Photography 4

We learnt about light meters, aperture and shutter speed and how that affects the picture by letting in a certain amount of light resulting in the picture being under or over exposed. I found it very fiddly and time consuming for by the time you have the camera at the correct setting the subject, i.e. a bird would have moved away from view meaning the shot was lost. The next stage I enjoyed more which was developing the negatives, first getting the film out of the camera in the dark room then using developer stop bath and fixer.
However when it came to developing the negatives again I didn’t enjoy it as much for there were too many variables that could and did go wrong, for example the exposure time and focus. We used an enlarger with the magenta setting at 100 and tested the exposure time by covering the paper and exposing it for 2 seconds moving the board back every time to see which time would be best. Then I developed them, but despite my knowledge of the technique most photographs were unsuccessful.Nonetheless I did have some successful outcomes, when I experimented with the exposure times and creating a border around the photograph. However as I wasn’t able to focus them properly most of the time the photographs appeared blurry.
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Textiles 4

Yet again I did some more research this time in applique, colour theory and dying- hurray no more artists research!
In terms of applique I looked at the different types such as straight stitch, satin stitch and reverse applique and for my final piece I decided that straight stitch would be the easiest and more achievable than the others. Afterwards I looked at colour theory because I wanted to try to create a sense of harmony between the colour of the fabric I was appliqueing and the thread I was using, having learnt how to create harmony through analogous (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel) or complimentary colours (colours that sit opposite the colour wheel) I chose to use a combination of the two in my final with orange thread for yellow fabric (analogous) and complimentary (black and white). Finally I looked at dying and the different types, unfortunately when it came to do some samples the fabric which I used had a finish on it resulting in the dye being uneven- nonetheless the purple one would have made a fantastic shirt!
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The only thing left to do now was to make my final piece (which if I am going to be honest with you isn’t going to happen in time as been too busy writing everything up and finishing design sheets). I coloured in my pre-outcome with the colours I wanted the final to be, but to get it from a different perspective I photocopied the paper and set it to negative, didn’t like the colour change and so stuck with the original.
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Photography 3

Look at some artists this week. First I looked at Herring and Herring ( ( who are photographers Dmitiri Scheblanov and Jesper Carlsen and continuously pushing the boundaries of story telling through an ever expanding visular vernacular. I like the contrast between black and white as well as the models and content.
I also looked at Rick Castro ( ( whose work explores the world of fetish and fringes of sex culture. As a reaction against fashion and the restrictions the industry demands his photography still was severe- a combination of hard documentary fetish and nudes. He stated that “I CONSIDER MYSELF A FOLK ARTIST, BECAUSE MY WORK IS MADE FOR, A CREATED WITH A KINDRED GROUP. I FIND MY SUBJECTS FASCINATING AND BECOME OBSESSED WITH WANTING TO KNOW ALL ABOUT THEM”- perhaps I could photograph people doing what they really want to do.
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I want to explore people’s ids and egos and photograph it- but then again finding models is always a problem…
In other news I have finish my little video, unfortunately I got bored and annoyed of taking photographs every hour that I was awake so I didn’t have as many photographs as I wanted and the video is only 47s. In terms of the audio I recorded a conversation between my mother and me i.e. something mundane. I liked this idea of making the mundane (such as a conversation or my life or that of my family) seem glamorous through paparazzi photography which is associated with glamorous people.
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time or the opportunity to video tape myself every 2 hours for a week, which I regret as I thought that this would be a bigger invasion of my privacy than the photographs were.

Drawing 4

Today I got back into the swing of life drawing, this time under the instruction of Ian as Collin was ill. We put a charcoal base down allowing us to add darker tones with the charcoal as well as create lighter tones with the rubber- as usual it was a messy business. However the first drawing I did I found successful as it was in proportion, I looked at the negative space and tonally sound yet I would like to have had more time to do the feet and some of the facial features.
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My second picture I focused more on the plains of the body and getting areas of tone down, Ian preferred this one as did I. I focused more on the negative space and again would have like to have but some details on the face. Maybe could put these in my portfolio.
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Textiles 3

