How did we come to this?

‘Let the scales be true and the weights be equal.’

– Picturing Women in Medieval and Renaissance Art

 

Good morning! I’m back, attempting to give this blogging lark another go. Before this project gets under way it’s important that I explain exactly what it is, where it stemmed from and what my intentions are.

 

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A little over a year ago, at the end of my art foundation, I exhibited an installation called ‘Hanging in the Balance’. The work told the story of man and woman and raised questions about the balancing and unifying of the sexes as opposed to the common call for gender equality; the type which is all too often synonymous with man hating. The installation was made up of individually hung natural forms, each one had been used throughout history to singularly symbolise either the man or the woman. This project instead intended to find something that defined the union. Together the objects were suspended to form a large infinity symbol; chosen because it is the most equal of symbols used to depict gender balance. The clockwise rotation referencing the male (solar) and the anti-clockwise rotation refers to the female (lunar) whilst not giving either dominance.

This last year at art school as been somewhat unfulfilling, as alluded to in my previous post, and this got me thinking. What did I love most about my Art Foundation final project? Well, I enjoyed the cross curricular nature of my outputs, the freedom of movement I felt in combining my Fine Art and Art History perspective with textiles based techniques. And thats just about where the idea for The Uniform reared it’s beautiful head.

 

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You see if I can’t get everything I want in one course that’s actually ok. As long as I can learn the skills from somewhere then I’m ok with that. Though I don’t agree with the format of art schools and will always fight for that to change, it doesn’t have to stop me from practicing my own way of working. And perhaps in doing this alone I’ll give myself so much more. I might even find something new.

The example below is from my most recent work, ‘Equilibrium’. I suppose it was my first attempt at channeling some of these ideas, though a lack of access to silk screen printing and other textiles facilities prevented me from really bringing my ideas to fruition. Though The Uniform will move me more towards the interior design sector, the same basic premise still applies.

Hopefully next semester things will be different, I’ve already found external printing opportunities and what with the new plans for Stockbridge things are looking up. It’s funny what can happen when you realise you’re actually capable of doing things yourself.

 

Equilibrium II

 

Equilibrium

So here we are. I think you’re all up to date. Now the fun can really begin.

Here Goes Nothing

So the moments finally here, do I look like a blogger yet?

It’s equally liberating and terrifying to publish my thoughts online. There’s clearly a massive community out there but sat here, behind the computer screen, I’m struggling to see how anyone will care what I have to say. I’ve considered blogging in the past but the thought of it always made me a little uncomfortable. In some instances, writers reek of desperate pleas for validation. In others all I read are unsubstantiated, pretentious claims. It seems tricky to achieve a middle ground. However when a blog is considered, personal and authentic it’s nothing short of a delight to read. So I’m letting go of my fears and joining the club.

As you’ll read in my ‘about’ section this blog is intended to document The Uniform Project. I thought in this first post it might be worth explaining how all of this came about.

blog2My first year of art school has been somewhat of a transitional period, though not in the way I might’ve expected. For several reasons, including an eight-week, appendicitis induced disruption; my first semester of university was more or less non-existent. Having experienced what can only be described as my first dance on death’s doorstep I felt compelled to make some proactive steps. Take the bull by the metaphorical horns, if you like.

Though I’d found my feet and was in constant attendance for the second semester (I had to justify that £9,000 loan somehow) there were still difficulties that were a struggle to iron out. It seems, from my experience, that to attend an institution such as Edinburgh College of Art means accepting that magnificent heritage goes hand in hand with somewhat archaic, out-dated policies surrounding the access and use of technical facilities. As a student, I am enrolled on the MA Fine Art programme. I study both the History of Art and Art Practice degrees simultaneously over five years. My art practice sits within the realms of costume, fashion and textiles whilst drawing on historical and social ideas. Despite these facts, there are underlying tensions in some departments that have allowed me to feel that, though I may have gained entry to a prestigious course, it doesn’t mean I should gain access to “design” facilities e.g. silkscreen printing onto fabric, pattern cutting tutorials or anything else I might require. As someone who spent a year studying an art foundation where the use of facilities was not only available to me but encouraged, and as someone who knows of other people who are given free reign over facilities within their universities, I’ve found the ordeal highly frustrating.

IMG_4752.JPGThough I’ve had some really hopeful, positive conversations with staff as a consequence of this, it is fair to say I ended the year with a slightly bitter taste in my mouth at the apparent disconnect between the Art and Design school. Though the protocol must have been made for valid reasons, it’s been hard to not view the situation as a personal attack on my way of working as well as interdisciplinary ideals in general. Frankly the whole experience made me mourn the intravenous drip and beige hospital food of the previous semester. I’m not a fashion student; therefore it would seem I might struggle to have my cake and eat it.

But, the thing is, I really like cake.

So here we are, I’m taking it upon myself to solve the issue by creating my own personal project. And what better way to document it?

So, here goes nothing, I suppose.