing sessions have really helped me look at the human body in different ways. Also taking time to become the model also made me think differently on how I can show the point of balance.
In the workshop that I did with Gemma we looked at fabrics and slip. In this workshop I took a small sweater and a pair of tights to use with the slip and try to find ways to manipulate it in to shapes. My first idea was to just get my hands dirty and dip the entire sweater into the Ceramic slip. After I did this I then took the sweater and started to stuff it with pieces of newspaper to be able to give the illusion of it actually being on someone. I then went back in with slip and a applied it to parts of the sweater that I didn’t think were covered enough with a paint brush. After this stage I then put a hanger into the sweater and hung it up to dry whilst I tried to manipulate the shape. What I decided to do was to peg the sleeves together so that it looked as if it was someone crossing their arms. After the slip had dried a little I unclipped the pegs and the arms were able to hold the position with out the help of the clips.
After this first part I then decided I wanted to give the sweater a pair of legs so I used the tights to do this. I did the same technique I did the first time round where I dipped the tights into the slip first and stuffed them wth newspaper after. I then went back in on some areas with slip and a paint brush where I thought more slip was needed. I decided that I didn’t want to add large amounts of slip because I wanted the material of the tights to give the legs a skin like texture. After this I then tied the tights up instead of the sweater and around the hanger an dodged the left leg to the front of the sweater and the right leg to the back of the sweater. Doing this I thought would give the slip piece the illusion of walking.
What I really enjoyed about this workshop was how different it was to the other two I had participated in. I really enjoyed getting my hands dirty with the slip and trying to mould a figure out of it. It was a lot more difficult then I thought it would be and sometimes very temperamental with the slip not drying very fast but it made me think of ways I could use objects around me to help create the illusion of walking and also ways I could use the fabrics to create textures.
What I think I could improve on for next time would to maybe use a different material to the sweater. Because of the thickness of the sweater it was unable to soak up the slip which I think may have helped more with the Modelling of it. Also I could speed up the drying process using some sort of heat gun or hair dryer and this way I might be able to get the desired positions I wanted.
As far as using this kind of method for my subject I think what I defiantly want to take from this and use for my work is the tights and the slip to create texture. I really like the effect the tights made with the slip and think that this could be a very interesting way to leave a skin like texture on Ceramic pieces.
One of my favourite workshops to do was the direct Modelling with Natasha. In this workshop we were all given a large piece of terracotta clay and using only our hands we were able to craft a foot out of a egg shape.
The first part of this workshop consisted of us creating an Easter egg shape out of the terracotta and using the fleshy part of our hands we pressed into the clay to create what will be the cure under the foot. After this we then started to creat the basic shape of the foot taking away parts of clay from the top to create the flatter part of the top of the foot. We then started to map out where the toes would be oth the foot and because to cut these out using small tools and also our nails. After this I then moved onto shaping the ankle a bit more and using a tool I removed a chunk of clay where the ankle is which would help if I were to add a leg onto the foot. After I had shaped the toes I then began to take away parts of the clay at the bottom of the foot were the toes would be.
I was really surprised with how well my foot turned out. I think it was a very realistic representation of what a foot looks like and I think I captured some of the detail quite well for my first attempt. I also really like the way the foot curves underneath.
if I were to do this again, what I could improve on would be to spend a bit more time moulding the ankle. From a Birdseye view the ankle looks really good but it’s you look at it from the side it looks very swollen and not shaped at all. Next time I will make sure not to neglect this side of the foot and to make sure to take a step back and look at every angle of the piece before deciding I’m finished as this was not something I noticed until after the clay had hardened.
Over all I am really impressed with the outcome of this. I think for my subject I was to find a way to incoperate clay into what I am doing as I think this could look very effective with the ideas that I have after looking at Makiko Kudo’s piece.
One of the first Ceramic workshops I took part in for the Figurative Modelling field projects was with artist Claire Curneen. What we had to do in this workshop was using a pinching technique, build a head out of the clay with out using a mould. Before this workshop when creating Ceramic portraits I had always used face and head moulds. This technique was very new to me but doing it made me not only think about the amount of clay I was using but also the shape I was creating.
‘The first thing that I was really impressed with was that my head did not collapse from being too heavy or from the clay being too thin. I started by using slightly thicker chunks of clay around the base of this piece as I knew the neck area would be holding the most weight. As I started to build upwards I began to shape the head and figure out which part was the fron and the back. Once I had created the entire head I then began to take pieces of clay to bring out certain parts of the face like where the chin, nose and eyes were. I then started to use coil shapes pieces of clay to build up the chape of the nose and also the lips. Then using a tool I because to draw into the clay to make the features more prominent. For example instead of creating an eye from the clay I just drew the shape and some of the textures into the clay where the eye would have been. After doing this i then started to creat the ear shapes. I didn’t want to press to much into the clay because I really liked the pattern on the surface of this piece where you could see where I had joined each part of the clay together. I think this left a very interesting effect.
What I really enjoyed about this workshop was that building the Ceramic head using the pinch building technique really made enough me think more about what I was doing with the clay. It made me think of the direction in which I was shaping the clay, like going too wide around the perimeter of where the head is would be very hard to bring back in to seal at the top. And then by that point there would be a lot of clay which could then made the piece too heavy on cave in. The pressure in which i was joining the clay together, not enough pressure would create a weak join but too much pressure would cause the clay to become thin. And finally the thickness of the clay pieces I was doing, obviously I started thicker at the bottom so the neck would be stable enough to hold the weight of the clay but if I had continued up with the same thickness this could cause a lot of problems. For example, the piece caving in on its self, being too thick to dry before being put into the kiln etc.
I think this was a very successful first workshop for me and I am really pleased with the outcome. For next time I know that I can improve on the placement of some of the features and make sure to get them more in proportion.