Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Me.

Last weekend I was working really hard, not on uni work as I probably should have been but on making my costume for a friends birthday. The theme is obviously 'christmas' with it being this time of year and all! And after much thought I decided to go as a christmas tree.

With a green top, some ball balls, and some tinsel its amazing what you can make! Still need to finish my outfit, got some more ball balls to be sewn on!
Oh and a star for my head!

Merry Christmas!

The Diving Bell And Butterfly Book.

Recently I've just finished reading the diving bell and butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby. After being introduced to the film at a kino night, and being particularly influenced by this film, I decided to buy the book and have a read.

I'm not a massive reader, I rather watching films, maybe that sounds a bit lazy I don't know? But I really enjoyed reading this book. The amount of time I've heard someone say 'its not like the book' about a film and not really understood what they were going on about, I now feel I do!

The film was awe-inspiring, but the book was much much more! I found the book to be a lot more personal, with a lot more attention to detail, and bits that were not included in the film. The film has obviously been influenced and adapted by other people, but the book was primary, straight from Jean himself. Anything he has wanted to include in this book, his feelings, personal thoughts, have been included. To think he has blinked the whole book, is unbelievable. The back of the book also includes an obituary, and a brief few pages on bringing it to screen.

I would highly recommend the book to anyone who really enjoyed the film, at only 139 pages, its a light but beautiful read. I'm glad I bought this book, as I consider the film and the story itself to be one of the most influential narratives I've heard yet.

PDP 11/12/09

On Friday morning I attended my pdp session. Although it was only a pdp meeting to see how we were getting on I found it helpful in regards to understanding where I'm at with each project. I was asked to describe briefly where I'm at with each project and to get that clear in my head was great. Although I have a lot of work to do over christmas I'm fairly confident that I will be ok!

My pdp session was handy as I also got to run a few ideas past my tutor and get advice on a couple of things I wasn't sure on in my projects. I was also able to ask advice on which brief to do over christmas as I had 2 in mind and couldn't decide.

I found the PDP over all very helpful and was able to ask a lot of things that I was unsure about or needed clearing up. Filling in the sheets was also a good idea as if gives us chance to voice across the things we think are/ aren't working on the course. The only thing I found to be a little annoying was that my sketchbooks, journal and blog samples weren't even asked to be seen or mentioned, and these were the things we were asked to bring!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Poorly Poorly...and apologies.

Today I am unable to attend the Ian Anderson workshop. The past few days I've been feeling a little under the weather, suffering from terrible headaches, tiredness and the occasional nosebleed I found myself not being up to going in this morning.

Although I've told my group, I'd like to apologize again for not being there. I know you will do brilliantly, and make the Yellow group proud! I was really looking forward to reciting limericks with you!

I am a 'Creative Friend'.

Ian Anderson's workshop group were asked to bring along a creative friend this week and I was luckily asked by Jemma 'C dawg' Connor. I'd heard about their current pointless task, so knew that what we would have to do would be along the lines of something pointless, random or irrelevant! I will admit that I was a little anxious but excited to see what we would be doing.

After watching a few people from the last group present Ian gave us a few tips on presenting, telling us what we should and shouldn't do. For example:
  • If uncomfortable while presenting set your eyes on one person, maybe a friend or someone you feel comfortable with.
  • Always finish a presentation with 'Thank you' or 'Any questions?'.
  • If a presentation is to be 10mins then you should make it that long, otherwise it may seem that you haven't tried and aren't bothered!
And then we were given our brief! Golly what a brief this was, until explained I was so confused! We were to go into teams and would be allocated a colour, we were then to try and convince the world government that they should use our colour over everyone else's. It was to be pointless, fun, and include creative thinking.

I was in the Yellow team. We began brain storming thinking of such things as, yellow food, associations with yellow, feelings, meanings in other countries and everyday yellow objects. We also looked into songs, maybe a sing song may be in order?

We came up with many ideas, but one in particular which involved our mothers and limericks!

Watch this space!

