Tuesday, 14 December 2010

merry christmas!

today was the day of my presentation to liz from manchester art gallery about the mary greg project and my ideas for platt hall. yesterday we all put our work up in the link gallery so she could see all the work together and it would be easier for us to present. i thought the presentation went well but i still find presenting anything hard especially today when my work isnt looking exactly how i want it to look. but she seemed to like the idea and liked my chatelaine for a grandma especially.

im glad to be able to change projects for a while now...this is the longest ive ever worked on a project and i just need a bit of time out! in the end ive not done anything involoving shorthand for mary greg but i still like the idea of using it so i think i will also stop this project for a bit until ive decided what direction to go next.

last night i started on a possible new project. in my room i found some old fashioned clothes pegs so decided to make some peg dolls. ive made 6 so far with little dresses and skirts made from felt. ive found th hair the hardest part to do, trying to get full head coverage and not leave and bald patches! my first doll had very little hair and pretty much no hair at the front of her head. this was soon sorted by adding a piece of ribbon as a head band. i want to contnue making dolls and i will make some male ones next. at the moment they have no faces becuase i think i will mess it up and spoil them. however, without their faces they look a bit more sinister. i'm thinking of making an animation or a photographed cartoon strip of these dolls and because of their lack of faces having them as like the hidden monsters in a house, spying on the humans, playing tricks on them etc. but this is early days and ill see what happens once ive made more of the dolls.

pictures to follow when my computer stop playing up!

Friday, 10 December 2010

afternoon at the whitworth

after the excitement of finally handing in my essay and getting that done and dusted i decided to head down to whitworth art gallery. despite being here for 3 months i have never quite made it there, with one thing or another happening.

i have always been interested in working with fabrics and embroidery. the textile gallery really impressed me, especially the embroidered works they had on display. I particulary liked a pair or embroidered gloves, they had stitching all around the cuffs and up the thumb. They lookd like something mary greg would have snapped up if she had the chance! there was also a case of quilting including a piece by jennifer vickers entitled 'yesterday's news', a quilt made out of newspaper. i liked this especially becuae of the pattern made in the newspaper and the care gone into matching fonts into a pattern.

a temporary exhibtion on at the momentis the wallpaper exhibtion. although some of the pieces on display were good i felt more could have been made of this, it would have been nice to see a bigger display with more samples of what people actually had on their walls in the past, looking at the changes in fashion.

finally i want to talk about olfar eliasson's work 'the forked forest path'. you get to the fork in the path and in the darkness you have to chose which way to turn, not knowing which path leads where. it reminds me of caspar david friedrich's work 'wanderer above the mists' (this was one of the works i looked at in my essay hence why it is in my mind!). it reminds me of this because of the themes of stepping out into the unknown and not being sure what is going to happen next.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

before i sleep...

i thought i'd give a quick update on what i'm doing now with my project.

i've now been combining the mary greg project and my shorthand project, writing out quotations from the mary greg letters in shorthand using different medium. at the moment i'm really enjoying sewing the quotations but i'm finding it quite hard to be accurate with it. (in greg shorthand different lengths of line are different sounds eg a short horizontal line is 'n', a medium line is 'm' and a long line is m-n or m-m sound) i think i will have to make some kind of stencil to make my work look a bit neater and more uniform so therefore easier to read.

i found in my room a letter i bought up from home with me which my great-grandma wrote to my grandparents in 1976. my grandma gave it to me a few years ago to keep and as she said 'to remember my great-grandma's writing'. although the letter is nothing special, it mostly talks about how busy my great-grandparents are with different functions and painting the kitchen, it's still special to me and i remember my great-grandma through it, the way she spoke, her mannerisms etc. i've written up this letter in shorthand over 2 canvases and will paint it in tomorrow. not sure what to do with it after that but i'll cross that bridge when i come to it!

i've also been working on my contextual essay. i have to pick 1 main image and 7 linked images to write about. my main image is automat by edward hopper and i'm going to focus on loneliness and solitude for my essay. i picked this image because in lots of hopper's work there is that element of sadness ans being alone. even in his paintings of couples there is still that feeling of being alone. automat is one of the pictures on my wall and i was looking at it and thinking that other artists such as manet and degas also painted pictures of solitary people usually in cafes or bars. after researching more i've added a toulouse-lautrec to my 7 extra images. more on this as i go deeper into it.

right time for bed but with my flatmates having a very early christmas sing-a-long in the kitchen i'm not sure if this will be possible!

