Field 1 & 2 – Overview

I have enjoyed and benefitted from the Field experience. It seemed daunting in my first year, just when I was getting to know my fellow course mates, to be sent off to Field with more new people, from other areas. However I welcomed the opportunity this year without any of the concerns I had last time.

It is interesting to see how people from other courses approach and use the skills and knowledge, that we are being taught and adapting it to their own work. An example of this is when we were introduced to Augmented Reality. I still find it a concept that is hard to imagine and maybe this is partly because I have tried to force an idea involving the technique, instead of waiting for an opportunity where it would benefit a message I was trying to convey. I was impressed with one of the product designers, who could see it as a way to demonstrate his design at a show. I guess not everything will be relevant to my practice or maybe just not relevant at this time, but you never know when an opportunity will arise.

I was struggling for inspiration in my subject area. Not through ideas but more to do with how I could realise them. I think part of that could be down to the long summer break. Being a mature student with responsibilities to my extended family, it is very easy to resort to giving additional help to others with more available time.

My field experience has made me realise that I need to factor in ‘playtime’ and that it is not a waste of my time to do this. So during the summer break I intend to set time aside to just experiment with some of the ideas I have going through my head. As there is no brief or deadline I am hoping for a freer way of working, with no specific outcome.

Some of the ideas that I want to explore relate to my public art proposal and I feel this is also beneficial, as I can see how they may turn out. Hopefully this will help my build my confidence in my ability to realise a larger scale idea. Also once I work on a few pieces I can see how long they take and it would give me a better understanding of working out the timing of the project.

The only negative aspect of Field is that there is not more time to do other subjects. Even if it was an overview with links/reading list that you could explore yourself, without the added pressure of another assessment. Not all subjects would be able to do this but I would have welcomed an introduction about the creative play and then looked for other resources to explore myself.

I am hoping that after a summer of exploration and play I will return to University ready to meet the challenges of my final year.

Field 2 – Making work for the Public Realm – Overview

This module provided a wealth of information on producing work for the public realm. I covered many aspects from what is meant by the public realm, to what you wanted to achieve from the art work, such as to effect a change or inform and how to go about doing that.

I looked at lots of examples of public art and they vary greatly. Public art is no longer just statues in the street, they can be experiences, interactive, temporary, playful or functioning.

Although the module was specifically intended for work in the public domain, I think I learned a lot of skills that could be useful in other areas. The information covered so much and I was made aware of the health and safety implications of working in the public realm, but they are important factors to consider with any work I may produce.

Another very important skill I feel I would need is good communication skills, as I could potentially be working with a team of people from various ‘walks of life’ and it is imperative that I can communicate my ideas and instructions. This is an area I feel that would be a strength for me, as I have approximately 30 years experience, of working in administrative roles where I have had to deal with customers, colleagues and other companies.

I have learned to look at the project as a whole, when producing an artwork. Considerations such as the durability and who will be responsible for the maintenance and cleaning.

I learned to be aware of what the payment might cover. It is possible I would be paid in instalments and budgeting skills would be essential. It is also crucial to be aware of what my responsibilities as the artist and check the contract to see if I have to arrange the installation or even the de-commissioning if necessary. If the project is large I may need to outsource additional help for example; equipment hire, also very importantly, there would need to be public liability and indemnity insurance. All these costs need to be considered.

I think this module has been invaluable in making me consider the ‘bigger picture’. It is no longer appropriate for be to produce an artwork as a single entity, without considering the impact of that piece.

I had researched a public art project in my first year in University and that was very informative. I also spoke to a lady who worked in Events for Newport City Council and she was able to give me lots of advice regarding organising a public art event, which gave me a good foundation but this module has helped build on that.

I think that this module has been very well organised with a wealth of information and links to websites of interest. I think it has given me an understanding of working in the art world but like many things, the real learning comes by experience.

Field 1 – Synergies: Materials & Technology – Overview

I did not get my first choice for this module, but I was not disappointed. It highlighted the fact that I need to experiment more. As a mature student time is a huge issue, as I try to juggle family commitments and University work. I do not get a lot of time to just ‘play’ but I now see the importance of this.

