Unit 1 reflection
Evaluation of my practice on the MA Designer Maker course, Unit 1
I have reviewed my practice and the project proposal several times during the course and I believe that there are many points that are still relevant to the project and some that have to be abandoned. Point of inquest in tea drinking for medical purposes has become irrelevant as my research progressed. As well as the idea to look closely at different cultures of tea drinking. Undoubtedly, it is important to know about cultural differences, since tea is very international, but as for the project itself I would rather focus it down to the ‘global’ urban, European, culture I live in. That way the project will be more relevant to the public I am trying to talk to and to myself.
So far, I have done a lot of practical experimentation that is presented as my assessment evidence but my project lacks the practical progress ‘to the point’. That is what I am going to concentrate on now. I believe that I gained enough experience through testing in order to experiment and produce pieces of work solely related to the subject.
The reason I could not focus my practical work down to the ‘tea drinking’ subject was the shortage of the contextual knowledge and hands-on experience in ceramics. I did not want to stick to one technique without finding out the most suitable first. My research essay and relevant gallery and events visits are a great source of inspiration for my project. These helped me to contextualise and focus down my practice within the course. I narrowed down the themes I am going to exploit further to produce my pieces.
1. The connection of people while having a social tea. This idea was emphasised by Dr. Genshitsu Sen, the 15th Grand Master of Urasenke school of Japanese tea ceremony. He lead the demonstration of the ceremony at the British Museum and gave a talk about the Japanese tea tradition. This idea of the connection, tea as a tool or aid for communication between people, is true for other cultures as well.
2. The second theme within my project is ‘a favourite cup’. I do not hope to create many cups to give a choice to everyone, it is impossible. But by looking at different properties of a cup I could make a family of cups fit for many. The outcome of this idea will, hopefully, be a coherent collection of cups fit for different characters. Or, rather, commenting on our diversity and various needs.
After seeing and writing about various tea sets I realised that a set commonly meant that all pieces within it have one design. But does a set has to have the same visual language all the way through every piece? I believe that it does not. To make my project look consistent I developed a strong interest in the collections and families of things. I look at mismatched sets, collections of ceramic vessels and art installations. That should help me make a coherent project.
What I need to develop:
1. I have two main themes through the project: the metaphorical one about the connection and physical – about the properties and functionality. There is a vague common grounds between the two which I still have to identify to connect them better.
2. Need to stop testing and start sketching and making families of cups. With recent development and finished research paper I feel all the confidence now.
3. I need to systematise, or catalogue, all the physical aspects I will use in my work and abandon the ones I won’t.
4. After bouncing between various techniques in ceramics I finally stopped at slip-casting. That does not exclude a thrown piece or two but the main focus is slip-cast porcelain.
Based on the point and themes I explained above I feel that I need to start sketching the real ideas and make pieces. At this point I feel that I am finally in control of my project and ideas as well as of my visual language that had to change drastically because of the change of a medium I use.
And a picture from the loo at Camberwell to cheer me up: