Uni Summer Project

I had to go to Uni on Tuesday for my end of year review and to pick up the grade I had been given for the last module.  I must say I wasn’t expecting the grade I got for this project as my other projects had only ever been given C’s.  This last project, I got an A14 for it!  I am so pleased with it!  I think I’m more pleased with it because I went in to collect it without having any pre-conceived ideas of what I should be given grade wise.  I was pleased with the feedback too, I knew that I needed to do more research into artists that had done something similar idea wise as I hadn’t looked at any other artists work for this module and how they would have approached the subject I was trying to convey.  I was happy though, and so was my lecturer, that I had thought about how I was going to present my work and that I had made more models, simplified ones that I showed as a series, building upon each of them.  I was also pleased that I had chosen names for them that were equations of how they are made up, it continued the scientific theme I had going on.

While there I got given my summer project which is in two parts.  One is to visit an exhibition/show and write a review on it and the second is quite loose in terms of what we can do.  The main brief of our summer project is to produce a body of work which can be on any theme/idea of our choice and is to be self led and driven.  We can produce work that can be photographic/film/a book or whatever we choose so long as it is sympathetic to our chosen subject.

Now, I have already started a self driven project about circles that I posted my first images of here (https://artreviewed.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=694&action=edit )  but I’m unsure whether to use this project as my uni project or to do another project that I can run alongside the Circles one that I am currently undertaking.  I sat and thought about other project ideas last night, (I won’t share the list just yet as I am still working out if I want to expand on the themes and choose one of them), I came up with 22, yep, 22, different themes I could and would like to do.  What I’m not sure of , is whether these ideas can keep me going from now until october, work wise.  With my Circles project, I don’t have a definitive timeline, I can continue it until I see fit, I can stop and re start it whenever I want as I’m doing it for myself but the uni project needs to be clear and concise and I need to have set ideas to follow and explore.  I feel like I’ve been given this task to undertake and I’m just floating around on it.  I will admit I’m a teeny tiny bit terrified of doing a project which has no boundaries or guidance, except for myself.  Is my own judgement good enough?  Can I produce a body of work that is not just visually pleasing but meaningful also?  And can I keep it going all summer long?

There is really only one way to find out, and that is to do it…if it goes wrong then at least I have tried.

A Model Family – The Finished Product

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I started this project using an idea that started off in secondary school regarding family and trust circles.  I drew out some circles, graduating out from myself to the people that were closest to me and worked out from that.  I set about looking at the connections between myself and sets of people who I knew and also the movements of people within those groups.  I wanted to examine the relationships between people who I knew and my family.  It was important tome to use my family and friends as I wanted it to be personal to me and felt that I could pick apart and really go in-depth the movements between certain people in these groups.

I came up with a series of diagrams, ones with the people named in the groups, another with just the movements of the people outlined and one with nothing apart from the sets of groups and where they lay in relationship to me and other groups.  These bare diagrams were a stepping stone to where my project went next.  I continued drawing diagrams and as I looked back on them they started to remind me of cells, molecules and the solar system.  One of the diagrams I drew inspired me to make a 3D model as I could see, from the diagram, how it would come together.

The diagrams I drew were colour coded for the groups of people that were being represented and I chose to keep as much to the colour code as possible.  I don’t think it matters that the viewer doesn’t know the colour code, what matters is that it gets people thinking about the relationships of the groups and gets them asking questions.


I decided to continue on this path and created another 3D model which is stripped bar of any friends and concentrates purely on my family group.  The colours used to represent the people is similar to the first model as I wanted it to appear quite uniform, but the actual colour code is different.

