Understanding my Practice

What is my practice?

1prac·tice verb \ˈprak-təs\
to do something again and again in order to become better at it
to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life
to live according to the customs and teachings of (a religion)
(practice, no date)

in an object and context lecture this week (16.10.14) Ian Roberts introduced
'what do we mean by practice?' as - what it is you normally do, a way of thinking, a process, a brief, a specific response or reaction to an outside stimulus or even adding facility and meaning to specific elements.

|trying to understand my practice|

My Practice is quite confused at the moment. I have so many different areas of interest and experience that it is hard to truly know my design direction. To try and identify my direction requires a brain dump! Here we go...

Before University my practice concerned multimedia surface transformation, I already had a Keen interest in lighting and the transformative effect of illumination on a surface.

While at university studying a surface pattern design degree I was exposed to a breath of textile manipulation skills, however I was often more interested in the processes once applied to paper. While at university I gained a keen interest in both processes surrounding bookbinding and lasercutting. My final major project encompassed my obsession with light, my bookbinding skills, pleating and folding the surface and then further embellishing through laser cut.

While designing for tigerprint my practice was concerned with innovative designs, meeting costs and consumer requirements, materials and processes. Within the studio my known practice was 3D paper manipulation.

Paper products - cards, toys, packaging, lampshades, bookbinding, pop-up mechanisms Kirgami, diecut elements laser cut pattern, collage scenes & paper decorations

3-D surfaces - illuminated, 2-D to 3-D transformation, adding dimension through drawing 3-D surface texture, 3-D wallpapers.

fabric manipulation - removing elements with divorey, embellishing the surface with embroidery folding, shibori or collage. Drawing with stitch.

manipulation of lighting - lighting to enhance the mood for product, lighting effects our senses can that effect our sense of the product?

Through out this MA, areas I am keen to develop are: workshop skills in textiles, my drawing skills and my CS6 layout skills. I aim to finish with a collection of products.

My initial research when contemplating what my practice was started on pinterest, Looking at what other artists and designers are working on currently and seeing if anything inspired me or caught my eye..

Looking online only seemed to confuse me more. I am interested in so many different materials, process, and outcomes. I could become a lighting designer, but what sort of lighting am i intersted in? what will inspire me? where shall i get my briefs from? (am i still stuck too much in commercial thinking!)

For me the hard part is remembering what inspires ME. I dont have a brief to fullfill, I dont have any set boundaries, It's back on me again, What inspires me to make and create? I am not a graphic designer, nor a textiles designer, I am a trained paper engineer with a background in textiles.

To confuse matters further I am in the process of writing a business plan! My business will surround wedding stationery, and hen party workshops. creating a range of off the shelf choices for the customer to chose from. getting in touch with suppliers & printers and working out what my competitiors are doing.

But anyway... back to 'my practice'. Having to produce a statment of intent and suggested study focused my mind and i forced myself to choose a direction (whether this is right for me, only time will tell).  In the end I went with the area that I have the most passion for - the thing that still has the ability to make me stare in wonder - light in combination with 3d surfaces.

As part of my inspiration journey Paul Johnson had a profound impact. The end goal for me is not only understanding and developing my practice but finding my way into education. The way paul has managed to couple his design with education is trully inspiring.

Paul Johnson

"Paul Johnson has an international reputation for his pioneering work in developing literacy through the book arts. He is author of over fifteen titles.
Dr Johnson is also a successful book artist with work in the collections of the Tate Gallery, London, the Cooper-Hewett Museum & many more, he also received the guild’s Book Art Colophon Award." (About Paul Johnson, no date)
He is on the UK Craft Council's select list of British designer-makers.

I have Found out from Pauls Johnson's website that johnson is not only a paper artist, but an educator aswel, this has really encouraged me; I could be a 'paper artist'. I don’t need to worry about focusing on design industry titles or degree subject headings when wondering what my practice could be.
I wonder if having a specific practice and working on a broad based degree is possible? Would I instead have to be a visiting lecturer?

Understanding my practice conclusion . . .

Although it was a hard process, it was necessary and worthwhile. Although still not 100% convinced I do have a direction that I can focus on. When i think about areas that I can explore and develop, interactive surfaces and light gives so many possibilities. So yes I do have a practice and I excited to say tht my practice is:

The creation of 3D surfaces as a medium to enhance the user experience. - interaction, collaboration & illumination.