Field review

Level 5 field proved to be more successful than first year, my first option was site, spaces and public spaces. The focus of the topic was to design and plan out our own piece of public art. The lectures and workshops taught us all about the process of applying, costing, designing, organising and all the details that you dont initially think about when starting off designing. It was extremely helpful. A highlight for me was the lecture by Emma  Price, who is the organiser of Cardiff’s event ‘ Arts Mundi’. IT is a festival/ event where exhibitions are shown and exhibited all around Cardiff involving many venues and artist. Emma Price explained the process of starting a festival like this how she picks artist for different briefs, and how to apply which was very helpful on understanding how to tackle and apply yourself in the working world. I also enjoyed the lecture with Craig from interior designs, where we debated about meanings of public work how it affects the people it encounters, and how

Other lectures by Andre Stitt, taught us about the performance side of public art, i found it very interesting but slightly awkward public art is not my style nor do i particularly enjoy watching it, most pieces make me a little uncomfortable. However i did enjoy learning about Andres previous works, including the workshop at his studio making an alley way interesting and meaning full from the rubbish left init. This  task helped push me out of my comfort zone, which is always a positive way to  help define who you want to be in your practice and the limits you are capable of . BY the end i was actually happy with what our group made and how they all bounced off and reflect each other additions to the space. Although i did enjoy the task i dont think i will explore performance further.I now can successfully say it is not my style, but i do appreciate performance and pieces that use the locally scourced materials in the space you are occupying like in the alley way.

Ive always been unsure on where my craft lies. i have swapped between public and gallery installation type work to studio based craft. Site,spaces and public spaces helped me to understand what it would take to specialise in the more public side of art. I’ve never thought about how many people could potentially be involved to ensure bigger pieces of work would be safe, manufacturer, needed and so on. Nor have i ever considered the costs and upkeep of such structures and pieces of work. After learning about the details of public work i would like to be more craft based selling from studio gallery or craft shops. Im still open to the idea of public work as i have taken on the Heath Hospital design project with Eleri, Tomasz and Rhys. Even though i dont plan on entering a career based on public art the knowledge i have learnt on planning, sourcing, safety measures and more will really aid me in my own practice of studio craft. The project really helped me to understand a project from a different persepective that isnt the making and its conctext. I feel that take more consideration on the planning and designing of the project instead of just the product, because of that the project had a positve effect on me and my practice.

During the second term i had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Marrakesh in Morocco and experience a more cultural brief. Wheres Site, Spaces and Public spaces taught me about life brief and how public art is different in both making, planning and affecting and area Morocco taught me about a different culture and society is a way that affects my outlook on areas of the world and how to interpret those themes and observations into my work. I have only ever been to places in Europe, so Marrakesh was a very different atmosphere for me.

I was really affected by the way the local interacted with us the tourists at the start of the week. i was initially a young female tourist that a fair few would try to hassle me. However after having the markings of Fatima painted on my face, nearly every person within sukh’s then greeted me as Fatima and was generally very respectful and polite. I found it amazing how a few dots and lines on my face completely changed my experience in Marrakesh and how those marking associated me with one of the most most respected and important figures in their religion. I decided to include these markings in to my designs for my tapestry. I symbolised iconic forms and colours seen in a lot of the decoration over these along side my markings of Fatima and the famous symbol of Fatima hand. As these were very involved in my personal experience of Morocco.

I don’t tend to explore much colour in my work so to go to a place where colour is a way of defining their culture, and is Incorporated in most areas of Morocco it was a little bit overwhelming but very beautiful. However as the week progressed The amount of familiar colour became a grey scale. It’s as if i became de-sensatisied to the abundance of colour that i didn’t notice it didn’t seem new and exciting. The houses are all the same peachy orange from the local clay, this became normal in this situation. I could still appreciate the colour surrounding me, and still consider the city to be a lot more vibrant and colourful than what i see here in the UK.