Helen Murgatroyd Lecture

I really enjoyed Helen's lecture, I found it to be quite relaxed and felt on board with what she was saying. As I've mentioned before its nice to have visiting lectures by people who are not 'massive' designer's but people we can relate to.

Helen showed us some work she had been producing from her time in uni, from her year out to her time on the MA printing course. Although some of her current work was quite different I found her drawing and printmaking to be some of the nicest illustrations I've seen. Although I didn't quite understand some of the inventions she had made and some of the more 'out there' pieces, I really enjoyed looking at her hand drawn pieces and her web site is full of them!

I liked the way all of her work was experimental and very hand based, something I personally appreciate more. I also found it interesting when she told us that she worked as a post woman for a year in between uni and her MA course. She had the idea that if she was a post woman in the mornings (to pay the rent) she would be able to spend all afternoon on her work. What a brilliant idea!! But although that was the plan it didn't stop her from sketching while on the job!

I really like the linear approach Helen has in her work, and her rough looking sketches look lovely, especially the work she produced for Alice Russell, the album art work and ideas that were made for merchandise on her tour.

I also really liked the illustrations Helen created for the TV show "Vicar Of Dibley". She worked along side 'doodledoo motion' who did the graphics for the show and made the title sequence and stings to introduce each clip. Helen created drawings as backdrops that appeared behind interviewed celebrities, lovely sketches! (Similar to drawings she did as a postwoman, and also mapping out her home, which she showed in the lecture.)

Something I felt comforted by was the fact that Helen had a year out after uni, as she felt like she didn't know what she wanted to do and felt like she hadn't found herself. This was comforting because I myself am a little bit unsure about what I want to do, and as Helen said she valued the time out, and I think that's what I might need. It's something I need to think about, but until then I have lots to do!

Hamish Muir Lecture

"All designers have some sort of OCD"

On the first of December not only did we have one lecture but two! The first lecture was by Hamish Muir, a graphic designer and founding principal of 8VO. I didn't really know what to expect as I hadn't heard or researched into his work. If I'm totally honest I really didn't like most of the stuff he showed us. The catalogue and flyers he designed for the museum were interesting and I thought that these were the best pieces he showed us throughout the lecture.

He mentioned that his way of working was to cut and paste and to actually make the pieces in the actual size that they would eventually be. This is one of the only things I could relate to within the lecture as this is the way in which I like to work.

Mark Holt and Simon Johnston were also the founders of 8VO and together they designed identities, print, publishing and information design. They also designed record sleeves which was also one other thing i could relate to as I'm studying it for my essay. Hamish explained that they preferred doing the back of the album cover rather than the front as they wouldn't have to worry if the artist would like it or not.

I understand that design is appealing to people in different ways, but my personal opinion on the work he showed was not to my taste. I found the colours to be quite sickly, and in your face, and at times there was too much going on. I noted down in my book that I didn't think I would look twice at some of the posters he had designed, although they are colourful and attention grabbing they don't appeal to me at all. I thought some of them were quite horrible looking!

There were few pieces that did appeal to me, and this was only because there was lack of colour in them. The more subtle pieces with less colour, I felt worked better than the others. I also found the work in Octavo to be nicely designed and appealing. Over all I was glad I went to the lecture, but didn't find his work to be personally interesting to me. I spoke to other people and they found it to be interesting and liked his work, showing that design is seen differently to everyone, and that taste in design is also varied.

Essay update...

On Wednesday I had my tutorial with Mack. I was a little worried as I thought the draft I had handed in was rather messy and needed a lot of work doing to it. The written work in my opinion is my weakest section of the over all marks. Although my journal in previous years has been of good standard, I always find that my essay work is a lot harder and needs more work.

I've always found it hard writing essays and I think this may be because my first language is welsh. I went to a welsh primary school and throughout high school was taught everything through the welsh language, maths, science, french and design.

