OCA Textiles 3 Sustaining My Practice- Part 2-Making Connections

Assignment 2-Exercise 4 Initial Project and Exhibition Plan

Gillian Morris Student No. 511388

Exhibition Reviews- Made in Italy – MITA Textile Design 1926–1976 in an Exhibition Format as part of my research file https://www.widewalls.ch/magazine/mita-textile-design-exhibition-miami

OCA Preliminary Project Title- Transitions- Recovery and Repair from Crisis: A Visual Account of Mental Distress

Name-Gillian Morris

Introduction

Background Outline -Proposed Project of Work and the Related Exhibition

I aim to utilise eight vintage linen bedsheets as the material basis of the creative work. Each bedsheet will be dyed varying shades of grey to match grey matter which is abundant in the cerebellum, cerebrum and brain stem and represents the core sites of cognitive functioning, information processing through neural connectivity. The original artwork for this proposed project work stems from research on neuro-networking from neuroimaging techniques to illustrate human identity and sense of self at its most intrinsic level. Six vintage linen bedsheets will be screen-printed whole, and two bedsheets will be used for the sampling processes through a process of building up layers of print to explore meaning and demonstrate emotion, one series of three bedsheets will represent crisis with print while the other series of three bedsheets will represent repair and recovery through print and stitch. The six whole linen bedsheets will be wall mounted as well as framed as a space to walk through and fully inhabit to interact with within the exhibition space.

What is the focus or subject for the work and why?

The material use for this creative work stems from the environment and embedded meaning from my family’s generational involvement in the manufacture of linen. The creative process centres upon my own identity and my family’s long held traditions of professional engagement within adult mental health. I am a psychologist and I wish to fully communicate such experiencing at an emotional visual level. I am interested in expressing and evoking basic human emotions concerning distress throughout my print work so the audience can experience something of what it means and feels like, to capture the essence of crisis, of the mental unravelling of one’s sense of self. To challenge societal constructs of mental ill-health, to normalise distress given the rudiments of bias, stereotyping, prejudice, alienation, isolation, disconnection, discrimination, and trauma. To showcase the natural consequences of negative labelling and attribution which apportion much of the blame and responsibility onto the individual and away from societal, economic, political, and cultural domains.

How does it build from previous work?

This current creative process builds upon what went before using screen-printing processes including the related skills and techniques, using natural reused materials like linen from different sources with different meaning and intent. There is continuing intuitive relating with the materials in creative process, to respond to how the materials react. There is an ongoing focus to work in environmentally supportive ways which ensure that waste is minimised. The provenance of the materials continues to be prioritised, of only sourcing used materials to maintain their life and to emphasise their worth and value through repurposing and reclaiming from everyday use. Such materials like vintage linen continue to link with the narrative, of the strength, resilience, and robustness of vintage linen, of its prior repair and its continuing capacity to be repaired, to be mended for ongoing use.

How does it fit with current practice and trends, or offer scope for innovation?

Within the realms of contemporary art, I am using more of myself emotionally through personal expression to increasingly challenge the status quo, to address and respond to how mental distress is viewed, to raise awareness to generate discussion, to re-evaluate and reinterpret to help foster change in how dysfunction is perceived, to move towards telling a story which can be readily heard and responded to, for the audience to see and understand, to convey something which is important and meaningful through my creative process. The proposed project of work and related exhibition offers a new way of relating with the experience of mental health and ill-health to fully engage emotionally within a more immersive process.

What is the scope and possibility for presentation and exhibition?

There are a wide range of possibilities given the overall narrative, scale of the creative process and the project of work. It is hoped that Wasps will help to support the exhibition as large exhibition spaces are available for hire throughout several of their sites across central Scotland which would most appropriately showcase my work. I am increasingly interested in extending my capacity to communicate such themes, to reflect at depth on how best to communicate this narrative given its overall importance, to promote increased audience participation, understanding, engagement, and interaction with audio, video, psychoeducation, resourcing, and related information which will be integrated within the exhibition.

Aims and objectives

What do you aim to achieve in the creation of the work?

