Monday, 22 February 2010

Lapis Lazuli

After researching different gemstones and their symbolism, I've been drawn to the semi-precious stone Lapis Lazuli, mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for over 6,000 years. It can be dated back as far as the times of the Egyptians and I plan to research the different rituals that Lapis Lazuli was believed to be used in.

Catwalk Project

Just had the exhibition for our catwalk project, was it just me or was this one the most stressful one to date?! We had to choose a culture to research and then design an extravagant piece of catwalk jewellery, so I had a look at India. The art of henna is a cultural symbol of love and an old age tradition of aesthetic design. Combined with the rich colours and fabrics often associated with India, it was my aim to produce a selection of quick vibrant bracelets to adorn the wearers' arms in an extravagant and exaggerated way. In the end I made 25 fabric bracelets and 3 arm cuffs made by etching my own henna designs onto copper and brass, and forming into the shape of a cuff using my trusty hammer. We had a big photo shoot at the end of the project, and used some of the photos to display in our exhibition. Here's a few shots of Sana Aziz wearing my jewellery:

I also ended up modelling Colette's head piece, probably because I have the biggest head in our group... She wrapped me in a bed sheet from Primark, kind of felt like I was on my way to a Toga Party, but it was good fun regardless!

Just had the project brief this morning for our next project, Stone Setting. I used to collect old pieces of glass and broken pottery when I went to the beach, and I knew it would come in handy ooooone day! I'm planning to set some of the old glass and perhaps produce a ring for my final outcome, but we'll see where my research takes me. I'll be investigating different stones and their religious/superstitious/symbolic meanings, watch this space...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Design Studies Assignment 2

"Denotation is what is photographed, connotation is how it is photographed." Fiske

For this assignment we were asked to show 4 chosen images to a selection of people and ask them to write a short description of what they think is going on. These are the images me and my group chose:

We were not allowed to ask any design students to help us with the stories so I asked a few friends and family members to help, and here is a few examples of what they came up with.

Neuroscience Student -

It was a dull monday morning, you know the kind. The sun was soo dull and covered by clouds that it looked like the moon. It was the kind of morning where I wished my house had windows, but it only had iron poles framing it. As I left my stone house to walk my dog, John, I thought to myself, "I really wish I had weeded the garden before those branches started growing all over the side of my house and into my glassless windows." John didn't mind though, he dragged me into the forest by his lead and then lay down, not moving an inch. I could not figure out what was wrong with him, it was very out of character. But then I heard a very loud snort and a scream. I turned around sharply. To my astonishment a man had just been thrown off a bull in the middle of the forest. This was not your average Monday morning.

Mechanic Student -

As if my day could get any worse, my dog Stuart, had cut his paw while poking about in a strange, abandoned building. As he lay down in the leaves of the thick forest feeling sorry for himself, I began to feel anxious. The clouds gathered over the sun, casting great shadows over the windowless building, and as my body shivered in the February chill, the sky cracked open into a storm, and I didn't even have an umbrella.

Maths Teacher -

A dog is lying down in a forest, looking up at a full moon, thinking about a bull fight his master was watching on the TV that day.

Music Student -

Here Comes The Sun
At first glance this picture has a slightly dark and almost scary atmosphere to it. However after thinking about it further and incorporating the title given to the picture it makes you think about the peaceful hours of the early morning when the moon starts to submit and the sun begins to rise. It makes you think about what they day will bring and the optimism of new things to come.

When I saw this picture my immediate reaction was to think of someone (the photographer) spying on whoever or whatever was dwelling in the house. I feel that this picture has a subtle darkness to it as the house is overgrown with plants and the window is very small, it makes me think that if there is anything living in the house it is perhaps trapped.

Murphy My Dog
I feel that this picture captures the essence of "Mans Best Friend" as the dog is sitting willingly for the photograph and also looking into the camera. This shows that he must be loyal and trust the owner to listen and pose for the photo.

Bull Riding
This picture has caught the horror of bull Riding as it clearly shows the man being tossed around by the bull. As you can see this in great detail i think this photo depicts the pain that this man must be feeling quite well. Seeing the facial expressions of both gentlemen looking alarmed makes you ask the question Why Do They Do It?

