This year for the Field module, I started out with figurative modelling, led by Natasha mayo and Claire Curneen. I felt I gained a lot of knowledge about how to construct human forms from slabs, thinking about assembling them as if from sewing patterns (incidentally, something of which I already have practice). This was a novel and welcome experience for me.
During this module, we were encouraged to split off into groups where each group worked towards assembling a multi-media piece incorporating everyone’s works to form a harmonious whole. We were also shown how we could apply the spacial knowledge gained from life drawing practice into the creation of three-dimensional clay sculpture. The differences in the ways in which others worked, as well as their chosen subject matter, meant that the final result was a surprise (though a pleasant one at that) for all involved.
My subject work linked into my field work this year in that the sculptural work I carried out ended up informing the thrown work I later made. It also emphasised to me the importance of practice: over and over again.
Module 2 of Field for me was work exp. I wrote about this extensively during the weeks in which I did it, but to sum it all up – it was incredibly motivating to seriously try my hand at the job I want to do when I finish my degree in a very concentrated stretch of time. Furthermore, discussing what to write for my dissertation with the teachers at the school really consolidated for me in my mind why I am doing this degree in the first place. I loved teaching the children and felt it really added to my motivation to do my best. Carrying out the research for my dissertation proposal only further reinforced this concept in my mind, and has had in turn an influence on my practice: my interest in the tactile and in the potential for a narrative told by a three-dimensional object continues, though it has changed somewhat in its form.
Through having the opportunity to teach (in secondary and in further education), I’ve had the chance to confirm my love for teaching, but especially for teaching children. I was also really relieved to find that the children responded well to my enthusiasm with their own.
Last Thursday I assisted Ian at the Level 4 Field Fair (which we did not have last year because of the teachers’ strike) along with some other students who had also done the work experience module; I had the chance to listen to others’ experiences and to explain and promote to current level 4 students why the W E module is so useful and productive.
How did Field I and II impact your move back to subject, and your views re: graduation?
Field I helped me to expand my viewpoint on figurative work: I was able to become more closely involved with the body on a more sculptural and tactile level, and I had a chance to explore a different way of uniting the two-dimensional aspect of my work with the three-dimensional one. Although I chose not to pursue this angle it was an invaluable addition to my knowledge and skill base.
Field II, that is, work experience placements which I had to organise for myself, were without a shadow of a doubt the most helpful aspect of the Field module for me in terms of where I want to go with my career path post-graduation. It helped me to cement the vocational aspect of my desire to teach, of which I am now sure. I got along well with the students at both of my placements (in a Further Educational institution and in one of Higher Education), and felt a great deal of satisfaction at being able to help students on a one-on-one basis as well as in a more general capacity through technician work, though that was a good deal more of a thankless task(!!).
How would you place yourself in the art world now?
I would say that I am now more confident than ever in that I would like to place myself as a teacher and maker, whether that be in a studio environment or in a classroom-studio hybrid model.
What did you learn and what did you take from the experience as a whole (while also evaluating it)?
It gave me a chance to exchange my usual work environment for that of one which was at once alien and familiar. I felt that the learning in situ was invaluable as it helped me (through both aspects of self-knowledge and practical know-how) to evaluate my suitability for such a work environment. Furthermore, it helped me come to a conclusion and then consolidate my decision as to my Dissertation topic. It was quite the revelatory experience, while also being what I had expected, and more.
The Flickr album of all work-experience related images can be found here.
My presentation was the summation of all of those previous posts about work experience on my blog, and was made up solely of pictures from the experiences.
This mini project at CSAD is linked to both subject and field for me, as it is about glazes/ the glaze room (including practical skills), efficient communication (teaching skills), and administrative skills (computing).
Though at first I struggled to find the relevance of the task to my desire for practical, hands-on assistance, I came to realise that this was about patience and the varied nature of teaching.
In the glaze room:
Next to relevant test tiles:
In the Ceramic Print room:
Information about raku next to raku test tiles (going from “How can I also do this?” to “here’s the information!”)
This week went by in fits and starts. I slept for Wednesday and Thursday because I was really tired from the last two weeks of work experience, and it had finally caught up with me.
Birds keep stopping on this one bit of the wall outside my living room and looking in inquisitively. Earlier a juvenile seagull just stood there for like half a minute while my cat had his head turned away looking at me despite being right next to the window and I gestured to my cat like ‘hey! look, a bird! wow!’ and he just didn’t do anything. it was kind of disappointing. Now the magpie is back.
On Thursday I had a look at the QR codes Matt handed me, codes which had originally been near key objects/areas in the old CSAD building at Howard Gardens. I checked all of the codes still worked, and will set them up in the correct areas on Monday. I think I will need a staple gun. The only areas of expertise I found to be missing in terms of codes were those regarding an introduction to plaster, and one regarding kilns/ kiln safety – I do think, however, that this may be entirely intentional, as they require a lot of knowledge and safety information, and require induction work. Probably for the best.
For Subject, I’m still investigating the different celadon recipes; there’s a reduction firing on Friday, so I will receive some of my glazed work a week from now!!!! GOOD HEAVENS!!!
I am currently working on a resource whereby students can scan a QR code in the department, and be brought to various databases. The first I’ve encountered is ofconcern.herokuapp.com, where there are a number of lovely oxidisation-firing glaze recipes. These I catalogue below.
Pinks: glossy pink, marbling, opalescent pink, marbling.
Blues: darkest cobalt, matt variegated turquoise, translucent matte teal, dark blue pooling watercolour effect, light glossy cyan, light pooling green-blue.
Natasha also mentioned an interest in AR-coding (augmented reality, rather than simply linking technical skills to video or text-image resources…), potentially even sending items to schools as a teaching resource, whereby students would be able to see/hold an item and access the process of its being made in its various stages. This is definitely a longer term project, but is one which simply requires the painstaking documentation of a selection of objects. One example of this would be similar to how I documented how the shell bowls were finished, except then the videos would include the throwing process, the cutting process, and the glazing too.
On Monday I helped Martin in the Artist Designer Maker department but cutting squares out of glossy card and assembling them, so that he could have multiple examples of interesting paper-based light fixtures.
It was a very time-consuming thing, and a lot of very focus-heavy work to cut the measured squares from the large sheets of card, to then score them and cut them precisely, and to later put them together to form a cohesive mass, so he was grateful for my help.
The book from which the patterns came was Hiroshi Ogawa’s “The Art of Papercraft”.
Some notes from the book:
complex lantern shapes:
the shapes I was cutting (both 6x6cm squares) and the intended result:
I was thrilled by the overall effect achieved, and learned that not all teaching is about the students – sometimes you have to say “Here’s one I made earlier”, and hope they understand what it means.