Collection: Unit 5 - Reflective Document - Lydia Moss 17/18

Section B

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19th October

Discussion within group

  • Transcript made by Alexandra and looked into what it was about with an apothecary old vs new and straying from his religion. 
  • Not everyone’s just good and just bad. letting people die to prove a point very malicious and Beth doesn’t agree with that. 
  • Boy drawing in the film ink and straw technique. art style in the film very similar to the designs on the book pages. Beth questioned which was designed first? 
  • Harry Potter ink bit telling the tales relates to the tales in this film. animated Disney kind of look. 
  • I didn’t agree with how the film was represented in the first text. The text gave us a lot of detail and made it atmospheric with how the monster approached us with it only appearing when he was at the boy’s window. But the movie did it, so visually that it had lost all fear factor when the monster approached.
  • This characterreminded me of Te Ka from ‘Moana’
  • The 12A rating affected the presentation of the film, questioning target audience.
  • Very dark and a mishmash of child drawings but in very dark colours which would be too dark for a child’s story book. 
  • Different mediums used to create the drawings on the pages and in the film. 
  • Not child appropriate to make it more approachable we thought about using different colours and approaching it as a cuddly toy for example ‘in bed with yew’ with an alarm clock set at 12.07.
  • Is it meant to be comforting? 
  • Childhood fears were discussed of monsters in the closet 
  • Related to the Killer Clown. 
  • Foster home for imaginary friends- where they go when a child outgrows them so there no longer a child but not a teenager. shows how strong your imagination is as a child and everything is more believable.



Within our seminar we discussed the artist of the book Jim Kay and the art techniques he used on the page to create the textures. (Image 1). We chose this as our subject matter because it was a common focal point that my entire group had picked up on and could see this as a potential idea. We then spoke about how different mediums create different types of art and different atmospheres. (Image 2). Such as by using ink and charcoal, that have very different qualities each would create a different effect in the book. Using these two different mediums would create different types of Yew Tree images. We discussed which medium represented the Yew Trees qualities more accurately. As an idea is only presented well when the subject matter and medium merge well we chose to talk about the types of medium we could use very early on in the process. Dick then showed us a video of the artist Lottie Reiginer who was an original silhouette artist and made moving films out of still paper images. Many people copied and recreated this technique in their own style. (Image 2). He also recommended to us to try the Rorschach Ink Block Tests as a psychological experiment of images you see. (Image 2)

The other groups ideas were also listened to and they focussed on the sound of the trees within the film and different Foley artists as the noises you hear aren't necessarily created the way you expect.

Our tutor then showed us clips from the films Dogville, The Golden Compass and Never-ending Stories this was to get our reaction from this unnatural piece of theatre that we're not used to seeing. He wanted to know how they would make us feel. The Golden Compass was originally from a Phillip Pullman’s series of books entitled ‘His Dark Materials’. Dick wanted us to see if we preferred the book or the film as an original source.

He also suggested to our group to explore colour and how other cultures represent colour differently to us. We realised there was a lot of stereotypes about colour for example blue is associated with boys and pink for girls so trying to study colour within open mind without stereotypes was proving to be a lot harder than anticipated.

From this seminar I found a lot more confident with the ways to explore the theme 'A Monster Calls', not only as a story but as a piece of art. The book can be developed in every artistic way possible so it is up to my group whether we take its literature quality forward or its artistic attribution. As there is no guidelines to what must be the starting point of the task or what must be used as an influence to the piece, I think that my group should use this to our advantage and explore every option possible.


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Space Proposal Form


13th November

The groups first decision was to how we could meet throughout the week. I had made a list of what we needed to discuss such as a final design, finding our space as our proposal for space had not been successful and creating a schedule. As we had a new space we need to create a risk assessment for that area and figure out the pros and cons of that space. (RISK ASSESSMENT)

We then went to find space and measured it up so that I could create a mini model of what we wanted to produce. After that we located all our materials to create the installation so that on Thursday we could begin making without the need of worrying about materials. (Image 7)

I was very organised in getting this done because as a group we needed to stay ahead of time so that if something doesn't go smoothly before Friday we have time to change without getting behind and rushing. I felt that I was taking the lead in our group as my design was close to what we decided on for our final piece, so I had a more visual idea of what we wanted the outcome to look like also I felt the most passionate about making this and keeping the rest of the team interested in it as they described me as "always one step ahead". As I wanted to consider all elements of the installation we spoke to Mark about how to light it as our space was very dark allowing us to create any effect we wanted with it. (Image 10)

All the constituent features need to be considered to create a convincing overall effect which I thought about for out installation. At this point I felt really on top of our work and believed it will get a good response from our peers and audience.


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2nd November

Up to this point, progress on the project had been good. However, I felt that we have hit a bit of a ‘mental block’ with our idea this week. We were trying to work out ways to incorporate the straw blowing technique and Rorschach ink with the installation. However, we were struggling with finding the progression path from this and didn't know where to take the next steps. Kathleen then suggested the idea of a Dream Catcher as these were meant to chase bad dreams away! This linked back to our idea from a few weeks ago when we discussed childhood fears and toys -this gave us more potential for ideas to head forward with.

