Part 5- Portfolio of Work
Assignment 5- Supporting Research and Analysis of Creative Project Work and Exhibition, Artists Statement, Promotional Strategy, Press Release, Record of the Presentation and Evidence of Feedback from the Exhibition.
(Project and Exhibition Plan, Personal Evaluation of the Work, and its Presentation, including Future Considerations based upon Experiencing, are located within Separate Online Learning Logs/Blog Entries-Links provided)
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Supporting Research and Analysis of Creative Project Work and Exhibition
With the support of my tutor, Lizzy Levy I have undertaken extensive research processes to enable me to complete my creative work as evidenced throughout my website-online blog (learning log) https://weaveprint.com/ Throughout the 170 individual blog entries I have evidenced thoroughly the scale of research work and creative work which has been undertaken from the outset of the Sustaining My Practice processes. Given the pandemic and the online emphasis for evidencing and showing my work for tutor feedback and the formal assessment processes, I sought to evidence contemporaneously my research, associated thinking processes, decision making and overall reasoning including the step-by-step stages of rationalisation of what I did and why I did it as I did it through my online blog entries. In doing so a full record of my research, learning, and creative making and relating could be seen, read, and understood.
As noted by Lizzy Levy, I have continued to build and develop a meaningful and engaging body of thoughtfully conceived work whereby I have managed to deepen my relationship with materiality which has been embedded within my creative practice as well as evidenced the importance of provenance. I have shown my commitment and desire to maintain an ethical, sustainable practice with a respect of and for the materials and process which included evidence of reclaiming materials and sustainably sourced products which retain that depth of respect. My investigation into the embedded histories of linen that bear the scars of wear naturally linked to my subject of mental well-being. My tutor acknowledged that by marrying my profession as a psychologist with creative practice including integrating what I know and have researched from both arenas I have evolved and developed as a textile artist. I continued to build upon these vital sources including primary, secondary, and researched through making to deepen my relationship with each process.
As discussed with my tutor many times this process of research and making creatively was an on-going process, one that I have grappled with, of continuing to create, of always thinking and reflecting, of being curious, to seek new solutions to push my personal boundaries to continue to develop myself and my creative work to the next level which I feel and think that I have managed to do through this series of project work and final exhibition. I have forged new relationships with who I am as a textile artist, and I have integrated core aspects of myself and my professional identity within and throughout the making processes. My tutor said that I was able to deepen my engagement and understanding of “why” I “work/practice or create in the way I do to create my methodology” which was not an easy process in underpinning essential aspects of my process in identifying how and why these methods are vital to the work.
“Through a series experimentation with hand stitching I have started to forge a preferred way of relating and responding to/with dyed and screen-printed vintage linen bedsheets to best communicate a sense of mental health recovery and repair through hand sewing. I am increasingly integrating hand stitching to the surface of the dyed vintage linen which is not intended 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.” (Morris, 2021)
“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 hand sewing and stitching processes. Indeed, through such research concerning sewing and the related sampling processes I was struck by the history and meaning of women’s work and art, of the actual then increasingly inferred connotations of domesticity and women’s work from within the home setting which often included their sewing. Through the years women’s contributions have been seen through the negative gender stereotyped lens of such domestic roles and expectations, which could be seen as inferior, of less value and worth compared to paid employment and bread winner status. That said this often encapsulated a sense of women’s work as being less than especially hand sewing as it was small scale, hidden from view, and out of sight. In considering this I have been conscious of the need to be big, brave, bold, and seen… to communicate what I need to be felt and heard. Of the need to communicate what is so often not spoken about… of mental health and distress, of the need for equal regard with physical health as there is no health without mental health, of being listened to through the use of very large-scale work which cannot be ignored.” (Morris, 2021)
That said through this most recent creative process I feel that I have established a personal visual language to my body of work which has been reinforced through my self-motivation, autonomy, and professionalism to take my work to the next step. I have produced a body of work which demonstrates a high level of visual, aesthetic, and technical understanding of the processes involved. I have selected practical outcomes that are unique to me and not like other practitioners, of creating a personal aesthetic. As Lizzy Levy noted my creative works have evidenced a fluid, professional translation as my role as a psychologist embeds an authentic voice within the works and as my creative output gathers momentum naturally connecting my profession/ethics/passions within the work this transition is a natural departure holding the potential to continue feeding into my future profession as a practicing artist. There was positive acknowledgement of the new colour combinations, layering of motive, embellishment of stitch and my connection to emotion, emotional reaction, both my own and the emotions attached to encountering the work.
