Field 5: A More Reflective Reflection

TERM ONE

Beginning ‘Virtual Reality’, I was incredibly excited. The module brief described the connection with a student from a university in Egypt. We would set each other a brief and carry it out to deadline, communicating virtually to updated each other on progress with the project and receive feedback. On a personal level, I understood that the main area where I was lacking with my design work was confidence. I felt that this project would be a great opportunity to gain confidence, as I would have to present my own work to a complete stranger, someone who would potentially hate and criticize my work. This is a step I know I will face at some point in the future and so I thought this would be a great chance to gain confidence in speaking, presenting myself and my work and being proud of what I have achieved, as well as taking advice and criticism and changing my work accordingly. I was also excited by the prospect of becoming the client, and giving feedback to someone half way across the world on the work they were doing for me. The module turned out to not be what had been described, and so was rather disappointing, though in turn this taught me skills I was not expecting to gain. I had chosen a module in which I knew no other people nor any of the tutors, and I was ready to step outside of the graphics studio and learn something new.

 

Having completed the project and been completely independent in doing so, I definitely gained skills in doing a lot with very little. My group used our initiative and proceeded with the project with little guidance and were able to complete all of the deliverables and a professional presentation for the formative deadline – something few groups actually achieved. I learnt a lot about culture from working with Egyptian Erasmus student, Mahira. This encouraged me to, in future projects, look outside local trends and venture into other cultures and trends, taking inspiration from a much wider pool of work than I previously have done. In terms of my subject work, this project made me think in much more depth about user experience, as well as using large installations for marketing. Using large and interactive installations gives participants a sense of contribution and the memory to discuss with others, further spreading the message of the original installation. Following this project, I do have more confidence in delivering presentations and presenting my own work. I know I can handle stressful situations and time constraints well and work in a team with complete strangers. Our team worked brilliantly together and we handled every hurdle well. We played to everyone’s skills, utilizing everyone’s strengths within the project. I am thankful for this experience because I got to meet Mahira, who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met and taught me so much about her culture and, in turn, my own.

 

TERM TWO

Second term field was amazing. I decided to choose the Morocco project – somewhere I had never been before but had always wanted to go to. Hearing and reading things about Marrakech made me nervous – just going somewhere with such a stark contrast in culture to my own was nerve-wracking and I was scared to unintentionally offend. However, this was an immersive experience, a study trip to learn about both the culture of Morocco and also my own. Living in the UK and rarely ever venturing further than close European countries, it is difficult to identify my own culture. The project was essentially to learn about another culture; absorb the qualities of Moroccan life and allow the experience to bleed into our work. It was a trip meant to inspire us, inject vibrance and depth into our work and for me, it definitely did. Previous to the trip, we had weekly workshops with Steve creating heat press, silk painting and digital print designs. I instantly loved the heat press and was keen to get back and use it, armed with the patterns I had seen and collected in Marrakech.

My project was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Love Gallery’ at the Majorelle Gardens. This is a room showcasing posters designed by YSL as a New Year gift to his employees. He made one each year, up until his death in 2008. I decided my project would be to make the remaining posters to bring the collection up to present day. YSL’s posters were inspired by things he loved and enjoyed. I decided I would create a series of posters inspired by my time in Marrakech. I worked on the heat press printing some of my designs onto fabric and scanning them onto Photoshop. At the formative presentation, my tutors love my work and suggested I contact the YSL gallery to inform them of the work I had created. I have not yet done this, as my work was not at the standard I wanted it to be at, at the time, though I would like to in the future.

 

