Tunisia 20/08/2014 – 27/08/2014

Lucky me having 3 holidays this summer! I was extremely excited to visit the African country of Tunisia. I was looking forward to experiencing the different culture.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration I gained from this trip. We decided to take a visit to the Medina in a nearby town called Sousse. A medina is a massive market full of food, spices, clothes, ceramics and more. And everything is so cheap! It was a little intimidating to start with however, after a few shops we all got very into the haggling! I came away with two little pieces of hand painted ceramics.

During our time in Sousse we also visited a large department in which we found a woman creating a large traditional Tunisian rug on a loom. Photos of this are below.

We also experienced an amazing event which takes place only once every year, we were extremely lucky to be visiting during this time as we were only told the event was taking place when we arrived at the hotel. In Tunisia there is a coliseum, which is smaller than the one in Rome but has actually been preserved better. On one evening of the year, a classical performance takes place in the coliseum lit only by candle lights surrounding the audience. It was a truly amazing experience.

At the hotel we stayed in, we were invited to watch entertainment shows which included traditional Tunisian dancing and belly dancing. This was amazing; unfortunately my pictures were not very good however here is a picture I found on the internet.

Visiting Tunisia has definitely made me want to choose the Morocco Cultural Collaboration module for field in January. The whole place was highly inspirational, here are a few pictures I took. 1470155_10154653357950603_3326315139826556961_n

Here is a woman producing a traditional Tunisian rug from scratch using a loom …

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And the rugs being sold in a large department store in Sousse…..

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Medina in Sousse, Tunisia …..

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Coliseum in El Djem, Tunisia ….

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Traditional Tunisian dancer….

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Patterns found in and around the hotel……

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival 08/08/14 – 15/08/14

I have spent a week in the beautiful Scottish city of Edinburgh! The main reason for my trip was for the infamous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a month long festival of Comedy, Music and Arts. I’ve had an amazing week, yet I have to confess I stayed well away from the Haggis! (not my cuppa)

I am writing about this trip as I have found that each place I visit recently brings me new inspiration for my subject. On the way to visiting the Edinburgh Castle one day, I walked past what looked like a small shop which had a tiny sign above which stated “Tartan Weaving Mill and Exhibition.” Dragging my boyfriend along with me with travelled down three sets of stairs to find a massive working weaving mill all creating different tartan designs which were being sold in the shop below. Here are a few pictures I took…

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[The working mill]

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[Scarves made from the Tartan in the shop]

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[Working mill]

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[Tartan scarves sold in shop]

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[Working mill]


Paris 24/06/2014-30/06/2014

I’ve just come back from a week visiting Paris. It has been one of the most influential and most enjoyable trips I’ve ever taken. Paris is beautiful, I saw all the sights and visited plenty of Art Galleries. I stayed in a small apartment in Bastille – about a 25 minute walk from the centre of Paris. Staying outside of the main tourist area meant I got a real feel for the Parisian way of life, we ate at small restaurants and bars and I managed to practice my French [ A challenge after not speaking much of the language at all for around 2 years! ] Luckily, because we stayed for an entire week we managed to see and do the majority of things which was on our list!

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On the first day we walked the short distance to the Notre Dame, the outside was breath taking enough yet when we walked inside the huge cathedral I was overwhelmed. The sheer size of the building is amazing and though it was full with people there was a shared sense of calm and tranquillity.

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 decided to get on a City Sightseeing Tour Bus, we got our bearings of the city and saw all the sights from a distance. This took us most of the morning to do, in the afternoon we walked around the maze which is The Louvre. We of course saw the famous Mona Lisa but that was not the painting which picked me fancy. More than anything I was slightly annoyed by the massive crowd of people gathering around the small painting and disregarding the beauty of the paintings across the room.

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Of course, I had to take the obligatory tourist photo..

In the evening we ate in a small bar down the street from where we were staying called Les Blouses Blanches where I had the BEST burger I’ve ever eaten. Truly recommended place for food and cocktails should you be nearby!

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On our second day in La Ville-Lumière [ The City of Light ] we walked down the most dangerous road I’ve ever walked down … The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, this road is famous for being the home of the most luxurious and expensive shops in the world. All I can say is I’m glad I had a limited amount of Euros with me, otherwise I would not of been eating for the rest of the week.

After our little shopping trip we decided to go up the Arc de Triomphe.. I read online before we went to Paris that the views from the Arc de Triomphe exceed those from the top of the Eiffel Tower and the fact that we got to go up the Arc de Triomphe for free [[ if you’re under 25 and from the EU you get the majority of tourist attractions free in Paris! ]] was an added bonus.

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We then went over to Trocadero and the Jardin du Champs de Mars to view the Eiffel Tower in some of the most popular viewing places.

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On our third day, we visited The Palace of Versailles. It was absolutely stunning, we saw the Hall of Mirrors and The Grand Apartments. I was very inspired by some of the interior design which I saw here, the majority of it was floral design.

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Over the next few days we visited a few other museums and galleries including the Musee D’Orsay where we saw an exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh’s work. It was one of my favourite exhibitions we saw during the trip. I went to see an exhibition at Palais Galliera, Musee de La Mode – Museum of Fashion, but unfortunately the museum was between exhibitions and was therefore closed.

