Today has been a good day…
I wanted to get some reading done, however my brain wanted to get designing, so after a good session last week of analysing all the stories and creating a shortened version, with annotation about what I could possible make, I began drawing from these notes.
As I drew I visualised each of the people telling me the stories and each of the memories they told me. I worked them into the drawings. On a couple of occasions I actually stopped what I was doing and rang one participant to arrange a meet up and emailed another to do the same. These are people who I have met through the project who have become friends. Friends in the sense I have been over for coffee to their houses and been out for dinner. It’s developed from a working friendship into a lasting one.
My other reasoning was one of my participants is an older lady who has not been in the best of health but told me the most magical of stories that I could have never imagined being told. She sent me a letter to arrange a visit, but said she’d not been in the best of health and was on ‘borrowed time’. I actually cried when I read the letter and I think that shows what kind of a bond I have made with some of the participants. It makes thinking about the process and the people and their memories so much more in depth when designing and I am conscious I have to do the story/the memory and those involved the best I can.
I worked from my preliminary sketches as I drew up the ideas individually. Seeing the items then take shape as a collection and what they stand for this evening made me smile. Looking at the objects assembled together as above is like looking at a collection of friends and people I know. I have a couple more to add to the line up but just wanted to write down my thoughts as they stand at this moment.
Looking forward to getting making!
I’ve just had a day of typing up, analysing and drawing today, it’s been really interesting and exciting. I just wanted to write a few notes down on how I think this would be part of my practice based methodology as I’m just trying to do a diagram of this.
- I listen to the interview when I’m conducting it and have initial ideas that I mull over.
- Then when I’m typing up the story and analysing it I have my sketch book at hand as all of a sudden something triggers my creative ideas
Initial ideas I have whilst interviewing are generally strengthened with the details, for example, I conducted an interview about a fathers medal…this was the object that reminded the person of their father. Then when listening back I connected it to other things, in this instance, I’d forgotten from the interview this person worked for a company that sold Rosehip syrup and so I connected them…Looking at the internet at what a bottle of Rosehip syrup would have looked like in the 1950s and sketching initial ideas. this connects the memory of the person with an object they treasure and other memories they have….! Tada!!!!
Really enjoying having design time and just entered the Plymouth ‘Future Materials’ conference that I’m really excited about….I hope I get in……fingers crossed. I love the thought of explaining my processes…hopeully there would be some people who were interested!!!!!
So, over the last few days I’ve been sorting out how I feel about my making and getting back into thinking about craft and what I enjoy about it. I really enjoyed my research day on Friday…! I got to go and have a go at forging across the road from where I live. I’m very lucky to have access to some fantastic crafts people in the area.
I also spent some time re-reading through all the lost love stories I’ve collected and started re-analysing them with a focus on the persons emotional response, context – where they were etc and why they are telling me the story. Also my emotional responses and also what i’m thinking of making.
What I discovered was as I was reading each story I was designing as I read. It made me reflect on my Masters work and how as it was art/accessories I still always referred to it as my ‘collection’….a fashion term I suppose. Anyway, as I was sketching ideas it occurred to me that my methodology relates to that same ‘fashion’ idea…
As I now have collected the stories I want to work with and interviewed the participants and analysed their stories, I feel like I am in a period of design and that the objects are a series or collection that all interweave and interlink so they need to be drawn up as a collection and then created rather than being independent of each other. It has made me re-energised about my craft and I am dying to get stuck in!!!
I need to come up with a timeline of how to create the objects and in what order so that’s my next job.
I’ve suddenly began to realise over the last few days that I forgot what I loved doing and how I need to remember it’s important to do the things you love. I am lucky enough to have an amazing Blacksmith’s across the road from my house. We made friends having discussed all things making, ranging from leather work to type etc.
Anyways I popped over this morning to take some measurements of a printing press that would be amazing if we can get working again, which in turn I would be lucky enough to play with. I feel to do my PhD I need to re-gnite my passion for making and hand crafting, but also learn new skills to give me my confidence back.
So I went over there and we started talking about tools and alsorts and I ended up leaving with a new knife and another tool underway and also having a go on the forge and forging some steel!
It’s so nice to have people around you who are passionate about their craft but also willing to share their skills with you. I am looking forward to bettering these! Here’s a pic of me taking it out on a piece of steel!
Today I think my PhD has turned another corner. In an exciting way. I met with both my new main supervisor and second supervisor.