I loved second term’s field. I enjoyed meeting and working with new people, learning new skills and applying them to my work and, of course, Marrakech. My work for the subject projects which followed were consequently much more vibrant in colour than I had previously dared to use. I have used a lot more pattern within my work, where appropriate, and am still inspired today by the experience I had and photographs I took in Morocco. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit Morocco and have culturally immersive experiences that I don’t think I otherwise would have had. I loved the freedom that I had with this project, both in Morocco and at home, though I never felt abandoned or alone. I was consistently supported by tutors and given the help I needed when I needed it, and left alone to explore my own ideas when appropriate too. I enjoyed working in an interdisciplinary way. From graphics, there was only myself and one other student, and so I was forced to make friends and socialize in other circles. I learnt a lot from the people on this course – I learnt about digital stitch, fabrics, welding, soldiering, repeat pattern amongst other things. I would like to think I shared some of my knowledge in return.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Overall, my experience of field this year has been positive. I am glad that Morocco came in second term, as I look over the whole year with fondness and it is far enough from first term that I can see positives in Virtual Collaboration. I met and worked with amazing people on both projects and learned a lot about Egyptian, Moroccan and British culture. This has definitely inspired me to use more colour and pattern in my work and to be more experimental. Through both modules I learnt more about my own culture; something which was was hard to identify before having never experienced a culture much different to my own. I learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have had I chosen other projects, such as using the heat press to generate vibrant colour and pattern, digital stitch, silk painting and soldiering. In addition to this, I enjoyed using software I am familiar with for new purposes – I used Photoshop and Illustrator to create repeat patterns to be printed onto fabric. Creating repeat patterns was something I had not attempted before because I had no need to, though I thoroughly enjoyed being experimental with pattern and colour on Adobe software without the pressure of a set brief, as I was allowed to work out my own brief. I hoped to bring the skills I learnt back into my subject work in order to give my portfolio more variety and experimental techniques. When revisiting my branding project, I added more intricate pattern and hand drawn elements, inspired by Moroccan patterns but making them more relevant to the task in hand in order for it to be suitable for purpose. In persuasion, I worked with a charity who lead projects across Africa and South America. Amongst other design based research, I looked into the cultural characteristics of both Africa and South America, in particular the less Westernized and rural tribal villages Size of Wales work with. Taking inspiration from this research, I used hand written typography in a painted style to resonant of the style of writing and painting the tribal families that Size of Wales work with may use. Field gave me a conscious awareness of culture throughout the rest of my projects. Through ‘Virtual Collaboration’ I strengthened my teamwork skills by directing and distributing work roles between our three-person team. In both projects there was a lot of self directed work; this suits me as I am self-motivated and am able to manage my own time. I improved my organization, self motivation and time management further through these projects, as I had a deadline to work towards and had to direct my time myself in order to get the work done. Overall, field taught me that I can handle pressure and work to a time schedule, though I do struggle when given too much freedom to choose a project brief, as there is often too much that I want to explore. I have found this particular weakness in constellation too. Though there were things I would improve about elements of this year’s field module, I enjoyed and learnt a lot from the experience looking back.

 

 

 

Field 5: Reflection

Term One

Beginning ‘Virtual Reality’, I was incredibly excited. The module brief described the connection with a student from a university in Egypt. We would set each other a brief and carry it out to deadline, communicating virtually to updated each other on progress with the project and receive feedback. On a personal level, I understood that the main area where I was lacking with my design work was confidence. I felt that this project would be a great opportunity to gain confidence, as I would have to present my own work to a complete stranger, someone who would potentially hate and criticise my work. This is a step I know I will face at some point in the future and so I thought this would be a great chance to gain confidence in speaking, presenting myself and my work and being proud of what I have achieved, as well as taking advice and criticism and changing my work accordingly. I was also excited by the prospect of becoming the client, and giving feedback to someone half way across the world on the work they were doing for me.

The module was not at all what had been described, and so was utterly disappointing. I felt disheartened; I had chosen a module in which I knew no other people nor any of the tutors, and I was ready to step outside of the graphics studio and learn something new. It had appeared to be an individual project (apart from the Egyptian student) which was something I specifically chose. I could have easily chosen the module lead by the graphic communication tutor, and now wish I had, but I didn’t because I felt that defeated the point of field. Field to me meant working outside your discipline and outside your comfort zone to learn new skills you never would have before. However, this was not at all the case. In terms of working individually, this was incorrect. We spent one whole session being given our groups – two people were missing from mine on the first day and continued to not attend. I ended up forming a group with fellow graphic communication student Connor Redding and Egyptian exchange student Mahira Abd El Ghany, who studies architecture. It was essentially an architecture project, and so Mahira was a godsend. We were expected to be able to use software we had never used, without any inductions or workshops and so there was a lot of teaching ourselves and heaving that work onto Mahira. We learned that we were essentially carrying out a site analysis of a chosen site in Cardiff to send to Egypt. The Egyptian students would then design a piece of art, design, an instillation etc for this site, having never been there. We were told the Egyptian students would be doing the same, and we would design something for their site in Egypt. I could see where ‘Virtual Collaboration’ has come from here, and despite the rocky start I was excited to proceed. We carried out our site analysis over 6 weeks allotted weeks. In all honesty, it took us 2 weeks. Meanwhile, John, our lead tutor, was in Egypt.

