Sunday, 20 November 2011

This is a sort of top view of the wee models I made to show an idea in 3D form. The wire terminations are not how I would have them in forged bar, but I could forge or hammer the wire, so the just end as a cut off...
These should be able to stand on there own if they were forged, and the elastic bands are only there to keep them joined. In the forge I would weld, pin or rivet them together and then wrap over the top.

This one is a bit closer and you can just about see some detail on the left hand side. This shows how the three bars would fit together and they splay off in different directions. Again this isn't exactly how it would look if it was forged, but you get the general idea of what I would do.

Here is another photograph of the same models, but I thought I should take a close up just in case it's any clearer in showing what I want to do. Again the elestic bands really stand out, and I wish I didn't have to use them, but it was what I had to hand...
This one shows the seperate elements of a 'thing' that I plan on making. Essentially it is comprised of five seperately forges elements which are joined together by a series of hidden rivets and spacers. There is a side view and then I have deconstructed the image into the five pieces. I tried to make it last week, but really wasn't feeling up to it, however this week I will give it another go if I have the time.


Here is a sketch taken from my main sketchbook of an idea I have been working on recently.
This one shows one of the shapes I have been drawing from the music I listen to, and is starting to appear in a number of my sketches. At the bottom there is a simple sketch of how I would connect three bars using the middle one to wrap around the other two. I think I would need to either weld or pin the bars first and the wrap would simply be a decoration. This is one of the samples I'm going to try and make this week...

End of Week 6... progress has been glacial, however I have managed to speed things up a bit and am altogether a bit more confident and dare I say happy with what I am doing. The past few weeks of negativity and sloth are gone, so there is no point in wishing I could go back and do more work. The time is lost but what I can do is try my best to sort things out, carry on and make a good attempt to produce some quality work.
My back is healing a bit more, but I think my physiotherapist is a bit too brutal...He told me that basically it's all my own fault for letting my back get to this stage and that because I didn't take care of it before now I may have caused permanent damage. I can do a lot to help get some mobility in it without causing pain, but it is going to take a lot of time and effort. If things go well I will be fine for a long while, but eventually it will get worse and there won't be anything I can do to make it better. What I can do is make sure I help it now so I have the longest possible pain-free time.
Anyway, on the work front I haven't got a lot but I'm getting there. Right now I'm focusing on one idea I had from a really short excerpt of music. Basically I love the way the music goes up steeply, then flicks back down and up slightly as an unfinished cadence. I found some more music that I can work from. I believe it is by the BBC Orchestra and the pieces are written by George Fenton and the music features in the documentary series 'The Blue Planet'. The first section of the first track is absolutly fantastic and very dramatic (as all music should be!)
This week I plan on making a few samples that I'm happy with so I have something good to show at the formative assessment...not exactly looking forwards to it, but it might prove useful to get different opinions about my work. My problem is that I'm not so good at taking critisism or compliments, but I'm working on it...
Hopefully following should be some photographs of my work/models that I did this weekend.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Go Do

Right, update since the last post...
I did a bit more sketchbook work and I think I'm feeling a lot better in my head than last week, so that's helping. I talked about my work with 'B' today and as far as I can tell the ideas I presented are of interest and apparently understood. I'm setting up a meeting system so that I can work on my weekly goals a bit better and it also means that I have to go into college, otherwise (and I hate to admit this) I wouldn't go in.
Some days it's so hard just to get up in the morning, but I'm getting better at telling myself I need to. I'm on a degree course and there is no 'free time' to waste.

Today has been good so far. I know what I'm going to do at the forge and this relieves a lot of the anxiety I have just before I have to go in. I think the worst thing for me is uncertainty. It constantly holds me back so I just need to find a way around it.
I am going to work on connection samples when I go in so that I can figure out how I will layer the material and indeed what kind of section I like. At the moment it looks like flat bar from my sketches, but I think a mix of lots of different sections would be interesting and could relate to the different sounds/phrases/instruments that I hear when I listen to music.

