Marrakech Research

INITIAL RESEARCH & IDEAS

Over the Christmas holidays I have been researching into the different places I would like to visit while on the trip to Morocco. I have found a huge variety of places that look amazing and I would love to explore. I can’t wait to see the architecture, colours, patterns, tiles and markets that Marrakech has to offer. I think this is going to be an incredible experience, it will be amazing to learn about the culture and I aim to record the trip through photography and sketching. I am going to take my DSLR camera, a small sketchbook and selection of pens and pencils with me. I am also considering taking a disposable film camera with me as the photos would be nice to stick in a sketchbook, as a visual diary of the trip. It could be interesting to make my own book to record my photos and sketches from the trip, as an artefact documenting the experience.

PLACES TO VISIT

Majorelle Gardens – One of the places I am most excited to visit is the Majorelle Gardens, as I love cacti and plants and have a collection myself, so I can’t wait to see the huge collection they have in the garden! A visit to the garden is already in the timetable to visit as a group, but if I have extra spare time in the week I may revisit it if I need more time to explore. This will be a wonderful site to take inspiring photos and do some sketching! This is roughly a 40 minute walk from the hotel. http://jardinmajorelle.com

majorelle

 

Ben Youssef Madrasa – Another place I have researched is Ben Youssef Madrasa. In the past this was a large Islamic college that housed up to 900 students who studied law and theology. I am keen to visit here as I am interested in seeing the intricate tiles and decorative work on the building. It looks spectacular in the photos on the website, so I can’t even imagine how incredible it will be to see it in real life. It is open 9-5 Monday to Sunday. This is a 20 minute walk from the hotel. http://www.medersa-ben-youssef.com

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Bahia Palace – Bahia Palace (meaning palace of the beautiful and brilliant) is a 19th century palace described on the website as “one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture”. It is also described as “the largest and most luxurious palace of Morocco of its time” and is eight hectares. It is open 9-5 Monday to Sunday. I would love to visit here while on the trip as it looks luxurious and beautiful, once again I am drawn to the colourful tiles and incredible architecture that it has. This is only a 10 minute walk from the hotel. http://www.palais-bahia.com/en/

Palais_Bahia_(The_Bahia_Palace)_(7346181900)

 

Al Nour Al Nour consists of a group of handicapped artisan women who hand embroider onto 100% natural fibres. Products that are sold in the shop include clothing for men, women and children, as well as home accessories. I have looked on Google Maps and the shop is only a 15 minute walk from the hotel. It would be lovely to visit the shop to meet some of the women and see the beautiful hand embroidery in person. https://www.alnour-textiles.com/aboutalnour/

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Le Jardin Secret – Open 9:30 – 5:30. Entrance 30 Dirhams. 20 minute walk from the hotel. https://www.lejardinsecretmarrakech.com

Traditional Islamic green tiles lead to a central water feature at Le Jardin Secret

 

Jardin Menara – Open 9- 5. Free entry. 45 minute walk from the hotel. http://www.jardinmenara.com

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El Badi Palace – Open 9 -5. Entrance 20 Dirham. 3 minute walk from the hotel. http://www.palais-el-badi.com

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Musée Tiskiwin, Marrakech Museum, Riad Enija, Dar Si Said, Koutoubia Gardens

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Final Photographs of Ceramics Work – Home Truths

ZANZIBAR LEOPARD BOWL

 

BAIJI RIVER DOLPHIN DISH

 

JAVAN TIGER PLATE

 

WEST AFRICAN BLACK RHINO DISH

 

LEOPARD BOWL

 

TEST PIECES

Glaze Results – Home Truths

Today I got to see how the glaze came out on my ceramic pieces. These are photos of how they looked before they went into the kiln and how they changed after being fired.

Some of these pieces have come out successfully and some of them have come out a bit messy. This may be because I applied the glaze too thickly which has caused it to run. I enjoyed the process of glazing though and think it can create some really interesting colours and textures. I am glad I used slip for my final designs as they were detailed and wouldn’t have worked out so well if the colours had ran and bled.

Home Truths – Self Reflective Statement

SELF REFLECTIVE STATEMENT

I have really enjoyed this project because I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I have wanted to try ceramics for a while now so this project was the perfect opportunity for it. Due to the fast paced nature, I initially struggled to choose a theme for the project that I was happy with. I wanted to base my commemorative object on something personal but couldn’t come up with an idea that had enough body and meaning to it. I went back to my research and decided to commemorate extinct animals for the project as I found I was most drawn to ceramics involving animal imagery.