Animation tutor Owen took over in John’s absence and was brilliant. We had to fill him in on the brief (and that last 6 weeks of chaos and disorganisation) and he helped us all as if he had been there the whole time. With 3 weeks left until the presentation and formative deadline and no sign of John or contact from Egypt, we visited the architecture department to ask for advice. They advised we send John an email asking for the site analysis from the Egyptian students, and tell him we were going to move ahead of his schedule and carry on, as we were concerned about the remaining time until deadline. Mahira, the Egyptian student and gift from god on our team chose a site in her home place, Cairo for our installation. She described it to us and showed us photos, giving us an amazing insight into the place. John responded to our email saying that it was fine for us to carry on and do our own thing.

We chose two sites from Mahira’s descriptions: one being a bridge over a busy highway in Cairo, the other being a pedestrian only pathway through the stalls and souqs of a touristy region. For the highway, we designed an installation which was textured and coloured blues and greens, so that as you drove past, it looked like a wave rolling up the shore. When speaking to Mahira, she spoke about how this is an incredibly busy road far from a beach. We wanted to bring an element of the beach to this area.

For the walking speed sight we designed an installation in which tourists and locals alike can participate in without leaving a permanent mark. Mahira spoke about how graffiti is treated in Egypt, and how it is far less criminalised than in the UK. She spoke about Egyptian culture and a yearning to leave your mark wherever you go. She also spoke about an obsession with places celebrities have been, for example when Princess Diana visited, there is a mark of remembrance to this day. We wanted to utilise one stone wall along the path and create some sort of situation in which people could print their hand print onto the wall and sign their name. We decided the best option for this was to use chalk. We wanted to use a medium which would wash away in the rain to reveal a blank canvas to be used again by more tourists/locals, so there was always room for more.

With little time left of the term, John posted videos and a map of two sites he visited on his holiday for us to design installations for. Other teams used these however we kept our original sites. We worked as a team to put our presentation together and presented it to John and Owen. We received positive feedback and overall, I felt proud of what we had achieved especially considering the circumstances of the whole project. I don’t feel that I learnt new skills, however I do feel that I applied the ones that I already had to a new kind of project. Our team worked brilliantly together and we handled every hurdle well. We played to everyone’s skills, utilising everyone’s strengths within the project. I am thankful for this experience because I got to meet Mahira, who is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. She taught me a lot about culture, and I think her bravery to come to Wales from Egypt and work on a group project is admirable. Before she left, she gave me a watercolour painting of her home town and a pair of earrings she hand made. I hope I will always keep in contact with her.

Term Two

Second term field was amazing. Through first year, I was torn about choosing to study abroad for a term or a year. For many reasons, I chose to stay in Cardiff, though sometimes I doubted this decision. When the opportunity to travel arose in June of first year, when selecting field modules for the following year, I jumped at it. I decided to go to Morocco – somewhere I had never been before and would perhaps not prioritise as somewhere to go, but had always wanted to. I didn’t know anyone else going, but I signed up for it and told myself I would make friends on the trip.

As it got closer to January, I was terrified. Hearing and reading things about Marrakech made me nervous – just going somewhere with such a stark contrast in culture to my own was nerve-wracking and I was scared to unintentionally offend. However, this was an immersive experience, a study trip to learn about both the culture of Morocco and also my own. Living in the UK and rarely never venturing further than close European countries, it is difficult to identify your own culture. You cannot tell how it differs to other cultures, as you have never experienced any others. The project was essentially to learn about another culture; absorb the qualities of Moroccan life and allow the experience to bleed into our work. It was a trip meant to inspire us, inject vibrance and depth into our work and for me, it definitely did.

The brief was very flexible. We were essentially allowed to create whatever we wanted as long as it was (obviously) relevant to and inspired by somehow, the week in Morocco.

Marrakech was amazing. It was an experience I will never forget. Everything about the whole week was an incredible experience: I met amazing people both on the trip and in Morocco, our hotel was beautiful and we were treated perfectly, the food was delicious, the weather warm and everywhere was stunning.

