Explore module reflection

Sites spaces and public places has taught me to consider every possible outcome or downfall when designing. Also to be aware of possible pitfalls and how to rectify them before pitching to a client. It has also taught me to go out of my way to find possible briefs to apply for and that certain companies are employed to distribute these commissioned briefs to the suited artist.​ when art is to be placed in a public space everything must be considered with the utmost scrutiny. Whether its durable/ weather proof, fits in context with its surroundings, has the desired effect for purpose. I found the hard way that one must plan for the worst case scenario and public interference. In the future I aim to start digitalising my work to make it permanent and also widen my audience.

Magical objects has taught me so much about the history of magical objects in everyday life and in the art world and how these objects have integrated into our societies to become treasured and tradition. In cultures where masking is a part of their life or worship masks are never seen as merely art or decorative objects each mask has its own functional purpose that it was specifically designed for. It’s also taught me to run with my interests; I have been interested in magic, folk law, hypnagogic/ entoptic imagery and altered states of consciousness all my life, but felt it was deemed not credible at a university level, through research I have learnt this is not true.

During Ss+pp I had difficulties deciding how to utilize my stump to the best of my abilities, to help the cause but also create something true to who I am as an artist. Learning about the properties of the trees personifies them to us and puts a further value on each tree as an individual by doing this we may open peoples eyes towards saving their valuable limited local wildlife and trees.​

I have been so inspired by field that I have carried the themes of magic and folklore that I explored in my Meri Lwyd inspired costume, through my constellation (looking at British pagan/ folkloric masked traditions) and fully into my Make Your Mark project!

Explore has also taught me how important it is to me that my work be experienced by the public. By interacting first hand with our audiences and the integrating art work into public settings we have a chance to change the wider world through small acts. I Know now I want to be an active participant in my art and for my audience to actively engage with me and my work. This performance aspect seems to me to be as important a part of the delivery as the execution of the work itself.

Its also enlightened me to my own personal purpose – to change the world one smile at a time!​ Before I started this module I aimed to make artefacts to stimulate the senses – it looks nice it makes me happy. ​This module has taught me how to put depth to my work by anchoring my outcomes to my interests.​ But also has brought to light my works purpose, and although I may make something because I simply enjoy its aesthetic, by sharing my art with the public and evoking laughter, happiness and awe I am inviting my audiences to explore the art of hedonism and hopefully starting a chain reaction of love and the pursuit of pleasure. ​

Working as a group has proved the best way to generate poignant ideas, and the multiple viewpoints can help bring to light flaws in a design or idea that one mind may not. Especially when designing for a public space the desired affect the work will have on its audience is essential working in bigger groups helps to see flaws in ideas where one mind might not. ​

By expanding my knowledge and context of ideas I feel I have found a focus point of my practice. I’ve always known my area of interest was ‘wearable art’ but these modules have taught me to focus the theoretical side of my practice whilst opened my eyes to the possibilities my work could have on the world. ​I’ve specifically been inspired by masks and so I am focusing on this aspect of costume for my subject module. This may be something I am focusing on currently but through focusing on masks I am opening myself up to new practical skills and therefore expanding my practice through experimentation!​


Magical objects – reflection

I have felt extremely inspired by this module and have thoroughly enjoyed studying the world of masks and other magical objects. Magic and superstition has always been something i’ve been interested in, so this project seemed to have been hand picked just for me. Ive learnt so much about the beliefs and uses of  masks in cultures throughout time. Masks have been used for all sorts of different things from communicating with the dead or other spiritual ceremonies and sometimes for performances or rituals such dancing. I have learnt that traditionally masks have not been used as art but have usually had some sort of purpose. In the future I’d like to explore and investigate where these lines blur, from traditional use to modern day and  when did the mask lose its  functional purpose within society and why?  How have collective superstitions changed throughout time and why? I have enjoyed learning about masks and their uses so much that I think it would be an excellent proposal for my dissertation. My work in the past has been focused on costume, interactive art and performance, so this module has been particularly enriching as well as inspiring for future projects.

Whilst researching about masks, its clear animals have inspired cultures throughout time and animal imagery has had many uses in the world of magic and superstition. Some cultures believe that by wearing animal masks or by using animal imagery they take on the strengths of that animal. This idea of animal human hybrids seemed like an interesting concept and so I’ve chosen to investigate this more through my practical work.

Another thing I found interesting was learning about art and spirituality and how the two inspire one another. Again spirituality it’s something I’ve always been interested in but until now I have not seen how I could properly integrate it into my practice. I particularly enjoyed learning about how entropic and hypnagogic  imagery have influenced art. I had never heard of these terms before but have felt that I’ve always been inspired by them nonetheless.  I am an extremely visual thinker and untill learning about these terms I had taken this for granted.  I stopped to admire the dancing images behind my eyelids and found a whole new world inspiration.

Over all I feel like this project has greatly helped me with all other areas of my practice both academic and practical. I am happy with my outcomes, however with more time I would like to mount the head I’ve made to create a full costume taking inspiration from Mari Lwyd costumes from a traditional Welsh folk winter custom. However id like to take it further than these traditional items by making a moving mechanism to control the head from under the sheet thereby animating the character and giving it more expression. This project has definitely left me excited to continue exploring the world of magical objects.

The Magic Of The Mari…

“THE MARI LWYD (in Welsh, Y Fari Lwyd) is one of the strangest and most ancient of a number of customs with which people in Glamorgan and Gwent used to mark the passing of the darkest days of midwinter.