To summarise this year’s field options have positively aided in the expansion of my knowledge in regard to my practice and who i am as maker.  I have a firmer idea of where i want to be in the future, which is based on studio craft. Making sell able relatively affordable objects produced by hand on machinery in a studio, combining material bordering aesthetic and functionality. I have learnt about how to produce and actually set up, apply and maintain a project instead of just the making of an object. I have a greater understanding on the back ground knowledge of what it would take to have a successful business or career, whether that included specialising in small craft or public art. I appreciated gathering advice from artists and organisers who are or have been in the business of public art projects and learn how they have tackled ideas and projects, whats worked and the advice they suggested to us. It helped us prepare for certain scenarios like who to involve, what to expect. However this does not mean by any means there will not be learning on the job if i go in to this area of work. Site, spaces and public spaces gave a look in to a potential reality of what is to come after uni. I preferred the lectures to creating my own project as i did not enjoy my final out come, but to fully understand the information given to us a hypothetical project was a good thing to do. However analysing and experience a different culturing allowing me to experience work and a society that is completely different to what i am used to allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and appreciate a style or a way of life that i wouldn’t ordinary look into. Just because it doesn’t follow my taste does not mean it shouldn’t affect or influence my work. I have been part of options that have shown both sides of the scale very piratical borderline business to fine art / textiles based projects.

 

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Morocco reflection 

I knew going over to cultural diligent place like Morocco would have some challenges. Like haggling, tipping, crossing the road, what to wear to be resepctful. IT honestly wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be. The first day i got a bit of unwanted attention but from that expirience i adapted. From walking around i realised that although women had to cover up and stay together a lot of them were working admittedly lower jobs but none the less they were earning themselves. They prayer call was 5 times a day and my naive thoughts were that they would have to pray each and every time. However society in morroco had adapted to modern times. If they were working for example in a restaurant they wouldn’t just stop what they were doing and pray, i assume they pray when it is appropriate for a modern day working life. 

The material culture of moroco is a very colourful one, the peach off the clay madina wall, klein blue of the gardens and windows. We had a lecture on colour before going to morroco where John clarkson explained how all of the same colour can become a grey scale. Although it was very colourful by the end of the trip the buildings became the same tone. 

I was shocked to see the amount of women working, although they were lower jobs or they may not have wanted those jobs at least they were working. But i also dont know what education for women is like it so they may not be able to choose a career they want. I didn’t have an in depth convocation with anyone about this so its just me questioning and assuming. 

I noticed that within the old architecture that windows were concealed so women could see out but not be seen. Which is not a nice thought to me however the central gardens were flourishing, behind the exterior walls the buildings were beautiful which shows they were making the best out of a suituation. However in my opinion a gilded cage is still a cage. The culture of women out in these country is very difficult to me as it shows how free i am . But for most they dont know anything else dont see an issue with it tits how they are raised how life is and theres nothing wrong with that. 

At the start of the trip i was seen as a female tourist and didn’t have best reaction from the locals but after my Fatima markings I received a completely different reaction a much more positive reaction, which gave a me a nice understanding of the place and helped me enjoy my time the a lot more. 

As a maker i love craft, materiality swo to see so many independents craftmans shops within the souks was brilliant. The Goverment shop unsettled me a little bit because the money wasn’t going straight to the maker it was feeding straightin to the goverment which i dont feel is embracing and supporting the local trade like in the souks. I did also enjoy haggling which was a big part of souk culture unlike the goverment,ent shop with its set prices. 

Overall i was very happy i went it was a very big culture shock in the best possible way. I found myselftrying to embrace everything with all my senses and it got a bit overwhelming at times. I was expirience if different values and cultures, it was a fantastic expirience.

31st January goodbye Morocco

I got up at 6am four me this was a difficult task. We had to leave the riad by 8 am, as the last day i had to stock up on food at break feast. Thank the heavens there was CAKE! There had been a breakfast cake drout which had caused a bit of distress in the week. All of out favourites they really did like us! 

We got all of us luggage of the coach and said goodbye to our beautiful riad and the city that had been our home for the week. I was sort of in a daze leaving i couldnt comprehend that i was leaving it already felt like a dream that i had been in this beautiful country for a week. 

We went through the many fazes of the airport and lucky me i was way under the weight limit which was shocking. And hour later we were finally through to the toilets and food where the waiting would commence. I got a little board and decided to fake swim in the pristine marble floors. It was finally time to got to the gate where we had  to continually wait for another hour or so. This seemed like a great opportunity to try a spontaneous Disney accapella band. I dont think well be touring anytime soon. After two gate changed and a delayed plane we made it on board. 

The plane ride was pretty okay we had beautiful greasy toasty and a fairly okay few hours untill turbulence hit. ITs a little off putting when you get asked to switch all devices off completely so the plane can rely on sensors and transmitters to land. As we were descending all we could see was cloud untill the next thing we know were looking at the sky and then the floor as in aparralele and landing track inst that far from the wing, it was bumpy, slightly scary and absolutely awesome. There weren’t many who’s shared my opinion apparently. 