Upon our return to Cardiff I was completely overwhelmed by the experience – I couldn’t believe I had been! I felt inspired and was excited to get on with the project. Previous to to trip, we had weekly workshops with Steve using the heat press, silk painting and digital printing designs. I instantly loved the heat press and was keen to get back using it armed with the patterns I had seen and collected in Marrakech. My favourite part of the week in Morocco was our visit to the Yves San Laurent Majorelle Gardens. It was one of the places I researched before we want on the trip and I knew it was somewhere I definitely wanted to visit. Everything about the gardens was stunning and it was probably the most beautiful day of the week, which definitely helped. I had heard about the ‘light’ in Morocco and how the light and shade made the colours burst more than they would anywhere else. It was as if Morocco had it’s own type of light that complimented the blue of the house so it just shone, exerting vibrance and colour. I couldn’t believe there existed a paint so blue. I knew I wanted to use this blue in my work. I also fell in love with the idea of ‘The Pink City’. Everywhere we went the buildings were pink. We learnt this was because of the clay used in construction in Morocco. Pink was another colour I wanted to use in my work.

At the Majorelle Gardens there was a small gallery called the ‘LOVE’ gallery, a room showcasing posters made by YSL as a New Year gift to his employees. He made one each year, up until his death in 2008. I decided my project would be to make the remaining posters to bring the collection up to present day. YSL’s posters were inspired by things he loved and enjoyed. I decided I would explore two ideas – a series of posters inspired by an event which represents love from each of the remaining years, and a series of posters inspired by my time in Marrakech. I worked on the heat press printing some of my designs onto fabric and scanning them onto Photoshop. I liked the texture the fabric gave on screen and so kept this within my work.

I loved second term’s field. I enjoyed meeting and working with new people, learning new skills and applying them to my work and, of course, Marrakech. I am so grateful for the opportunity to visit Morocco and have culturally immersive experiences that I don’t think I otherwise would have had. I loved the freedom that I had with this project, both in Morocco and at home, though I never felt abandoned or alone. I was consistently supported by staff and given the help I needed when I needed it, and left alone to explore my own ideas when appropriate too. I enjoyed working in an interdisciplinary way. From graphics, there was only myself and one other student, and so I was forced to make friends and socialise in other circles. I learnt a lot from the people on this course – I learnt about digital stitch, fabrics, welding, soldiering, repeat pattern amongst other things. I would like to think I shared some of my knowledge in return.

To Conclude

Overall, my experience of field this year has been positive. I am glad that Morocco came in second term, as I look over the whole year with fondness and it is far enough from first term that I can see positives in Virtual Collaboration. I met and worked with amazing people on both projects and learned a lot about both Egyptian and Moroccan culture. This has definitely inspired me in my work to use more colour and pattern and to be experimental. Through both modules I learnt more about my own culture; something which was was hard to identify before having never experienced a culture different to my own. I learnt new skills that I wouldn’t have if I had chosen other projects, such as the heat press, and I hope to bring these skills back into my subject work. Through ‘Virtual Collaboration’ I strengthened my teamwork skills my directly and distributing work roles between our three-person team. In both projects there was a lot of self directed work. I improved my organisation, self motivation and time management through these projects, as I had a deadline to work towards and had to direct my time myself in order to get the work done. Though there were things I would improve about elements of this years field module, I enjoyed and learnt a lot from the experience looking back.

 

 

 

Morocco: Updated Material Culture

Having visited Marrakech, I believe Morocco’s material culture is the colours of the clothes worn by women and men, the pink of the buildings and the vibrance of the tiles. The extravagance and detail in the most hidden of buildings makes every turn of the jungle-like souqs a beautiful discovery, stunning architecture scattered between stalls of scarves and carpets and rugs. Morocco’s material culture is in every hand made high quality piece of leather, metal work and stitching. It is in the costumes worn by performers, the tassels upon tassels in every colour from red to purple, the traditional patterns sewn into fabric. It is the henna which decorates our skin and embraces us into the culture and the beautiful women who draw so carefully. Morocco’s material cultural is so vast and vibrant, I believe we only got an insight into it in the week we spent in Marrakech.