It’s no accident that Christmas, with its emphasis on fire, lights and decorations, is celebrated at this time of year. Before the arrival of Christianity, the Romans used to hold similar festivities at the same time. And before the Romans, these long, cold nights were the time of fire festivals in Wales and across the Celtic World.

From this time on, the days get longer as spring approaches. All these festivals and customs reflect man’s awe at nature’s annual miracle of death and rebirth. That’s why evergreens like the holly and the ivy are such a feature of the season… and why a dead horse mysteriously comes back to life.

Customs involving animal skulls are widely known across the world. The Native Americans of Alaska use them, as do the Indonesian people of Java… and variations crop up at most points of the globe in between.

Y Fari Lwyd (translated as the Grey Mare, or The Grey Mary) and her group go from house to house and pub to pub and try to gain access by performing a series of verses, or ‘pwnco’. The inhabitants would reply with their own verses in a battle to outwit Mari and her gang and prevent her from entering. Eventually she will be let in, as this confers luck on the household for the coming year and scares out anything unwanted from the previous year. Once inside, more songs are sung and the group is given drinks and food.

The tradition of Y Fari Lwyd has certain pre-Christian origins. In Celtic Britain, the horse was seen as a symbol of power and fertility and prowess on the battlefield. In Celtic mythology, animals who had the ability to cross between this world and the underworld (the Celtic Annwn) are traditionally white or grey coloured.”


This tradition first caught my eye due to the unusual yet beautifully simple costume. But the rich background behind it inspired me more so Id like to make my own version of this.

Art and the conscious mind

Toda we had a lecture about about art and spirituality and how the two inspire one another. Spirituality as well as magic is something I’ve always been interested in but until now I have not seen how I could properly integrate it into my practice. I particularly enjoyed learning about how entropic and hypnagogic  imagery have influenced art. I had never heard of these terms before but have felt that I’ve always been inspired by them nonetheless.  I am an extremely visual thinker and untill learning about these terms I had taken this for granted.  I stopped to admire the dancing images behind my eyelids and found a whole new world inspiration.



Entoptic Imagery and Altered States of Consciousness


” In their discussion of paleolithic cave imagery, Lewis-Williams and Dowson define entoptic imagery as visual experiences arising from anywhere within the optic system, which includes the eyes, the occipital lobe of the brain, and the many other portions of the neural cortex that process visual stimuli.  This definition comes from the Greek translation of entoptic meaning “things perceived within vision”, and is commonly used by anthropologists and archaeologists (Williams & Dowson 1988). ”

– https://lucianahaill.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/entoptic-imagery-and-altered-states-of-consciousness/

“scientist who experimented with mescaline on himself recorded the following experience; “If the mescaline taker keeps his eyes closed, he sees riotously colorful ‘mosaics, networks, flowing arabesques, interlaced spirals, wonderful tapestries . . . great butterflies gently moving their wings, fields of glittering jewels . . . soaring architecture . . . and finally human figures and fully formed scenes where coherent histories are enacted’ (Smythies 1953).  These reports on the visions induced by mescaline further exemplify the similar structures found in entoptic images across individuals.  Somehow, the entheogen produces similar images of jewels, interlaced webs and spirals, beautiful architecture and so forth within the visual system.  As we can see from the above reports, different individuals interpret the images they see in slightly different ways, but the similarities and patterns are clearly there.  This research made it very clear that there are patterns in the entoptic images observed by different individuals when consuming mescaline(…..)  Research into the entoptic images induced by entheogens was continued by Louis Lewin, who spoke of the similarity in imagery that is produced by different types of substances, such as cannabis and mescaline.  He stated that Cannabis produces fireworks and multicolored stars, while mescaline produces colored arabesques, carpets, and filigree latticework (Lewis 1924).  In 1977, Siegel found that individuals exposed to THC and placed in a light and soundproof chamber would see many structurally similar geometric forms which would combine, duplicate, and superimpose with each other. This research once again indicates that, although different entheogens may create somewhat different images, there are definite patterns to be found in entoptic images observed by different individuals and induced by different substances and methods.”

– http://entheology.com/research/entoptic-imagery-and-altered-states-of-consciousness/

The world of psychedelia and altered states of consciousness have always seemed so inspiring to me but I have not explored them in depth as in relation to art and my practice. through looking at my own experiences and visions as well as seeing how other artists have examined these concepts I feel inspired to explore for myself.

Pitt Rivers museum


I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Pitt rivers museum and felt extremely inspired after the visit. what I came to realize was that during my designing I had become stuck as I was limiting myself too strongly to realistic characteristics. What learned from the trip was that masks have extremely surreal and abstract shapes and features. once accepting this and moving further away from reality I found my inspiration.


Australia, Torres strait islands, Dance mask of turtle shell, wood, and feather. represents a crocodile with a fish’s tail.



On this dance mask from papa new guini I particularly enjoy the hair on it it must create such beautiful motion once in action.

These Masks from the Himalayas particularly caught my eye due to their unique motifs, the third eyes featured on all of them as well as the antlers loosely resembling hands.


Human animal hybrids

Image result for the lion man of hohlenstein

Lion-man of the Hohlenstein-Stadel is a prehistoric ivory sculpture that was discovered in the HohlensteinStadel, a German cave in 1939. The lion-headed figurine is the oldest-known animal-shaped sculpture in the world, and the oldest-known uncontested example of figurative art.

“The Sorcerer” at the cave of Les Trois Freres – pre historic picture of a possible shaman from a cave painting.

– combination of human and animal to create some sort of super natural characteristic.

Some Ancient Egyptian gods had the heads of animals and so masks or sarcophagus often had animal imagery on incorporated into them.