Friday, 27 May 2011

Final Year students degree show at Herts

I went to the Contemporary Applied Arts degree show yesterday.  It was very thought provoking.   I did a lot of standing and thinking at the show yesterday, so feel physically and mentally drained today.  I was trying to work out why some final year student's work was good (or not), and which work I like, and which I thought would get a good grade.  The work that I like, to the extent I can see why people buy it, is often the ceramic 3D work, and has simple clean lines.  There was some truly beautiful spherical, naturally coloured stoneware, and other white thrown ceramics with monochrome decals on the inside of the pots. Absolutely amazing beautiful work.  Other work that I like often has a good concept behind it but the work does not appeal to the extent that I would be inclined to buy a finished piece.  In this category were some hanging mirrors that were all about what is seen by different people of someone else and how perception varies because of what is visible and can/cannot be seen.  It was very busy, and I found this off-putting.  My own work is very busy, and yet I prefer simplicity in other people's work.  Other work was about modernising cameos to make them pertinent to today.  I liked the concept but am not sure whether I'd wear the finished object.  Is it about saleability or is it about thought behind the finished object, or a combination of these, or a combination of these plus other factors.

I spent some time wandering around, and took some photos of work, if possible with the student in front of their work.  However, I did take a few photos, when the creator was not around.  Later in the show, one of the students asked someone not to take photos of her work.  I can understand sensitivities about plagiarism when it is student's own work and especially final degree work, but there were no labels that I saw, stating "no photography".  I know that once work is in photo form, it is the photographer who owns the copyright, so I can understand students not wanting their work photographed, but how else do people like me get the chance to really reflect on the work and do the analysis (with absolutely no intention of plagiarising the work)?  And how else do you get free publicity?  I don't have all the answers here.

Davina Thomas with her glass "Shipping Forecast"

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