Silver Crow Project

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - WOYWW 493

Late post but I remembered! I mean to play along every week and then it's Friday and I realise it's whizzed past. Today I took a picture and am determined to post it.

Hello fellow desk hoppers - here's my desk out in the workshop today. I had actually made a halfhearted attempt to tidy it a bit before the piccy but - it was a futile exercise! If you could see my house. I'm shaking my head as I type this - the desk pretty much represents it.
Whoopidodooings: Carmen Wing - WOYWW What's On My Workdesk Wednesday
I dusted off the meltpot this week - I don't think I have used it in years. I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in October (which was AMAZING!) and one of the artists, Jenny O'Leary, had loads of gorgeous tissue paper examples in her sketchbook that had involved bleach with wax resists so I just had to have a play. Don't think I did it quite right but had fun trying and my attempts have filled a few pages in my uni journal - I am going to have a go at finding images within those images later.

I am going to keep this short so I can hop around a few of the desks over at Stamping Ground. A quick question though. I know I have a few very loyal people that still keep up with my very sporadic posts (thank you, thank you, thank you) and I have a question. I have started blogging my uni work over at the other blog. The tutors said we could blog our reflections which was a godsend for me as I am awful at the writing part of my journal - I just stick in the pictures and expect them to read my mind. Apparently they can't do that. So to up my marks on that side of things I am waffling away over there but don't want them to have to sift through everything else and that's why it's separated from here.  My question is - I get people asking what I'm up to so would people like me to double post here or would you like a link to there or just post here as and when I have time? If you are interested its:  The writing is a bit (not much) more formal than I do here. My latest project is to write, illustrate and publish a book in 9 weeks. Arg.

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Authorial Narrative - Week Two Thoughts

Week two has probably been one of my most enjoyed weeks at uni so far. I have come home exhausted every day but feeling like I have done so much work and taken in so much.

The week started with two animation lessons on Monday - the first in the morning with a Tim Webb workshop that made us think about our narrative. I was really worried about this as don't really have my narrative yet but we were encouraged to work with whatever was in our heads at the time. 

We then wrote that narrative from a variety of different perspectives and this was really helpful actually in making me think a bit deeper about what I want to do. the narratives all got handed in and shuffled and handed out again so that we had someone elses and then we had to storyboard what we thought it was about. This was a really interesting way in seeing how other people interpret what you write and also how you work with other peoples work. 

I was quite surprised to get my interpretation back - it was Katy G. who did mine and after asking if I was OK, which was really funny and sweet (my narrative, surprise, surprise was about death - a children's book on that subject still at the front of my mind) she talked me through her storyboard. It was an eye opener to see that she had interpreted my words into being about a teenager who was plugged in to their gadget and felt very alone and isolated from the world. She could almost have been describing my daughter who is never without her music. I was quite taken aback but loved what she described - the teenager all grey while the world around her was all colourful. A really helpful exercise in seeing things from different viewpoints.

In the afternoon session with Andy we did more story boards and spoke about how they are an essential tool for not only animators but illustrators too. We story boarded the Pixar short 'The Birds' and again, it makes you look more closely at the film. How shots are set up to describe location, size, perspective, narrative, emotion - even in a non-speaking film. 

On Thursday - I just knew it was going to be a good day when John started the day by talking about two of my favourite illustrators - Dave McKean and Oliver Jeffers. We watched the Oliver Jeffers short video. 
I've actually just had his new art book arrive - oh it's beautiful. Hefty - you could do some damage with it! I might do a review on it at some point.

We then analysed a couple of animations and were told this is how we should be analysing art works - so I know now that I haven't been doing it properly - not nearly in depth enough. I will try and do the future ones using the template questions from that exercise.

We then got into groups and took head shots  of each other doing different expressions or actions to build ourselves a reference library. Then came back to the studio and spent some time doing portraits using these head shots. First an exercise in charcoal and then more loosely in ink.

I Usually Hate Charcoal

I can never get it to do what I want and then I never now how to properly seal it without wrecking it. But using the jumping off point tips that John demoed, dare I say it, I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I rarely try and draw realistic but Sophie M. - who I was drawing, knew straight away that this was her. I'm going to practice some more with this - blocking in and pushing back, erasing to get the right shades and tones - really enjoyed it and am really pleased with the outcome too.
Carmen Wing: Charcoal portrait

We all put our portraits up on the wall and they looked so good together as a group. It was really good seeing everyone's work all together. This is also a milestone moment as it is the first time I haven't been embarrassed to have my work on the wall with everyone else. I don't know if that means I am getting better or just a little more confident maybe.
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display
I really love how the image I did and the image next to it seem to be sharing a knowing look!
Carmen Wing - Uni Studio - Everyones Charcoal portraits on display

This post has got really long so I am going to do a separate one for Friday when we did the one-to-one tutorials. But just this couple of days has felt really good. It's given me a jump start on this project and my mind is all over the place with ideas at the moment - I just need to remember to document them. I keep forgetting the tutors can't see in my head!

