Constellation – PDP

 

When I left my last field module, Magical Objects, I was learning about and inspired by masks. So I used that as my springboard for my dissertation proposal research. I learnt so much from that particular module, including that traditionally masks had not been used solely as art. They have always been seen as having purpose or function within the artefacts culture or society. Some of these so called magical functions included contacting the dead or aiding the wearer in entering into spiritual realms through ritual performances.  At the end of that Project I was left reflecting upon the true purposes and common uses of masks. At that stage in my research I wished to investigate where the lines had blurred from traditional use to the modern day and when did the mask lose its functional purpose within our society?

 

In his book John Mack discusses the ‘Art of Expression’ and sheds light on broader cultural patterns and  social or personal transformations included in the act of concealing or changing one’s appearance. He argues “The Masquerade does two things: on the one hand it hides the masker,  and on the other it introduces a new element, the Masquerade and what that reveals” (Mack, 1994, pg.17). One may see contemporary use of masked performance as merely something made to be appreciated for its aesthetic. This less complex use of the masquerade, compared to traditional supernatural or cultural functional uses, is more often than not how masks are used in modern day Western society; as a fashion statement or a costume accessory. However I felt my work went beyond this definition and so I wished to place myself and my work within my own context and history. Considering Mack’s argument, if the masquerade is truly about identity, the choices an artist makes within masked performance are extremely important as they become inner reflections of one’s own self. Our current subject module titled ‘Make Your Mark’ has made us focus on our creative identities. It became clear to me that I must use this channel of interest to investigate the true function and purpose of my work.

 

Pagan tradition and folk law have always been an interest of mine so it seemed the perfect opportunity to amalgamate this with my creative practice. Whilst doing the research for this project i have been aiming to explore fully the background underpinning the performance-based art that I am specialising in. Including masks, puppets and other similar performing objects from traditional Pagan, British folk traditions, with particular reference to authenticity, appropriation, identity and culture, in terms of the way these elements may impinge on, or enhance, the development and delivery of culturally sensitive, artistically challenging yet functionally robust performance-based masked costume. One must acknowledge  how choice of dress can signify predisposed characteristics and how these choices identify an individual. Even those who try their hardest to not judge others on their outward appearance make these assumptions, therefore iconography and semiotics within costume and dress are extremely important to consider when designing. Whether to avoid offending certain sacred/ religious traditions or to correctly associate a design accurately  with a particular specialist area of study. By investigating thoroughly these historical traditions I am ensuring my own work will accurately portray a desired effect whilst ensuring sound ethics. As an artist I must be conscious of every choice i make in my work, understanding the context of my designs, both of the finished product within the art realm, as well as where it fits historically within my own culture is crucial.

 

Having researched about traditions such as Processional figures, for example the Hooden Horse, the Mari Lwyd, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers and the Norwich Snap, I have seen that many have considerable ancestry and I feel my work could be itself  a revival of these ancient traditions. By investigating folkloric processional British traditions I am able to explore their origins and determine as far as possible how much their antiquity and authenticity have a bearing on their legitimacy according to the identity of the performer, which in this case is me. I aim to try to determine whether it is important or even possible to ascertain whether certain traditional cultural practices are survivals or revivals – and whether it really matters if they are or are not. I will be looking at what point cultural artefacts become ‘traditional’ and whether cultural artistic influence is ever inappropriate.
Over all I feel like this research project has greatly helped me with all areas of my practice both academic and practical. It has been extremely beneficial to each of my separate modules, and mostly resonates with Subject’s Make Your Mark. I feel this project in contrast to my formative Constellation submission has really helped me narrow my focus toward my own practice. I now feel as though through exploring the past i have turned a critical mirror on my own work and inspired possibilities towards my final piece for our end of year exhibition. I have learnt through this project that organizing my note taking process,through the use of colour coding and creating separate documents for different academic resources means i am able to use those notes faster and more effectively. But also, separating my analysis of these texts has allowed me to understand them better. I have realised that I am very much a visual learner and due to my dyslexia I have trouble tackling large bodies of writing. By separating the texts into their own documents with different colours picking out key information i am able to recall a vague synopsis of each text from memory simply by these distinctions. My main area I still need improvement on is definitely my time management for these academic projects. I often find myself swamped by the smaugusboard of information and therefore am reluctant to settle on a specific research area or question. I feel proud that I have been able to specify my research and because of this i feel I have bettered my understanding of my own practice.