I looked into names for the models I had made and chose the overall title “Model Family” as that is what I had created, models of my family, models of relationships to people within those “family groups”.   Individually, I have named them after equations that I came up with after looking at them and deconstructing the diagrams I had drawn.  the largest model is called M=F(1IF,1EF)+Bf(1SF,1AF)+Fr(1BF,1CF)+O(1UF,1WF,1CF,1SF), the next smallest model is called 2P+2B+1M=NF(1EF,1AF,1K)+1Bf(1Bf,1RF), the 3rd is called NF(2P+3C) and the smallest is just called M. I created and called them equations as a nod towards them looking like scientific structures.  I didn’t want to call them Model Family, Model Family Simplified etc (which I was  going to call them originally) as they sound too obvious.


I chose to mount them against a white background of Foam Board, again, as a nod towards the scientific nature of the appearance of them.  I thought about having them free-standing but when I tried that it didn’t look quite right.  I needed a clean backdrop which showed off the colours and the relationship bonds between the groups and decided that a white background really showed that off.


I am happy with the way the project has turned out.  when I started this project I wasnt sure where it was going to take me or what the outcome would be.  I am surprised at how well they came out and would like to continue this project using other people and their families and friends to create more models that could be used for comparison purposes.  I think that other families models will turn out different going by family circumstance (ie divorce) and different life experiences will change the friendship groups too.  Some groups may not exist at all and this is something I am keen to look at in the future.

A Model Family – How Its Coming Along

I have had a few seminars in uni where I have gotten together with the rest of my group and we have had a chance to talk about our work, where its going, our research and where we are going with our projects.  Today was one of those days.  I took my completed model to uni (un-mounted) and showed the class, and apart from the lecturer, no one seemed interested or engaged with it and I have no idea why.  The feedback I had from the group was disheartening to say the least and its times like this where I have to question my work and where I am going with it all.

I’m glad my lecturer liked my work and thought it was fascinating and appealing.  Though he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was that led him to this interest I was glad he liked it.  I’m not really sure why my group weren’t as connected to my work, perhaps they had seen it too much?  Maybe they didn’t fully understand it?  Maybe it’s because it is a “made” object?  Some of the comments were really disappointing such as “childish”, “looks like a child’s toy” etc.  These comments were not constructive in the least, if I knew where I had gone wrong or the reasons for them, I could build upon them and maybe push myself further, improve, but I feel like I have hit a brick wall with them.  I feel that in these situations it is better to give constructive criticism or not say anything at all.  There is no point in saying something that isn’t helpful or useful.  So, yeah, at the moment I’m not feeling very positive about my work.  I know that everyone doesn’t have the same opinions, especially in art, and some people like things and some people don’t, and then there is always that other smidge of people who just don’t give a f£$% either way and that doesn’t bother me, it adds to the spice of life and makes things less boring and uniform.

Anyway, I have decided that, as the piece has been inspired by molecules and atoms and “sciency” things that it shall be displayed in the way that science models are normally displayed…on a white (shiny) plinth with nothing else around it.  That is where I am with my project.  I’ve nearly finished but know I could push it further if I wanted.  I would also like to try to create models of other families using the method I have come up with to create this piece as it would be interesting to compare them and see how different they are.

Once I am happy with the final outcome I will post some photos of the final piece but until then I’m not ready to fully share (down to the negatives I have received today.)

A New Craft Space

Today, though I should be working on the ending of my project and how it is to be displayed, I have instead been clearing out my spare room and starting to turn it into a designated work space. The spare bed and mattresses are going and I have started to pack up my craft stuff that currently resides in the front (dining room!). I can not believe how much clutter and rubbish I have accumulated over the space of 3 years in the dining room! (or the clutter in the bedroom for that matter!) I can not wait to have all my stuff in one designated space and be able to just shut the door on it when I don’t want to work any more. It will be nice too, to be able to re-claim the front room for its original purpose and be able to sit and have meals in there without having to look at my works in progress! I just need, now, to decide on what furniture I need and how to get everything I need filed away neatly and, more importantly, within reach and with easy access! I will post some photos soon of how it is all coming along! (Hopefully I shall be able to get some taken later, after the bed is picked up!!!!)

