Sharing and Discussing the Sculpting Progress

During a tutorial today I shared the updated vision of the sculpture and discussed why I would like to make it this way.  The solid look I did not like it because it looked too concrete and not so human I guess; the idea to use wire developed in the process of making while I was building the armature and that gave me insight of how it is going to look.

I thought it won’t be able to communicate the idea of the dissolving body, the passing life, the mortality of the human being and on the other side what is left behind him – the things we are creating during our life represent us and serve as mark so other can remember us.

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New Inspirations and Further Alterations

Over a few days I have been watching my creation and did not quite connect with it. Now when I am able to see it from different positions and perspective I am not sure that I like how it looks. What mainly bothers me is its common look, like a souvenir statuette people put on their shelves. It does not have an accent.

Interestingly, ‘intuition begins with the sense that what isn’t yet could be’ which in the craftsperson’s sense of opportunity is in ‘feeling frustrated’. So my disconnectedness is actually a good sign for further progress.

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The Thing as a Being

Here we go! Following from the first sketches and confirming the idea so far during the tutorial few days ago I am finally starting it. Ugh, that is so exciting! And I am glad to be excited as I am aware it is going to have downward moments.

My first steps were to build an armature which I am going to use under the clay – this way I will use less material and the final piece will be lighter. Another good point of building an armature is that it will give me an idea how it is going to look like in the three dimensional space rather than just sketching it on paper.

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Ideas Revising and Setting Realistic Goals

Now when we have finished with our modules, the film festival is over as well as the postdigital exhibition during our media showcase, it is time to sit down and rethink everything about the project so far.

On another meeting with my academic tutor we discussed some of the issues I had in mind. There were some worries about the output of my project mainly around its public distribution. The initial idea was to create the sculpture, make the booklets and present it on a collaborative event, like a workshop, where people will be able not only to explore my work but also to create something by themselves.

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A Time to Create

I am really looking forward to start building my sculpture and working on my handmade booklets; it has been through idea development, topic research, shifting and reshaping, more research, reading and learning, tryouts… and now we are just few months away from the finish line. It is scary, I am not going to lie that I have been hiding behind books because it just seems to be such a big project that I am not sure how to deal with the down sides of it.

Fortunately, the experience I had creating the decoration for the film festival made me consider the importance of action after long planning, drafts, ideas going on and off, there is nothing as important as real dive into the making process. And even when things are not coming out the way I was imagining, it is up to me to refine, change and alter – and this is part of the learning process.

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Crafts as Replacement for the Lack

In the beginning the initial idea of my project was to create a 360 documentary which shows the process of making and people talking about their crafts and why they are doing what they are doing. Because craftsmanship is broad word which include various areas of hand work I needed to narrow it down so it includes only four or five people for example but still cover the essential and important parts.

That is how the idea of ‘alchemy tale’ came to live – my decision was to base the story line on the elements fire, water, air and earth which were going to be represented by techniques or materials each element is involved in the process of creation. At that time, I was interpreting it on very superficial way – fire is involved in wood burning art called pyrography; water is involved in water colouring and especially in the art of marbling – ebru; air is used in the ancient beautiful art technique of glass blowing; and earth is mostly included in modelling and sculpting with clay (and other earth materials).

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Between the Insecurity and the Opportunity

Although I have never written a dissertation I imagine it is different in many ways in comparison to the project I have been working on. I imagine that one who writes a dissertation is aiming to deliver the whole meaning and purpose of it ready for consumption by the one reading it.

But are the words most concrete form of communication? I doubt that the intention we put when saying something is the very same thing that is perceived on the other side; even if one is explaining with examples, generalisations and data there still are subjective factors which are going to influence the understanding in the process of making sense of one’s work.

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The Affective Response in the Process of Making

A recommended reading on ‘Affective methodologies’ by Britta Timm Knudsen and Carsten Stage brought some though material about the affect in contemporary cultural researches and possible new ‘forms of knowing as embodiment’. The attempt to define the challenges the authors start from a statement by Lisa Blackman saying that in contemporary cultural theory, ‘The solidity of the subject has dissolved into a concern with those processes, practices, sensations and affects that move through bodies in ways that are difficult to see understand and investigate.’

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Doing Good Work for its Own Sake

To find out that many scholars use craftsmanship as emblem for professionalism was surprise for me, because I have never before thought about it as something more than just an amateur hobby. In ‘Good Work: The Ethics of Craftsmanship’ Kunneman is explaining the connection between professional knowledge and action and the significance of good work providing Freidson’s definition of professionalism: ‘commitment to a particular body of knowledge and skill both for its own sake and for the use to which it is put – that is to say, commitment to preserve, refine, and elaborate that knowledge and skill, to do good work, and, where is has application to worldly problems, to perform it well for the benefit of others – to do Good Works.’

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To Feel with a Seeing Hand

The sense of touch… even though human beings’ most dominant sense is vision thanks to which we gather around 80% of the information, the sense of touch has deeper engagement with the world around us and most of us will say they would rather believe if they can touch and not only see something.

When exploring the craftsmanship our sense of touch is linked to ‘magical properties’ in the Middle Ages; Christians believe that obsession with material gets the person closer to timeless inner life; the craftsman is also a symbol for enlightenment as he is learning by doing and showing rather than telling. The skills developed in the process of making are difficult for explicit explanation. The unspoken knowledge, also called tacit knowledge, lies on the border line between everyday conscious little movements and routines and unconscious guidance how material should be treated.

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