Second year’s Field module is far more ‘busier’ than first year. We are able to choose subject that correlates and support our discipline. The subjects I chose are Synergies between Materials and Technology in term 1 and Global Collaboration – Morocco for term 2. Through out term 1, I feel that the knowledge I gained from the module has changed the way I think of materials and technology especially in implementation of mix media in my illustration. The trip to Morocco has also informed me greatly with use of colour, decoration/pattern and techniques as well as culture influences.
For Dyffyn house – Story room project, I applied the principles of Synergies between material & technology in the work. My subject matter is fashion style of one of Cory family member (Florence Cory) who owned the house before it was taken over by National Trust. I created a 2D mix media work – watercolour and thread. I think that use of thread enhanced the idea or value that I am trying to communicate through the work. Choosing the colour of thread & drawing are also important so that the work speaks and translates the fashion style of that period (Edwardian era). Upon request by the National Trust who are now runs the house & garden, my piece will be displayed as a feature in Florence Cory’s room permanently.
I’ve also used the principles of synergies in my subject module – charity project – stitch workshop. The charity theme is to End FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) in the UK in cooperation with local charity (Bawso). Bawso requested me to formulate an art-base workshop that encourage the involvement of the victims of violence. Considering the delicate matter of the subject, I’ve decided to set up a stitch workshop called Letter to Mother. I believe that stitch is one of the simplest art form that can be use in expressing feelings and emotions or memories into words or images. Stitch also has a down to earth value but not less expressive compare to other art forms such as drawing/painting or photography. The project has also involved general public in support for the victims of violence. Their involvement is also in a form of stitch (to be made into a quilt and a book) – Leave a Legacy Stitch book. Participants sent positive messages in support of the victims. The feedback I received from general public involved was that because it’s a stitch work, they feel that it’s quite easy to achieve and they can do it whenever, wherever.
Because I felt that my skill in stitching & embroidery are very basic, I decided to take up the Wednesdays stitch workshop by Maggie Cullinane from Textile course. I also took a stitch workshop with a Textile artist – Tilleke Schwarz organised by Textile course in order to enhance my stitch & embroidery technique. I certainly have gained so much knowledge and skill which I can apply in and outside university projects.
I feel that stitch & embroidery has become the main medium of my illustration. I would like to experiment a lot more in the summer toward my third year. I would like to play more on different thread and fabric, colour combination, techniques and dimensions which thread can offer.
I’ve produced three works for this module. The first one is a reportage style embroidery stitch inspired by the lively market square in Marrakech (Djemaa El-Fna). This piece is currently on display at the Craft in the Bay from 14th May to Mid June, 2015. It’s a mix work of hand and machine embroidery. The technique is heavily influenced by Tilleke Schwarz stitch art. I attended her stitch workshop a few moths back and I think her work tells narrative and communicative.
The linen is dyed with fabric dye I brought from the market square as well as the yarn. The decoration & colour is inspired from building and Riyad, traditional carpet pattern I saw in Marrakech market and the background is the atlas mountain.The piece is also inspired by Henry Martisse’s work regarding his visit to Morocco, in particular is in the composition where size and perspective that are not bound to western art rules.
From top left to top right: 1. Tajin, carpet, ceramic plates & fabric dye seller. 2. decorative doors in Marrakech 3. Yarn seller with his donkey 4. Morrocan lamps to sell
From bottom left to right: 1. Orange juice cart 2. Snake charmer 3. Water fountain 4. Storyteller 5. Water seller 6. Tooth puller. And cats. cats are everywhere, anywhere!
This is print-on fabric portrait of a Berber woman we visited in Morocco. This piece is inspired by carpets & windows decoration in Marrakech.
I’m lucky to have the opportunity to visit Marrakech as my field project. Morocco is the most west influenced country in North of Africa. Its rich culture is a blend of Arabs, Berber, African, Mediterranean, European and oriental influences. Majority of Moroccan culture is inherited from the Berber people, self-named Amazigh (plural Amazighen). There were about 14 million of Berber people in Morocco. The roots of the Berber culture reach deep down into Morocco’s pre-history. They have strong link with their land, a sense of community, hospitality, sharing food and a specific relationship with spirituality. Its openness to many influences whether Mediterranean, African, Oriental, European, or international have helped define its current characteristics. Their art/artefact/language is imbued with value (symbols, belief presented in shapes and colour). It is interesting as it can act as inspiration as well as parallel & integrate with the changing interests of modern culture, art and artists (i.e Henri Matisse and Paul Klee).