Experiencing the complete contrast of culture in Morocco, I realised more about our material culture in a Westernised country. When you are accustomed to certain things and had grown up only knowing your own culture in detail, it is easy to assume you lack a culture, as the things that build your culture are taken for granted and assumed as natural. I would’ve always said our culture is compiled of lots of different cultures as we live in a very multicultural society, however, I believe this is more true of Morocco. Marrakech alone is the home of so many different religions, traditions and cultures living harmoniously with one another, their ways of life completely different but coexisting peacefully along side each other. Western culture is, I believe, a different kind of multiculture. I believe our material culture is made up of a sort of compromise between the many different cultures that inhabit the places we live to form one Western, multicultural society. This is neither completely one culture of another, but the creation of many different cultures bleeding into one another, over lapping, learning and teaching to great one culture with the brilliant elements of each individual one.

The Morocco study trip has taught me a lot. Not just about pattern and colour (which it taught me a lot about!) but also about culture, religion, misconceptions and manipulation of the media, traditions, and a lot about my own culture too. Speaking to people in Marrakech showed me the peaceful religion that is practised out of love and faith, a misunderstood religion of peace completely misconstrued in the media. I learnt that I have a culture by experiencing a different one, comparing the normalities of my own life to the normalities of theirs. I experienced Moroccan, Berber, African, Muslim, Christian and Jewish people coexisting peacefully together, a topic which is so relevant to current affairs and made me realise (further) the hilarity and ridiculousness of the view that these people of these walks of life cannot coexist together. I learnt to appreciate what I have and to take nothing for granted for I am so very lucky to have everything that I do. The Moroccan people we met at the blind school and women’s social enterprise taught me to never give up or allow misfortunes to disable me. I learnt that making things with your hands is still the most pure and beautiful form of creation, imperfection individualising every leather bag, every pained tile, every embroidered scarf. The trip to Marrakech inspired me to travel more, to experience more and to immerse myself in cultures different to my own. It is only through this, I believe, that we can gain a true understanding of an insight into the way people live in different cities of the world to us.

Yves Saint Laurent: Missives of Love

Of the whole Morocco trip, I felt most inspired at the Majorelle Gardens. The vibrancy and diversity of colour and texture was overwhelming to observe; the intensity of the blue and yellow paint of the house almost too difficult to comprehend. This colour and texture is something I was instantly inspired to use more of in my work which is so often monochrome, or a limited palette. Colour can tell stories and send messages just as imagery and symbols do, and this is something I want to begin exploring. Thanks to my research prior to the visit, I knew there was a Berber museum and YSL gallery hidden at the back of the garden amongst the palm leaves. A small room with a wide range of posters from the span of his career, the Majorelle Gardens exhibit some of the posters Yves Saint Laurent sent to employees as a New Year gift, using mainly collage to create them. Like the gardens they are vibrant in colour, using flat shapes and the word ‘LOVE’ with the year of creation on each poster.

Each poster is different, the only theme being that they are inspired by things important to him. Inspired by these posters, I would like to create the ‘LOVE’ posters for the years post the death of Saint Laurent, from 2009 to present year. Yves Saint Laurent encouraged change, and is credited as  introducing the tuxedo suit for women, as well as using non-white models and being a supporter of marriage equality. For this reason, my poster will include topics which address a progression or change in the world, that year, which capture the essence of the word ‘LOVE’ in one way or another. I will experiment with collage, graphics and fabric printing to experiment with this idea.

I have been researching events over the past eight years to include in the poster. My main focus of this project is to experiment with techniques that are unfamiliar to me in order to expand my knowledge of possible techniques of creating vibrant and exciting work. The events themselves are less important, and so I have chosen the ones that I will be using and can now begin experimenting with techniques.

2009 – Barack Obama inauguration: A sign of progression, first black President of the United States. 2010 – Goldilocks zone discovery: a new galaxy with new planets. Advancement in technology and more intelligent insights into space. 2011 – Royal Wedding: a sign of love in front of the whole world. An event which united the nation to come together and enjoy for the pure and innocent reason of love. 2012 – Blackfish documentary: the beginning of lawsuits against SeaWorld to stop the fishing and kidnapping of orcas from the wild for entertainment purposes. 2013 – The death of Nelson Mandela, the appointment of a Pope from outside Europe: progression in all areas of life, the progression of religion. 2014 – Emma Watson’s speech at the UN: a young woman speaking about gender equality and feminism. 2015 – Gay Marriage legalised in USA: a huge progression and change for many people across America. 2016 – the ozone layer begins repairing itself, glasses are created to help colour blind people see true colour, tigers, elephants, manatee numbers go up.