I aim to achieve creative work of aesthetic value but more than that I wish to showcase my work to elicit a response from the audience. I want to use this proposed project of work and related exhibition as a means of personal expression, to communicate, evoke and challenge, to make commentary through the created visual dialogue, to evidence a narrative, a story of connected events, of using my own experiencing to help engage and connect, to complete thought provoking work which can affect perception and opinion on the topic under investigation.

What are your objectives for the promotion and exhibition of you and your work?

I see the promotion of me and the exhibition as another creative activity and a priority objective as appearance and presentation are prerequisites for sustaining my creative practice. This exhibition represents who I am, my creative practice with its attached meaning so it is vital that I get myself known and that I am seen as original and unique, to network to establish and extend professional relationships. I aim to produce professional web-based images, business cards and postcards for use at the exhibition. I aim to produce a quality artist statement, one-page curriculum vitae, promotional flyers with related literature for the audience to get to know me and my work, to produce added interest in what I am doing and why. I will promote the exhibition space and use imagery from creating within the adjacent studio space at Hanson Street Studios to make myself and how I work more known to others.  I will use social media including Facebook, Instagram, and my online blog/website to promote the exhibition online. I aim to make a brief video for my blog/website to encourage increased promotion and sharing on social media. Marketing statements will be developed for press/media releases, leaflets, brochures, etc will be completed for galleries which focus on the relationship between theme, materials, techniques, and style. I aim to continue to develop online portfolios.

How will the project and the exhibition contribute to your ability and ambitions to sustain your practice?

Every effort will be afforded to attract as wide an audience as possible through the distribution of additional invites to a range of galleries, gallery outlets, curators, private collectors, and other interested parties beyond what the Wasps promotional strategy entails. It is hoped that such an opportunity can be fully capitalised upon to increase the scale of interest in my creative work. I hope to produce hand printed or digitally printed invites for the exhibition, to offer access to my artist statement, to make available postcards of my work and related information will be supplied about the work within the exhibition through audio, video and in writing. Data capture systems will be developed for the exhibition for feedback purposes and for anyone interested in my work to leave their details securely for future follow up and continuing contact. I aim to design and print sufficient business cards to be taken away, circulated, and used.  

Content

Write down your thoughts for the ideal project you would like to undertake at the moment.

I would like to utilise eight vintage linen bedsheets as the material basis of the creative work. Each bedsheet will be dyed varying shades of grey to match grey matter which is abundant in the cerebellum, cerebrum and brain stem and represents the core sites of cognitive functioning, information processing through neural connectivity. The original artwork for this proposed project work stems from research on neuro-networking from neuroimaging techniques to illustrate human identity and sense of self at its most intrinsic level. Six vintage linen bedsheets will be screen-printed whole, and two bedsheets will be used for the sampling processes through a process of building up layers of print to explore meaning and demonstrate emotion, one series of three bedsheets will represent crisis with print while the other series of three bedsheets will represent repair and recovery through print and stitch. The six whole linen bedsheets will be wall mounted as well as framed as a space to walk through and fully inhabit to interact with within the exhibition space.

What do you plan to do within the confines and parameters of the project? In other words, what is your brief for the work?

Target- To complete the proposed project of work and to organise and put on an exhibition involving the proposed project of work using full sized printed vintage linen bedsheets with stitch.

Objective-To create three large scale printed vintage linen wall hangings that visually represent the theme of mental crisis and distress. To also create three large scale printed, damaged, and sewn vintage linen ceiling hangings that visually represent the theme of mental recovery and repair.

What are you planning to learn or introduce in the new work and its exhibition?

I now wish to increasingly integrate hand stitching to the surface of dyed cloth however not to embellish for its own sake for decorative purposes in isolation but rather to illustrate different types of experiencing and different emotional states of distress and repair, from splitting and rupturing to mending, strengthening and recovery, to consolidate and increase resilience through traditional sewing stitches. With such experiencing drawn from the emotional engagement within therapy processes such a felt sense has been used to create and relate using hand screen printing and sewing processes.

What is the context for your work and who is your audience?