As for my research I am feeling a lot better about it. Research doesn't necessarily need to be visual. I just need to document and justify my findings and decisions. For example- I only work to very specific music. Why is that? What makes it different to anything else? What is it about that music which makes me feel the way I do and enable me to draw it? Are there other artists who also use music as their inspiration? What do they listen to and what shapes do they draw from it?
Look into synaesthesia studies as a form of research. Start to compile a research folder. It doesn't have to contain visuals, just a collection of information which informs what you do. This could be anything.

I think that I might try and add some excerpts of music to this blog (or link the pages) so that I can post some sketch/design work and show how it relates to the music. Maybe it would be more understandable?
I found a website the other day of an amazing glass sculptor, and his gallery of work can be viewed with music playing in the background. The same kind of music that I listen to, and I noticed that some of his work has the same curves that I am trying to work into my designs.
I am going to write to him explaining why I'm interested in his work and ask if music has anything to do with his work-if not, why has he added a 'soundtrack' to his gallery?

I now have a good idea of what I will be doing today and will worry about dissertation studies tomorrow...

Whenever I need to listen to something which will keep my happy mood going, I listen to a song by 'Jonsi' called 'Go Do'. I haven't tried to work from this music yet because I'm not sure if it is the right thing for my designs, but it might be a good idea to try...
It's not for everyone, but I think it's impossible to be sad when listening to this track.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Quick Update...

This week has been very hectic. I have finally sorted myself out enought to actually do some proper work and I have been into the forge twice this week. Not that impressive you say, but for me it was exceedingly hard to find the courage to go back in and face everyone.
Anyway, I have started to work towards what I hope will be an interesting idea. I have a few different things that I want to try out, but obviously I need to manage my time better than the previous two years. I want to have produced work that I am actually proud of for my show.

Today I had a tutorial with my blacksmithing tutor and it went surprisingly well. I don't know if this makes me feel better or worse. I explained that I hadn't been in the best of work modes of the past few weeks, but showed him what I have been working on - a series of drawings describing the pattern of a music excerpt from the 'Portuguese Love Theme' from the film 'Love Actually'.
The problem I have now is that he did not like the 'base' of the peice. He said, quite correctly, that the base should be part of the design and that I should not sacrifice the natural aesthetic because I think it would stand safely on a long flat platform which could be bolted into the ground.
Yes that is exactly right, but it doesn't really help me to figure out if I want the peice to be free-standing, perhaps with a tri-legged end termination? Or I could (if I follow the designs which incorporate strings or wires) have one of the wires acting as a support. I'm still not sure about the stringed aspect of the design. I want to make interactive peices, but I don't know if I have enough time to experiment and figure out the different tensions I would need. There are so many variables that I would need a lot of help which might not be available to me.

There are now so many things to consider I don't know where to start. I feel a bit more pressured and scared because he is backing me on my work and I can't let him down. I can't let myself down.
I do feel slightly better now, but I still like to know exactly what I'm going to make - either sampling or starting a finished design - when I go into the forge I need to know exactly what I'm doing because if I don't I flounder and hate to waste material.

Things to do before Monday:

  • Follow three of the design ideas and work on bases and top terminations. Find images of things that work for you visually

  • Chase up tutor about book

  • Start intro for dissertation

  • Fill in beginning of business plan and get information pack from the bank

  • Fill out 'life' form

  • Update learning journal and start a technical journal if necessary

  • Make at least one useful model of a design idea

  • Go to library and get research books or order in from other locations?

  • Ask for help with making toolbox

Next tutorial is on Tuesday at 9.30am

Hopefully start to add some drawings to this blog as soon as I have something worth showing.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Exiting Week 1...

