Rough Guide Collab.

In order to decide which page would feature within in  the Rough Guide we had a group presentation of our sketchbooks. I was nervous about presenting my ideas as I was unsure whether I had done enough work to convey what I wanted. Only having a week to do this project was challenging as I don’t feel I was able to get all my ideas down but the task helped kick-start my way of thinking, making and developing concept. With such little the time you can’t help but immediately immerse yourself in the work and realise the excitement in creating responding to what is around us.

Despite my nerves I feel as though it went well, Kathy seemed to understand my ideas and was interested by what I had to show. The best positive feedback I got was for the image where I had ripped tape away from one image leaving behind a stripped pattern and matted surface. I then placed the transfered  image onto a second picture of ceramic tiling to convey the idea of the mundane being coated into the surface to the city. The group was also interested by the image of the delicate yet haphazard detailing of a dust pattern on a window ledge. The crit session was extremely helpful to me as it allowed me to reflect on my work in a new way and isolate the most compelling ideas to develop. Of all my images I also felt this one would translate well into the black and white format of the book. I decided to use this as my base and customise, adding colour and texture, into the pages with the tape transfer images to create a juxtaposition and parallel between messes and deliberate design. The ways in which I choose to place the tape coating added another layer to my concept as I was thoughtfully working into this ‘dirty’ surface and not trying to erase or clean it.

Although it was very tiring to complete 100 customisations I didn’t want to rush the process and took time so that each page was different but as considered as the next. It is interesting as a maker to spend such a great deal of time to elevate something that is disregarded within a second within our day to day journeys. I was really excited about having a book that represented each of member of the class within it. The concept of the rough guide was captivating because the final book would not function as a conventional map but showed the areas in a unique, more abstract way that took note of and celebrated the forgotten and ignored. Within my work I feel this is something I am fascinated by, spending the time to appreciate what is temporary and so easily lost. It was beautiful to see the care taken by another in each page, the customisations were remarkable as I thought about how the individual maker had worked intimately with the page, the marks they left were raw and personal, exposing something of how they work and view the world.

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Chinatown & Soho

For our first project on the course we were sent out to explore different areas of London with the aim of collating a Rough Guide to the city. My area was Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden and although I was familiar with some of these areas I was entirely aware that I had only ever scratched the surface of what these places had to show.

Chinatown speaks in an encrypted language of its own visual and written imagery which is at once alluring in it’s mystery yet almost hostile and secretive at times.  What was most compelling to me was the collision between this stage of foreign culture set within the london streets that are somewhat uniform throughout the city. However I was fascinated by how the foreign make up of the area from the unusual foods to the masses of discarded packaging affected the unique surfaces that form deliberately but also incidentally. How the smudges of the area embed and coat the pavement as if grasping hold of it in order to impress its worth. I found it most interesting that many of these surfaces were discovered  within awkward areas, like corners, ledges, intersecting roads and crevasses.

Within Soho I was drawn to the beautiful yet often unnoticed craft in the ceramic tiling. The coloured lacquered quality against the coarse stoned walls felt rich and sumptuous. Between the messes and overspilling I saw in Chinatown and these decorative tiles I began to find an area of focus within my concept and research. I was fascinated by how temporary marks or obstructions influenced permanent design despite sometimes being considered nuisances. I thought this might be because within the bustle of movement we only notice these marks because they are intrusions however by altering the way we experience the area they in themselves become a permanent part of the memory.  This made me consider the different layers as inhabitants that we impress within an area and how marks that are designed feel more detached. The whited-out painting of a shop window possesses a similar translucent quality to the architecture of a glass building and the rawness of chalk on brick shares a design reminiscent of metal guiding. One of each of these is far more intimate as only a single step away from the original human encounter that created the mark and is not unremarkable simply because we disregard it as a ‘mess’.