My essay tutorial went better than I had expected, although there is a lot more to add to it and some more things I need to mention with a few changes, I am over all very happy with how it went. I have a lot more work to do over christmas!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Kino4: Dead Man (1995)

What a let down for Kino! Not only was it a rather poor turn out but I don’t think many people thought much of the film its self. It wasn’t a film I had heard of but I was willing to watch it as the previous films for Kino had been really interesting. I think I lasted about 2 thirds when I totally lost interest in the film and could not grasp the concept and story within the film.

I almost felt it was an awkward film, and I was constantly thinking “what’s that all about?” Saying this I did find there were some beautiful moments and shots within the film. I also found it to be quite humorous and quite odd in places, like at the beginning when they start shooting buffalo out of the carriage window!

I hope the next Kino4 film is better and there is more of an atmosphere and turn out for it. I think if this had been the case with Dead Man, a lot of people would have tried to watch it with a better frame of mind. I know I would have!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Pretty Pretty...

While researching for my silent brief I came across these hand made pieces that I thought were quite beautiful. I like the collage feel to them and the simplicity that comes with that. These pieces are just cards but I can imagine them as either pieces within a book or even a book cover.

I found these images on the blog of Tina Jensen a designer from Denmark. She had been going through a faze of liking birds and nests, and thats when she thought about having a go at creating a few cards herself.

These images have given me a few ideas for my silence brief and given me more things to think about. They have also inspired me to want to make some cards of my own!

Craig Lecture

" the "f*****g dark arts to me!"

- Craig talking about web design.

What an interesting lecture! Unlike the one presented from YCN i was absolutely fascinated with this lecture, maybe that was because of all the swearing, or the information that was given!? It seemed Craig liked to fill in the gaps with the words "F***" or "F*****g", every other word! Which was quite amusing considering the "Emmerdale" like accent he pointed out he had at the beginning! This lecture was something I think will now help a lot of people, there were some really good points Craig spoke about, and on a down to earth level gave us some pointers.

The lecture was also given to us in a large handout newspaper format, which I thought was a brilliant idea, something we have to look back on and read whenever we need. The lecture consisted of 12 things Craig learnt whilst being a designer after leaving uni, things he felt would help us that we do not learn through education but experience. It was really helpful as most things he said will help us during our final important year of uni.

There was a lot said about placements and portfolios which was very helpful and has made me consider a few things more carefully. I really did find this lecture to be very helpful although a little nerve-racking that we will soon be leaving the comfort of university!I found Craig to be very modest and like he said he didn't want to blow his own trumpet! I found it comforting that even he, who now has a good design job, still finds certain aspects and elements of design hard. For example making and creating grids are hard for Craig and take a long while to do.

It's nice to have a lecture and not to hear how hard things are, how hard it was for them to get a job and generally negative vibe. It was good to hear how he went about working and how although still in debt he is enjoying every minute of it. There is hope yet!

Essay and it's bits...

While researching and writing the essay I have found myself even more interested than I realised in the subject that I was writing about. Although the main subject of my essay is album covers and I'm asking such questions as "will downloading jeopardize the existence of the sleeve?" I wanted to explore the history behind many influences of design and some eras where the sleeve was considered a monumental hit!

And even though this part of the essay was not intended to be a large chunk it ended up being rather large! I was researching into the 50's right through to the late 70's punk era. Looking at people such as Johnny Cash, and Elvis right through to The Sex Pistols, Crass, and the Buzzcocks. I've also been listening to the music as well as looking and reading into the sleeve art that was produced around these periods. (which I've really enjoyed, as I already particularly like Cash and Elvis!)

I've found some lovely looking album sleeves from that era which I saw in an exhibition when I went to New york. The exhibition was called 'Looking at music', looking at all sorts of music related things in different materials but there was a section on old sleeves and this was very helpful when trying to explain some points I've made during the essay. Learning and reading about how punk became to be, and the history behind some sleeves is so interesting. I knew I was interested in this subject but didn't quite know how engrossed in the history side of it I would get. Great stuff! :)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Live Brief: Ted Baker

Recently we were given the list of live briefs to choose from, I found there to be quite a good choice and found it hard to choose from. It was between the paper brief, Ted Baker and the H.G wells book cover brief. After much thought, I decided on the Ted Baker brief. Not only was I excited about starting this new brief but I was about to work as part of a pair, the other half being Jemma Connor (or ‘C dawg’ as I like to call her!). We have been waiting for the chance to work as a pair, as both of us feel we bring different design qualities to the table, and wanted to learn off one another.