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BAMS inspired by BEARDYFEST

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What happens when a group of friends dare to dream about a wondrous world of music, dancing, art and surreal bliss?

Over the past two years a few of my closest friends and I have been working hard towards creating our own home grown festival called BEARDYFEST! It all started with a few talented friends and a dream to create our own personal haven for expression. We come from a small market town, with a lot of artistically gifted friends from different fields and professions. We realised there were next to no opportunities to showcase their talents collectively, whether it be music, dance, comedy, painting, sculpture, instillations or photography. We wanted to create a platform where we could bring together and celebrate all of these amazing talents.

I chose to base the concept of my medal around this event as it is something I have become extremely passionate about and hope that it will be the foundation of our futures. BEARDYFEST couldn’t have gone from an idea to a reality without each and every one of our contributors and in my opinion that is the essence of what BEARDYFEST really is, community. We have made such a tight knit group through this project and united so many people, those who are willing to lend a hand, have a talent to contribute as well as all those who attended the event. We welcome everyone and it’s amazing how many people are willing to come together to make our vision a reality. We are proud to have united people with peace, love and music. The medal itself I wish to gift to each of my friends who are part of the inner organisation team, as a thank you for their contribution, hard work and a token of pride and accomplishment. I thought that it could also be awarded as a keepsake to a lucky winner of a competition at next year’s BEARDYFEST.

PDP- reflection on BAMS brief

I chose the BAMS brief because I was excited to learn how to bronze cast as it was something I have always been curious about. I enjoyed working with wax and learning to understand its properties when casting with it. However I came across many challenges during this stage, which made the process tedious and repetitive at times, but overcoming these problems proved to be extremely rewarding when you can see your hard work paying off. Due to the intricate design of my piece and the small details of the font I had a big problem with trapped air bubbles, which obscured the detail in the lettering and made it  hard to read. I tried a few techniques, firstly by painting liquid wax directly onto the mould then filling and sandwiching the two halves together. I attempted this several times with little success. So decided to try the pour method. As predicted air bubbles being trapped whilst it was being poured was a big problem. So I added risers. It took many trials, each time cutting a little away from the mould to help the air be released. At this stage I became very frustrated with the process and couldn’t see how I was ever going to get a smooth cast out. I experimented with hotter or cooler wax, slower or faster pouring. Nothing seemed to help. So I tried filling half of the mould with liquid wax and with a paint brush I pushed the wax into the crevices of the mould and pop the air bubbles. It took a few more attempts but proved successful! I had become extremely exasperated with the process, but once I was I conquered the problem I felt a huge wave of accomplishment.

I found doing a live brief exciting and challenging at times due to the short time frame. Working to a tight specification was challenging, having to go back and edit my design as I realised through material exploration that it was either to large or intricate etc proved very frustrating at times but I feel i’ve learnt a lot about my own abilities.

Over all I am really happy with my design outcome as I feel it conveys the message of togetherness and community really well. It evokes the sentiment I wished to be conveyed and I reminisce about all the good times and hard work that has gone into BEARDYFEST when I look at and handle it. If I had more time i’d revise the design and add something to the edge of the medal in order to hit the specification better. Once I have made the bronze cast i’d like to experiment with colouring the bronze by soaking it in different acidic liquids such as vinegar. By rubbing back the colour it would leave the lettering coloured and reveal the bronze for the background. I think this contrast will really add definition the the design and be the finishing touch it needs.

 

Tried sandwiching method- proved to be very difficult and never lined up properly so decided to move onto pouring method.

First pour shape intact however air bubbles obscured the design.

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added risers to try and combat the problem.

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results were much improved however small air bubbles still cling to the lettering.

did lots of tests and finding it very difficult to get rid of these darn air bubbles!!

Sculpting design and carving lettering.

After some feed back I was worried my design didn’t resemble a medal enough so I experimented with creating a border. I tried plaiting clay but it cracked, was chunky and too delicate to make thinner.

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I experimented with wire also but in the end decided i prefered it with out and border.

BAMS – Concept/ design ideas

For this project I wanted to base it on something I was passionate about and close to my heart, so I chose to base it around an ongoing project my friends and I have been working on for the last 2 years; BEARDYFEST!

BeardyFest is an event that we hope one day will become a successful festival. We celebrate talents across the arts, focusing on live music and local acts as well as exhibiting artists of all types and encouraging contributions from any discipline . As creative director my role is to decorate the space available and create an interactive, psychedelic, entertaining environment for our customers to enjoy, including curation the contributing art works.