Vet -

My spaniel was lying down in the forest, when for the first time, I noticed his age. His arthritis had become so bad, he could no longer run the length of his favourite walk through the forest without taking a rest. So I sat down next to him and we both looked up at the sky, the blue skies had disappeared and now the sun was hiding behind clouds. We must have been there for hours, because when we both woke up, the moon was full. I had dreamt about a building I used to play in with my sisters when I was little, it didn't have any windows, just holes high up in the walls with bars covering them. We would play cops and robbers, pretending to lock each other in the "cells" when we had been bad. My dog had dreamt that he was watching a bull fight in spain. I thought this was a bit strange, because he has never even left the county.

Midwifery Student -

One night, with the moon shining brightly in the sky, I took my dog, Jasper, a walk in the woods. As we trampled through the forest, we came across a huge building with bars across all of the tiny windows. It looked like a prison, but curiosity got the better of Jasper and he ran inside to take a closer look. The building was empty, except for an old newspaper, with a photograph of a man riding a bull on the front page. Jasper was as unimpressed as me, so we turned from the creepy place and ran home in time for tea!

I found with this assignment that a few people were unwilling to participate, most likely feeling uncomfortable thinking they were going to be "psycho-analysed", and this is understandable considering they weren't really into the creative side of things. However those who did take part showed that although each explanation was different, each contained similarities. For example a few pointed out the sun's resemblance to the moon, giving the dog a name and human characteristics and all produced the same explanation for the bull rider photograph. I found it fascinating that my music student friend went into such a thorough analysis of each photograph, the things she picked up on were typical of an arty student, which makes sense as she is a very creative person. The bull picture was the photograph least likely to encourage my little guinea pigs to use their imagination as its so obvious as to what's going on. It was interesting to see some people creating short stories and others simply describing the photographs on a fairly basic level.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Photograph Assignment

Bit delaaaayed...

For our first assignment of semester 2, we were asked to swap photographs from someones youth that we did not know very well. Currently half way through Sam Gosling's text “Snoop”, I found that it helped me a great deal in analysing the photos I was given. His book gives you helpful hints on becoming a top class “snooper”, teaching you how to get to know someone through the possessions they own, their body language, and other everyday things that previously I wouldn't have paid much attention to. The girl I exchanged mine with provided me with a number of interesting pictures of her childhood, often pictures of herself and a boy I have assumed is her brother. She looks cheerful in them, but not in a “smile for the camera” kind of way, a genuine happiness and innocence associated with most people's childhoods. Gosling's book teaches us about how to detect the “Big Five” dimensions of personalities. These include openness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and concientiousness. I'll use his method of analysis to contribute to my own of these photographs.

In the first photograph, The girl is sitting on top of a gate with another person who is standing. The background shows a farm house in the countryside, which may be her house. Both are dressed warmly in jumpers and jackets, and are wearing sensible shoes for the fields. Her hair is very long and blonde and appears to be looked after very well. Both have rosey cheeks, suggesting that they have been running around and have rested at this wooden gate to take a break from playing. She looks about 11 in this picture. The outdoor setting makes me think that she was active as a child, enjoying the outdoors and fresh country air. The second picture is one of her with a middle aged woman who I assume is her Mother. Her mum is in graduation attyr, holding her degree, and the girl is standing next to her smiling mum, gazing off to her right, possibly because someone else is taking a photograph at the same time. I want to ask her what her mum studied at university and where. I think she is probably about 7 or 8 in this photo, and the fact she has chosen this one shows how proud she is of her mum's achievements, and a strong bond between them. So far, it is clear that family life is important to her and I think they are all very close.

The third picture shoes her and a boy, who I've concluded is her brother, sitting on a mechanical bull. They're probably on holiday as both are wearing shorts and displaying sun tanned skin. Both look like they are hysterically laughing, mechanical bulls are good fun after all. She is sitting behind her brother, and this suggests to me that she is the older of the two, and possibly quite protective of her younger brother, showing compassion and loyalty. Family holidays are always some of the happiest memories, and this picture definitely suggests that this is one of her favoured times. In the next photograph, her and her brother are in the back seat of a car in school uniform. The photograph is taken from the front passenger seat and is unformal and lighthearted. Her brother has a big grin on his face, while her smile is quieter. She appears more laid-back than her brother in this picture, again suggesting that she is the older sibling. She is wearing two clasps in her hair, and looks about 10, showing a change in her interest in personal appearance, as with every girl around this age. Both are wearing the same uniform and I've guessed that she is probably in primary 7 here, perhaps her brother in primary 5. her lighthearted expression and hair clasps convey that she is feeling more responsible now that she is a little older, she appears mature and friendly.