I decided to focus my project on Berber culture and art. I was excited that we’re able to visit a Berber village (Ourika village) on our last day of the trip. I saw evidence that it’s been touched by modern civilisation as seen on some of the concrete structure of the houses and modern toilet as well as westernised clothing. I felt that tourism is a part of the village’s income. Nevertheless, I admire how they still keep their Berber identity such as language, textiles, friendliness, hospitality and tolerance for new culture and people. The women of the family run the house. I believed the household skills (such as cooking, weaving, henna art) are passed down through generations. I saw lots of household still produce weaving products that applied Berber signature art in colour and signs/symbolism (red-blue-green-yellow colours and geometric & diamond shape influenced from Islamisation). It was such a pleasure and humbling visit.
The visit to the village has also inspired me to produce works inspired by a song the women sing when they weave. They sing to forget the harshness of life. Berber lyric is called Thamawayt. The song and life stories are passed down for generations and describe the lives of women. Using reference and research from my trip to Jardin Majorelle – YSL Berber Museum, I’ve made a design plan that combined illustration, stich and Berber’s rich colour (red, orange-terracotta, blue, yellow and green). The trip has not only enriched my personal knowledge but also act as resource for this project and future projects.
Before we visit a Berber village we went on a Berber traditional market. This market reminds me of a market back in my hometown (Indonesia). Most berber have agriculture produce and they market it at the traditional market. The Berber village that we visited on Friday is Ourika village. I can see evidence that it’s been touched by modern civilisation as seen on some of the concrete structure of the houses and modern toilet as well as westernised clothing. I can feel that tourism is a part of the village’s income. Nevertheless, I admire how they still keep their berber identity such as language, textiles, friendliness, hospitality and tolerance for new culture and people. We were welcomed in one of the house with smiles and openness. They served us with nice mint tea and home made bread with honey, olive oil and butter dips. The house is run by the women of the family. I believed the household skills (such as cooking, weaving, henna art) are passed down for generations. It was such pleasure and humbling visit. I saw lots of household still produce weaving products that applied berber signature art in colour and signs/symbolism (red-blue-green-yellow colours and geometric & diamond shape influenced from Islamisation). In the afternoon we visited a cooperative bussiness run by widowed/low-income women/spinster in the community. It’s nice to see that even though they are not provided with support from the government they have positive attitude and actively earn their own income to support each other and their community. After that visit we went on mountain climbing to see a waterfall. I only finished 3/4 of the climb as I felt light headed. The whole day was one experience that I will never forget.
We went back to Jardin Majorelle Garden & Museum to do some drawing and for me to buy a book about the Berber women. Sadly I was not allowed to draw artefacts inside the museum nor take any pictures, so I have to draw from books and postcards I got from there. I drew few plants in the garden and decoration I found on plants pot. They use geometric shape and flat planes, vibrant colour (yellow, blue majorelle, orange, green, red).
In the evening, we all went to Cafe Clock to attend an exhibition by Milo (fine art course student). He made a great narrative based graffiti on the cafe’s wall. After that we got a chance to see a story teller (Hikayat). Hikayat is a traditional story telling that has been passed down for centuries. It was perform by a master story teller Ahmed Ezzarghani and his two apprentices. I am amazed by how passionate the story tellers were. They used a lot of hand gesture, tone on the voice to emphasise a scene, and they owned the stage. Event hough Ahmed Ezzarghani spoke in Arabic, his performance captured my attention and made me listen.
Here’s a short video of his performance. I couldn’t record the whole show because my memory card was full.
My room mates and I found a spices shop in the souks run by a Berber man. His name is Idris. I manage to buy 10 colour pigments that I will use for drawing/painting. He advised me with tips of how to apply and what not to do with the pigments. He told us that he was once a university student, but had to drop out. He then worked at a mining industry to earn money but had to give up his job because the mineral price went low, that’s why he is now an assistant at the spice shop. He also shared his childhood stories at a Berber village.
On the next evening, we had a film night. The film is Hideous Kinky which is directed by Gillied MacKinnon and written by Esther Freud & Billy MacKinnon. It’s telling a story about a woman who’s on soul searching & self discovery mission after a failed marriage. She travelled to Morocco with her two daughters. They venture on new experiences of life in Morocco, engaging with the people and culture. The film is set around 70’s hippie era. It was nice to see interesting places in Marrakech that I’ve visited and want to visit as well as cultural and entertainment show that I wasn’t able to see during my stay in Marrakech (i.e. mining life & the cavalier performance).
Here’s the trailer:
It was another productive day. We did some drawing and rubbing at Ben Youssef Museum & Medersa. I admired the use of geometric & nature inspired shapes on the Medersa decoration & architecture. The Museum also displays large amount of Moroccan contemporary art. It was wonderful to see the vibrant colours on local artists’ paintings such as influenced in Matisse and Picasso works. It was really inspiring. We ended the day by having dinner at a vegan restaurant called Earth Cafe situated just by our Riad. It was a first for me and I loved it.
On the next day we met Yacine (a post graduate graphic student), a local artist who took us around contemporary art galleries. I got to see Hassan Hajja’s artwork on motorcycle girls that I’ve been researching before we leave for Morocco. His work is heavily influenced by pop art.