As a psychologist and a textile artist I am interested in relating and relationships within material use and throughout my professional work. Given the complexity of human relating I continue to investigate and reflect upon my own emotional reactions in creative process to evoke emotional responses in others when viewing my work. (Morris, 2021)
I feel that I have demonstrated specific knowledge and understanding of the professional and contextual location of my practice and developed a personal promotional strategy, portfolio, and other appropriate means of presenting my practice at a professional level as I continued to utilise research in a strongly meaningful manner. As reinforced by Lizzy Levy “this methodology of embedding research whether primary, secondary or research via making” is well developed which aids a “well informed deeper engagement with process and making.” My tutor thought that I “had evidenced a very good understanding of the specialist, professional, context of my work. In identifying the specific niche where I envision my work has enabled my strength and courage in approaching WASPS and taking up the challenge of a short lead time.”
There was mention from my tutor that I have continued to work in a professional and accomplished manner to create a successfully installed exhibition “this opportunity and site resulted in my active engagement with WASPS, utilising their workshop spaces as well as forging important relationships with artists and practitioners. I have documented the show very effectively within my online website using very good photographic imagery that illustrates the whole process from empty exhibition spaces through to installation. This is a methodically recorded process with strong artist’s statement and exhibition description as well as strengthening the analytical commentary.”
I successfully explored and researched from the outset the idea of a place and space for my work including the Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland (WASPS) exhibition spaces which also offered important sites for me to engage with others involving the resident artists within the artist’s studio complexes especially at Hanson Street. Through such interactions with people on site and within WASPS, the scale of the exhibition space alongside my own creative making processes there meant that the space that most suited my work could be fully evaluated. I was aware early on of the increased scale of my textile art which informed what I planned and researched concerning preferred exhibition sites and curation involving placement and layout. I also actively engaged in a range of research processes that informed how practicing artists install their works. This knowledge has supported my findings of contemporary, relevant, and impactful hanging and installation techniques. Through such research processes of the spaces available I planned accordingly, regarding scale, dimensions, installation techniques and methods of hanging/framing. As I had worked within the WASPS studios and forged important relationships with other artists and staff, I had gathered a lot of the necessary research required for setting up a solo show.
Despite this “I have researched widely throughout Central Scotland and liaised extensively for possible exhibition spaces which can hold appropriately my large scale, screen printed and hand stitched vintage linen bedsheets. Given my ongoing creative affiliation with Wasps and their significant range of exhibition spaces on offer I focused upon fully researching such provision for the best exhibition options. Wasps is a charity that provides affordable studios to support artists, arts organisations, and creative businesses. They currently house over 900 artists and 33 organisations at 20 buildings across Scotland. Since I had already regularly used the Artist Studio Complex at Hanson Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow for my large-scale screen-printing processes I was aware of the exhibition space there. I often used the exhibition space to photograph my artwork, so I was fully familiar with its overall dimensions and suitability for larger-scale work. The surroundings are an ideal canvas for textiles with large white walls and high open ceilings for wall hangings and hanging textile work from ceilings. One wall length has large-scale windows which offers a well-lit space with natural light to highlight the textiles on show. Such an exhibition venue is centrally situated and easily accessible as it is in Glasgow with excellent public transport links and car parking facilities with Wasps Staff on site.”
Given the reduced lead time due to the restricted availability of the exhibition space at Wasps, Hanson Street, I planned early on the need to prepare the space, to enable installation of my textile work as there was little room for error. The planning processes were founded on earlier extensive research centred upon the preparation of my screen-printed vintage linen panels for hanging, what was required to enable the hanging of my work, the acquisition of all the required tools and equipment for the show and the compilation of the related literature to ensure everything was ready in advance of the actual opening. As my exhibition proposal had been accepted by Wasps this meant that I could use a professional exhibition space with its own hanging rods in situ which eased the scale of exhibition preparation which was required. That said there was still a lot to do including the curation of the exhibition, hanging the textiles, and preparing the exhibition space including the use of the exhibition literature and information about me, my creative process and work. Ultimately the scale of ongoing research towards planning for and setting up the exhibition ran alongside my own creative processes which helped me to be fully prepared to realise a professional solo show.
In conclusion my tutor noted that I “had produced a body of work that demonstrated a high level of visual, aesthetic and technical understanding of the processes that I have adopted. The works exhibited illustrated my skills in print, manipulation of material surface and stitch. These were professionally produced with discernment; resulting in aesthetically pleasing and impactful installation pieces.” “My use of WASPS both as a studio space and exhibition site evidenced my ability to utilise professional places to both make work and show works. My creative output was contextually at home within this setting which was a well-conceived and well-executed show.”