We were then considering the idea of making a Dream Catcher with a tree in the middle that had all strings dangling from it, but instead of being soft and dropping they would weave in and out of the staircase towards where the audience would view it from. This related to our original idea (19th October) really well, as we looked at how the boy in the film was a child that had to grow up too soon. So, the idea of an interweaving web of strings represented his struggle of transition. As a group we discussed whether we wanted to do this in bright childlike colours or dark mysterious moody atmospheric as the story discovers both. However, we have gone with the idea of using bright colours as this juxtaposes the original atmosphere intended to create by the storybook. We did this because it makes you see how the audience can respond differently to the same source.

The texture of the wool was also considered, as string would be too thin and flimsy but wool is very fluffy and woolly which again represents the child's comforts. We asked ourselves whether this was the visual we want to give? Or if we wanted it sharper, more angular and unpleasant to touch. These are all things we need to consider for the next session as we now needed to consider our final products in a particular space. We could not depend on a certain space as these are chosen for us however depending on what we decide to do would affect how we would be able to present our idea.


26th October

Since last week session I looked and thought about colour, also the different mediums and textures that were used within the book and the film. Whilst watching the film and studying The Second Tale in detail, the most common observations of colour were reds and oranges. Then at home, I tried the Ink and Straw Blowing technique to try and create tree-like shapes and see how it reacted on a page. (Image 3). This was similar to the illustrations within the book. I then dropped the ink straight into some water and watched its movement qualities, realising it was a lot more fluid than dropping it on a dry piece of paper. This was similar to the effect created within the film during The Second Tale.

In the film, the mother says, “Life is always in the eyes,” which I found really interesting and meaningful because of its context within the plot. It also brought some wild emotions into the story as everything had been very neutral until this point which in some cases made this more extreme as very little other text had allowed you to be this imaginative. So, I then created a water colour drawing to represent “Life is always in the eyes,” I did this by dropping a number of water colours onto the eye drawing. I felt that this representation of what you see with the eye worked really well and represented of how a child sees the world.  I knew that this drawing need further work if it was to be the subject of our installation. For example, a ‘3D eye’ would have veins like tree branches and the whitespace in the centre of the eye would form the silhouette of a Yew Tree. (Image 3)

As part of our group collaboration, we shared our ideas from last week. As a result of this, we came up with a number of similar ideas, especially using Ink and Straw Blowing. We then made a joint piece of work based on Ink and Straw Blowing. (Image 4). As a result of this, the group realised that if we had a focal point it would give a sense of perspective and purpose, as our original piece was very random and without focus. It looked more like an exercise than an artistic piece. Similarly, we had only tried it in bright colours but we should have tried it in black-and-white to make a comparison. This would of given us a different emotional response. We discussed the different emotions we would of experienced from the two pieces of art and compared them to how the books art made us feel. This would be something to question in the future whether we wanted the audiences’ emotions to be the same or different to the original illustrations. From this we also experimented with the Rorschach ink technique and discussed how suddenly reflecting an image can change how you see the patterns and colours. (Image 5)

We shared our work with our tutor within the seminar, however he believed we did this in a generic environment and we should think about experimenting with the location where we created our work in to see if it would give us a different outcome. In addition to this, the paper size (A4) restricted the work we could produce, and we should think about firstly the size of paper used and the sort of canvas used. This was all about removing our artistic boundaries so that with our work we could be more creative.


Risk Assessment

9th November

This week’s seminar was our final one before the festival, so we looked at making risk assessments for the space proposals. It involved knowing all the possible risks in our design and learning the different aspects of health and safety that would affect it. For each risk, we needed to create a method statement of the issue and identify the level of risk. However, the risks needed to be low to medium for us to pass health and safety standards and to make the design. In order to minimise any risks, we would need to evaluate the situation and work out any relevant control measures to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. An example from our installation include, the threads travelling randomly up and down a staircase which would create a tripping hazard. This risk could be reduced by sticking them to the floor and having them above 6ft.

As part of our ongoing discussions, we continued with the idea of strings and wool being tangled down a staircase and to develop this design. I thought about having a tree as the main focal point. I did this because if I was walking past and I just saw lots of bright wool I would wonder what it was about, however with a focal point you are no longer clueless about the starting point and can figure more out on your own about the design. Each of us brought designs to this session and we all interpreted the main idea in diverse ways. I had decided for a design based on the stairs whereas, the others had gone down the void falling through centre of the stairs. As a group they liked the way I had involved the staircase in my design, as you had to try and pass through it like a spider’s web. I believe that by designing the installation like this, would make it an immersive piece of art so people will more likely be attracted towards it to explore it from multiple perspectives.  (Image 6) After discussing our designs Kathleen suggested the artist Pae White as her exhibition, (Too Much Night, Again), work uses a wide range of coloured strings to create shapes as an influence to further our idea.