I hope to develop the visualisation of these ideas over the coming week and have outcomes to show in the Pecha Kucha presentation.

Morocco: Where We Went & What We Did!

I am gutted to be coming home. The past week in Marrakech has been constantly exciting, terrifying and, therefore, exhausting. I have had the most inspiring experience immersing myself into Morocco culture, and though I am excited to begin creating work using what I have learnt, I am sad to leave. Marrakech was like no where I have ever been before; every single thing was different. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to visit Marrakech as part of a university module; I am so glad I had the guidance and safety reassurance of tutors and trusted tour guides, as Marrakech can be an overwhelming and scary place. I also made new friends on this trip, whom I have been inspired by and have learnt new things from! Something we all asked each other when leaving was, would we come back? The answer in most parts, perhaps surprisingly was ‘no’. Morocco was an incredible experience that I will never forget, but it was terrifying as much as it was beautiful and inspiring. I also believe no other holiday/experience in Marrakech could be as enjoyable and amazing as the first time, with that group of people, and so to maintain the adoration we all have as first time Marrakech adventurers, I don’t think many would go back.

Tuesday 24th January was the longest and toughest day of the trip. The 3:30am start meant we went 32 hours without sleep – though our journey was only short in comparison to the India trip, it felt long and only made me more nervous. Marrakech airport was beautiful, a sign of what was to come over the next week in Morocco. Instantly it was clear why Marrakech is nicknamed The Pink City, as we found out later thanks to the clay used in construction. Everything was different to home – the clothes, the colours, the wildlife, the plants, the weather! We were warned by our guide about safety, particularly road safety. He told us that the zebra crossings were there just for decoration and not to expect anyone to stop for us if stood at one! It was clear this was a fast paced, beautiful city and we were looking forward to exploring it. On Wednesday we had a full day tour around Marrakech. My favourite part was the herbery, where we had a talk about the different herbs and spices and what they were good for.

Thursday was the day we visited the Marjorelle Gardens and was my favourite. The weather was so hot, sunny and bright, intensifying the colour of the botanical plants and the blue and yellow house. All of the photos were as beautiful as they could’ve been, and the sharp shadows cast through the canopy made patterns on the pathway. Thanks to my pre-Morocco research, I knew there was an Yves Saint Laurent gallery of LOVE posters at the back of the gardens. The posters were created using mainly collage and were inspired by things that were important to Saint Laurent. He used bright colours, making the gallery sit perfectly in the vibrant gardens. He made one poster per year as a New Year present for his employees. The only type on the poster was the word LOVE and the year the poster was created. In the afternoon, we visited the Clock Cafe for a henna workshop. We got to see a mural created by a Cardiff Met student on the wall of the cafe. It featured the phrase “Art changes people, and people change the world”. I loved this phrase and it stayed with me through the trip. This is something that I strongly believe, and would hope applies to my work in the future. I think it is important to use art to change people for the better, so that they can change the world for the better. This is something I would like to explore more in my dissertation. Atira, the henna artist, painted beautiful henna patterns on all of our hands and arms, explaining in arabic what each pattern meant and where it originated from. My favourite was the traditional berber henna meant for brides on their wedding day. It used more square and geometric shapes than other more common hennas using flowers, swirls and rounded shapes.

On Friday we visited Boutique Al Nour, a social enterprise with daycare for handicapped women and their children. The building was brand new and a beautiful space for the women to work in. They hand embroidered clothes and homeware to be sold in the boutique. The women were kind and welcoming, showing us around the centre and telling us about some of the patterns the women sew. The boutique was full of beautiful hand crafted objects to be sold, everything with an individual and unique piece of embroidery on it. In the most case, the fabrics featured tiny coloured circles, adding stunning touches to each garment and making it a one of a kind. A particular item caught my attention; a small bag with the word ‘coexist’ written on it. Each letter of the word was a different symbol representative of a religion, adding meaning to the word itself on the bag. I loved the graphic element of this, giving a real depth to the idea behind the design. This idea of coexisting was something that was evident to me throughout the stay in Morocco. it was made clear to us when we arrived that there were different religions and cultures living harmoniously in Marrakech, Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Berber, Moroccan, French to name a few. We were consistently reassured of the peaceful Islam practised in Morocco, no doubt feeling the need to reassure us because of misconceptions stirred by the media. This idea of coexisting is central to Moroccan culture and was clear to see.

