As a team we were efficient and managed the group in such a way that we had support and structure from the group, but could get to work individually; researching the topic and materials of our own practices. We all had a professional attitude and due to the Facebook page we set up for communicating, everyone was up to date and could ask for advice on the project. Bethan, the team leader, was really organised and kept notes on what we were all doing to our track progress which pushed the project along. The main challenge of working in a team was getting everyone together at the same time for some of the meetings. Our manifesto for a souvenir stall was something we stuck to successfully as a team and we managed to follow it through to the final exhibition. Although there were limited materials for the stand of our ‘Belle Vue’s Souvenir Emporium’ we came prepared with postcards for people to take and ‘price tags’ naming our pieces, which knitted the whole stall together with an essence of a shop. If I was to do this again I would have put more effort into how to present the work, however, with the information we had at the time I thought the exhibition was a success.
Working as part of a team has pushed me to be more vocal in my opinions and was an opportunity to practise explaining my ideas out-loud which I find challenging at times. As head of research I checked people’s sketchbooks towards the start for sufficient research and contributed to the team by being supportive and sharing my opinions on the group’s work in our regular meetings. After presenting to one of the other groups I saw that their head of research had taken the role further than I had, organising research trips and sharing books from the library with the other members. In retrospect I feel like I could have put more enthusiasm into my role to challenged myself and benefit the others. The collective knowledge of techniques and designers in the group was a good source to tap into and helped me broaden my ideas and overcome some of the problems in my designs. As a result I think my final idea was more refined than in previous projects and had a strong link to the project’s souvenir focus.
The presentation for the mid-term reviews was put together fairly last-minute. Our team had written notes on our designated area but after the other team’s presentation I felt mine were irrelevant so had to improvise which didn’t go well. Most of the other members of the team presented their area well, and followed this by talking through the sketchbooks and models they produced on their individual projects. Again, I feel presenting and explaining my ideas out-loud very challenging, but I still tried my best and feel practice is the best cure. Looking at the other group it was easy to see that some members of our group, including me, needed more 3D test pieces.
Presenting to the Interactive Arts students was one of the most beneficial exercises in this project for me as they provided a completely different perspective on my work that I would have never considered. The feedback was mainly exhibition presentation focused though, which I think is much more central to their area of work. The less formal presentation set-up made it much easier to think clearly and talk through my development, I brought examples of my work which I passed round and found these helped significantly with explaining my ideas. From this I have discovered the benefits of discussing my ideas with others, even if it is just with members of the course I don’t usually talk to for a boost of ideas when I need help.
After the initial test pieces I made in the workshop I felt like I needed further research to push along my ideas. Janna Syvanoja’s paper jewellery inspired be to pursue a flip book of some kind, showing the side acts of Belle Vue circus. This built on the play element I had first been drawn to in the toy theatres. Also, the flowing form of Syvanoja’s designs lead me to think about the ergonomics of the rings. Being quite chunky they hindered movement so I added curves to the underside of the ring and made the slotting-on section narrower. I briefly looked at Lisa Catterson’s jewellery and thought that the layering element could be applied to my designs and the simple joining method.
Going into the book-binding workshop was a much needed boost to my enthusiasm, I really enjoyed trying out new materials and techniques because I usually get too focused on one area e.g. patina on copper for the last project. I also went to a talk by one of the former performers in Belle Vue which added to my research on the characters and side shows. Overall, the research I gathered and the feedback from other students made me appreciate how important primary source information is for this course. My final piece was a flip book of the film of Koringa performing on stage. I chose green for the cover because of the green used in the early advertisements and the crocodiles in her show. The final brass tubing tied all the elements of the ring together and hid the screw leading to a refined design. To develop this further I would bring back a link to the performer’s history, such as Koringa’s involvement in secret missions during WWII in France. Adding the occasional page of a secret message within the movie pages could bring this across well or by adding imagery onto the brass section, hinting towards her past.