Notes for my personal records of the Amaco Velvet Underglazes. The individual images are of the underglazes unfired. The underglaze was applied on one side with a sponge and wiped off and applied again to test textures and on the underside the underglaze was applied with a brush and multiple layers of glaze was applied to one half of the clay to test opacity. The collective images are colours after firing. All are unglazed which is supposed to intensify the colours even more.
Images of wall charts are taken from the glaze and oxide induction and are of various clays with oxides and glazes applied and fired.
Tittymama has Spectrum Underglaze applied and fired. I decided to paint over this with the Amaco Velvets and fire again. I prefer the look of the Amaco and the texture of the figure after firing twice has changed and looks more worn.
December 18th my last Monday and was the week before the Christmas break and the first week of specialism. During the assessment period the students were asked what area they would like to specialise even though the college is very keen to allow students to branch out and either do different projects from different specialisms via their own specialism or for them to seek tutorials from tutors of other specialism. The tutors are wanting to give student creative freedom.
The Visual Communications specialism delivered a brief to create a quick zine telling everyone something about yourself that people wouldn’t necessarily know. Students spoke of different things like hobbies and clubs they were involved in, unusual collections they had in their home, and things they collected. At the end of the three sessions they were to have their zine printed and for it to go on display in the studio. The point of this quick brief was to give the student a deeper understanding of what constitutes as a zine; how they can be presented and what form they can take; what they can include or address; to allow them to consider presentation, layout, and print; for them to feel they have accomplished something by seeing their work transform and go to print; for them to be prepared by considering all the components to compose a zine and take this forward and engage with a three-week Zine project at the beginning of next term.
I feel like I shouldn’t have been available for this session. December is a very tiring month with my workload doubling and juggling this as well as university, placement and very few days off I had hit a wall and could not give 100%. I should have predicted this and felt disappointed with myself and my performance. I will hopefully make up for this throughout the year as I plan to engage with the students again mid-way through their specialism to see how they have developed and again when it comes to the writing their FMP proposal and again for their exhibition. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the tutors and students of the college and believe I have gained an insight to what is expected of you as a tutor, the pressures and problems that come along with the job role, and more importantly I have appreciated being able to work with students that are producing meaningful and engaging work.
I had been sending emails to numerous organisations and groups and posting on social media trying to connect with women and encourage them to create their presence among the Tittymama Army. I received a message from an Art and Design Foundation Diploma student of MMU asking if we could meet after seeing my post on MMU Feminist Society and we arranged a workshop for the Tuesday the following week. Three students of the course met with me in the MA studio where we sat for an hour and a half building our figures. The students were all around 18 years old and freely spoke of their experience in society. One felt she had issues with the way her facial features looked and felt this along her being slender she created a bird-like sculpture. This was surprising as I really did not see the her like this. I am aware that I cam using the pronoun, her, and this may be incorrect. The student mentioned being LGBTQIA+ but I felt it was not appropriate for me to ask them to elaborate on this, I wanted the contributors to divulge only what they were comfortable with; therefore me using this pronoun is my own assumption. She also spoke of how she was challenging gender issues in her work for her course by filming and documenting men carrying out routines and actions that are typically expected of females. I would be interested to see her project once it is completed. She spoke of how difficult the males around her have found it when some are highly protective of their masculinity. The other students both spoke of their battles with eating disorders and other mental health issues such as anxiety. One mentioned some body positive role models she follows on social media and how these have had a positive impact on how she sees herself and how she feels that she is at the stage where she is willing to go and speak about the issues with her doctor to see if she can be referred for help. The other student mentioned as well as suffering with Bulimia she was LGBTQIA+ and was unable to tell her guardians this as they would not understand. Her anxiety and Bulimia is high at the moment, she didn’t feel ready to speak to someone about it. She did not eat any cake that was brought to the workshop. Simpler issues were spoken about (if that is the correct phrase to use), for example, questioning the removal of body hair, promiscuity, make up expectations, breasts being different sizes, etc. All agreed that they felt it was harder to dismantle stereotypes and expectations with older generations and the younger generations were a bit more accepting of people for who they are although there is still an issue of toxic masculinity and protecting this is the root of the issues that people are facing.
After posting the images from the workshop on social media a friend asked if I would hold another short workshop a couple of days later. I made some quick and simple posters to present in the lift of the art school and shared the poster online. Three MA students come along to build their presence and others got involved during the session or came over to see what the workshop was about and talk about it. I am hoping this will be more of a successful way of connecting with people. I am sensing that it is a sensitive, and very big issue, that people may be wary of being involved, feel like it is too miserable a subject, or feel it is offensive that I am trying to reach out to people of colour and people with disabilities. Where I am trying to be inclusive, I fully understand that calling out to people could be offensive. It may be best that people become connected through seeing people engage with the workshops.
I found the second workshop a little slower to engage in conversation about the issues the army is addressing. When people did open up, reoccurring issues were spoken about such as body image and not having mirrors in the bedroom, dress sizes, family tensions, not believing in marriage and how it isn’t necessary, sexual harassment and cat-calling from a very young age, being reduced down to breasts, to trying to promote the acceptance of small breasts. Although the workshops were in themselves overall quite cheerful despite the content, the sorrowful situation was that all the experiences were not shocking, I could either relate to them myself or they were an experience I have known others to have experience or I have read about people documenting the same experiences. This is also part of the purpose of the workshops, it’s the community, it’s the conversation, it’s the power in numbers that can help you realise that it’s not just you who feels this way.
It was the second week of assessment this week. I spent most of the day observing how the tutors went about getting the most out of the students. A lot happens through the conversation as it seems they are still unsure what is expected of them. A lot of them say more than what they have written in their sketchbooks so they are advised to add this to their evaluations. I was surprised by the work of a student I felt was very reluctant to speak to me much during the Protest and Survive project. I believe this now has a lot to do with her confidence. Her work involved LGBTQIA issues and were very deliberate with her approach. The photographs were interesting and her point was obvious and effective. She had considered colour and composition, and shape well. Her slant on the body project was also very interesting and different to what I had come across. It seemed like she did not regard her work being of a high standard and was a little dismissive of her photography experiments, I felt she communicated very well.
Another of the students I sat in on for assessment was a student I had already talked with about her anxiety issues and a previous attempt at University. She was working at a high standard in her Textile practice; I would say high Merit/Distinction. She explored texture through her work and on one project was designing a skirt that represented the cells of breast cancer. She was working with this awful disease by trying to make something beautiful and raise awareness in that way. She was also experimenting trying to make a belt using cell and growth like forms that she had researched. She was anxious about moving away and wanted to apply to a University she could commute too. She seemed to touch on various feminist issues with her work and yet interestingly, she did not connect with feminism and was quite averse to it. I believe she stands a good chance of being called to interview for the Universities she applies to. She is meticulous in her annotation and evaluation and shows potential practically. She is also unsure as to apply for Fine Art or Textiles and I think it would be interesting if she had a foot in each park.
I gave my consent forms to the students whose work I had photographed and those I have been involved with throughout assessment.