Monday, 1 June 2015

MA-Ness Term 3 Week 7 Printing, Loss, Trying To Keep Work Going

My beloved Lucia keeping an eye on some of my first cyanotypes
this weeks post it note is very empty compared to previous weeks 

...and this is because this last week has been overshadowed by the death of one of my beloved cats Lucia who died very suddenly and unexpectedly on Wednesday morning. She was a rescue cat and my husband and I adopted her and her sister Mapp when they were 6 month old kittens back in November 2008. It goes without saying that I adored her and I am heartbroken as she was my little baby and the house is so very empty and quiet without her - though her sister Mapp  who I equally adore but in a different way has become a little noisier in her absence. In fact as I am typing she is behind me reminding me quite loudly that even if I don't feel like eating she does and it is her teatime.

 And other than doing a lot of printing on Tuesday (prior to Lucia's death)  I haven't done much else though I did make it into college on Friday but I was on the verge of tears most of the time and I didn't really speak much or contribute to what was an interesting and thought provoking presentation by Dr Michael McMillan.I did make some notes but they are disjointed because I was so distracted but I do remember very much enjoying looking at his book called The Front Room - Migrant Aesthetics In The Home as it featured pictures of so many things familiar and comforting from my childhood - and you can see images from it here - things like the books of green shield stamps which along with Embassy Cigarette vouchers were collected and swapped for hairdryers, heated rollers and the like, the patterned carpets, the radiogram, the glass Murano fish, crocheted poodle dog covers - all of which my Nana loved and which have profoundly influenced my love of what others often sneeringly dismiss as 'kitsch' - it may well be and I can look at some of those objects and think that in design terms they are horrid but in memory terms they are pricelessly wonderful.

And I must read 'Stuff' by Daniel Miller....   

But whilst I am struggling to summon up the necessary motivation or enthusiasm for work I am conscious of the fact that whilst things may feel very bleak and pointless right at this moment in time - I have commitments and things that need doing so I may as well force myself to get on with them - plus at least writing this I don't have to interact with or talk to anyone, I can take a break whenever I need to and as no-one can see me it doesn't matter that my eyes are red raw and look like pissholes in snow. I don't think time is a great healer but I do think it is a great 'duller' and at least trying to keep busy is one way of dealing with things.

On Tuesday I did a lot of printing - or rather the affable chap in the digital print room set up the numerous images I took in on a memory stick to print on the various big printers in the room and an hour and a half later I had:
  • 34 A4 sized images on tracing paper
  • 14 A2 sized images also on tracing paper - 4 of these will be my contribution to the end of year work in progress show that we are in the process of setting up in the MA tutorial room. If all goes to plan they will be in one of the rooms windows for the show.
  • 4 postcard sized images on adhesive paper that I plan to cut out and stick to the grave candles I bought from the place on the Headrow that is like Ikea but without the soft furnishings.
  • 6 postcard sized images on glossy paper that I am thinking of sending to Woodend Creative in Scarborough for possible inclusion in one of their exhibitions.

I now need to buy an A2 presentation folder to keep the A2 pics flat - I've currently got them in a portfolio but it's not much good for viewing them as such plus it's quite heavy and an A2 presentation folder will be easier when it comes to hand in time again which is in the middle of August. I am loving tracing paper as a medium to print on as it has just the right amount of translucency and some movement to it too if left to hang by bulldog clips and fishing wire, but it does curl sometimes if not kept flat...though that can apply to all kinds of papers.

I have not forgotten my plan to have some of my images blown up to burial plot size on grey silk organza but printing on tracing paper in the meantime is both beautiful in its own right but also *so* much cheaper and a good way of seeing whether or not the images I pick will be as effective when blown up so large. To have 3 silk panels will cost approximately £150 - the same on tracing paper will be around £15...and even though my maths is rubbish - even without a calculator I can work out that is a tenth of the cost.

I am mindful that we have to hand in our portfolio again in August and one of the things I have been thinking about is how my work and working practices have changed since I started the course back in September 2014. I think I've become more disciplined and efficient in my working practices - eg mentally setting aside every Monday to write this blog which is not only a focus for my work and my thoughts around it but also invaluable when it comes to hand in time as it functions as an easily printoutable, readable and understandable overarching research journal (as my scribbled post it notes and actual notebooks would be a right ball ache for a tutor to slog through)  plus I am more technically aware (I have a much better if still minimal knowledge of Photoshop as I have previously both never and refused to use it and better knowledge of printing methods and cyanotypes) plus I have a much better grasp of some of the theoretical analyses of artworks too - and an expanded vocabulary too.

This along with the pile of books on my right hand side which includes such gems as 'The Secret Cemetery' and 'Death Heaven and The Victorians' are still taunting me with their un-readness remain on my to do list...a to do list I shall have to force myself  to do, maybe it'll be a bit easier over the summer period as hopefully the pain will dull plus the college workshops have much more limited access over the summer months as that's when most staff take their holidays so I doubt  I'll be doing much actually in college as such.

One of the quotes I have on my workroom wall is one from Roland Barthes - 'that rather terrible thing there is in every photograph: the return of the dead' and its full import is only just hitting me really - at the moment I find it very difficult to look at any of the many pictures I took of my beloved Lucia as her vitality in them remind me all too sharply that she is dead and I can no longer ruffle her fur and she will not demand a fuss from me again. I have written down all my memories of her (as I have written down my memories of all my loved ones who are no longer with us) and I have plans for some of her ashes to be incorporated into some jewellery (the advantage of having a chum who is a jeweller) so that I can always carry a part of her around with me all the time. And that is what my note 'documenting memories' refers to - how we do that as individuals, and as a society and what the accepted norms are for so doing - but also how important it is to do it or else we run the risk of forgetting.

And I have not done much more than looking at definitions on wikipedia of the words:
and to which I need to add the word 'Fetish' as it is also used a lot but in a particular way in artistic discourse which I'm not entirely sure I understand and so I don't feel confident of using it with regard to my own work.

Aside from a meeting today to which I gave my apologies this week is much quieter than previous ones had been so am hoping I can distract myself in books as the books won't mind when I break off for a weep or I just need to sit with Mapp and my memories for a bit.


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