This week hasn't been as productive as I had planned. After years of managing a back condition (relatively unnoticed by most) I had to go and see a specialist after I couldn't walk for two days. The result is that I'm on pain medication which I can only take at night, I have to get physiotherapy, and if that doesn't work I have to get another hospital appointment and possibly think about surgery...not exactly the 'new start' I was hoping for in my third year.
However I'm trying not to let that get me down. On the plus side I can finally justify getting a new pair of trainners and joinning the gym!
It has made me think about my future though. Is blacksmithing so important to me that I have neglected to take care of myself? Is it wise to continue something which could cause further permanent damage?
Well to be honest I have no idea. I have been having huge doubts about whether I want to have my own blacksmithing business. I don't think I have the right kind of business skills and I don't think I would enjoy it. I want to do metal work, but maybe having my own business isn't the best idea for me. I think I should consider this latest set back in my health as a wake up call, and maybe it's in my best interest not to pusue a full-time blacksmithing career.
I know that I want to create things (oh so many things...) but I also know that I love doing other things which don't have much in common with blacksmithing. I know that I would very much like to teach blacksmithing at some point, and this would mean that the physical strain would be lessened.
Certainly some thoughts to consider, and with my business plan looming it's good to finally put these issues into the open. Once there I can sort throught them with a clearer head.

As for the design module...I have not done any work towards this because of said back issue. I didn't even want to get out of bed this morning and had a minor break down and changed my tutorial time to Monday to give me a chance to sort out my ideas and try to get motivated again.
Looking back at my previous work has been hard. Nothing is finished the way I want it to be. The things that excited me before the summer have been forgotten. I can't feel the same sort of passion for what I was doing then. I hope that this depression is just a side effect, after all how could I have been writing such an enthusiastic design proposal and just a few short months later feel absolutely nothing about the same design?
No, it's not me I'm positive I will be motivated again.
I went through the motions today, but have come out with some positive thinking and a change in attitude.
What am I interested in?
What imagery do I keep looking at?
Well there is a huge range of different things I look at. A lot of fantasy concept work. I love the free flowing, elegant lines, simple forms and curves. I look at the curves I was drawing at the end of last year and I can imagine the music that would accompany them. There is a hand movement that describes what I can hear/see-I know it sounds crazy...I know, but it's a shape that I can begin to think about. What does it remind me of? Is there an artist or designer who's work can compare to what I can envisage?
I want whatever it is I make to have an influence on it's environment and be position in space so that you can interact with it. I want to be able to run my hand along the surface.
I still very much want to make something 'fun'. I would love to look at a sclptural, garden peice which you can touch or hit so that it rings.
Hanging bells, like buds on a tree?
Water glasses, held by elegant forged stands. When it rains they are filled and can be played?

These are some of the things I was thinking about today. I went to the library and tried to find images of something that would inspire me. I didn't know where to start as the imagery I used last year was of violins and cello's and harps. I need to look back at the basics. What is it about the curves that I find so appealing? Is there anything in nature that referances this interest? Are there objects which I can look at all day without becoming uninterested?

John Medwedeff-I actually looked at some of his work at the very start of the first year and came across some of his work in a book I was reading. He has the same linear, elagent forms that I have been looking at, so I will try to research some more of his work and find my own images of things which relate to it. What were his influences? Are they relevant?
I still want this work to be linked in with music. Is this possible and practicle?

Things to do today

  • Read through books and select research imagery

  • Start hard copy of learning journal

  • Business plan homework

  • Dissertation proposal

  • Answer questions as best as you can and prepare for tutorial!

I think that's quite enough to be getting on with.

Strong research = Strong design

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Exiting week 0...

So I arrived back in Hereford on Saturday 1st October and started work as a student ambassador on Monday. So far I've helped out every day/evening and today had my project introduction. I also have to re-write my dissertation proposal and refine the ideas. It should link in to what I'm looking at in the design project so that it can inform my work.
Things to do before Monday

  • Dissertation research and redefined proposal approx.800-1000 words

  • Statement of intent/initial research for design project

  • Book any tutorials for dissertation help

  • Check bank

  • Buy new sketchbooks

  • Join Gym

  • Pack/get rid of useless work and tidy for new acadamic year

  • Fix toolbox

  • Email blacksmiths (Shona Johnson & Christopher Jeal)

  • Ask about lockers/storage space at Holme Lacey

  • Back up work on external hard drive (buy new hard drive...)

I need to try and think of topics I could use as dissertation material and then discuss them with the tutors. I think looking at actual dissertations might help me to understand the different ways they can be layed out, and after a dissapointing end to last year I need to get my ideas straight and get all the help I can.