This exhibition represents my degree show, my final year of work so I wish to communicate the context in which I work and live based upon who I am as a person and psychologist through material relating concerning the environment and embedded narratives using reclaimed vintage linen. Integrated within this is my experience and understanding of mental distress through to recovery and repair which is examined through and within the cloth emotionally and visually.

The key feature of any marketing plan to promote events is to identify who my audience is, then to decide how to communicate with them. Wasps have between 900-1000 creatives using their studio space who will automatically be informed of the exhibition and my work through Wasps own promotional strategy. That said it is hoped that I can be involved with what is communicated with others at the earliest opportunity, to draft my own script. Also, I wish to lead my own promotional strategy concerning content, to ensure I am promoted appropriately alongside my work. My audience will be developed as I become more known but first, I need to become known so the 900-1000 creatives within Wasps will help through sharing information about me and my work with others given my emphasis on making unique pieces of textile art using print, weave and/or stitch which will hopefully attract private collectors. I aim to exhibit more widely so expect to link in with galleries, gallery owners, curators, textile art collectors and membership organisations to develop my audience. Since I also wish to specialise in interiors for residential and commercial premises  I aim to liaise with a range of sources, agencies and companies concerning project work, open calls, and commissions through direct contact, specialist websites like AXA Directory, Design Nation, https://blog.theexhibit.io/for-artists-and-curators/  as well as others… https://artcuratoronline.com/   https://www.curatorspace.com/   I will engage with public bodies including the NHS as my textile art is well placed for public spaces and buildings like hospitals and health clinics. Connecting with specialist concerns which are environmentally-based and commercial businesses/outlets could extend opportunities including commissions for corporate headquarters, conference suites, exhibition centres, etc. 

Who is your work directed towards?

My work is directed to the wider audience including those that visit the exhibition and those that see the exhibition via social media. I hope to evoke a reaction through my work in relation to my embedded narrative, visual imagery and material relating. I hope to attract a continuing interest in my work, to create and maintain an audience and to develop a customer base that will want to share my work and to purchase my work. I hope through the scale of original artwork undertaken, of using traditional techniques to imbue historical/archival materials with meaning, which is loaded with memory, with the use of pulled and stretched threads to stress the cloth and to cause tension to repair and to make more robust… the story can be readily heard, seen, and felt.

What type of format, venue, and/or location is appropriate and desirable to you for exhibition?

Wasps Hanson Street Studios, 77 Hanson Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow G31 2HF Glasgow. A former tobacco factory, Wasps’ largest building was redeveloped in 2001 to become Scotland’s first purpose-built studio and events complex for up to 200 artists each year. The complex has excellent facilities including: 77 studios ranging from 175 sq ft to 1000 sq ft and a 4000 sq ft Project Space https://www.waspsstudios.org.uk/spaces/artist-space/hanson-street-studios/

To hold the exhibition with the support of Wasps would be my first preference. Wasps currently house over 900 professional artists, makers, and creative industries organisations at 20 different sites across Scotland including Glasgow. All artists are regularly offered a range of support including exhibiting and selling opportunities through maker’s markets and art fairs. Wasps staff have extensive experience and expertise organising exhibitions on their sites and usually help tenants and students with the promotion of their exhibitions through their range of online and offline marketing options. Many of my favourite artists are housed within the Wasps studio complexes as it is a significant organisation for supporting artists in Scotland. That said I hope to apply for use of their exhibition space at Wasps Hanson Street Studios in Glasgow given it overall suitability, size, scale and on-site support. I am currently waiting to hear from Wasps concerning availability given the ongoing use of different Wasps sites for the Glasgow School of Art Alternative Degree Shows.  

Wasps mission is to provide space and support activities in which creators can prosper. Wasps vision is to be an inspirational home for creative practice. Through activities and advocacy, they continue to deliver affordable spaces in which the broad artistic community can realise and share its talent and skills. Wasps believe that art can inspire, entertain, educate, and transform people’s lives. Artists and arts charities have the unique talent and ability to create great art that can do this however many survive on low incomes and struggle to make ends meet. So, Wasps was set up to provide good quality, affordable studio space to enable artists and creative organisations to carry out their work.

