Silver Crow Project

Uni Year Two Round Up

(TL;DR: Year two was a blast, learnt so much about my work, influences, inspirations. Loving print, textiles and the uni in general. Don't want to leave! Waaah!)


Hello everyone, excuse me whilst I once again dust the cobwebs off of my little blog.

I am in my Summer break after finishing year 2 of my uni course. Illustration & Animation - just in case you are a new reader - though I laugh even typing the animation bit. I consider it an Illustration degree personally, I try with the animation but my God - the software and I just really don't get on. It was the closest course to home at my time of looking. Had I been young, childless and carefree I would have looked further afield. But you know what? I love my uni, the facilities available and I love my experience so far, having spoken to other people at other uni's I'm so glad that I ended up where I am.

I get asked what I'm doing a lot and when I say illustration people instantly ask if I'm illustrating books. I don't always know how to answer as I don't like the art labels and consider myself, like a lot of us, cross over into all the sectors. A pinch of Fine Art, a dash of  Illustration and Design - put it all together and you have a really freeing experimental approach to this brilliant past time... if I have to call myself anything then I prefer "Maker."

So, am I doing books? No. Not yet - maybe one day in the distant future that would be brilliant but right now it's not on my radar. This whole experience has been quite the revelation to me. I thought I was going to take advantage of the uni's facilities, get a better skill set, hopefully learn a good work ethic to start selling at the end. Having started to have babies very young I've never had a career and it's something I'm jealous of in other people of my age if I'm honest. The bubbies are growing fast and starting out on their own paths and I also wanted to show them that it's never to late. I've wanted to do this since I was at school myself.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Hand Cut Paper Cut Graveyard Shadow Box (with added zombie!)
Hand Cut (Oh, the blisters!) Paper Graveyard Shadow Box
It's not been like I thought it would be at all - for a start, I thought I would flit from project to project doing something different each time. In fact - apart from a blip in year one when I had a kind of break down I have actually been on more or less the same subjects. I have really focused in on what my inspirations are. Death and nature and all the sub topics that they throw up - I know that wont be a surprise to a lot of you but strangely it was to me. Nearly every project I've done in the past can be traced back to those origins. Once I realised that then all my projects just seemed to feed into each other. Last year I was really interested in alternative burial methods, starting off because of over crowding but then looking at more natural, eco-friendly options. Then the Summer Project last year  and the first unit of this year had us looking at sustainability which made me realise how my own practice was quite sustainable already but could be more so. Also - so many of my favourite artists reuse, recycle and use sustainable methods which again, I didn't realise until I started putting them together in a journal. Must be some sub-conscious thing.

I held onto this theme through the rest of the year, I think it has had the biggest influence on my thinking. That and my tutor making me realise that you don't have to get really skilled in that one thing. That it is perfectly OK for your style to be experimental in ALL the things. Once I realised that it kind of  felt like I had finally found what I do - even though so many of you had told me over the years that you liked to see me chucking stuff at the paper it didn't click that that was something you could be known for if that makes sense?

This year I have been really drawn into eco-printing and cyanotype and am loving textiles. I have been investigating my local area and looking at using where I live as inspiration, using the land as my medium or canvas and just generally digging in to what interests me. I have become very aware that I need alone time for my own mental health and that being in nature for that alone time is the best medicine. And also the best food for inspiration. Really - how could you know you would get all this from an art course? I certainly didn't. I am starting to have a self confidence in myself and I am starting to not listen to that monster on my shoulder that likes to compare what I do with everyone else on my course (and find me wanting.) I am learning to flick that monster away more and more - we are all there for different reasons, at different stages in our life and we all have different aims, dreams and ambitions. I'm starting to see mine could be a reality now if I just keep working hard.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Hand ewing, Free Motion Embroidery on Eco Print & Tea Toned Cyanotype.
Hand Sewing & Free Motion Embroidery on Eco Print & Tea Toned Cyanotype
Revelations so far from this Summer? I love print. So although I am still going to be experimental it's in that area that I am going to focus in on - all the different ways to print and use on textiles and to make soft sculptures... Oh and I've bought a Dremel! Wood carving baby! Oh YEAH!
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings blog: Wood Carving & Pyrography Monster - Blue October Lyrics
Carved wood (On big uni saw) and pyrography monster - Blue October lyrics
I've said this before but I mean it this time - I'm getting organised and I'm going to blog more - time blocking is my friend. Hopefully, year three will see me update more regularly... dissertation here I come!

I would just like to say, as a mature student, if this is something you've considered doing... I wholeheartedly recommend it. I love my course, I love my uni - use the tutors, use the facilities. Not going to lie - The workload is HARD, there is a huge push for you to "take charge of your own education" which, once you realise what that means is actually quite freeing. I've been teaching myself the textiles, eco-printing and cyanotype (after an initial cyanotype workshop last year) but you are encouraged to use the tutors, technicians and facilities - go in on the non studio days, attend talks and workshops - just really make the most of what you are paying for. I swear my two tutors must have got so sick of my constant emails and the photography technician has been an absolute star for what must seem like really obvious questions. One of the TA's even gave up her own time to give myself and a couple of others a rundown on a workshop we'd missed due to train delays. (Sinead - UCA needs to hire you full time!)  But they do it and it's all part of you working out what information you need for what you want to get out of the course.

The house will just go to pot even more than it already did. You will disappear off the radar to nearly everybody. BUT... Surround yourself in support. I really, really couldn't have done this without my family first and foremost - Craig and Phoebe in particular for working out between them when they could cover me so I could stay for full days this year and that has made such a difference - my grades went up from C's last year to A's this year. My lovely friends who, when I come online and whinge what a fraud I am for being there have given me the virtual slaps I've needed to get back on track. I have never been so stressed, tired, inspired and happy all at the same time. I'm so, so sad that this is going to be my final year. I've made good friends and learnt so much - not just about art. Yes - I recommend it.
Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Cyanotype Accordion Book
Cyanotype Accordion Book
If you made it this far - thanks so much for sticking around. What have you been up to this year?

Carmen Wing: Whoopidooings Blog: Eco Printed Business Cards
Eco Printed Business Cards


2 comments:

  1. what a fabulous post to wake to... well done on the marks this year and i am (still) so glad you are really enjoying the course and taking everything you can from the experience. Who needs to do housework anyway... (not sure what my excuse is) Roll on year 3

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  2. New follower here! I just go back to blogosphere, feels so good. Looking forward to see more posts from you :)

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