I got stuck into my research about extinct animals and turned up to my field sessions with images, sketches and stencils ready to create my designs. I tried to prepare as much as possible the day before so that I had as much making time as possible at university. This organisation made it a lot easier for me to make my pieces, as I knew exactly what I would be doing each day. I kept up to date with the timetable which ensured that I had my work ready for each firing.

I enjoyed learning all of the different ceramics techniques and processes throughout this project. I decided to use moulds and slip decoration for my final artefacts as I felt most comfortable and in control with these techniques. I really enjoyed having a go at throwing pots on the wheel and I found it exciting to experiment with glazes. If glaze techniques had been introduced to us slightly earlier in the project I might have used glaze over slip for my pieces as I prefer the choice of colours. I did find slip much easier to apply neatly onto my pieces though, so my designs might not have worked out so well with glaze. If the project was longer I would have loved to do more throwing, but as there was limited time I used moulds as this was a more reliable technique for me. This was because I wasn’t sure if I would get the hang of throwing quickly enough to produce successful enough pieces to decorate for the project.

I am pleased with my final 4 artefacts as I never imagined that I would make as much as I did for the project. If I could do it again I would try to be more experimental and less precious about my work. Sometimes I would be scared to try something a bit different incase it wouldn’t work, but in a way this has limited what I produced, as I used the same techniques for each object. I wasn’t as precious about my test tiles, and they have more variety and experimentation amongst them. I think it is mainly down to time, as if the project was longer I would have been able to create lots of tests, see what worked well and then create final pieces based on that. There wasn’t enough time for that in this project, as I had finished most of my final artefacts before seeing the final outcome of my tests.

I’m really happy to have had the experience in the ceramics department, as now I would feel comfortable to come back and make ceramics if suitable for future projects. I have taken away a lot of valuable skills from this project which I can develop further into my Subject work.

PDP: Constellation Goddesses & Monsters

PDP: GODDESSES & MONSTERS

I started this module feeling really positive as I ended up in the study group that I was most interested in. Overall I have found the lectures interesting and I felt that I was following and understanding the main concepts we went over each week. Initially I found it hard to try and link Constellation to my own work in Textiles. As the weeks went on and we discussed different artists and their work, I slowly started to see how I could make links between Constellation and my practice. For example, in this study group we talked about the ways that artists use different materials and textures to portray different meanings, which I can start to consider more carefully in my textiles work. Another reason I find it quite hard to link my work with Constellation is sometimes a pattern I have designed might not have a huge amount of meaning behind it. But I have realised through Constellation, that I should have more consideration behind my work, in terms of why I have used certain colours/materials etc, and what messages I want to get across.

From having previous experience in Level 4 I have found the reading of academic texts a lot less daunting this year. I made the process easier for myself by allowing plenty of time to look over a variety of academic texts. I have got the hang of being able to pick out useful quotes by using the index in the book, without trawling through every page to try and find something related to my work. I ensure that if I come across any unfamiliar words when reading a text, to look up the meaning to make it easier for myself to understand. This year I have used a combination of books from the library, with MetSearch and Google Books to view some texts online. I found this a useful technique as you can type in specific phrases and it will automatically take you to each page that has that phrase on. It also gave me more time to study a book, without having to worry about returning it, as I could view it online for as long as I needed.

I ensured I gave myself enough time for the researching of theories and concepts, as from my experience last year I knew that it takes a lot of time to complete. I used the columns technique last year so I was familiar with this way of working. I was happy to use it again as I find that it makes the whole process of writing the essay so much easier. The columns technique has made it easy for me to see if I have any theory missing to back up my points, and also provided me with a basic structure to follow for the essay. At times I found the process of filling in the second and third columns quite challenging. Sometimes I felt really stuck with being able to analyse what I had described in my image, as I do struggle to associate smaller details with meanings. Another problem I faced was finding theory to back up some of my points. This was sometimes frustrating, for example when I was trying to find evidence that pink is associated with femininity. It took me a while to find appropriate theory for this and it was frustrating because I knew that it was a valid point to make, but I couldn’t use it in my essay unless I had theory to back it up. For this example I was searching on Google Books. I found that when I was struggling to find theory I just had to persevere with different search phrases and keep looking at a wide range of academic texts. Eventually I would find what I needed, and because of problems like this I am glad I gave myself plenty of time for all of my research.