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La Nuit étoilée

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And to finish off our amazing trip, we of course had to see the Eiffel Tower at night..

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Tate Liverpool

I went to Liverpool for a long weekend, though this was a trip for leisure, I decided to do visit some museums. I went to the Museum of Liverpool, The Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Tate Liverpool.

Though I did not find much which really inspired me for my current project, I feel it is always good to keep up to date with current artists and exhibitions. In the Tate Liverpool there were three exhibitions running; Keywords: Art, Culture & Society in 1980s Britain, Richard Hawkins: Hijikata Twist and DLA Piper Series Constellations. There were a few artists which really caught my eye in the DLA Piper Series Constellations exhibition..

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Jackson Pollock – Summertime Number 9a : 1948

– The colours and style of this piece reminded me of graffiti, which is a current theme in my individual field project of The City

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Nigel Henderson – Untitled Number 8 Shattered Glass – 1959

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David Bomberg – Ju-Jitsu c.1913

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I liked DLA Piper Series Constellation exhibition as it had a range of different specialisms in it, from fine art and abstract conceptual pieces to film art. I didn’t really enjoy the Keywords exhibition, however, I did like the idea of an exhibition based on a book.

In the Merseyside Maritime Museum, we visited the International Slavery Exhibition. I saw these pieces of textiles, the colourful and vibrant colours intrigued me…

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Mothers of Africa

Mothers of Africa is a charity which focusses on providing care for pregnant women in sub Saharan Africa and also training for nurses. Maggie Cullinane is a technical demonstrator at Cardiff Metropolitan and is involved with the charity.

I was introduced to the Mothers of Africa charity on an open day at Cardiff Metropolitan and instantly wanted to get involved. My mum is a midwife and I have always been inspired by her line of work. In this technological era I do not feel it is right that women are dying during child birth. I read some shocking statistics from a CNN article from 2012: “Ninety-nine percent of maternal deaths happen in the developing world, where millions of women are still denied even the most basic levels of care during pregnancy. Thirty-six of the 40 countries with the highest maternal death rates are in sub-Saharan Africa. In that region, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 39.”

Maggie asks for donations of square patches to create quilts which she uses to raise money for this charity. Each square given requires a £2 donation.

I created a square for a quilt that Maggie is creating, inspired by the idea of basic human needs, I took inspiration from water. I used a sample from my previous subject module as the colours worked well with my idea. I added more details into the square. Here is a picture of the sample I used for my square..

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And here is a picture of the quilt in working progress..

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If you are interested in finding out more information about the Mothers of Africa charity, please look at the wordpress blog where it tells you all about the charity and also how you could get involved.

 http://moaquilt.wordpress.com/


Body Casting Workshop

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Today I attended a CSAD body casting workshop at the Howard Gardens campus held by workshop technician Dallas. I was a little apprehensive as I’ve never tried anything like this before. Though I have worked with clay in the past, specifically in my foundation year I have never worked with plaster.

We began the session by talking about the Health and Safety aspects of working with plaster and body casting. We then discussed the different ways of creating a cast which included using modroc, sellotape and alginate. We experimented firstly with alginate which is used by dentists to make impressions of the teeth and mouth. We mixed the alginate half and half with water, we casted our fingers in the alginate, after a couple of minutes the alginate hardens into a rubber like consistency. Once the alginate gets to this state we removed our fingers and made some plaster. Once the plaster was combined with water, we poured the mixture into the moulds.

The plaster gets hot as in hardens, when it has cooled it is ready to be removed from the alginate mould.

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We then got shown how to cast with Modroc. Dallas casted a hand of one of the girls who also attended the workshop. He layered small pieces of Modroc which he wetted and massaged onto the hand to pick up all the small details. Once the layers were thick enough, Dallas added long stripes which he rolled up to create a supporting structure on the cast to make sure it stayed in the same position.

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Unfortunately I did not get to take pictures of the final cast of the hand in plaster.

Once the workshop was over, Dallas gave us each a roll of Modroc to use in our own time and also gave me a small bag of Alginate. I really enjoyed this workshop and am looking forward to using this new skill in the future! I am also considering the idea of combining this with my specialism of textiles.

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Book Binding Workshop

Today I attended a book binding workshop at Howard Gardens campus, the session was run by Tom Martin. He began the session by showing us examples of books he had made, they ranged in size and style, using different papers inside the book and also different book covers. He then talked us through the tools which he uses and which we would be using in the session.

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We began making our books by cutting cartridge paper to the right size, measurements had to be precise and all sheets had to be equal. We cut 12 rectangular pieces which we then folded in half, these folded sheets were then paired. We then pierced holes in each sheet four times, each hole was spaced out evenly down the fold of the paper.

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The next stage was to sew all the paper sections together. I struggled with this as you had to do it in a certain way. It was quite fiddly to hold the book whilst sewing all the sections together. However, after a while, I got the hang of it and finished this stage! We then used PVA glue and stuck scrim fabric to strengthen the spine.

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The next thing we had to do was to create the book cover, we did this by cutting mount board, 3 sections – front, back and a thinner piece for the spine of the book. We stuck these down onto our chosen cover fabric, I chose a black sketchbook style fabric. We then glued the cover to the paper and our books were finished!

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