Ceramics: The Censorial Object and Visual LiteracyPosted: October 21, 2014
It’s been a while since I posted anything and honestly I have no valid excuse. I neglected a couple of days worth of entries and have just been getting further and further behind and with this combined with a dash of self-confidence issues and trips back and forth from Swansea, it has not been a very productive week. But here I am, determined to catch up and feeling better about all the things I was worried about before.
On the 16th October I attended my second Constellation seminar. It was presented by Dr. Natasha Mayo, a rather respectable and intellectual ceramicist, about her upcoming exhibition: The Censorial Object. I personally did not initially see the relevance to the Graphic Communication course as, on the surface, the presentation appeared to be mainly about the process of making ceramic objects and what ingredients are used in the clay to make different effects. I have never really had any interest in ceramics and honestly, I found the presentation to be pretty tedious so I won’t talk about it for too long, purely because I have nothing much to say. A few points were made which I found interesting from the perspective of an artist; one of which was Dr. Mayo’s emphasis on the fact it is not only the final outcome of a project that is important; the creative process is equally, if not more, significant. I personally found this important because over the last week or so, I have been rushing to get my final piece completed in time for the assessment on Friday, and my regard for how I was getting to the end result was, at times, carelessly flung out of the window.
A quote I picked up on was “If you have a clear and precise intent, artists will jump on that bandwagon.” – This lines up nicely with what Olwen said last week about how ideas are much more important than physical artistic skill. While drawing and computer skills are important, artists with good ideas and concepts will be the ones to succeed, whether or not they can transfer those ideas into a physical form. This is something I am improving with but will still need some work as I can come up with some great pieces of work based on things I have seen before but when it comes to creating original ideas out of thin air, I am absolutely useless.
Dr. Mayo had a lot of very spiritual and utterly fascinating ideas and insights into the world in which she works, however I failed to record the majority of them due to the speed in which she was speaking and the unpredictability of the presentation. However I did manage to write down the quote “we are all beings in continuous motion” and “set yourselves tasks to disrupt this way of habitual movement.”, a quote which I found very thought provoking. At the time she was explaining how most of us are ‘stuck’ in a series of habits and patterns; how we walk, how we view artwork and how we perceive our surroundings. She gave the example of viewing every day objects and her aim as part of her exhibition was to take objects that we all see on a regular basis, such as a kettle, and change its appearance and its meaning. I found this really interesting and since that Thursday I have been more aware of how I view pieces of art as well as how I move throughout every day tasks, and it genuinely worries me how it has got to the point where I am not even thinking about what I’m doing or where I’m going. One of my personal aims as of that Thursday is to be more aware of my surroundings and how I am interacting with the environment.
After Dr. Mayo’s presentation and an hour or so working on my final design for the layout assignment in the studio I made my way to the key skills session in the library. And before I begin on what I did and what I learned that afternoon, let me just tell you, that library is the most confusing and frustrating library I have ever set foot in. Now you may be thinking ‘what could possibly be frustrating about a library?’ but I mean what sort of establishment has two floors for practically the same thing that don’t join up in the middle?! I’m sure they’ve just split up the second floor to disorientate and confuse trusting first year students such as myself.
Anyway, enough complaining about the architectural layout; what really matters is what was inside those ridiculously laid out walls. There is a room dedicated to slides and journals featuring a massive variety of different images and potential inspiration for design ideas. The afternoon began with a brief talk about what visual literacy is and after about an hour of Jenny Godfrey trying to persuade the group to interact with her obviously very social plan of the session, we moved on to analysing images in the journals in small, very quiet, groups. It is a library after all (although I do feel bad about Jenny’s failed attempt at an interactive session). After about half an hour of scouring journal after journal for a meaningful image we could talk about, my group chose a paint advertisement featuring a Christmas scene symbolised by little squares of colour, representing the selection of paints available.
I personally really enjoyed this task as it gave me an opportunity to interact with students from different areas and with different specialisms. I met a girl from textiles who had no experience or knowledge of graphic design and I found it rather rewarding explaining to her what it is we do and in turn hearing what she had to say about her course and what her aims in life were. So yeah, overall a generally productive day.