There were a few hiccups in bristol airport what with missing luggage get that turned up, misplaced phones and angry passengers but we made it to the coach and made it to cardiff. 

30th January, souks, belly dancing 

Monday was our last full day in Marekech so today was day for haggling i had a list of things and i was determined to get them as cheap as possible. The cheesy scarf buy form my mum and sister, jewellery, bowls things like that but the pier de restitence was a leather bag. I managed to get a teal, camel leather satchel for 250 Durham which is think is around £21. I then haggled for 3 more leather bags from Elle, carys and Lydia and got a fairly good deal. Now the man did over to buy me for 4 camels which of course i refused so instead i got a free gift, safe to say my haggling was so on point o got a free conical tea light. After a few more purchases and a wander through the souks we headed back to the riad to draw and chill. 

It was quite a warm day by our standard so we dipped our legs in the pool. IT WAS A MISTAKE, absolutely freezing so i stayed on my lounger water colouring. At 4 the riad decided to put on a goodbye show which apparently they only do for people they like. Good to know we didn’t annoy all the staff too much. 

Three men in traditional clothing came and played, sang and danced for us. I found it very interesting but i dont think we created the correct response. I imagine the audience is meant to be up dancing and cheering. We stayed at the sidelines but gave them a good cheer which by bristish standards is pretty good. I dont think they liked it. After their performance we made our way in to the breakfast room. Where a belly dancer started to perform. Naturally asBristish most of us found it pretty uncomfortable especially the boys who got pulled up to dance. I love dancing so i gave it a good shake before she finished. However my highlight was Christ doing the Irish jig with a a belly dancer, which then lead to him trying to hid under a table. 

After a quick change and avoiding a show and tell we made our way to a restaurant. All of the good places are hidden down dark alley ways that look a bit dodgy but in actuall fact had gems. 

We were seated around very low tables which were a tad uncomfortable but gave an amazing view of the middle floor and stage. We had a very funny waiter who decided to play small jokes on us like taking away menses not handing stuff over it was very funny. The food was delicious of course Moroccan spring rolls, skewers, deserts tea. It was all amazing. Between servings the belly dancers came out. The first was a middle aged woman with a tray of flaming candles and cups on her head. She was very good and pulled quite a few of us up. I had my 5 minutes of fame which i have to say i thouroughly enjoyed. She carried on to dance pose and perform where she pulled up rhy who’s destiny really should be belly dancing he did out shine the poor woman.  We carried on with the meal untill the next dancer came out who’s was a lot younger and very pretty, she received a very different reaction and made the poor boys a little nervous . She also pulled up ana who could have been her twin and did and beautiful synchronised piece. IT was a rule fantastic night, some within get i had never expirienced with a group of new people that i love to pieces. 

29th January Berber village Ourika valley 

In the distance from Marekech the Atlas mountain fade into the clouds. They intice you with its snowy views from your sunny roof top. Hidden between the mountains was Ourika valley. This is where a group of BerBer people live. BerBeris another   culture of Morocco, i asked one of the local men who was showing us the  flour mill and he described it as one of the traditional cultures they live a more basic life, not in a negative way less technology less westernisation. Admittedly in the Arian shop they do have card payment but life up is is dependant on the stream from the mill the farming and the traditional way of making Argan oil. The man told us how for flour they only pay 10% because they use the water from the mill for free, they accept enough money to survive but not to take advantage and to keep the community going. I bought a beautiful hand woven rug which contributed to re building the mosq. THe valley was beautiful as it always has water, but with that beauty comes consequences. The village had been destroyed twice within the last few decades due to floods. Which explains why the bridges look less than stable, the risk of another flood could happen at any time. 

The BerBer people come down from the mountain once a year with the cow to a tannery in the souks. The locals all advised us to go to this great even that happens once a year great photo opportunity! Little did we know what it actually was. The BerBer community is a culture that maintains the traditional ways of Morocco. It was amazing to see that a community like this is still thriving. 

28th January blind school

The itenary for this trip had a few set days, one of the being a visit to the school for the blind. I was actually very excited for this. The opportunity to talk, mess around with students sounded fun, however i was also very interested to see how what some might refere to as “less fortunate”live. On the day sally received an email saying that as there had been exams the majority of the students had gone home, so only a few of the older students were left. This wasn’t an issue though we would happily spend time with whoever.