We visited a school for blind and partially sighted children and young adults on Saturday morning. I think this visit was a significant one for many in our group. The excitement and energy of the children in the school was inspiring to see, and they were dying to speak english with us, sing, play instruments and sing. They asked for photos, particularly fascinated with blonde and coloured hair. Some of the children spoke Spanish, which I also speak (some!) from learning it at A level, so it was nice to able to communicate and practise my Spanish too! Afterwards, we walked through the souqs and stumbled upon a Berber tradition which happens once a year when the Berber people bring their cows down to the city from the mountains to skin and tan them. In the afternoon, some of us had a traditional Moroccan hammam which was amazing! I took part in a traditional Moroccan cooking lesson, where we learnt how to cook tagine.

On Sunday, we chose a day trip to the Ourika Valley; a traditional Berber village in the Atlas Mountains, almost completely traditional and untouched by Western culture. We saw argon oil being made and had a tour around a Berber house which was self sustaining, running off the river that flows down the mountain to power a flour mill and fire. We went back to the Clock Cafe for dinner to see a traditional Moroccan music performance. The henna artist from Thursday insisted on doing us all another henna, a completely different but beautiful design and colour. I never wanted it to wash away! On the final night, we had a meal as a group in a beautiful restaurant. There was music and dancing, a much anticipated night of belly dancing! It was the best end to the best week away.

Before the study trip, in a lecture about Morocco in literature, Marrakech was described as a liminal place, neither Western nor African, somewhere undefinable in-between. I found this to be the most perfect description whilst being there – Moroccan culture is a vast and colourful mix of many different religions and cultures, fuelled by the different people of different walks of life that populate the pink homes of Marrakech.

I will miss this view on the roof!!

thumb_img_5997_1024

Morocco: Pecha Kucha Presentation

Below are the slides from the pecha kucha I presented at the end of the Morocco field project. A petcha kucha is a presentation which changes slides automatically after 20 seconds. It is 20 slides long, each slide appearing on screen for 20 seconds. I had never presented a pecha kucha before, and so this was a challenge for me. It was difficult to fill 20 seconds on some slides and difficult to cut down what I wanted to say down to 20 seconds on others.

Alongside my pecha kucha, I gave the following explanation:

