How strange it is to be blown 'out there', facing the great wide world and masses of new exciting challenges.
The M.A. journey has been tough, especially the final year. I chose to explore the making of silk disks from the backs of road tankers. These were to be large, starting at about 12 ft diameter and were to have silk 'contents' pouring to the ground and cascading over the floor all in one piece of printed silk. This trail was to be about 20 ft long. After crashing and corrupting so many files and computers, I realised they had to be smaller - and smaller, which really defeated the object, and something which was to take me a couple of months turned into a mission for the year. The making was a nightmare, a challenge indeed and I had forgotten the small issue of working within the width of the cloth; there was huge shrinkage in the warp which meant I ended up with ovals and then there was the struggle with sewing a tunnel round a circle! Such frustration. Such despair. Ultimately, the main disk evolved into an Ellsworth Kellyesque simple hanging. I am working on 'huge' in a different way, having created the 'trails' and I will recreate my 3D pieces.
My favourite piece 'Journey to the Sun', was like a butterfly, something I could neither capture or hold on to. So when I finally sent the image to the printer, I was delighted with it - but when it came back, it had also suffered from warp shrinkage. I had to 'sew round its tail' and make a tunnel round the circle for the metal hoop. It was a nightmare being taut on the warp and loose in the weft and it is definitely a one off. All future silk pieces will be hangings!!!! It was created from a sketch of the back of a tanker and I love it, finding it very meditative. I love the fact that almost everyone sees something different in it; a dandelion clock, a ball of energy, a ball of fire, a monkey on the moon, Autumn with the leaves falling, dancers and Cornwall ('the energy going through the Cornish soil into the centre of the Earth'
I love a sense of humour in my work and some of my final pieces amused me, hangings, where piles of stainless steel tanker backs turned into space ships with little people falling from them, and rusty mild steel ends turned into a tanker sun hanging.
I fought with the digital technology, having not worked with it before the M.A. I can't wait to work with my new digital Design Collection (mostly from road tanker imagery). Being greatly influenced by Art Deco, I look forward to creating jackets with matching assessories, and Art Deco inspired decor. The course has opened my vision into 3D, using other skills to complete my work, i.e. metal and wood workers. I am looking for an opportunity to perfect my sewing skills.
Firstly, I must try to find a gallery to show my Tanker Art.
Thank you to Whale Tankers for their support. I have laughed so much, chasing road tankers for pictures and talking to drivers about acid, bitumen, flour to make Cornish Pasties, liquid chocolate and other contents, a new world for me to explore. It has been a great project. I hope to visit Crossland Tankers, in Burnley soon. It will be such a long journey.
I must also thank my tutors, Andy Harbert, Katie Bunnell and Dr. Simon Clarke also Di Downs for their constant support and help.
I am now the proud possessor of a Master of Arts Degree. The sun shines and each day at home, I am inspired by my future missions and reorganising and repainting my studio.
For now, I am still in a glass box, blinking at my freedom, enjoying the simple things. I have been home for two days, all very strange after studying for so long and overcoming daily hurdles and the despair when designs just didn't work. Looking back, I find it hard to believe the stress I put myself under, often working until 3 am. Now, the Joy I feel is wonderful. It is amazing to be home with Mel and I feel very, very proud of myself. The M.A. is a major part of an inspiring ongoing journey.
In its present form, the 'M.A's.in Design' course at Falmouth has been cut from the curriculum and we are the last. I wish my great group, now completing their 2nd year, all the very best of luck. See the pictures of our show on Facebook.