I enjoyed revisiting certain topics covered on the maker course and being introduced to some new techniques. My personal circumstances have meant that after my father died, I have struggled to take forward some of the ideas I had highlighted after the module ended. However they are not forgotten, I would definitely like to do some more work with the lithophanes using HIPS plastic in the future.

What I have taken forward is the need to experiment more and through my ‘Seed Project’, I have being experimenting with free machine embroidery. I sat at the sewing machine with just an idea that I wanted to produce a bleached sea coral image and I just ‘went with the flow’. Free embroidery is a very liberating process, it is like drawing with stitch. This is something I want to take further in my work, especially using dissolvable plastic. Dissolvable plastic is clear and it enables me to produce a lace like material. It also provides the opportunity to mould the material into 3D shapes which is another area I would like to develop further.

After being introduced to the large CNC machine, I produced a very large hoop not dis-similar to an embroidery hoop. I decided to use this hoop as a frame for the textile piece that I was using for my experimental processes, such as needle felting and free machine embroidery. I wanted to see how I could amalgamate the processes together. I have really enjoyed using textiles as a medium, as it enables me to produce work with depth and texture. The CNC machine provides an opportunity to produce non-standard frames; these could be much larger than normal or of a more organic nature, which really excites me. I could produce large organic forms such as leaves that could be wall mounted. This idea was inspired by a public art brief for the mental health unit at Llandough Hospital. Health and safety issues were very important considerations and no frames on art work were permitted, however a canvas frame was. This made me think that I could produce organic shaped frames to cover with felt and embroider detail, thus making striking wall mounted pieces that were safe for the hospital.

I am keen to continue working with textiles, wood and light and the large CNC machine definitely gives me the opportunity of bringing those elements together. In the past I have enjoyed producing lamps for domestic use. With the new found skills and realisation that experimentation is very important, I think this is an area that would benefit revisiting.

Making work for the Public Realm

Today was raising awareness to the ‘bigger picture’.
We were advised to consider who would be the commissioning body and what they would expect from me.
There are often many people involved in a public art project, such as communities, individuals, councils, architects, planners, producers etc., which can make things challenging. Communication is key and with all these different people to deal with, I would imagine you have to consider who you are talking too and how you approach the conversations. Architects and planners would probably talk in a more formal way, possibly using ‘industry’ terms. Whereas people in the community would possibly appreciate a less formal approach, with emphasis on what their part in the project would be.

Other considerations are that payment maybe in instalments, with an initial design fee or expression of interest, to bid for funds. It is important to look at exactly what is expected for the fee and budget accordingly. You may get a fee that includes the design, Marquette, making and implementation; with all aspects of time on site, off site, building, equipment hire, any outsourcing or decommissioning. It is important to factor in a contingency and get quotes. Also you must consider public liability and indemnity insurance.

Key questions to consider when getting started:-

• What is being asked for?
• What is the reason behind this project?
• Who is paying?
• Who is involved?
• Who is it for?
• What is the time scale?
• What does the fee cover?
• What will inform the choice of materials?
• What measures are in place to ensure it is vandal proof?
• What is the durability of the piece?
• Who is responsible for cleaning and maintenance?
• How can you disseminate it?

Public reaction is not always positive; many people feel the money spent on public art would be better spent on hospital beds. However the money for the arts is a totally different budget to that for health. Other challenges could be the general public’s awareness of visual culture. Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North, was deemed risky during the planning stages, but now it is accepted and well loved.

It is important that an artist takes ample time to research and residency time before a project begins, to have time to understand, digest and make sense of a place. It is also vital that the commissioning body, local authority or other, are sensitive to an artist’s process.

Shaun Glanville, art consultant, came up with a set of critical questions of judging art work which are worth considering, when starting a new project.

• Is it exploratory?
• Is it well constructed?
• Does it demonstrate an understanding of the form and history of the particular discipline?
• Is it helpful in furthering that art-form?
• Does it explore new or interesting methods of creation or construction?
• Does the artist show skill and integrity in the creation of the work?
• If it fails, does it fail because you were trying to do some of these things?
• Might it usefully provoke other work?

