Wednesday, 1 May 2013


I have been interested in folk art for the past few years and explored it for the personal passions brief last year when I looked at Mexican Folk art. So I knew that for my final project I wanted to explore folk art further. I wanted my work to have a direction and theme, so I thought about basing it around a story, at first I found it difficult to find a story as there are so many to choose from all over the world. I was given some advice to choose maybe a British Folk story as European stories are so popular have have been used a lot in design over the past few years. I was given a British story book and narrowed the hundreds of stories down to a few about nature and animals because I knew thats what I wanted to focus on. I finally decided on a story called the 'Grocer and the Parrot'. The story involves a parrot that is kept in a cage in a grocers, the parrot doesn't speak, squark or say anything, until the parrot sees the Grocer meddling with the products in the shop. The grocer then strangles the bird and then throws him away, because she is loosing him custom, however it turns out the bird isn't dead, then flies away.

To start my work I did some research on green parrots, as this was the bird described in the story. As the story doesn't specify what type of bird, just that it is a green parrot, I felt that I would have a large range of different types of birds to draw from. I did some research online and also went to different museums and galleries to look at birds in person, to see the colours, textures, and patterns. I took some photographs and did some quick initial drawings. I also went to the Natural History Museum in London too and did the same there, so I had a selection and range of birds to draw from.
Once I had my research I then decided to create of range of drawings using different materials and techniques to create different lines, and marks. I liked the outcome and thought that I had really challenged myself and went out of my comfort zone when drawing and didn't use my usual black fine liner. I think that this range of drawing styles has really developed my drawing style and will make my work more interesting.

Because the colour of the bird is mentioned in the tale and is also a memorable part of the story, I thought it was important to included the colour of the parrot in my work. So I photocopied some of my favourite drawings and painted them using watercolours, just to jet an initial idea of colour ways, and to see how they would look in colour instead of the original black and white.

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities Part 2

In the first semester we had to write a blog post on our hopes, fears and opportunities. As it is nearly the end of the degree I am going to reflect on the initial post and see if my feelings and thoughts have changed over the past few months.

The first thing I wrote about was the fact that all throughout my education in art and design I have always found it difficult to find my own sense of style and stick to that style. I finally feel as though I am nearly there, I feel ugh more confident about how I draw and design. I feel that the stamps I make have definitely become a massive part of my work and my style of working. I feel that my drawing had also improved and think that experimenting and stepping out of my drawing comfort zone had definitely improved my work too. I also have come to the terms that an illustrator knows what there style is and becomes well known and is requested for their work as they have a stung sense of style. However I think that for a surface designer they are always required to produce different styles and ways of working.
I also talked about how I want my work to have more narrative and meaning behind it. This is something I have definitely worked on for the fmp, I knew starting the brief that I wanted to base my work around an old folk story. I found my story and although I haven't included every element from it I have picked the main features and points from the story and designed prints and images from it. I have even included a dead bird which is something I would have shied away from in the past.
I also mentioned that I would like to 'sell' my work, to have more confidence when talking about it, I think that this still needs to be worked on, sometimes I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed in front of tutors and a group of people. However I shocked myself on the portfolio visits when I was able to talk freely and confidently about my work. I thought that the first visit was a bit rusty but as each one past I felt more and more confident and by the third I was talking about processes, ideas, products and my designs and work.

My biggest fear initially was running out of time, and although I may still feel the same about this, I have realised that you will probably always wish or think of something else you could of added to your work. However instead of focusing on the negatives, you should feel proud of what you have produced and handed in. At this point I may not feel as though I have 100% completed all my work and feel slightly stressed in the back of my mind I am thinking I am proud of what I have achieved to this point.
Another fear that I mentioned in the first post was how I was scared and nervous about not have the guidance and the advice of tutors, and having to fend for yourself in the real world. This is something that I am still fearful of, however I feel although I may not get my dream job as soon as I leave, I should still persevere and keep drawing and designing at home, so I don't get out of practice.
Another fear in my original post was the thought of going on portfolio visits, these didn't go to plan last semester as it was at a very busy part of the year for many designers and makers that I wanted to go and see, however this semester they went much better than I expected. I think it is more the thought of having to go, however once you get there and start talking to them, they are much easier that I first expected. And by the third visit I enjoyed talking to them about my own work and also talking to them about their work and how they started designing and making, and even got invited back if I ever needed more advice or feedback. I think because I felt more confident about my work and my also my portfolio looked more professional and presentable. I think I will still work on my portfolio as it isn't perfect it is much better then the one I produced in second year the the first one I developed in the first semester of the year.

For opportunities I mentioned how I would love the opportunity to sell my own work, and did this at the teenage craft market in April, although it wasn't a huge success, a couple of my bags did sell and it was a great feeling knowing someone was walking away with one of your designs. When I went to a portfolio visit I showed them some of the notebooks and purses I had made, and she told me that these would be great products to sell at craft fairs and markets as they always will have a market and people enjoy one off products that are different and unusual. This is definitely something I would love to do more in the future. I think that I would be more organised, have more to sell and the products will be finished to a higher quality and look more professional, by using the advice and tips that Andrea gave me from my portfolio visit.
I also mentioned how I would love to actually put my designs and prints onto products, I feel as though I have developed this even further in the last semester by printing my designs on fabric to be made into pencil cases and purses, also I have printed on stationary and writing sets, cards, notebooks and also boxes. I have really enjoyed putting my designs onto products and having the final outcome makes me really feel like a surface designer., which is something I haven't felt before.
I think a new opportunity I would like to include for after I leave is the opportunity to do some work experience in industry, because I think the knowledge I would gan would be key and also to get my foot in the door of the design industry. This is something I will look into after I have finished my degree.

Critical Review

Every month we were to meet up as a group and talk about either a book, a film we had watched and also an article we had looked at from the past month, however they were quite flexible so you could also talk about maybe music or an exhibition that you had seen.
When it was my chance to share with the group I told them that I had been to a great exhibition at the Liverpool Tate, called Glam. I also wrote about the exhibition more in-depth as a blog post too. After chatting about the exhibition it turned out that the exhibition would be great for someones work, as it suits their style and was from the same era as they were basing their work around.

I also talked about a film that I had seen a while ago, but had just purchased on DVD so it was fresh in my mind, it was Moonrise Kingdom. Moonrise Kingdom was a film released in cinemas in 2012, directed by Wes Anderson, who also directed another of my recent favourite film, Fantastic Mr Fox. Moonrise Kingdom had an amazing cast including Bruce Willis, Wes Anderson, and Bill Murray. It is classed as a romantic- comedy drama, which I agree with. The film in set in 1965, on a small island in New England. And involves two 12 years olds that find each other by mistake, write letters too each other, one from a boys camp and the other from her family home, with her quirky family including Bill Murray as the Father. They had made a secret pact to run away together however doesn't quite go to how they imagined. I thought that the film was quirky, fun and had a sweet storyline. I definitely want to watch other Wes Anderson films in the future. What I really enjoyed about this film, alongside the fantastic storyline and cast, I felt that the costumes were amazing, they represented the era and also that they are on a small island enclosed in their own bubble almost. I also loved how the film was shot, it almost had a sepia effect to it, this would also made it seem as it was filmed in the 60's.

Someone else from the group bought a book to show everyone called A Crafters Guide to taking Great Photos. I found this book to be interesting as my work is hand made and quite crafty I felt that this would be a nice way to capture my designs and products that I have made. Also I thought it would be a good idea to start practicing the techniques and tips in the book as when we leave we no longer have the photography studio use, so this could be a good alternative to use for the future. I will definitely be buying this book and practising my photography skills.