Looking back at my Mixed Media Coursework, the following samples have been selected as they loosely cross boundaries between disciplines or resist labels associated with categories of visual art. All photographs were previously published within the learning log accompanying the course Textiles 1: Mixed Media for Textiles.
In the samples below, combining printmaking and machine embroidery, heat soluble gauze was stitched and the gauze ironed away to leave a piece of machine stitching used as a collagraph to produce a series of prints. Initially, although I didn’t think of it in that way there was a sub-conscious intention to cross boundaries as I was exploring printing with stitch. However, the decision to stitch into the one of the prints, (bottom right) ‘just happened’, it seemed a natural progression in what had become a small series.
Below, a small bag was crafted with stitch to create a vessel to cast with builder’s plaster. This was in response to the the frustration of trying to cast from plastic bags, as instructed in the course notes. I had difficulty controlling the outcome with the plastic bag and wanted to remedy that. The ideal solution was to stitch a bag or vessel, enabling me to influence the shape and texture.
There wasn’t a conscious decision to combine disciplines, but a progression in my endeavour to understand the properties and potential of the material, in this case, builder’s plaster and a desire to push boundaries by taking risks to produce something interesting and unpredictable. Continuing with those intentions, the following piece resulted from stitching a plastic magazine envelope a created a cushion-like sculpture.
The following resist labels associated with visual art as they question our normal perception of a a series of jugs and spoons. The course notes encouraged us to wrap everyday items so effectively we were invited to combine disciplines by using a variety of materials and the outcome resists a label as it is an unexpected way to present jugs.
Also, both the jugs and spoons cannot be used efficiently for their intended purpose whilst wrapped, which changes their characteristics and accepted definition.
Considering the question “is it useful to your understanding of the work to give it a label?” in this context, I would say not. If the artist wants to help the viewer understand the meaning of the work or the inspiration behind it, a label may be a useful clue, but if the intention is that the viewer should interpret or question the work any way they wish, then a label would be a distraction or influence their judgement.