Before visiting Marrakech, I didn’t know what to expect. Research only made me more nervous, reading other peoples experiences in the souqs and in the square. With a lack of understanding and experience of the culture of Morocco and the Islamic religion, I was scared to offend. However, upon arriving in Morocco I was pleasantly surprised. Marrakech was full of vibrant colour and pattern, everything I expected and more. Everything was different – everything from food to road safety to clothes to building materials, very little in Morocco resembled home. As Mark said in his lecture about Morocco in literature, it is a liminal place, neither Western nor traditional and so is somewhere in between, undefinable. I found this a good description when I was in Morocco. Before visiting Morocco, I had looked up the Majorelle Gardens and knew it was going to be somewhere I would love. Looking back on the week study trip, the Majorelle Gardens were my favourite. I couldn’t believe the vibrance of the house as well as the botanical plants. The weather was beautiful, making every photograph as stunning as it could possibly be. Having researched the Majorelle Gardens before visiting Morocco, I knew there was a YSL gallery of LOVE posters hidden at the back of the gardens. The posters were New Year gifts to his employees and were inspired by things in his life that he loved. He used primarily collage but also other techniques. Back at home after the Morocco trip I decided to base my project on the LOVE gallery and Majorelle Gardens as this is what inspired me the most and was my favourite part of the trip. In the print workshop, I created my first attempt at silk painting. I copied one of my favourite posters from the LOVE collection using black gutter and pink ink. I experimented with the heat press, my favourite technique from the print workshops. The vibrance of Morocco is something which I would like to attempt to capture in my work, and so the means of print which generates the brightest colour is the one which I will use for some of my posters. Here I have painted patterns similar to those drawn by the henna artists to experiment with colour. This shows the difference in colour between the painting on the paper and the print on the fabric. The inks used for the heat press create the brightest and most vibrant colours of the techniques I have tried, and so I will use this one more in future. I want to use the patterns I have created to design my own LOVE posters covering the years from Yves Saint Laurent’s death until now, 2008 to 2017. I will use a variety of patterns and colours that have inspired me throughout the week long trip to Morocco. I intend on creating them using the heat press and I will also use my photographs taken in Morocco and Photoshop to create others. Here I have scanned the piece of fabric printed I on and I have experimented with the colour balance, hue, saturation and vibrance on Photoshop. The original print was blue and yellow, though I was disappointed with the blue after printing as I was attempting to achieve the shocking blue of the Majorelle Garden’s house. This is the final outcome for one of the posters. This is a scan of the fabric, hence why it is slightly more textured and blurred. I scanned the fabric and adjusted the levels on Photoshop to enhance the colours. I painting the COEXIST design from the bag I bought from the women’s social enterprise. This design is for the year 2017 as the topic of COEXISTING seems a relevant one. Here I experimented with a different print I created. For this I used observations of palm leaves from the Garden’s and printed it onto suede. I played with the colours in Photoshop again but decided the original pink but slightly enhanced is my favourite, sticking to the idea of The Pink City. Left to right is the paper I painting onto, the print onto the fabric and the final outcome. I found a quote from YSL’s lover that spoke of joining him one day under the Moroccan palms. This element of Moroccan nature was obviously important to them both and so I included this quote on the poster. I wanted to create the illusion that the text is underneath the palms with the shadow of the palms resting on top. I hope use hand written calligraphy for this as the project progresses. For this I experimenting with clipping masks on Photoshop to allow the image underneath to shine through the lettering. I wanted the word LOVE and the year to be the only thing here as they are the words essential for the posters. I like how this one looks, as you can only see part of the pattern where the letters allow. I did a similar thing for this one, using the palm leaf print. I think you are able to get an idea of what the image underneath is without seeing the full image. I like the mix of shades of pink, representing the pink city, and the splashes of green and blue which I added when repeating the print. This is a repeat pattern I created on Photoshop using the first print I did using the heat press. I think this print worked well, and I wanted to go on to use it for a poster. I think the red and purple work well here with the white background and so I will stick to these colours for the type. On the left, there are different arrangements of poster using the word LOVE and the year 2010. I experimented with red and purple text over the top, using a font similar to that used throughout Yves Saint Laurent’s work. On the right is the final poster which is my favourite. I used red type on an opacity of 80% so the patterns were visible through the lettering. At the Handicapped Women’s Social Enterprise, I loved the tiny coloured details added to the clothes, most often in the form of small embroidered circles. I wanted to use these colours and the circular shape to create one of the posters. I decided to use the six colours found on this top in particular – red orange yellow green blue purple. These are the icons I created for this poster. I used my own photographs from Morocco, choosing elements of photographs that had a lot of pattern. The photographs feature walls, gates, floors, archways, and doorways in Marrakesh. I adjusted the colour levels to get the desired colours. These posters show arrangements of the coloured circles with the word LOVE and the year 2015. My favourite is the blue circle, hence why it is the largest. It was taken from an archway in Marrakesh. The colour change emphasizes the highlights and shadows created by the sun in the photograph, also featuring elements of pink. I used the whole photo in the middle poster. The study trip to Morocco was an amazing experience and has inspired me to use more colour and pattern in my work. I know that my experiences will flow through my subject work, Moroccan influences hopefully being evident in my next project.

Slide01Slide02Slide03Slide04Slide05Slide06Slide07Slide08Slide09Slide10Slide11Slide12Slide13Slide14Slide15Slide16Slide17Slide18Slide19Slide20

Morocco: Print Workshop

Today we had a print workshop in which we were introduced to 3 print techniques using fabric: silk painting, painting onto paper and printing onto fabric and dyeing fabric. My favourite was the printing onto fabric, and I feel this came out the best. Once the demonstration was done, we had complete freedom to create whatever we wanted within the size restrictions. I decided to create something using patterns which I imagine I will see in Morocco, reminiscent of henna and the ceramics I have seen in photographs, as well as using elements of the beautiful plants and flowers which thrive in the botanical gardens. I used red and purple paint onto A4 paper, before printing it using the extremely hot machine to transfer the print. I am extremely happy with how it turned out and will definitely return to print in the future in subject. I am excited to see what ideas I have and what I can create after I have been to Morocco and seen the world of colour and pattern there.

img_5444