On the 8th April I went to a craft fair/show at the ExCel Centre where I was introduced in to lots of new mediums and processes within craft that I could potentially use within my practise. There was also a show on, named ‘Yarnia’ which involved a set from ‘The Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe’ series completely made from fabric and craft related mediums.
The key achievements of your work on the unit:
In Unit 7 I have been able to practise more with plaster casting using alginate. With practise, I have been able to develop my skill in this and learn how to avoid air bubbles and how to fix/fill them if little ones appear. I have also been able to practise embroidery by stitching quotations in to canvas. However, I felt that my main achievement with help from the Unit 8 Context essay was more in-depth and relevant research. I have been able to find artists whose work I really admire and take inspiration from, and communicate things how I desire to, as before I was finding it difficult to explain and communicate the context of my practise.
The most useful things you learnt:
I think the most useful thing I have learned in this unit is how to avoid mistakes in casting, or fixing them appropriately when they do occur, as not all fault can be initially avoided. I have also learned that stitching in to canvas is not ideal, as it easily tears when you stitch back in to a previous stitch. Furthermore, researching in the Pattern & Decoration Movement has been extremely useful in my practise, and taught me of various mediums artists have used and combined with craft, and how it can be done.
The issues you found challenging and how you set about overcoming them:
At first I found casting my own foot by myself was going to be too much of a challenge without a second pair of hands. I almost attempted it by myself but luckily didn’t have a space large enough for my foot. I overcame this by booking a session in the casting studio where technicians were at hand to help me out of the cast and also aid me with practical advice on avoiding air bubbles and how to fill them in afterwards. Another challenging aspect of the unit was spray painting my casted feet. As I wanted to paint them all over, paint from parts of the foot kept peeling off on to my fingers as I had to build up the colour with multiple thin layers of paint. So, adjusting the position of the foot was tricky however I managed to overcome this slowly by building up the layers of paint.
List what you now consider to be the main areas of development that you intend to focus on in the next unit:
In the next unit I hope to move from plaster casting in to something along the lines of bronze casting or using the metal workshop to work with different materials to make sculptures. I intend on keeping my work 3D as I enjoy the physicality of that aspect. I wish to practise my embroidery more over the summer so that my text is more fluent and consistent. This can be helped by using aida rather than stitching in to canvas, this way I am able to count my stitches and maintain the text to a certain size.
Jamie McCartney cast the vaginas of over 400 female volunteers. Ranging from twins, to post-natal mothers, transgender woman, aged from 18-65. He says the artwork was an attempt to beat ‘body fascism’ and fight against what women grow up and are told what they should look like, and what is ‘normal’ which unfortunately has led to a rise in vaginal cosmetic procedures.
Throughout research I have discovered that exploiting genitalia in art, female genitalia in particular, can potentially cross a very fine line. For example, Chicago’s ‘Dinner Party’ was criticised as ‘3D pornography’ and maintained an ‘essentialising, passive nature’ (Jones, 1996). Anish Kapoor unveiled a statue in the Palace of Versailles gardens was informally dubbed as the ‘queen’s vagina’ and was vandalised once in June, then cleaned, and again not long after. After the second time Kapoor demanded the graffiti remains how it is “to bear witness to hatred”. Alongside this controversy of female genitalia, Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi was put on trial in April 2015 for a sculpture of a kayak based on her vagina. The only thing that comes to my mind reading up on the controversy of exploiting the female body is why? Why are the public so prejudice and concerned by a part of the human body which welcomes them in to the world? Nevertheless, Jamie McCartney’s piece has received positive feedback and reception, with women from all over the world making contact with him for his next upcoming projects. He has developed the ‘Great Wall of Vagina’ in to projects where he has cast penises and breasts as well as vaginas from all over the world, he demonstrates there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way that your body should look like.
Valerie Jaudon’s contribution to the P&D movement generally took inspiration from patterning from Islamic tiling and Turkish embroidery. Her paintings represent symbols from different parts of the world, using oil paint and canvas/linen. She has also made numerous public art pieces including ‘Measure for Measure’ in the Stadel Museum, Frankfurt.