I kind of went in with where I was up to rather than what the project was about so it took a while to unpick everything and with the help of Anna actually remember what my project was about! I think I’ve kind of lost my thread along the way quite a bit and not having set amounts of time to invest into it has meant that all the knowledge I had at the beginning has drifted out of my head!
We talked about making…I showed them my finished ‘crochet toilet doll’ which although I’m glad i’ve finished it felt a step away from my usual work, which when I showed them my leather and silicone stuff I think they realised how ‘lost’ i’ve got. Although it’s a translation of the story into a new object that to me ’embodies’ the story and has been made whilst thinking of the story it doesn’t capture my own practice as a maker. So….after not much thinking about it really, we discussed casting her in silicone and all sorts! I think this would be a really good idea so i’ve already crocheted a couple of samples to try putting in silicone to see if they can be removed. Really looking forward to getting back to my roots!!!
It’s also made me more excited as my leather craft was a side that I wanted to develop further and weirdly 2 years ago today I was setting up for the exhibition in Florence as part of the IFFTI conference! I want to get back to that kind of thing.
The other things we discussed was the actual question. How it’s kind of evolved away from the focus being on ‘love’ to the focus being on objects and possessions, which is the way I was starting to read when I did my progression panel.
I’ve been advised on a couple of books which I’ve bought and found in the library and downloaded a few papers, so tomorrow I’m going to get stuck into a spot of reading. I think before I was having trouble reading because I was falling asleep really easily due to the high blood sugar and anxiety I’d been suffering, but I think now I may be good to go!
So now I feel invigorated, I’ve got to plan a few things for my new team and ME.
- Write a couple of hundred words about each case study so the team know what I’m looking at. This will also give me a bit of time to revisit them and reignite ideas.
- When reading the stories make sure I am looking for…my own emotional response to the story, context of the story, where they were and what it was and why they are telling the story.
- Re-think about the question. Does it need to adapt….? Probably, but I think I will do some further reading around objects first.
- READ STUFF…I’ve got a few things that I plan to look at over the weekend and tomorrow on my research day.
- Keep a record of how each of the stories evolve. I think I will do this as part of the blog and then it will make it easier to piece together at the end.
- Re-visit the timeline – Plot the case studies and how I will do them.
I think that’s plenty to be getting on with, but most importantly I need to make the project mine, it’s my research and I can chose the direction so to be confident in my ideas and work and show it!
I just wanted to quickly put something down before I carry on with my tasks as I suppose this is an ethnographic record of what I am doing/trying to achieve etc and so it’s important to me that I put down what i’m feeling.
So sad first of all to have lost my main supervisor. He was a great inspiration and has supported me well throughout the initial process it’s weird to feel more at sea, so to speak at the moment. I have been quite confused and a bit down in the dumps with where I am going at the moment as it doesn’t fully feel like me. I am thinking of it more as an opportunity now to recalibrate ideas and work out what’s happening. I have had a discussion with my second supervisor Anna and she has got a lot of good ideas and understands my project and what I am trying to achieve. She has given me some great ideas and has been a fantastic inspiration so far in terms of guiding me. I think I need to make sure I can pull it all together to show how to go forward. We are in the process of finding a new second supervisor with a specific person in mind so fingers crossed…!
As for me at the moment, it’s been nice to have a couple of weeks break away from work over easter, however I am finding it very hard to prioritise and work out how to make time for my study as well as my personal life and work. It’s proving to be very tricky to balance everything and unfortunately it appears to be my health that’s suffering currently. This has obviously made me re-analyse the situation and so I need to put a few things in place.
1- I make sure I get a FULL research day EVERY week and work will have to go on hold. I also need to make sure I make the most of this time of year to get in more days, especially those days I have missed due to staffing issues. this is what I will do now.
2- I try not to start new things until I have finished others. I have so many ideas bubbling up that it becomes hard to manage and then it stresses me out, so I need to balance these better. I have my crocheted hat lady to finish and then I will start on my rolling pin again and football. 2 at once is maybe manageable.
3- Make time for reading rather than thinking i’m wasting time doing it! It’s so silly but I think with life becoming so fast paced it means that I feel I have to skin everything rather than really learning it….I will make sure I do this. I promise!
That’s about it for now. I think I’ve got to stop writing lists too!!! OK so I’ve updated my time line and now I am going to do a bit of writing and then lunch!