Right sorry I haven’t blogged for a while but have been on holiday in Edinburgh. I thought I would start with the work I did the week before which was a drapery challenge. This time our dress was based on a building in Birmingham and we chose the Selfridges building- we automatically picked out the circular discs and curvature of the buildings. We added volume at the bottom of the dress to mimic that curvature and we also cut out a slice of the dress on the torso to mimic the entrance of Selfridges.
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However if we had more time I would liked to have covered the entire dress and also make the circles more uniform rather than different shapes and sizes.
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I also did A LOT of research on artists and techniques. At the recommendation of my teacher I looked at William Hogarth and his “A Rake’s Progress” (’s_Progress) in which he did a series of paintings looking at the social mobility of Tom who comes into his father’s money and loses it twice and eventually becomes mentally insane. This ties in nicely with my original research on class as well as Grayson Perry’s tapestries which were in fact influenced by these exact paintings. I like the idea of tracking one guy on his journey, perhaps I could show one traveler going through the whole of the West Midlands- however again I feel I would be copying Grayson Perry.
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I also looked at Emily Eibel ( who uses applique technique to explore dark themes developing a contrast between the traditionally innocent technique and its content. I loved this technique for it seemed simple, quick and effective all of which traditional tapestry cannot provide me.
Rosie James ( is another artist I looked at who takes her point of reference from crowds and large gatherings of people. Photographs are used to still movement and to reveal detail she then sews these drawings onto fabric using a sewing machine, using transparent fabric and leaves lose threads, thus revealing and celebrating the process.
I liked this technique a lot and want to use this for the crowds outside the Bullring Shopping Centre- I took some pictures of crowds and want to try this technique.
I looked at Orly Cogan ( who created very intimate works inspired by her personal relationships, what drew my to her work was the technique rather than the thought provoking feminine content. I love how well she embroiders details and wish to replicate that.
Blackwork ( was another technique I liked to try, brought over by the Spaniards and Catherine of Aragon it was used to embellish shirts, collars, cuffs etc. The thread is black and uses geometric patterns on white fabric to create these designs which I tried out with little success:
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I wasn’t sure I was to incorporate this into my project until I looked at Charlene Mullen (!about) who uses the technique to develop landscapes with pleasing simple shapes of her geometric designs. This made my think I could use this technique for some of the buildings in Birmingham such as the new library or the Ferris wheel.
Finally I looked at Embroidery ( and its history, and use across the world from Medieval Islamic countries ro China and Europe. Surface embroidery techniques such as chain stitch and couching or laid-work are the most economical of expensive yarns while canvas work techniques in which large amounts of uarn are buried on the back of the work use mroe materials- I was fascinated by all the different stitches and there uses. I tried to look at old embroidery such as the Bayeux Tapestry ( which has been reworked and how the techniques have stayed the same when looking at modern embroiderer such as Nathan Hanford.
After researching I gave hand embroidery a go, trying out buttonhole, french knot, feather, fly and stem stitch. When trying out these stitches I found threading difficult as well as keeping the stitches consistent.
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Next I looked at machine embroidery, how it works and the different types such as Free-Motion and how it has become more computerized as digitalized embroidery design files came into existence. Then I looked at Angie Hughes ( who creates mixed media works with heat transfer foils and layered organza which didn’t appeal to me.
Like hand embroidery I tried out machine embroidery, experimenting with different stitches, lengths and settings on the machine. I came into some difficulty when I ran out of thread on the bobbin and when the thread snapped (twice). However this was easier and did’t take as long as hand embroidery therefore I feel that machine embroidery will be best suited for attaching fabrics together whilst hand embroidery can be used for detailing.
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Finally I looked at Sue Hotchkins who uses textile print to create metallic looking fabrics. I liked how she made one thing look like another. I found an interview of her and found that she “treasure[s] imperfections” which I dont personally. Nonetheless I admire her skill. I don’t think I will however use printing for my final outcome.

Textiles 2

Helen wasn’t in today and had set no cover work so we were at a bit of a loss for the most of the lesson until Colin came in saying that we should do some sketches for our initial designs.
Unfortunately I had no primary images to work from, as needed photos of the buildings, people of Birmingham etc so I managed to talk my way into going into the centre of town for 3 hours to take pictures (and buy this amazing top in Cow for £20!). I took photos of all the landmarks: Selfridges, Bull, Rag Market, Food Market etc. However as I took more and more pictures it was the people who fascinated me more and more and what they were doing. I kept finding people together or going about their daily business and want to include them into my final piece:
This fixation on people made me think about the composition of the piece, I began thinking of placing a friend and me at the foreground having coffee while Birmingham is behind us perhaps?
From these photos I have done a few sketches but need to do more. I want to photocopy them, cut them out and place them on an A1 card for future reference of the composition.
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In the afternoon we had another cover teacher and she suggested that I should research into Timorous Beasties who are a design company based in Glasgow and work in a variety of media ( What struck a cord with me was their wallpaper which through the reference to images of the cityscape, they have articulated an exclusively urban genre focusing on the under belly of urban social realism.
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Photography 2

Yet again our teacher wasn’t in so we had Mara. Today we began developing our film which we took the week before (plan to go into that in more detail next week). and we focused on Photograms and experimenting with them. 

First I did some research into Photograms ( and found out that they are essentially cameraless photographs in which objects are placed on light sensitive paper and then a light is shone above them leaving an outline of the object. Depending on the object’s distance to the paper their shadows look harder or softer. We placed the objects on the paper and exposed it to the light for 10 seconds. However I found that the outcome was as clearly defined as I would like, yet I did like some of the detailing on the cone and pine cone:
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Third attempt I exposed the paper for 20 seconds but this too was unsuccessful for the long exposure time allowed the light to reach underneath the objects therefore no outline could be seen. I began then to experiment with the objects, I placed two jam jars side down on the paper and placed 2 pines cones in them hoping that the outline of the jam jar could be seen along with the cone. Unfortunately this too was unsuccessful as the light went through the jam jars and I believe refracted meaning that the cones could not be seen either
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My final attempts I think were my most successful as we can seen an outline on most of the objects. The top photogram is smoking paraphernalia: lighter, cigarette, cigarette packet and a random pen. I like the detailing on the cigarettes where you can see the filter etc as well as the curvature of it, I also like the detailing on the side of the cigarette packet where you can even read Malboro. The second photogram is office equipment: scissors, compass etc. I don’t like this photogram as much as there isn’t as much detailing in the previous photogram.
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I like the process of photograms but I doubt I will use it for a final piece for I am not sure how I will convey the idea of id/ego, public/private through the medium.
I have also finished my first week as a paparazzi photographer, my family absolutely hated it but I have about 50 photos which I plan to print out onto glossy paper and write tabloid headlines (rather than the blog idea). Here are a selection of the photos:
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Now I am taking a picture of myself every hour on the hour for a whole week. Originally I planned to print them all out and collage them however I am now thinking that I will make a video out of them which I will post on YouTube for your viewing. My only concern is the audio, but I have a whole week to think of a song to go with the photos, will also depend on the length of the video etc. Next week I plan to film myself for 2 hours a day at different intervals, edit the footage and again will have to think of the sounds…