Thomas Reynolds: Collaborative Working and Project Outcomes

Having experienced working in a group before I felt fairly confident in my ability to work well with others; however I had never been given a specific role in a group before. At first, I was slightly apprehensive but when I got to know the group better, I settled down and started to focus more on my role as editor. As a group we seemed to mesh well: Bethan emerged as the clear leader and director which was very helpful when it came to making decisions as a collective and although we didn’t really disagree on anything to the point where someone needed to step in and mediate, I feel It could have been done if necessary. Having one person who chairs the meetings helped keep us cohesive and on track. I felt we needed this because our manifesto was written with individuality in mind; and while this was intentional, it could have backfired if we didn’t keep regular contact to see what the others were doing. The members in my group were and still are very supportive, giving encouragement as well as constructive criticism. I cannot speak for everyone in the group but the continual peer review of ideas and work has certainly helped me progress with my designs. The project has run smoothly from the start but due to limitations on the exhibition space we may have to compromise on our idea of a souvenirs stall. However, our work can still be displayed as such with price-tags etc.

WP_20140514_002[1]We decided to name our work and used the price tags as cards to go with each piece.

After some deliberation, I got the role of editor, which meant it was my job to look over blog posts and check that everyone had posted, and that there were no grammatical errors. I also acted as somewhat of a communicative point for the rest of the group. I set up the blog and e-mail address as well as being a presence on social media. Furthermore I gave constructive criticism at group meetings where we would share our ideas so I feel like I played my part in the group well. I think my main weakness is that I don’t communicate enough with my peers. I felt the extra pressure of working in a team and not wanting to let the other members down, along with my role of editor has forced me to overcome this hurdle. I feel that my strength with technology suited my role as editor well and helped me do my part to the best of my ability. If I was working on this project alone I don’t think I would have ended up with what I have. Although we all worked individually, the input from my group has helped me shape my outcome, and, moreover I wouldn’t have had such a broad range of influence. I feel that hearing what my team had been doing helped me to get going after a rough start.

I feel the mid-point reviews could have gone better than it did. While some of us presented well,  others, such as Dan and myself, hadn’t really given much thought to what we were going to say. I came slightly unprepared without my sketchbooks to help me present my designs. Shortly after this we had a workshop with students from the Interactive Arts programme where we swapped ideas and talked to each other about our work so far. It was good to talk to someone who was looking at the project from a different angle due to their different discipline. We were split up for out talks with Interactive Arts but talking with my group afterwards I got the impression that it really helped them as well as me to think about the project in a different light.

I started my designs by abstracting shapes from a map of Belle Vue and thought about making them into wearable pieces. What I ended up doing came about by accident: I was messing around with the shapes I’d made out of wire and was getting a bit flustered because I didn’t really know what to do with them so I just put them on the desk and went for a drink, When I got back I realised that I’d stacked them and that I could use that principal to further my work. I looked at some artists and designers that have used layering in jewellery then I just started playing with the shapes I had creating different combinations. Overall I think I could have done better with my final outcomes. I could have refined them more and maybe added some extra elements to give them more depth and make a more obvious link to Belle Vue. If I’m honest I think the reason I didn’t do better is that I ‘didn’t really get on’ with what I was doing, I certainly liked my final outcomes more then my initial ideas but it still didn’t quite seem to click with me.

WP_20140429_005[1]The first iteration of the piece seen below – just some tests I had made that I hung from a bit of scrap wire I had.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter some refinement I used the concept of hanging from pins to create brooches that were based on the buildings from the maps I had looked at previously.

Post Exhibition Edit –
The exhibition ran smoothly with everyone getting set up the day before. There was plenty of work to see ranging from jewellery to lights and tables. As a group  we managed to pull of the souvenir stall idea even with the limitations although it was done more with extras we decided to add such as price tags and posters. Overall I think the project was a successes and although the subject matter was hard for me to get into I managed it and pushed on strengthening my resolve to complete the course.

I chose to display some of tests as well as the final pieces. We also had cards that people could take away with a short statement on the back about our work.


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