When considering work outside of the gallery or museum, ask whether it provokes new and surprising encounters. Does it shake up our perceptions of the world around us or our background? Does it provoke us to see things differently?

Public art is important as it is part of public history and part of evolving culture and collective memory. It reflects and reveals our society and adds meaning to our cities.

Some examples of public art

The Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square

I like the fact this plinth is a temporary display of art, as there is always something new to see. I particularly like the ship in the bottle, as it links directly to the site.

I also loved the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation of ceramic poppies, by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, at the Tower of London. It was such a great example of an art work that reached out and ‘grabbed’ so many people. I found it poignant and dramatic and the fact it was temporary, meant you couldn’t be complacent about seeing the installation, as it was only there for a short time.

Making work for the public realm: commission // competition

Very interesting and informative introduction to this module.
I had researched public art for my Field module last year, where my objective was to raise awareness of mental health issues through public art. I was interested in the fibre glass sculptures produced by companies such as Wild in Art, where a set number of identical figures, such as dragons, dolphins or rhinos etc, are produced and artists and members of the public decorate them. They are then installed in various locations around the city/area, both in and outdoors. A trail map is produced and people can follow the map to view all the sculptures on site. This usually happens during the summer and after a set period of time the sculptures are collected, auctioned and the proceeds from the sales go to nominated charities.

Today the lecture was outlining what is meant by the public realm and focusing on site specific art. These are some of the areas we discussed as being public areas:-

• Hospitals/Health centres
• Shopping centres
• Parks/Squares
• Roundabouts
• Piers
• Museums
• Railway stations/Tube stations
• Airports
• Atrium space/Offices
• Churches/Places of Worship
• Heritage sites
• Libraries/Galleries
• Schools/Community Centres

We were advised to consider different perspectives; how would the artwork be viewed (looking down/up, on the same level. Also to consider ‘forgotten’ areas like those listed below which are covered in the book ‘Edgelands’ by Paul Farley & Michael Symmons Roberts.

• Wastelands
• Graveyards
• Lofts
• Canals
• Ruins
• Woodland

I was particularly interested in the idea of effecting change. It was discussed that there were various ways of doing this, through activities and senses (touch, taste, smell, sound). Also how you respond to a public space can differ and it is important not to only look at it from your own point of view; age and culture will make a difference to the outcome.

Other things to consider about the public artwork:-

• Temporary/Ephemeral
• Permanent/Monumental
• Interactive
• Site responsive
• Research driven/Based on – walking, collecting social stories, political, historic etc
• Light hearted/Fun
• Can express community values
• Site specific

We looked at lots of examples of Public Art that was site specific and these are the ones that I found inspiring or interesting:-

Anthony Gormley – Another Place

Another Place

According to ‘the installation is a poetic response to the individual and universal sentiments associated with emigration – sadness at leaving, but the hope of a new future in Another Place’. Having lived in Sydney, Australia for a few years this art work evokes emotions in me, associated with moving to another country and coming back again.

Claire Twomey says “I was drawn to the Royal Pavilion because of its profound beauty and excess. As I studied the interior, I noticed the icon of the butterfly. It is very temporal and, if you see one, it is for a moment – magical and frivolous. The black silhouettes of my butterflies are very graphic and stand out, because they contrast with the vibrancy of the Pavilion’s colourful interiors”.

I love anything to do with butterflies they are so beautiful, delicate and ephemeral. However I love the fact Claire’s butterflies are black, it adds another perspective, turning a beautiful icon into a mysterious almost sinister one.

I left the lecture today feeling excited and inspired. I am definitely looking forward to this module.

Synergies: Materials & Technology Powerpoint

Synergies between Materials & Technology Powerpoint Blog

Synergies: Materials & Technologies – What’s next?

I enjoyed the introduction to lithophanes and learning how they were originally created and the fact we can produce an image through CNC milling. This promoted ideas of how I could use this process in my subject area for my medal project. I am currently working on a medal idea that commemorates the 800th Anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, which was created to protect personal liberties and later used as the basis of the American Constitution. From this I have been researching modern day slavery and I would like to create a medal that is an ornate padlock, which appears a beautiful object. However things are not always as they seem and when you turn over the padlock you see an illuminated lithophane image of a young girl, who appears curled up on the floor of a room to depict a victim of oppression.