Textile Artist’s Statement
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Visual Representations of Mental Distress and Recovery (2021)
Textile Artist Statement-Gillian Morris https://weaveprint.com/
Making textiles through print, weave and stitch represents much of my creative practice and creative life. I work intuitively with the materials in use to ensure respect for the cloth and the environment, to establish a form of reciprocal relating in action as I create. Given my studio practice is embedded within environmentally supportive ways of making and creating I intuitively react and respond to how the material relates to and with the print, weave, and stitch processes to ensure their qualities are best promoted. I prefer to use reclaimed, repurposed, reused, recycled, and found materials, to promote environmental sustainability with no waste including natural fibres, fabrics, and threads which includes wool, paper, cardboard, MDF, rope, string, cord, cable, and wire. Vintage linen represents one of my favourite materials and threads given its proven sustainability, strength, resilience and capacity for repair and recovery. My family have long had a strong affinity with linen as home and mill workers, so provenance is important to me, of knowing the place of origin or earliest known history of something that I am working with.
As a psychologist and a textile artist I am interested in relating and relationships within material use and throughout my professional work. Given the complexity of human relating I continue to investigate and reflect upon my own emotional reactions in creative process to evoke emotional responses in others when viewing my work. I like to explore the many effects of layering through print using a range of printmaking techniques and strategies especially screen printing but also ink jet printing, heat transfer printing and relief printmaking, woodcut, linocut, and collagraph. I visually represent relationships within an abstracted contemporary format involving emotional resonance. I work in a larger scale which stems from my own original mixed media artwork including sketching, drawing, and painting with hand printmaking alongside extensive sampling processes to create unique mark making for screen printing and/or stitch/weave. From the initial inspiration through researching my thoughts, and feelings alongside my findings and ideas, my artwork evolves and is translated onto the materials through print, stitch and/or weave as I continue to be open to how I relate with materials as this affects my creative outcomes.
I use 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.
Assignment 5 Folio and Review- Promotional Strategy
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
From the start of exhibition planning a promotional strategy was considered, implemented and reviewed in accordance with organising the exhibition and the completion of my project work. An A3 exhibition flyer/poster was created including all the relevant and necessary information centred upon free entry, venue details and exhibition dates and times which included imagery of my work which was shared and distributed by Wasps (Workshop & Artists Studio Provision Scotland) which were the main event coordinators. This exhibition poster was used online and offline throughout the Wasps studio complexes especially within the Glasgow area. As similar events at and around my exhibition location are common, many flyers were placed around the Wasps Artist Studio Complex and Exhibition Space at Hanson Street which generated interest amongst the two hundred artists which are resident there. Other regional and local spaces, including shops, etc, received copies of my exhibition poster and were asked to display the upcoming event. During such occasions time was afforded to discuss the exhibition, my creative process and work whenever interest was expressed.
A press release was compiled and used on appropriate sections of the Wasps websites and newsletters which was circulated in advance. The exhibition flyer was used extensively as many significant others especially artists within Wasps were encouraged to display them in their own studios and noticeboards, as well as forward on exhibition information to other contacts they know to extend the network of artists that were aware of the exhibition. Email notices and invitations were sent out to all known others as appropriate and asked to spread the word about my exhibition. As suggested by Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor, Textile Artist, A5 exhibition postcards were designed and circulated before and during the exhibition to promote the event, my creative process and work as well as me as a textile artist. Many business cards were designed by me and printed out by Vistaprint which used my own imagery from the project work for the exhibition. The business cards were distributed widely including to family and friends to ensure increased attendance and engagement at the exhibition and follow up from the exhibition as contact details were included.
Assignment 5 Folio and Review- Press Release
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Wasps own promotional strategy included a press release to advertise the exhibition alongside distribution of the related exhibition imagery, information, and details with the Exhibition Statement throughout the Wasps studio sites.
Exhibition Statement- “Help me as I am struggling to want to be here”
A Series of Material Statements-Visual Representations of Mental Distress and Recovery (2021) is a group of large-scale mixed media works using screen printing and hand stitching on vintage linen bedsheets. The material qualities of the vintage linen bedsheets and threads are indicative of and help to reinforce the narrative, to tell the story of mental crisis through therapy to mental recovery through their strength, resilience, robustness, and enhanced capacity for repair. The work is autobiographical in nature and depicts real-life circumstances emotionally through the textile artists experiences as a psychologist. The scale of intuitive relating with the materials in process communicate the scale of emotional resonance felt within the therapeutic therapy process itself as a psychologist. Throughout the creative process the textile artist sought to convey her own emotional experiencing, so others can look, to feel to understand something of such experiencing.