Monday, 22 November 2010

i need a change...

ive decided i need a break from mary greg for a few days, i want to have a bit of time doing something else and then go back to it with a fresh mind.
a few weeks before coming to manchester i started to teach myself greg shorthand. i love the way words look like patterns and pictures when written out in shorthand. i started off writing phrases and words onto paper to see what it looked like but after a while i decided to have a go using wire. this gives the words a new dimension seeing them in this way and i could see myself making something more 3d not the usual writing on paper which shorthand is usually used for.
i've also been thinking about how i could link this project in with the mary greg project, making the letters she wrote into a piecce of art, showing the mystery around some of her objects and references in her letters.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

ai weiwei at the tate modern

on a recent trip back home to london i went to the tate modern originally to see the gauguin exhibition but sadly it was full so i coundn't get tickets. instead i saw ai weiwei's exhibit in the turbine hall entitled 'sunflower seeds'.
the exhibtion  consists of a large part of the turbine hall covered in sunflower seeds made from porcelain. ai weiwei recalls sharing sunflower seeds on the street as a snack with friends but the use of these seeds also holds importance politically. chairman mao was often depicted as the sun with all the people shown as sunflowers turning towards their leader. despite the oppression under chairman mao weiwei says on the tate website that he remembers sunflowers seeds more for the friendship side and a showing of human compassion. the use of porcelain is also significant for this piece, porcelain is one of china's leading exports and all the seeds were created in jingdezhen, a city famous for its imperial porcelain. this project bought the community together, all together there are about 30 stages to porcelain production.
the questions and thoughts that came to me ran at different levels. firstly and most obvioiusly the thought of what you see is not what you see but then after learning about the significance of sunflower seeds and the porcelain i started to think of being unique (each sunflower seed seems the same but are actually all unique and handmade) and individuality. weiwei asks the veiwers what it means to be an individual and are we powerless unless we work together?

i really loved this exhibtion becuase of the simplicity in conveying powerful messages. at first glance all you see are sunflower seeds but you go a bit deeper and reveal the story behind this and the significance not just to the artist but to the culture he grew up in. i also liked the interactive aspect of this exhibition, people can post questions to ai weiwei or answer questions from him making a community feeling about the art. originally the artwork was meant to be walked upon and handled  but due to health and safety this couldn't go ahead. although i feel it would have been better to be 'part of the artwork' i still feel the message he is trying to convey comes across.


Saturday, 30 October 2010

nearly halloween

so it's now nearly halloween and i realise i am a bit useless at writing about what i've been up to on here

first things first we went on a trip to the liverpool biennial exhibitions... there was a lot to see but in my group we managed to see 4 of the exhibitions: the john moores painting prize at the walker art gallery, 52 renshaw street, scandinavian hotel and a foundation liverpool. highlights for me included a performance by sachiko abe, i liked thgis becuase of the simplicity of it and the calming nature of the performance.
painting being a medium i enjoy to work in i liked seeing the exhibition at the walker art gallery, seeing where painting as an art form is today. i liked a range of the works on show especially the work by jon braley, elizabeth mcdonald, nick fox (one of the prizewinners), annabelle shelton and cara nahaul. these works especially gave me ideas on how i could move my work forward.
after seeing the exhibitions n liverpool we went to see the anthony gormley statues on crosby beach. thankfully the tide was out so we could actually see them. i'm still undecided about whether i like gormley's sculptures or not but this i liked i think more becuase of the day we went on, it was very cold, windy and a bit grey! this added to the isolation felt.

back in manchester i've been doing some of the inductions on offer. everybody has done woodwork and i have chosed to do screenprinting, letterpress and plaster casting. i think of all of these i will be using letterpress the most. i didn't realise the variety of materials that i can print onto and i really liked the result from printing on a leaf.