We then went around the University with Dick Straker to suggest places that we could use. The factors of colour and lighting would really affect the atmosphere we wanted to create and the response we would get. He then posed the question of what response did we want from it? Which all of us had overlooked and not considered yet, so for next week we wanted to discuss and make it appropriate for the response we wanted. However, we felt that the journey to the end product has got more developed and I am more confident about making a final output. The seminars with the tutor were really helpful as they made you consider questions that you don't think of yourself, this in turn will improve my work. Key things in my work, such as atmosphere and material choices are sometimes overlooked as I’m thinking about how to make something, so why not use those materials? For example, I used wool because it has the correct qualities to tie and is thicker than cotton and not because it has anything to do with the outcome, so we have tried to think about and consider how the materials relate to our work and make sure they have a reason to why we have used them.

Dick wasn't so sure about our material choices as he wondered if the reaction we wanted was a sense of warmth and comfort. If it wasn't then we had chosen, the wrong type of material. However, we have experimented with it and found that if you paint wool or cover it in PVA glue it creates a completely different effect, such as a sharp harsh uncomfortable feeling. We decided against painting them as the texture would become to intense, as the whole effect we want is a childlike web which needed to be comforting as the boy in the story is still a child, but the web is all tangled because he’s trying to grow up. As a group, we discussed the above possibilities and the only way we would want to modify the wool was by pulling the strands tighter, which resulted in them becoming firm not slack. We then considered how light could affect this as a dark space would be more atmospheric, however you couldn’t see the colour contrast in the wool so clearly. On the other hand, a bright day lit area would lose any sort of atmosphere. This could only be discussed further once we were aware of our allocated space.

For next week, we need to make a schedule for how the week will run but also to organise shifts for the Festival Day, so that we monitor our installation but also get the chance to look at others. In addition to this we wanted to get people to come and see it. Therefore, we needed to advertise so we thought in context with a design we will run strings along the floors so that people follow it like a trail and will come to our festival piece.


The group had decided that the space we were applying for was the second-floor staircase in the main building. That way we could have a tree at the top and the viewer travelling up the staircase getting more tangled as you got higher the greater the amount of wool and would make it more tangled and claustrophobic. This space is also day-lit therefore we would have little control of the atmosphere but would help make our installation look friendly and inviting.


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16th November

Today began with a few setbacks as the space we had originally planned for on Monday wasn't the correct space that we had been allocated. At this point we felt a bit confused and deflated as all the preparation and planning of the we had done was now irrelevant. So, with all our materials we went and located our actual space, which was the staircase located within the theatre.

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Just looking at it we felt that we could do less as it was a fire exit. Also as a health and safety issue we couldn’t put anything below the height of 2 metres on the stairs, which did affect our design. However, after looking at the negatives we realised adapting our design wasn't going to be too difficult, so we started planning how we could adapt our design to the space. We narrowed it down to two options and we discussed of the pros and cons of both. We decided to have the tree at the bottom of the staircase with the branches weaving up or midway up the staircase expanding up the right-hand wall trailing over the balcony.

At this point we began weaving the wool in and out of the railings before making the tree structure out of chicken wire. The chicken wire was easy to handle and therefore to construct the tree, as it bent most of the time into the position you wanted it. This material also consisted of large gaps between each piece of wire making the tree look very skeletal, which enhanced our idea as the wire frame didn’t take away from it only allowing the wool to be the noticeable part which covered the tree well. In comparison to our previous location we have more places to attach the wool to and weave in and out of such as piping, wireframe, and handrails which we were more grateful for whilst creating our installation. This took around six hours today to create and all the group worked efficiently together with everyone pulling their weight. As the day came to an end, the entire installation was completed, and we just finished off by deciding which parts we wanted to make into a thicker texture and which spaces need to be more spacious.  I believe that my contribution at this point had a biggest impact on the finished installation – the other members of the group often supported this. This showed me that being from different pathways did bring different viewpoints and skills to the creative process as we are all creative people but in very different ways. (Image 8)


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17th November

Today was the exhibition of the Unit Five – The Festival. All around college were different installations of not only from Theatre and Screen groups but also Fine Art. We had all been given different starting points, so this meant a wide range of artwork was created. As we had completed our installation we could now use the time to work on more detail such as the lighting which would make the atmosphere more intensifying. We were able to work on this with Dick and Mark which is useful as they have a lot more experience in what would they think would set the correct mood for what we wanted and what would work well, which our group really benefited from. (Image 9)

After playing about with colours we settled on three LED lights all a strong blue as this really picked up the paler wool colours alongside two UV lights which picked out the fluorescent colours. This made a very different atmosphere compared to broad daylight and gave it an aura around it so the audience would know once they’d entered into the installation. (Image 10)

Once the festival was over we had to deconstruct our installation at 5pm the same day. This felt very heartbreaking as everything wed done over the past to months had been completed and removed. The others in my group found it satisfying to cut down all the wool as it was a painstaking process for them to construct. However I do wish we had longer than three hours for our final pieces to be exhibited as the sense of achievement was rushed. (Image 11)


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