The vintage linen bedsheets are imbedded with meaning for the textile artist, of her family’s history based in linen, of a lineage, weighted with provenance, of generations of home and mill workers making linen, of layers of experiencing enmeshed within the material, of personal identity and belonging. The vintage linen bedsheets lent themselves to communicating the narrative, of previous wear and tear, of communicating a range of experiencing through a lifetime and the repetitive need for repair. Of the capacity of the vintage linen bedsheets to encompass pleasant dreams to traumatic nightmares, of bringing comfort, restorative sleep, and relaxation to unravelling despair and spiralling low mood. The aim then is to promote increased insight and understanding of the experiencing of mental distress and of the need for support, compassion, and time, to listen to understand free from labelling, judgement, and recrimination. To help counter the adage man’s inhumanity to man, to afford those struggling with mental ill-health the therapeutic environment to mend and recover. The visual representations from each series of screen-printed imagery with printing inks builds up layers of emotional relating and responding with the vintage linen using colour combinations to best suit the emotional state of either distress or repair. The imagery stemmed from original artwork based upon neural mapping as the basis of all communication and understanding. Ultimately the textile artist sought to express the increased propensity for change, growth, and repair, for positive transformation from mental distress. That said the series invites the viewer to reflect upon mental distress and recovery, of their own emotional response to the sequence and to consider how they can help themselves and others to be more tolerate, understanding, compassionate and kind both self to self and self with other.
The textile artist has utilised ten vintage linen bedsheets as the material basis of the creative work. Each bedsheet was dyed in 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 project of work stems from research on neuro-networking from neuroimaging techniques to illustrate human identity and the sense of self at its most intrinsic level. Eight vintage linen bedsheets were screen-printed whole, and two bedsheets were cut up and used for the sampling processes through a process of building up layers of print to explore meaning and to demonstrate emotion, one series of three bedsheets represent crisis with print while the other series of five bedsheets represent repair and recovery through print and stitch. The eight whole linen bedsheets are wall mounted as well as hung from the ceiling as a central space to walk through, to fully inhabit to interact with from within the exhibition space.
Gillian Morris Textile Artist October 2021
Assignment 5 Record of the Exhibition- Evidence of Feedback including https://weaveprint.com/
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
In conjunction with “Documenting my Exhibition” I have recorded all the feedback gleaned from the live exhibition in process including face to face written and verbal feedback. Alongside this the feedback which was left on my website weaveprint.com through use of the QR Codes at the exhibition have been read, reflected upon, and analysed to aid my continuing professional development as a textile artist. Many of the online visitor comments emphasised how much they had enjoyed my exhibition, that they loved the use of vintage linen, the provenance of the materials, my creative process and work. There was repeated mentioning of the increased scale of my screen-printed panels and how this affected several individuals, of the impactful imagery and material use, and of the immersive experience from walking around and within the wall hangings and central installation. Given that between twenty-thirty individuals visit my website every day I now regularly receive feedback on the completed blog entries especially concerning my creative process and work on an ongoing basis. I have started to create a database of those interested in what I do to generate and maintain continuing follow up and support going forward.
Many of the artists within the Wasps Artists Studio Complex at Hanson Street, Dennistoun, Glasgow visited the exhibition and offered specific feedback concerning the vintage linen panels. Resident artists including painters acknowledged the colour palette used alongside what they saw as Japanese influences throughout the imagery with the restricted colour schemes in use. There was often closer inspection of the screen printing, of the layering effects, of the overlapping of imagery and colour from both a technical perspective and aesthetic viewpoint. It was pleasing to have discussions with other artists about the work, the creative process and what I did as well as how I did it. There was more of a professional exchange of ways of working and how the creative processes are related with which proved to be insightful as artists relayed much about their own professional approaches.
As the other artists were readily aware of what it takes to work at such a large scale and to produce such an exhibition there was increased recognition of the scale of work undertaken whereby, I was regularly congratulated for putting on such an ‘ambitious’ solo show. The resident artists commented upon the overall professionalism of the exhibition, of the fully considered layout and placement of the work to enable all the large-scale panels to be best seen from all angles and to enable each piece to be fully viewed. I particularly enjoyed how the other artists and public all took time to stop to view the exhibition, to really look at and appreciate the vintage linen panels and to understand what the exhibition was about and what I was communicating through my creative practice.
Some artists focused upon the narrative itself and the associated impact of the imagery, of its meaning and resonance for them. On understanding the narrative, discussion often ensued concerning the colour palette and just how well it suited the narrative and the conceptualisation of mental despair through to repair, of the visceral effects that could be felt. Some individuals reflected upon the imagery at greater depth, of the human-emotional quality of the screen printing, of relating to and with this sense of mental crisis given the imagery and how it linked with the colour palette. For others it sometimes evoked some of their own experiencing which was briefly discussed especially pertaining to the central installation and how it felt to be held within and between the panels, of this sense of being cocooned in a protective, comforting, and supportive way. The importance of emotional regulation through self-soothing and calming was reflected upon which was supported by some psychoeducational literature as appropriate. There was mention of the hand stitching throughout the central installation, of the analogy with mending and repair which some liked to touch and fully experience.