Wasps Hanson Street Studios 4000 sq ft Project Space which is often used for degree shows https://www.waspsstudios.org.uk/spaces/artist-space/hanson-street-studios/

How to frame textile art will continue to be researched as the benefits from appropriately presenting my textiles cannot be underestimated.  As stated by Anne Kelly, co-author of ‘Connected Cloth’ with Cas Holmes it is always important to stress (when framing textile art) that your work should be hung away from moisture and direct sunlight, as you would always do for any artwork. The presentation of your finished work is critical to the public perception of you as a textile artist. If your work is beautifully presented, potential purchasers are more likely and able to envisage it in their own surroundings and are more able to appreciate the work itself.  https://www.textileartist.org/displaying-and-hanging-textile-art/

Eszter Bornemisza (2013) Detail from Lung of the City showing a fragment of the Budapest map in growing scales. This wall hanging illustrates options for textiles especially when larger and heavier in construction. Installation at Festival of Quilts July 2013, NEC, Birmingham.
Eszter Bornemisza (2013) Lung of the City. This installation consists of three floor-to-ceiling open panels behind one another, showing a fragment of the Budapest map in growing scales. Installation at Festival of Quilts July 2013, NEC, Birmingham.

Since it is my intention to free-hang my textile art from the ceiling as well as to create wall hangings further research is required into how best to do this with large scale heavy vintage linen bedsheets. If my work is free hanging it will need to be securely fastened to a wall or overhead support. Anne Kelly stated that this can be done effectively using fishing line, which is available in a variety of strengths. When hanging textile art, the line can be attached to a vertical support which is suspended through my work to ensure that it hangs straight. A placket or narrow pocket running through the back of my piece can include a flat piece of wood or plastic, which can then be strung up using the fishing line or electrical cable. https://www.textileartist.org

Cas Holmes (2009) Imperfect Plant. Installation of six panels in exhibition Natural Histories at the Farnham Maltings and touring in 2010. 230cm x 60cm x 6 panels

Promotional strategy

Where will you begin with your promotion strategy? 

Wasps staff will support with the promotion strategy as they promote widely all exhibitions which are undertaken on any of their sites which will include their website, social media platforms and weekly digital newsletter which is circulated to all Wasps tenants, artists, creatives, businesses as well as all relevant public and private art agencies and organisations which also promote such exhibitions on their own websites and social media platforms like Creative Scotland, Craft Scotland, Scottish Contemporary Art Network, etc. Additional press release will be formulated in advance of the exhibition to advertise the event and circulated to the target media.

In what ways do you plan to communicate your work

The textile work will be hung on walls and from the ceiling to best communicate my work and to facilitate a fully immersive and engaging process. I aim to use audio and video to further enhance the meaning of my creative work, to fully communicate what I want it to say so it can be heard, felt, and responded to by the audience.

Schedule

I am in the process of formalising my schedule dependent upon the availability of Wasps exhibition space which has yet to be confirmed. I aim to complete a detailed schedule which envisages the division and allocation of time between now and the end of my course which is anticipated to be January 2022.

Recording the process

Plan for the recording and evidencing of as many aspects of your project as possible.

I have started to compile a plan to record the exhibition although Wasps staff also like to record and photograph exhibitions to promote the event to wider audiences and to support artists. I aim to record the exhibition and to take photographs of the creative work in situ myself before it is open to the public. I also plan to recruit my partner to make recordings throughout the duration of the exhibition to fully evidence the exhibition itself and audience participation and engagement given his relevant experience.

Do you need to consider video and photography as a means of tracking the testing visualising and planning you will carry out?

As always, I will continue to video and photograph my creative process, the planning of the exhibition and any other related experiencing at each stage of the developmental process to capture the overall sense of what is happening, when, where and how, to be able to evidence contemporaneously my proposed project of work and exhibition process.

What methods are you already employing to record the research you are doing? Are these the most effective ways to track and analyse the research?

I have two research files which are digitally based alongside a manually based file for ensuring the appropriate storage of all my information to ease access and retrieval as and when required. I continue to research other formats and ways of organising my work which will make this aspect easier for me.

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