the mary greg project is still going well and i visited platt hall on tuesday afternoon. i was feeling pretty ill that day so i was not as enthusiastic about the objects as i normally would have been but i still loved seeing the variety in her collection. i loved the embroidery on lots of the objects and i am thinking of incorporating the letters into some embroidery pieces of my own. i also liked the collection of dolls there, i used to play with dolls when i was younger and i liked seeing what children would have played with in mary greg's day. there were also a lot of doll's accessories, an old version of barbie! these included beaded handbags, necklaces, shoes and even umbrellas and fans. as i said earlier i'm thinking of using the letters in my work possibly with embroidery or doing something with the letterpress. mary wanted people to be inspired by her artwork and her own creations so i want to make something myself from what inspires me in the collection.

finally i recieved my sketchbook from the sketchbook project tour. all the sketchbooks entered will go on a tour of america and finally end up in the brooklyn art library and be catalouged there. i have the theme 'make mine a double' for the project. i'm still thinking about what i could do for this but i want to focus on the mary greg project for now and do this later.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

start of a new week...

so here i am at the start of another week, been living in manchester for over a month now... crazy!
still working on the mary greg project, continuing to sketch some of the objects that are on the website. i have also revisited manchester art gallery to do some drawings of the objects i like there. this time going with a friend so i didn't feel as stupid drawing in the gallery (yes i'm an art student but i still feel stupid drawing in a gallery... slightly too look at me for my liking!) the drawings turned out better than i thought they would, loving getting back into drawing properly again after having a year off from the usual 'school/uni' side of art.

yesterday i started to read the letters from and to mary greg and other people around her in terms of her collection. ive now nearly finished reading from the year 1922. i can now really see how much mary greg loved what she was doing, she wasn't just donating objects to the museum then leaving them she was very interested in helping to set up the exhibition and in the details (yesterday reading a series of letters about changes made to the catalogue for her exhibtion). she was keen for children to like her exhibitions and even asked mr batho if a he could find some footstools so smaller children could see into the cases properly.

my book with notes about the letters is mia at the moment but ill comment more on the letters soon...

Thursday, 14 October 2010

start of mary greg project

after starting a new project on mary greg's collection earlier this week i decided to have a look in manchester art gallery at the parts of the collection they have on display. i loved the diversity in her collection and you can see how she was interested in pretty much anything.
i'll be visiting again soon but here are some parts that stood out for me:
a doll's house with stuffed frog 'people' playing billiards and sitting down to dinner - liked the comical side to this
tabacco tampers - making something functional beautiful. especially loved the leg shaped one.
miniature circus theatre - shows her love for childrens objects and again the fun in her collection
glass birds - especially the spun glass tails
chatelaine - again something very functional but in my eyes beautiful, it seems women always have needed to carry essentials around with them whether on a chatelaine or a handbag!

after doing some research on the project website http://www.marymaryquitecontrary.org.uk/ i liked a quotation from one of her letters to mr batho
'if a number of any set of things are put together they at once become more interesting'
i like the idea that you could put a few objects from her collection together and they at once show a part of her life and her interests and so become more interesting.

the rest of this week i'll be doing more research into the life and collection of mary greg including her letters to mr batho

Saturday, 9 October 2010

summer project and party project

for my summer project i had to create a board game for 6 people based on my interests. honestly, not too happy when i got this brief! but after mind-mapping etc i decided to create a game based on ethical living.
i created a spiral board with question marks every few squares. if you landed on a square you had to pick up a chance card and move forward of backward depending on the card eg you take a shower and not a bath to save water move forward roll of die
when playing the game although it went well it went on for longer that i thought it would. to make this better i'd just have to create a smaller board or use 2 dice instead of one for the game.

in my first week i was teamed with 1st and 2nd years to make a party. the theme we got given was 'a party with no guests' in our group we toyed with the idea of having a non-party eg people playing music and drinking on buses... although not a party with official guests it has all the elements of a party (drink, music, chatting) but in the end we decided on having a party that noone could go to. we put a guest list and a dress code on a sign outside the party. the invitations for the people on the guest list were inside the party, unsent, and the dress list was for things that nobody could do. we finally covered the door in cling flim to stop anyone even getting inthe door.