It wasn’t long at all before we had almost 5 A4 pages full of exciting ideas, and that was before a drink in weatherspoons and further brainstorming! We sat down and wrote absolutely every idea we had, and followed that up by re-searching into existing and previous window displays by other stores and obviously previous Ted Baker windows. Most of which we found to be oddly our taste!

The Ted Baker windows were wacky, strange, oddly funny and definitely a little bit out there! I now understood precisely the type of thing they are looking for within this brief.

Ted Baker is asking for it to be:

Irreverently British
In your face explosions of fun!
Simple to understand
(And to put a smile on people’s faces…)

…something we feel is quite up our street! We have only had this brief a week and I think it’s safe to say we have had so much fun already, thinking of ideas, visualising images and layouts. To be honest we have been quite silly about it, but I think that’s what they are looking for. We’ve started thumb nailing ideas now, trying to get one step closer to visualizing what it could look like. We’re looking forward to start making some mock ups, and have a go and sticking and pasting a few ideas down on paper! Let’s get making…

Lucy's Workshop

On Friday I had the chance to spend all day being tutored by Lucy, and what a breath of fresh air it was. Since the review I’ve found myself a little stuck on the silence brief and on Friday we had the chance to show Lucy what we’ve been doing and where we’re up to.

In the review I was told my concept wasn’t strong enough so this is where I needed a stronger concept. Lucy had a look at all my visuals and listened to my ideas and gave me a few ideas to think about. It was really nice to have another tutor’s opinion, where as before I was feeling quite down about it, now I feel quite hopeful. We spoke about a few ideas and a few things she wants me to have a think about before the next tutorial on Friday.

We also had a walk over to the special collection in the library where we had the chance to look at some really nice books and ways of presenting work within a book like way. This was also quite inspiring. We returned to the book binding room to try out some ways of binding, the pamphlet stitch and the French stitch, both of which were quite simple but very handy for future projects!

I’m working on and thinking about the things Lucy mentioned and trying to suss out what kind of book I would like to produce for the silence brief and its contents, it would be great to get it done before Christmas, one less thing off the long to do list!

YCN Lecture

Although I did attend this lecture, I may has well have not been there! None of my notes make sense apart from the one note which says, boring! I think this may have been a mixture of me being excited about the new brief (there for, not listening) and it possibly being one of the dullest lectures I've had in the last 2 and a half years.
I dont want to be harsh but I dont feel like I got anything out of this lecture, maybe a small brainstorm for the live brief but that was it. I usually enjoy all lectures and can find something to take from it, this time I felt nothing. I do like the briefs YCN write but I cant quite put my finger on why I didn't enjoy the lecture. I do respect and understand how hard it is to present but I just didn't feel engrossed in the lecture.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A teeny tiny update

It's impossible to blog start blogging all about New York, especially at the moment with essays, briefs and journals coming out my ears! There's so much I have to say, yet I cant find the words to describe my experience. I absolutely enjoyed New York and it was worth every penny and the long wait! I just cannot believe it's over so soon.

It was everything I expected and more, and has made me want to see more of America, although not just America more of the world. It made me realize that there is so much more out there, and I really am considering exploring that after uni!

Ill have to wait until there's time to blog,there's other important things to be thinking about right now! Back to the grind and the lovely essay....

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Experimenting with silence

Here are a few of the latest experiments I have made for the silence brief. Using an old book that I had from a charity shop I scanned in some of the beginning and end pages where there was room to work with, and printed them out onto canvas paper (which has a loooovely texture!) and then painted the birds onto the canvas. I then added some text to the images using transfer letters, which I personally think ads to it nicely.