To see more about Beardyfest please visit our Facebook page and watch this year’s newly released after video! : https://www.facebook.com/Beardyfest2017/

I started to think about what Beardyfest means to me in order to create some designs:

*Community– we have made such a tight knit group through this project and brought so many people together, those who are willing to lend a hand or have a talent to contribute, we welcome them all and its amazing how many people are willing to come together to make this amazing event with us. As well as all those who attended the event, we are proud to have united people with peace love and music.

*Expressing ourselves, individually and as a collective- We are celebrating talent of all different types providing a platform for artists that needs to be shown to the world.

*Spreading love and happiness- our aim is to bring as many smiles to as many faces as possible. We have spent years going to festivals as customers but our dream is to provide that level of bliss and connection to hundreds (and hopefully thousands) of people. Seeing people laughing and enjoying the creation you have slaved over is unbelievably rewarding.

*Hard work and organisation- Beardyfest is all about hedonism and being free to be true to yourself, celebrating us all individually as well as together. However a whole year of hard work, stress, arguments, let downs and ALOT of organisation goes into creating an event like this.

My first design:

BAMS sketch book 1

I wanted the concentric circles to be separate rings that when pushed reveal writing around the edge, I wanted this featured on my medal as it fits a key brief specification of considering the edge. Each ring would represent the key pillars that are needed for this magical event to actually happen. I would then put a quote of some sort on the back to encapsulate my love for this event. I chose the pattern of leaves and flowers around the edge as I took inspiration from a sign I made for Beardyland for customers as they entered.

beardy land sign

I wanted to improve the design so tried changing the font and outer pattern. Beardyfest is all about the psychedelic aesthetic so I took inspiration from Art Nouveau designs and patterns as during the psychedelic, hippie, movement of the 1960’s they drew many aspects of their style from the patterns of Art Nouveau.

BAMS sketchbook 2

I really enjoyed this pattern but thought it may be very difficult to sculpt from clay. I had a tutorial to ask advice and I was told that maybe it was too obvious, more like a piece of merchandise from the festival rather than encapsulating the feeling and sentiment behind it. I also realised that due the process of bronze casting making concentric circles that fit perfectly inside one another in such a short time frame would be extremely difficult. I also considered the fact that I had no way holding this rings together so when handled they would fall apart. So I went back over pictures from the day and reconsidered my design.

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These are just a few of my favourite images from this years Beardyfest. I chose them as I feel they really encapsulate the feeling from the day, and I realised that what Beardyfest is really about is all of those happy faces. Seeing how we can bring so much joy to so many people, of all different ages, genders, races and religions is the main reason we started this amazing project, and thats what I want to try and put into my design.

I started by image searching a few key words such as together, community, we are one etc. for inspiration.  I found a lot of logos like these which I thought looked a lot like a medal already. However they didnt really scream ‘festival’ and ‘love’ and ‘joy’ enough so I made a few more designs.

My designs:

BAMS sketch book 2

Liked the sentiment behind this but felt it didn’t scream festival enough.

BAMS sketch book 3

tried to replicate people in a crowd with this one, I also included our logo and alot of smiling faces but I felt it still did not encapsulate all that i wanted to say. I realised that maybe imagery was not enough to describe the sentiment behind the medal so I decided to play with text.

BAMS sketch book 4

I really liked this design as it says more about the meaning behind the medal but even if someone who didn’t know what Beardyfest was, would understand the message and the sentiment. Although I didnt enjoy the font as it isnt in keeping with the style of beardy fest so I tried a different design.

BAMS sketch book 5

BAMS sketch book 6

I tried this font and made a life sized paper and clay mock up. I got feedback on my mock ups and was told that they no longer resembled a medal very much so I looked up the definition of a medal in order to successfully hit the brief specification. The key part of the description described a circular disk. So I decided I would fit the font inside a circle in order to fit the specification.

BAMS sketch book 7BAMS sketch book 8

 

 

BAMs medal project – initial research

 

I was particularly drawn to this design because of the unusual edge and the creativity of the design; traditional images meets contemporary design. I particularly enjoy the geometric pattern forming the organic shape of the head. id really like to incorporate an unusual edge in my design rather than opting for a standard circle shape.

 

This design caught my eye due to its simplicity and rough edges. I like that it hasn’t kept to a geometric shape and used the material in a way that the process can be seen through the final piece. I particularly like the message on the reverse simple and direct. I think i will definitely incorporate this into my design.