Year 2: Unit One - Social & Cultural Contexts: Sustainability

Mega quick and ultra condensed post about unit one:

This unit we were tasked to continue on from the work we had done on our Summer Projects which had been about sustainability. The unit outcome involved us doing a presentation based on what we had learnt over the course of unit one; linking our practice with sustainability and the art movements we had been learning about in theory lessons. I hate anything that involves me speaking in front of people. I ended up getting my notes muddled up and fluffing my words but everyone was very nice about it.

We also had to make four A4 pages of a publication that would be combined with nine other peoples pages to create one book about sustainability. Then we were to print off 10 copies of our own pages so that we all had a finished publication to keep.

The project could be on anything at all as long as it was about sustainability and involved print. I didn't realise what a ginormous subject this was. I also didn't do much of my Summer Project (Yes, I bitterly regretted that!) I hadn't realised it would lead into unit one and what with the kids being off, it just didn't happen. Not an excuse I know and I keep telling myself that if I want a career out of this I cannot stop work every time the kids are on holiday.

So anyway - long story short. Huge panic about the amount of work involved. Four weeks faffing about trying to think of a theme only to go back to what I had been researching in the first year which had been environmentally friendly burials in other cultures.

(Side Note - I have decided from here on in to concentrate on death (and so, life) nature and sustainability for all future projects while at uni. This may change but for now it's what is interesting me and will save me SO much time!)

During the summer, while I didn't do a lot of my actual project I did go to a lot of exhibitions. I had also been making a bit of noise about wanting to explore textiles and after having done one of my final outcomes in year one as a fabric skull wall hanging, this only confirmed that. I went to see the Mister Finch exhibition up at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and there were also a lot of free exhibits there based around textiles and sustainability. It was amazing to see the Mister Finch work in real life - I have followed him for a few years since he was doing the faux taxidermy work. Reading about how a lot of his materials are sourced vintagely (is that a word?) or from boot fairs or charity shops/eBay has made me think about what I do myself. I think a lot of us interested in art and the crafts are natural hoarders and I really want to use all that stuff. Also I went to see the Summer Exhibition at the RA and it was mostly the mixed media or textile exhibits that I was drawn to there. And then there was the amazing MA show at my uni and it was the Interiors and Textiles work that really I loved most of all.

SO - back to unit one. I hated this unit at first. Because I didn't understand it. But it made me really think hard about my own practice. That combined with all the amazing things I saw over the summer - plus the experiments I had been doing with working on alternative structures like teabags, made me have a huge light bulb moment. So I know what I want to do and I know where I want to go now. Finally. I want to bring textiles into my mixed media and work texturally on art that people can touch and have in their homes but not be afraid to handle if that makes sense. I know I am on an illustration course but I am seeing so many ways that people are doing illustration in a 3D way - I also want to do things the old fashioned way. I know I have to learn all the Adobe crap. I do know that and I do see how it would be beneficial for me to know how to do Photoshop and InDesign and even though it goes against every fibre in my being that tells me I cannot do it and I cannot understand it. I will try my hardest. But ultimately? When I leave uni? I want to work with my hands. And I want to work as sustainably as possible. And I probably will always be interested in death.

And Finally...

When I finally realised what I wanted to do it all came together really quickly. I've also started doing a course outside of uni with the local Adult Education centre on Textiles & Mixed Media - the people on that are wonderful. I really am a total beginner when it comes to stitching and they are very patient, we definitely all have different ideas which is fun to see. 

I researched natural burials and found out there were two sites in Kent. A natural burial is where you are buried in a bio degradable casket or urn and most times a tree is planted above you. It's very interesting - sometimes the area can be coppiced to bring in extra revenue for the land while still maintaining the environment or the trees could be fruit trees etc. I had been practising eco-print with some leaves from my area and wanted to try and do it with some leaves from a burial ground to try and tie the place to the project. Give it that authenticity. 
Carmen WIng - Eco Print Process
Carmen Wing - Eco Print Process
I visited the one nearest me and it is truly lovely. Once it is full the plot will be turned into a nature reserve and so protected in the future. On the day I went there were people enjoying a picnic, someone was digging a plot, there was someone snoozing under a tree. It was a really different feel to a normal cemetery. I discretely gathered some leaves and when I got home I used those leaves to do some eco-printing on various papers.
Carmen Wing - Eco Print Leaves

Carmen Wing - Eco print leaves and flowers

Over the next few days and with much panic and use of the dreaded Photoshop this was my final page designs. All imagery is my own - from the eco-prints to a gelli print I did a while ago and the photography of teasels and cobwebs are from my local area. I used a poem by Mary Frye and faded it into the pages so that sometimes it's legible and sometimes it's not. It's a very famous poem and I like to think it ties in with the idea that a natural burial means you are not gone. You are giving life back to the environment and the cycle continues. I hope she would approve.
Carmen Wing - Book pages - Eco Print and Photoshop - Mary Frye Poem
Front Page - Two Inside Pages - Back Page
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. 
So to sum up. This was a very thought provoking unit - probably the one that has been instrumental in helping me see how I want my work to move forward. So although I feel like I didn't get nearly as much work done as I would like, it has been invaluable in that sense and so I am glad with my outcome. I just hope I passed the unit!