Jak Hansford was one of three Student Creatives in the academic year 2019 / 2020. The aim of the initiative was to offer all students at the AUB an opportunity to create work inspired by the MoDiP collection. This could be in any discipline with any creative outcome from physical art work to film or acting production. The MoDiP collection and / or the museum's practices had to be at the heart of the project and the work needed to be displayed either physically or digitally after a period of 20 weeks. A small bursary was provided to assist with material costs during the project and the remainder was paid on completion.
The resident was expected to keep the MoDiP team updated with progress reports on a regular basis either through email or face-to-face. They were also expected to write three blog posts during the process which follow below. The project not only helped MoDiP work closely with an AUB student, it gave the student a live brief and an opportunity to demonstrate their professional practice beyond their academic requirements.
Jak's first blog post
I was really pleased to get the chance to write a proposal for the Student Creative project with MoDiP. As an Undergraduate at the Arts University Bournemouth, I was able to familiarise myself with MoDiP and the collection it houses. Using the fantastic items on offer, I was inspired to kick start projects, essays and sketchbook work.
Now studying on the MA Fine Art course at AUB, I have the chance to bring my perspective to this project and develop exciting pieces for MoDiP. As a textile artist I work a lot with colour, shape and texture. I will bring these elements of my work to the project and take full advantage of what MoDiP offers.
Observing, drawing and photographing carefully selected objects, I will be creating something exciting and tactile through one of my key skills, tufting. The image below will show you how a finished tufted piece will look drawing inspiration from MoDiP objects that had previously inspired me.
This process weaves fibres such as threads and yarns into a backing fabric and is mostly used within the industry of rug making. These are referred to as a pile and the length or technique can be changed for different purposes. Such as a ‘Cut pile’ in image above. They are cut to leave ‘tufts’ or fringed yarns. The second type of pile is known as the ‘Loop pile’. This forms a loop woven through the backing fabric and leaving more of stitched look.
Tufting creates a soft, inviting and interactive surface that is very tactile and comforting. Self-teaching this skill, I have been able to find ways of making more contemporary pieces that really challenge the potential of this as an art form. Some of which can be by combining techniques and introducing other fibres by hand (see images above).
This commission will help further my research and allow a freedom of style through my inspiration of MoDiP's objects. Having studied them before, I know you don't have to work in or with plastic to use this resource effectively. My intention is to showcase this idea and show how beneficial MoDiP's collection can be to any area of study. This will be a fantastic chance to visit new areas within my own work and produce a piece entirely unique and new. I am excited to share this experience and cannot wait to update you all at the halfway point with how it is progressing!
Jak's second blog post
MoDiP Midway Progression
It’s now halfway through my student creative journey and the project has really begun to transform through experimentation. The process began from selecting key objects from MoDiP and observing them through drawing and photography. Studying these was helpful in deconstructing the pieces and thinking about where it will go from here.
My choice of objects had mundane functions but innovative shape and form within their design. I found this a bit tricky as in the past I have focused on the mundane and then redesigned. The fact that these items have existing design quality meant it would be more exciting to push how I think or see them differently.
At the time of writing this, I’ve been working hard on my master’s degree where I’ve explored a wide range of materials and ideas. This explains why I’ve taken a similar approach to the student creative journey and how my thought processes are merging between the two. As I’ve started to get a better grip on my own practice as a fine art student, I’ve been able to understand how I can reinterpret the MoDiP items. Not only that, my own practice has also given me specific concepts and techniques I could be using. Such as the two images below which show a recent piece focusing on application of materials and the importance of surface texture which also contains many other meanings or research led from practice.
Digital design is something I’ve started to bring to this creative project. In the past I’ve always created repeat designs or digital artwork to be used for something else, not stand-alone digital artwork. So this presents a new challenge to me as the focus will be on that one object itself. Since I started playing around with digital ideas, I think it’s great the way a 3D object can take on a new life when digitised, especially once I’ve added some transformative adaptations. What became more interesting was combining my own studies with the project and learning something new about myself as an artist.
