Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Weaving & Saying Goodbye

The last few weeks have been full of making, planning and organising. The next few weeks see me on placement at the Royal Cornwall Museum, where I am planning to develop my ideas for exhibition, data collection and analysis.

The Contemporary Crafts Course is finally coming to an end, much of the equipment is being packed up and shipped out and fashion is taking over the space where a hive of craft activity once took place. It's a sad time for those of us who have been there such a long time. 
I have been trying to get the bulk of the PhD exhibition work completed before we lose the kilns altogether. I have managed to complete 3 large pins and three sets of standard ware, as well as various other pieces for display and the decals for the plates are ready to be applied and then fired; this can be done in my own kiln.

Happier times at Falmouth - Contemporary Crafts 
Happily, I commence my 3 month placement at the Royal Cornwall Museum, where I will be looking at innovative ways of collecting data. My practice led investigation relies heavily upon the collection and analysis of data as response to exhibition of digital works, which are to be shown alongside reconstructive works and the Tremough finds in exhibition in October 2017. 

Throughout this placement, I hope to work alongside the collections team to explore data collection and analysis strategies for this exhibition in order to engage with and enhance interpretation. The placement period will allow the opportunity to identify and choose appropriate formal and informal data collection methods. It would also act to further embed and enrich the research within the museum setting, subsequently allowing the results of my data analysis to be utilised directly by the Cornish Museums Collective. 

Potential approaches to research & audience evaluation

Formal formative and summative Interviews/archaeologists
Formal interviews: varied methods including photo-elicitation
Informal discussions
Focus Groups
Social media & media coverage
Visual ethnography: Observation, photography & film
Creative techniques: workshops, trips, games etc.
Surveys online/paper
Visitor feedback/anonymised comments cards etc.
Informal data collection: e.g.
Post it note feedback
Drop a ball into a sectioned container

Contrasts of the Bronze Age –
The 14th Nordic Bronze Age Symposium

I applied to this conference back before Christmas 2016 with the following abstract, was accepted and presented a paper entitled:

Succeed to fail or fail to succeed

“Most of my advances were by mistake. You uncover what is when you get rid of what isn’t.”

Buckminster Fuller

In making or crafting objects we demonstrate interactions with materials and processes and engage with a flow of movement that relies upon tacit knowledge. Relationships grow and develop between maker and material over time, until there is a silent, choreographed repetition of action.
It is interesting to note that the so-called’ mistake,’ or failure can be celebrated in creative practice. For the craftsperson a ‘happy accident’ can happen contrary to expectations and provide the maker with a new and pleasantly unexpected result. 

Success relies upon a remarkable process, a cycle of reflection that invariably acknowledges failure. This cycle of making and reflection, as a natural breakdown of the creative process, aids the teaching of creative practices. Teaching craft skills requires demonstration and instruction, however students rapidly desire to feel the material. Most tacit knowledge is absorbed through trial and error and by developing a continued personal relationship with the material. In life as in making, an embodied memory embedded as a result of struggle and failure adheres much more quickly and permanently than any form of instruction. This knowledge can be discussed in the abstract, but often remains intangible. 

When appreciating the purpose of failure it becomes possible to realise the importance of taking several steps in the shoes of the early makers. Only through repeated attempts through reconstruction, are we able to fully appreciate the myriad complexities of craft production during the Bronze Age. 

I explore the presupposition that in the process of making, and in making mistakes, we encounter a degree of shared experience and understanding. 
The whole group of speakers for the session 'Nobody is Perfect'

Katrina Botwid & I talking about Craft & Archaeology

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Weave

The Jacquard Weave of Gabbroic Clay Sherds

Brown & Golden Yellow Colourway for making large bag
 This was the first colourway I tried, I was looking for something more metallic the second time around. 
Silver & Black Wool Colourway 

It has taken some time to bring into being but at last I can get started on the Jacquard weave fabric for bag making. I have an appointment with Wendy Kotenko tomorrow to begin the transference of data and imagery for weaving. 

I began with the % of the gabbroic clay thin sections from QEMSCAN and then converted these to binary code. The binary was then translated to 2 different colours within a grid. 

The pattern can then be mirrored and repeated. This needs to be done 4 times as there are 4 thin sections from different clay sherds. The resulting pattern from just one of those sections may look something like this. I have had a look at the different threads available and we can try several different options. I understand that there are a variety of weave patterns that can be used so will explore these tomorrow. 

The final woven fabric looks pretty great, so wonderful to see it coming off the machine.