In this study group I was most drawn to concepts relating to women’s bodies and how they are viewed in society. For example I really enjoyed the discussions about: Britney Spears shaving off her hair and the media going crazy over it, the taboo of menstruation and how sanitary towel adverts use blue liquid instead of red to depict blood, the depictions of glamorous women with smooth, shining, unblemished skin, and how in razor adverts they show a woman shaving an already hairless leg. I find all of these examples really interesting when I actually think about it, especially in terms of the adverts as they are such an everyday thing. The study group got me questioning the norms we have in society and why we just accept them as they are, for example, why is it seen as disgusting for a woman to have hairy legs? This thought process eventually led me to decide to write my essay about views on women’s body hair.

In terms of linking concepts from Constellation with my discipline I would like to start creating work that perhaps challenges some of the norms in society. For example, considering gender norms and how I would go about designing textiles for a male vs for a female, in an interesting way that can challenge norms of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’. I am currently very interested in gender neutral clothing for children, for my most recent Subject project I have decided to design a gender neutral children’s wear collection. When it comes to my final designs, I will have to consider my use of colour, texture, materials and imagery, and what meanings can be drawn from these. This links to the work we have looked at in this study group, for example when looking at the work of Alexander McQueen and Louise Bourgeois we would analyse the meanings we could find based on their design decisions. Researching ideas behind children’s clothing and gender neutral collections could be interesting to look into for my dissertation, as it links to concepts around femininity and masculinity that I have learnt in Constellation. It also links well with textiles and is something that I have a strong interest in.

Home Truths – Glaze

Today I had a go at using glaze for the first time. My test tiles came back from the bisque firing so I was able to coat them in the clear glaze.

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Before glazing them I needed to ensure the tiles were clear from dust by using the air line. Now they are glazed they are ready for their final firing. When dipping them in the glaze I made sure to wipe any excess glaze from the edges and bottom of the tiles, as this would cause them to stick to the shelf in the kiln.

For the final part of the day I tried doing some tin glaze decoration. There was a choice of stains and oxides to use, the stains are more pastel like than the oxides. After dipping a tile in white glaze I was able to decorate it with the coloured glazes. These are the test tiles I created in the time that I had.

The smallest tile is almost like a colour swatch so that I am able to see how each colour changes once it has been fired. I did small marks in 6 of the different colour choices to see how each one varies. I found the glaze fairly easy to apply in marks and with the sponge, but harder to paint in detailed lines. The leaf design on the far left was difficult to paint on as the glaze dries so quickly and doesn’t spread very far. The rhino design ended up being a complete disaster, as once you paint on glaze you can’t remove it if you make a mistake. I did the shape of the rhino badly and then kept adding more and more glaze to try and fix it, and now it just looks like a big lump! I also accidentally splatted some glaze on the background so had to make it spotty which wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t pleased with how it looked, but as it was the end of the day I just left it as it was, and decided to look at it with fresh eyes once it has been fired. Hopefully it will look better as the pink will become cobalt blue, so maybe it will look slightly less odd! If I were to do the rhino again I would try doing an outline of the whole body instead.

Overall I enjoyed trying out glaze decoration and I am curious to see how my tests look once they have been fired.

Home Truths – Decorating plates

Today I started to decorate the dish and plate that I made in the mould session as they were leather-hard. I came to the session with my sketchbook which had drawings and designs of the extinct animals that I wanted to use for the project. I started with the Baiji River Dolphin and chose to put the design onto a dish. I decided to use a stencil to get the dolphin shapes as this technique creates an accurate shape with neat edges. I found that using thicker paper worked a lot better than tissue paper, as it stuck down better and the slip didn’t seep through it.

I used blue and white slip for the design, and found that a sponge created an even application and blended the colours together well. I used a potter’s pin to scratch out the eyes on the dolphins and the lettering. Before I started the lettering I worked out the central letter so that the words would be lined up properly with the design.

I started my second design on my plate. I did a stencil again this time of the Javan Tiger. As I had drawn the stencil with felt tip, the purple colour had leaked through the paper onto the plate so the design looked a bit odd. I added a green rim to the plate and leaf shapes for the background. At this stage I think that the shape of the tiger looks a bit odd, the legs don’t look quite right. I should have taken more time to draw a stencil shape that I was definitely happy with, but once I add the tiger stripes I think it will look better.

Overall I am happy with how much I got done today, and it has given me a good idea of how long it takes to finish a piece.