MY first shock was how different society is out side of the madina, it wasnot poverty stricken like inside the wall .There seem to be Luxury condos , expensive shops and a lot less tradition coats and clothing. The streets were wider and filled with more cars than bikes. AS we pulled in to the school it also occurred to all of us that these children from a very young age to young adult live on site. As beautiful as the place was they would spent most of their time there. 

We were welcomed and shown to a small sitting room where we just about fitted in, slowly a few students trickled in to the room where they started to talk to us. Admittedly we were all quite shy and didn’t really know how to respond. The difficulty was that only a few students knew enough English to properly communicate with us our French was shocking and Arabic none existent so communication was a bit difficult . As time passed we relaxed a little and communicateion was slightly easier but not great. IN the madina were talking to adults who have finished school where these children are still learning the languages. It sounds like im putting the blame on them im not, they are learning so much compared to i us and dont take it to granted wheres i only speak English and sarcasm . I think it was us who may not have been up to standard to meet with these students. 

Chris who is fluent French helped us all and read/ acted out a poem and song. There were about about 8 students with us at the time and well they weren’t really interested in his story but it eased everyone up. After that a group of girl came in  and performed for us. They sang used drums and other small instrments. IT was fantastic! It was clear to see that even though their eyesight may be impaired they are not at a loss. The happiness that they get from the music especially but sports maths, languages showed that they have a good quality of life. I may not be the most musical but  my lack of talent made them laugh and i couldnt ask for anything more. 

There were points where some of the girls felt a little uncomfortable as some of the male students were showing some interest in especially the blond girls.There were a lot of photos being taken and some uncomfortable questions , however by that point in the week we had learnt to just ignore it . 

The expirience was very mixed there was a difficult language barrier, none of us knew what to expect we probably felt pity to begin with. But after talking to them hearing them sing i found that  on the compound they feel safe cared for they learn and have friends that understand them and support them. The head master gave a speech in English which was not one of his main languages, he talked about how honoured they were to have the tradition of our student going every year, which brought a tear to most of our eyes. Instead i felt honoured to be welcomed in to their school and see how they live and work and how much harder they work than me. To see what they accomplished and how they taken their life into their own control and found a way to live incredibly happy and well. The are certainly not less fortunate.

27th January, The fake camel ride 

When i first choose to go on this Morocco trip i knew that if i saw camels that were treated fairly well and not abused i would go for a camel ride. I was super executed as the camel is the most mostly associated animal with North Africa and the deserts. Also i feel like it was a once in a life time opportunity its. 

The guide SIed suggested a “camel” ride the Palmer * an area of land where palm trees are grown* Where it would cost 300 Durham. If the animals were in good shape I didn’t think it was a bad deal. SO i decided to tag along. After a 20 minute ride with banging tunes in the car we arrived at the p-Almere where camels lined up with men in tunics under a tent in the trees. The camel seemed a good wqeiught or what i presumed to be a good weight no bones sticking out munching away on some greens. 

We were dressed in traditional riding clothes a colourful long tunic with a head scarf which came in handy when the rain came. The attire wasn’t the most flattering but i felt the part. The men started to line up the camels  high after i paid realised were very very closely tied together, most behaved but the odd one that didn’t sit down were hit in the neck. I found this quite difficult to watch. But other than that they were treated pretty well. 

We had Zulu in the front then Cous cous, Shakira, Victoria, Beyoncé (my camel), Michael Jackson followed by James bailey. I have to say the best line up of camel there could have been. WE started our hour treck through the palm trees, all was calm having a nice plodd with Beyoncé when another group of camel passed the two males of the group made the most terrifying( out of no where) noise, a very guttural and gravelly sound. As the camels were so closely tied Michael Jackson vocal display was incredibly close to my leg. As it took me by surprise i nearly fell of Beyoncé. 

We also got a bit confident the camels have a very gentle gait meaning we could swap legs on the camel and sit side saddle which entertained us a little. This is wehere the two men with us dropped the bomb. 
I WASNT ON A CAMEL!
I was in fact seated on Dromedary also know as  the Arabian camel, this meant it had one hump where’s actuall camels have two. This may not seem like a big difference to most but to me this was ground breaking. As this was a great topic area for debate i was annoyed i was indeed not on what is considered a camel in Marrakech. Other than that i thouroughly enjoyed the expirience they weren’t baldly abused and by a lot of standards greatly cared for. I really enjoyed the cultural expirience of sitting for tea (which honestly tasted like dromedary wee) and wearing the traditional clothing. Sitting on logs Ina tent hung in the tress was a different expirience for tea time that i had expirienced through the trip.