I really like the idea of working on existing material and the chance that something could happen, for instance without intentionally trying the book I've been using is from a library in a hospital. Two places that are considered to have respect for silence. Also on a few of the pages the text refers to something silent, or you could adapt it to be silent.

I'm really enjoying the experimenting at the moment and would like to develop these ideas further, I also intend to work on/with fabrics and hopefully print some of these designs onto some lovely delicate material.

Silence inspirations

Here are a few images that I found in a garden book. Although it's about how to attract birds to your garden I really like the illustrations and the images. I'm also really into facts and information that we didn't know and find interesting, and with birds being something I'm interested in I found it very useful.

Kino4: Let the Right One In (2008)

Another Kino night another good film. Before watching it id heard people talking about it in the studio, a scary vampire film people were saying, so i expected it to be something quite tacky and poorly made. But I was happily surprised.

The film, made from the 2004 novel by swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist is centered mainly around the relationship between Oskar a 12 year old boy and a vampire Eli who is also 12, but has been for the last 200 years! Based in the suburbs of stockholm during the 1980's the film focuses on the "darker side of humanity", bullying,theft,murder, pedophilia and supernatural events.

I found this film to have some really lovely moments, like when Eli and Oskar are on the playpen and he has the rubix cube, leaves it with her and he finds it the next morning all complete covered in snow. There is something quite silent but significant about this, almost hinting that both Oskar and Eli will get together. This is also the first scene we see him smile, maybe also significant that he was unhappy before he met her? I also thought the first scene with Oskar and his father was beautiful. You can immediately tell that he misses him, especially when he puts on his fathers jumper and walks away smelling it, in a nostalgic way. But I then felt different about this when I saw he had a drink problem and would rather spend time with his friend rather than his son. We also wonder if Oskar is happy at all, being bullied, mothers never home, and his dads an alcoholic. I also found there was something quite nice about the fact Oskar had wrote down morse code for Eli, so that they could communicate when in the flat.

I think that some of the best moments of the film were successfully done by the pauses and quiet moments. For example when Oskar goes round to Eli's flat towards the end and she shuts him out in the hall, they both stand staring at one another through a glass door before Oskar finally asks the question "are you a vampire?"

I really enjoyed watching how relationships developed and also how existing relationships changed. Although Oskar and Eli seem very different they have more in common than we realize, Eli kills to live and we are shown that Oskar has a morbid interest in crime and death, and keeps a scrapbook full of paper cuttings of murders.

Although I enjoyed the film I felt some bits were a little too in your face and not like the subtle feel to the film, one of the end scenes when Eli saves Oskar from being drowned by the bully's brother and we saw legs flying, people being flown across the pool, it just seemed unreal. I really liked the film but felt that after last weeks film the diving bell and butterfly, its going to be tough to find a film that is as moving and to me so influential in the future.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Did someone say something about New York?

I cannot believe how quickly this has come about! In just over a week the d&ad lot will be packing in their macs, fine liners and good old Manchester to head out to the big apple, New York city!!! Words cannot describe how amazing this trip is really going to be.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Corner House: Bloomberg New contemporaries 2009

On tuesday I took some time out from uni work to go to the exhibition that was on at the corner house. I couldn't quite make up my mind if I enjoyed it or not. Saying this there were a few pieces I thought were interesting.

"New Contemporaries, formerly Young Contemporaries has a long and illustrious history, dating back to the first exhibition of young graduates in 1949. For the past 60 years this annual show has been dedicated to profiling the work of young, new and emerging artists at the start of their professional careers. Through its annual presence, New Contemporaries has identified serious artists from each generation and given them the opportunity to show for the first time. The premise remains the same today."

There were lots of interesting pieces but also lots of pieces I thought were quite odd and didn't interest me in the slightest. Some of my favorite pieces were by Freya Wright, she created some lovely canvases for the wall, in all different sizes and placed them nicely together. There were also a few large scale etches that I liked, simply black and white, but with great detail, they were lovely.