A Model Family

I set out with no real idea of how to approach this subject as I didn’t just want it to be a series of photos that people couldn’t relate to, strangers faces that didn’t mean anything to the viewer, how would that be interesting I asked myself?


I started off thinking about my family tree and a project that I had done in Religious Education in secondary school about trust circles where you put yourself at the centre and work outwards in a series of concentric circles with the people you most trust closest to yourself, this I found didn’t just include my family but friends too.  I looked at the values I held that I used to grade these people and found that they were the same but moving outwards they became diluted.


I looked at how people interacted with each group and how movements in friendship came about, my best friends are there for a reason and have moved inwards, whereas other people have moved outwards, my brother, who should be in my immediate family is put into my extended family group as we don’t speak much, but he is still family.


I looked at these circles and movements and simplified down my diagrams to the extent that they are bare save for the colour co-ordinated sections.  Once they came to being at this stage they seemed to remind me of atoms that appear in chemistry, or the solar system.  Both are built upon with one central item being the basis for the rest to gravitate around.  I likened this to myself, how I am at the centre of my ‘world’ and how everything moves around me.


I drew up another diagram, this time using circles and lines to represent my different groups of family and friends and came up with something that looked like a molecular structure seen in chemistry.  I decided to use this to create a 3D piece of work from, based on the idea that I am central and everyone in my circles of friends is linked to me and to other groups.  This is my final piece.


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Project Underway, Surprise Findings

Today I have been working on this new project brief which is supposed to be about family and values and so far I have come up with a ‘sort-of-family tree/diagram’ showing my friends and family and how everything is inter-linked and how friends seem to ‘travel’ up and down the scale of friendship from acquaintance to friend and also the other way too, how work friends can become close friends and how the velocity of friends changes depending on how close you are to me.  I found it interesting, when creating this diagram, that family members seemed to remain static throughout, although I suppose I have been conditioned by society and family beliefs and teachings, that family is family and you have to accept that which would explain why they don’t move about like my friends do. 

I have fewer people in close circles of friends and far greater numbers of friends the further out you move toward the acquaintances field.  These are things I am really interested in with regard to this project, I want to understand my own values of friendship and the meaning of family within this along with the reasons for ‘friend-migration’ within these groups and how what we do/how we develop effects and ignites these changes in friendship groups.  Maybe I am going to be looking a bit too hard at these, often fragile, relationships which could make me question them, it could make me re-evaluate what I hold important in a friend or family member?  I don’t know but I think I am prepared to look at this and see where it takes me.


I have been given a new brief to work on over the Easter holidays and have been struggling to find a way to “insert” my original idea into the outlined project requirements until I realised I needed to take a step back and stop trying to ram the wrong pieces into the right agenda.  I had to take a giant leap, almost, and came to the conclusion that I couldn’t make the outlined brief fit what I wanted to do and had been approaching the whole thing wrong.  So, armed with a cuppa and a sun lounger, I placed myself in the garden and set about de-constructing what was being asked of me.  It did involve a terrible amount of procrastination on my part, and a heck of a lot of time day dreaming but I think I may have finally conceived a somewhat mad looking and often illegibly written “spider diagram/thought bubbles/mind map/thingy” that to me passes as the beginnings of an idea!!!!  I had to sit down and re-read the brief, un-pick it (every term, word, meaning), think about it, put my own slant/ideas/meaning to it and now have something I can work to and should become a reference further down the line.

I didn’t like the brief to start, that I didn’t understand it was the biggest problem but I have overcome that one.  But now I have made the effort to understand, it seems like there is a lot I could do with it but only one thing that I think will work which I shall see through to the end(!!!!).  I like the project brief as we get to use digital images and manipulate them, present it any way we want and there is also a part where we get to fabricate some work to enhance the images we make (be it sculpture, books, whatever is appropriate to what we are producing!!!)  and I can’t wait!  I think this project is the most ambitious one we have received so far and I’m a little daunted by it, there seems so much to do or that could be done and not so much time to do it in but I will follow-up with how it is all getting along soon!