Thursday, 10 May 2012

Struggling with my Banksia project

I have been experiencing acute angst with the Banksia project.  I had been given feedback at review that I was not using my best work from my sketchbook, and that my pattern making was chaotic or very geometric.  I found this really difficult.  No-one seemed to get my point that I naturally work with busy design and I was trying to create designs that were "simpler", used "positive/negative" and "repetition".  I tried to take on board the feedback that my sketchbook work was better, but simply could not combine the irregular, random, organic nature of the sketchbook work with the key words above.  I tried making fabric that was random dyed, but could not see how to incorporate it into my work.  I was working very hard but getting very frustrated and upset.

I had a long discussion with Eva in class yesterday, and it took me ages to grasp some basic facts ... but I did get there in the end.

My proposal was good.  Stick with it and ignore the feedback.

Continue to work with "simpler", "positive/negative" and "repetition".

At the beginning of final review, state this project is about broadening my hand and my body of work, including that in the UK (which is unseen to the tutors and students here)

Look at more artists who work with simple pattern and Australian plants

Continue working with devore paste on silk velvet and silk cotton, and discharge paste on flat dyed fabric.

So I came home, and spent the afternoon creating more banksia designs.  I re-read my proposal and was quite impressed at how well I can write, and how well it hangs together! 

I know I'm going to find final review difficult.  I dislike one of the assessors, and find he bullets questions at you.  This puts me on the defensive.  Something I find particularly unpleasant is when he asks a question where I don't give the answer he wants, he re-asks the same question in an irritated tone and I re-answer the same answer.  A skilled assessor would use different words to ask the same question to enable the interviewee to come at the answer from a different perspective.  When he does this, I should say I think I've answered that, so obviously I don't understand what he is driving at.  I don't think quickly at the best of times, but when I'm on the defensive, it's even worse.  And when I feel homesick, I'm not up for the cut and thrust of argument, in front of the rest of the class.  All these feelings are aggravated by the fact that I don't go into review unprepared!  I spend time staging my work to the best of my ability, prepare a script about what I want to talk about, and refer to the guidelines to make sure I meet all the criteria.  And he still puts me on the back foot.  I have heard him criticise other classes for not contributing at review, but he talks constantly so it is difficult to interject.  I know reviews are time pressured for the assessors and they have to crack on, but I don't find creating a hostile environment to be helpful.

Any the upshot of it all is that I feel a lot happier about how to progress my work.  The thinking part of this work is the difficult part.  Doing the work is the easy part. 

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