Amongst all this lovely work there were sexual, strange and pointless pieces (almost not worth writing about!) But Im glad I went as I found a few pieces that were right up my street, and found visually appealing.

Nicola Rowlands talk

I've already blogged about Nicola Rowlands, so I wont go into much detail again!! It was nice to have her in for a lecture, I think its good that we have ex students in to talk to us, as we get to see how they've gone about getting jobs and work. It was nice to be talked to from someone on a similar level, and someone that has only just graduated. She gave us a few tips to help us with contacting people regarding work, and placements, she also told us to email people being ourselves!

It was nice to be visited by someone who I was interested in, and was even better that she was very down to earth and fun to listen to. I just hope that I can achive some of the things that she has!

Kino4: Diving Bell and the Butterfly/Le scaphandre et le papillon (2007)

Lastnight was the third night of the Kino4 film club, and we watched Le scaphandre et le papillon by journalist Jean Dominique Bauby. I’d heard about the film before and heard a very simple outline of what to expect, but what I saw was way off what anyone could have described to me.
The film describes what his life was like after suffering a massive stroke that had left him with a medical condition called locked-in syndrome. This is described to be like being a prisoner in your own body, trapped within yourself, you’re mind is there but you cannot communicate or physically move with the world outside. The film also shows his life before the stroke, in small flashbacks and reflective scenes.It shows how he communicates through blinking and the amazing story behind him writing a book through this method and a transcriber.

This film is truly beautiful, and I am so glad that I got to watch it. I particularly liked the music in the film and thought that the choice of sound was very effective. In many scenes there was a piano melody played in the background and I thought this worked very well, and was sympathetic towards the elements of the film. It does make you realize that there are more important things in life, and after watching this film I realized that worrying about everyday things are nothing compared to what some people really do have to go through.

Silent so far...

For the silent brief I began looking at animals, the thought of preserved animals like in a museum. I then started sketching and exploring ideas with different birds. With a little research I learnt more about birds, and some interesting facts that I never knew! Two things that interest me are animals and facts, so both of them together = lots of excitement!

I began to wonder if my idea was going anywhere, as it felt like I was just drawing birds. So with a little research I looked for birds with silent elements in them. The stork for example doesnt have any vocal chords, making it mute. The owl has silent flight when catching it's pray, making it easyer to catch food. And there is a species of swan called the "mute swan".

So I began exploring with this and here are a few visual responses, as of yet I only have stalk images, there is more to come!....

Saturday, 17 October 2009

You have 2 new inbox messages...

Recently I'v been doing some further re-search into my essay and thought that hearing some personal opinions would be interesting and good for my essay. I emailed Yokoland a Norwegian design group that I really like. They produce handmade covers for their friends at Metronomicon audio, and all of them visually beautiful. I also emailed Adrain Shaughnessy, as on my reading list I have read an article "are jpegs the new album covers?" and have read the book "cover art".
The other day I opened my inbox to recieve an email off Yokoland and Adrian both willing to answer some questions to help me with my essay. Happy Days!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Penguin Parade.

I'm a strong believer that we all need a break now and then, and during the end of summer when I was getting on with uni work, working a summer job and thinking about moving back to Manchester, a break is exactly what I did!

Knowing I love animals and days out what a better way for my boyfriend to surprise me than a day out to the local Welsh mountain zoo!

I love aimlessly walking around zoo's just looking at the obscure and unusual animals we didn't know existed! And always get slightly excited when we approach the bird section of the zoo, as many of my friends know birds are my favorite animals
(with the snow leopard in close second!). So you can imagine my joy when we heard there was a bird flying demonstration with a small snow owl and then to follow a penguin parade!...yes a penguin parade!

The gate from the enclosure opened and all these penguins ran out onto the grass! I couldn't believe it! They were right at my feet doing tricks and being fed, what a funny and wonderful way to end the trip :)