I admit this isn’t where I saw this going at the start, as I had a pretty good idea of how my outcome would look and be finalised. However, this is something I enjoy about fine art as producing work becomes a process itself and you can start somewhere and end up completely off track. Since my BA, I’ve realised going off track is not a bad thing as I could be trying things I would never initially think of. The good thing is though, I’m still able to come full circle if what I’ve tried out isn’t how I imagined, and return to my initial ideas. It’s all a valuable learning experience!
At this stage of the project I am fully immersing myself in this experience and have already achieved a vast arrangement of ideas and experiments and those will continue to develop. The fact that I can be so explorative with the MoDiP collection goes to show how adaptable their pieces are. Also, with the right mindset there really are no limitations and you can work in any specialism to convey the beauty of the MoDiP piece, while still not representing or illustrating it literally. All my documentation of drawings, sketches and images will still hold an importance going forward and I will document these along the way.
I hope this can help inspire other creatives to reinvent their perspective using objects and that artwork based on plastics doesn’t need to be... plastic! I really look forward to sharing how valuable this experience has been and where I ended up in my next instalment.
Jak's last blog post
These past 20 weeks of the student creative project with MoDiP has been a journey of exploration and transformation from museum artefact to finished fine art piece.
I started my journey through proposing my idea of machine tufting. I had planned to take it in this direction from the very start. However, through the methods and perspective gained from my current MA Fine art studies, I was influenced in applying my strengths of experimentation as seen in a selection of thumbnail ideas (See images below). This pathway led to me examining alternative methods, mainly digital, while keeping the colour schemes and key theme of shape abstraction. I utilised a mixture of computer software and drawing to help make this possible.
While enjoyable, I found myself at the stage where I could look at this digital direction subjectively. I decided that the work fell somewhat flat and did not fully represent myself or how I envisioned my interpretation of the MoDiP objects. The 3-dimensional elements and presence of texture were both more significant than I had originally realised when taking this digital detour. I felt it was now time to go full circle and return to machine tufting in order to complete this project (See images below).
Though I have now reached the end of the project having used techniques I had originally planned, I feel the piece embodies the experience. The previously mentioned digital detour has helped inform the style of the piece significantly.
My work showcases the energetic and playful attributes that the artefacts I chose hold. While I started focusing on one MoDiP object at a time, the project developed, and I began seeing the potential of the objects together and intermingled especially through collage (See image below). The still life imagery I created could offer more than my singular drawings could (See image below). By this I mean the space around and interaction between each object and how this provides intrigue and interest. This was reinforced by taking the time to source a variety of yarns and making sure colours reacted a similar way.
Translating the work from small to large scale was a learning curve. I had to allow minute details to change to suit the form of the piece, while still maintaining the feeling of my initial collages. The act of collage making itself was time consuming, however it allowed me to experiment with abstract shapes and colours in order to create a vast range of compositions (See images below). There were so many possibilities to try out!
The final piece is 180cm x 40cm and is one of the biggest tufted pieces I have ever produced. This presented its own unique set of challenges, mostly practical, but with the freedom of the project this could all be overcome (See images below). I found this aspect of the project allowed me to really pull on all my strengths, both mentally and physically, to really enjoy the piece I have produced.
I have thoroughly valued my time as a student creative and working with MoDiP. I would highly encourage any student to apply for this opportunity in the future and to just let go and have fun. I feel this tufted piece I have produced really embodies these elements and shows that inspiration from plastics really does not need to be translated with plastics. There are a multitude of ways I can now see this could have gone which only makes me wish I could have this opportunity again. Going forward with my studies and further on I will continue to build upon this experience and the knowledge and will certainly be coming back for more inspiration.
In conversation and working with the MoDiP team, I have also been able to learn more about the museum, artefacts and exhibitions. This experience has been very rewarding and enjoyable. I would also like to say a huge thank you to all of those at MoDiP for giving me this opportunity.