I also have a file prepared from last year, to 3D print a lithophane of my portrait and I am keen to get this printed out and compare results with the CNC milling method and see if one method is better than the other.

I also intend to experiment with different colours of HIPS plastic, which is the material we use for CNC milling. I am interested to discover what other effects or results I can achieve. I have already bought black and am keen to try a mirror plastic next.

The other area I am keen to explore is the 2.5D construction using the large CNC machine in the FAB Lab. During the Field module I cut two very large circles using this method to enable me to have a frame for a large textile/embroidery piece, that I am experimenting with for a Seed Project that highlights the ‘Acidification of the Sea’. However the potential of this machine is exciting as you can create anything from simple slot together flat pack construction to large emergency shelters.

In my first year I was exploring a lamp project and I made a prototype totally from mount-board. The final project was a wooden frame construction but still using mount-board for the main design. It was quite effective but now I have this new skill I would like to experiment with mixing lithophane images with a CNC machined frame.

I have really enjoyed this module and it has boosted my motivation by giving me some new inspiration. It introduced me to some new processes and reminded me of some old ones. On reflection I have realised that I do not experiment and play enough. Being a mature student my time management is always a challenge, but I have realised that I need to find time to explore new things. I am an ex-civil servant with roughly 30 years administration experience, where I have always needed to be methodical and precise in my work and they are hard habits to break. I recently came across this quote by Sir Ken Robinson, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original” and that sums up how I feel, I weigh up what I am going to do and only proceed when I am confident that I can achieve it. This module has given me the foundation of new ideas, processes and technologies but it is now that I need to go away and explore them further.

Finally, this module has given me the chance to meet people from other subject areas and the group presentations were a great opportunity to see how other students would implement what they have learned, which gave an alternative perspective.

2.5D Construction with large CNC machine

I decided that producing a file in Rhino to use in conjunction with the large CNC machine, was a little bit adventurous with my knowledge of the software so far. So with a little help I created a file to cut two large circular frames approximately 4 foot across, rather than a slot together object.

These frames would act like a large embroidery hoop and enable me to stretch a large piece of calico over the frame, as part of my seed project highlighting the issue of the acidification of the ocean.

Scan and 3D Printing with Ingrid Murphy

The group used a combination of Cubify Sense and 123D Catch to scan each other. I used 123D Catch with my partner, which involves taking up to 60 photographs of the subject. It is best to avoid reflective surfaces as this can affect the quality of the scan when the images are linked together. Also you need to be as steady as possible taking the photographs walking around the subject and include angles from above and from below. Once you have the photographs you can upload them to an Autodesk account. This can take a little while to process but soon you will get a 3D scanned image that you can open in software such as Meshmixer, where you can alter or customize you image. You can then upload your image into Replicator G software for printing by Makerbot. See my 3D printed ‘mini me’.

I saw a 3D printed image that had been scanned using Cubify Sense and the quality looked so much better, so I plan to do this process again using the Cubify Sense to compare my results.

Introduction to 2.5D Construction – Jon Pigott

Today was exciting to learn of the potentials of the large CNC machine in the FAB Lab.
Looking online at websites such as there are many files available to download and use to produce flat pack and slot together items.

When using online files you need to consider the thickness of the material they have used and ensure it is comparable with the material you are using as this will effect whether they slot together perfectly or not. The other consideration is the drill bit size as this will produce a slightly rounded edge and you may need a file to make the cut more precise.

The downloadable files are a good starting point they are obviously limiting, but as you gain in confidence you can use packages such as Rhino to produce your own designs. Rhino is industry standard and has the capabilities to be quite sophisticated, so you have to have a good knowledge to use it. However you could use Adobe Illustrator to trace your image into the software and save it as a DXF file. This can then be imported into Artcam for the large CNC machine or Coral draw for laser cutting.

There is a developmental version of Rhino for the Mac which would be a good opportunity to experiment and learn how to create 2D and 3D files.

Another website that is worth a look is

I know that the lack of experience with Rhino will be a challenge, but the potential of this technology is very inspiring, so I intend to explore the opportunities further.