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Level six constellation was both an aspect of my year that I really enjoyed, and simultaneously struggling with. The study skills within our Level five constellation I found really interesting; looking at more advanced academic theorists like Ingold, Tonkinwise, and the baffling discovery of ‘flat land’; an alternate two dimensional universe used as a humorous connection to change the way we view the world. I found the work of Ingold and Tonkinwsie particularly relevant to the material culture and maker movement, as a maker myself I wanted to explore these concepts further. I have struggled previously to grasp full understanding of the processes of making and therefore decided to use my dissertation as an exploratory document to define what making is.
This previous term was spent generally focusing on upskilling and learning new process of upholstery and wood turning, due to a trip to the ‘naughtone’ factory in Halifax, which greatly impacted my creative intentions firmly towards furniture design and interior semblance, whilst attempting to write my dissertation. Although I had genuine interest in the topic, I found it quite difficult to motivate myself to write, alongside subject deadlines and working a part time job. I fell that towards the end of the term, after digesting more of the academic theorists I had more confidence and understanding within my writing structure. The level four constellation with Cath Davies, helped me with writing structurally through the use of ‘Cath’s Columns’.
In reference to Ingolds process of making as a ‘growth’ through the lectures, and further expansion within my dissertation I find this concept of making to be really quite accurate and very relevant to the maker course. Personally, I have begun to semi – consciously note of connections and synchronicities within my own work and procedures through my interaction with the material, the environment and vice versa. Looking back over my time here, my progression of tactic skill and embodied knowledge has improved. Technique has developed, through repetition as Sennett has suggested, for example, my subject module final piece consisted of three stools of varying height and size with wood turned legs. The daily practice improved my embodied knowledge of how I reacted and understood the lathe and wood, why it was splintering and how this could be prevented, how to hold the wood chisel along the tool rest and the grip and placement of my fingers an wrist, to enable the most efficient cut. Through the theory of the thinking hand dictated by Pallasmaa, I found this particularly relevant of the connection of how the hand is a tool and window to the mind, through material processes.
Tonkinwises design away text really opened my eyes to the effects of making, unfortunately in a detrimental way. I see similarities between Tonkinwise’s theory and Ingold’s growth of making. Tonkinwise argues that in order to create things, there must equally be some level of destruction – generally implemented upon the physical environment. Ingold uses the ‘growth’ as an organic metaphor, if we consider the growth and basic lifecycle of a plant there is new life and creation but also destruction. The same could be said about my own work, although not on an industrial scale, the wood and materials I use where part of a dynamic ecosystem. Tonkinwises theory has made me more aware of what responsible design is and ways to implement this within my own work, to the extent that I have recently begun to use recycled textiles, and wood scraps laminated to create a form suitable for turning when possible.
Within my subject module we have been studying different debates, articles or texts around the area of making, to associate our own work in relation to others. I have found these particularly useful and instrumentally informative towards my dissertation and general knowledge of craft and design. These debates were done in various sizes of groups, similar to the group activities within our constellation sessions, I generally work independently within my own practice of making however, I find it quite refreshing and informative to develop interaction between transdisciplinary groups, as a source of different opinions and perspectives, respective of their specific curriculum.
This upcoming term I want to further develop my furniture design into modular interactive pieces, through the use of machine and CAD based design, due to the methods of machines allowing making like CNC routing, which can produce a three dimensional form that could not be made or produced in the same manner by hand crafting processes. Although Sennett describes crafts and making, specific to these hand skill processes, claiming they negatively affect how the craftsman or designer interacts with the design, whilst still in the modelling and design stages. Within my own work I want the accuracy of CAD processes and the skill and dedication evident through hand crafted processes, to create a type of fusion furniture.
Although there was no lectures or study skills within this academic year the use of personal tutorials have helped me advance my research and develop my skills through constellation and personal practice. These tutorials helped me advance my understanding of the topics I choice and discussed. It allowed me to view new avenues of thoughts in my work and my dissertation. I feel that these three years of constellation have enhanced my learning and understanding , these techniques and ideas will further my practice and even if I decide to study any further in a masters what I have gained in constellation will aid this.