Assessment and Feedback – Things Behind the Sun

So today we had our final presentations for some feedback on our work.  The assessment is only formative, so we’ve still got plenty of time until the end of the year in which to work on our ideas, refine and finalise.

I was pretty pleased with the feedback I was given on my work so far.  I’d put together a Powerpoint in order to get some semblance of order from my sketchbook and where my ideas had been coming from and how they’d progressed.

The overall feeling I was trying to create was that the true nature of the landscape lies in its tiny details, which are often overlooked.  Both the tutor, my peers and myself all felt that by embroidering these details by hand and creating the tiny shapes and textures was a really good way of displaying it.  By having these small intricate areas embroidered on a piece of fabric that shows quite a washed out ‘landscape’, which I’ve compared to the Rorschach inkblot tests, where the viewer can see a number of different things in the ink.  The looseness of the landscape lets the viewer observe their own kind of view, possibly through imagination or through their own personal experiences and memories.  The detail serves as my way of articulating the details I had found, and how these stand out against this lucid landscape background.  For me, it really is in the background.  I’ve found that these details are the things that we remember, the things we hold onto, the bits we cherish.  For example how you’ll scour the beach looking for the perfect pebble or shell to bring back home, or the flower you pick to press at home.  These bits are the ones that you cherish and love, and it makes it easier to understand.  By having such intricate detail I’ve brought to life all those little bits that usually get ignored when doing typical landscape work.  Large expanses will be coloured and large blocks and shapes will take the stage, leaving the blades of grass and little intricacies ignored which I think is redundant.

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The above slideshow shows the different slides I used in my presentation, which focusses on showing those micro-landscapes next to larger ones.  I believe I’ve demonstrated the different textures and really explored the details in the landscape.  Although I’ve only done a few test pieces, the direction I’m now taking is to create a much larger scene with larger areas of embroidery.  I think I’d like to stick to the washed out black and white appearance of the landscape itself, and continue looking at different materials and textures I can use to create the detail I found.

This project was something that was initially daunting due to the lack of parameters and how loose the concepts and ideas seemed to be, but I see now that this was intentional.  We were to explore our own feelings of the landscape and how this could influence our work and what we each took from the experience was entirely different.  Seeing everyone’s work and with it being so different was really interesting as it shows just how differently we all view the same things.  We all find importance in different things and let the rest stay in the background.  We base this on our personal experiences, our likes and dislikes, and even down to things like the quality of our eyesight which is something one of my peers discussed at the tutorial.  Her eyesight is not very strong so she sees block shapes and certain colours better than others, so this dramatically alters what she can ‘see’.  Of course by using physical tactile elements like embroidery and fabric and making something material and tangible, this could also be a way of exploring the landscape through touch.  This is certainly something you do anyway, whether its by touching the flowers or the surface of rocks, feeling the grains of sand.  For me it has always been a very tactile and real experience, one where you gather bits and pieces and trinkets.

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