Exercise 15: Design work

As an attempt to bring all the threads of my practice together, I produced a mind map to aid the process. These are areas that have formed throughout the course: Hauntology; Mind/Memory/Thought; Literature; Head/Figure; Blank faces; War; Ephemera; Archive; Collage; Layers; Line.

Print 1


Focussing on archive, I decided to work from family photos. I had taken on board my tutor’s comments about presenting an overarching narrative in my work, and was considering Virginia Woolf and her application of ‘stream-of-consciousness’ in her novel Mrs Dalloway. In one of the photos my Nan reminded me of the titular character with her ‘hat and gloves’ and I felt a sense of connection between the two elements. I chose to use elements from the novel to weave a narrative in the print- i.e. Woolf’s repeated use of watery references dotted through the pages. Considering previous artists’ works I had looked at I wanted to convey a sense of this woman being overwhelmed and taken over by her thoughts and memories, as she is in the novel. I played with the composition first in my small sketchbook then on the PC, I thought this could make an interesting collagraph relief and linocut.

Print 2

I wanted to continue the above theme of a woman being overtaken by thoughts and memories with my second print. I wanted to reference ephemera in this print, as I had been looking at WWII postcards after my tutor’s suggestion. The war song- “You belong to Me” popped into my head due to the obvious associations. There were also links with Michael Cunningham’s character Laura in the Hours. She is an unhappy housewife in 1950s who feels trapped in her marriage to her husband Dan -a WWII war veteran; so the phrase “You Belong To Me” has feminist connotations also. I like this potential difference of meaning.

Print 3
This came from playing around with an old drawing of Kev and producing a more dynamic sketch. Going back to the novel Mrs Dalloway I was reminded of the character Septimus who was suffering from ‘shell shock’ / PTSD. There are wider issues about mental health in general as my husband has suffered from debilitating depression since his teens and he was hospitalised in his early twenties.

Print 4

This came about by thinking about the author Virginia Woolf and her battles with her own depression. The novel “The Hours” portrays a view about her time when she was writing Mrs Dalloway up to her suicide. I played around with motifs from the book and was inspired by Jasper Johns’ series the seasons.

After initial sketches I played around with the images adding colours and layers.

I felt this last print was not right- not ‘me’ so I chose to revisit this.

Processed with Snapseed. I was inspired by the WWII exhibition, that my tutor had alerted me to, and thought that if I created a set of postcards that would fit with the simulcra theme that I had referred to in my ‘Polaroids’ in exercise 13. Referencing the German expressionist prints I played around looking at War imagery in my sketchbook. I decided to use an image of Kev which tied it into the print earlier.

Processed with Snapseed.

I thought it would be a good idea to have his image on one side and a simulation of the postcard with a stamp on the back. I chose to use a horse as I wanted to reference animals contribution to the war effort. For the writing I planned to use the slogan “Lest we forget”

I thought that I could apply the same technique as Andy Warhol used in ‘Marilyn’ and ink the plate then keep printing until the ink ran out, to represent faded memories.

Print 3 Development

On the back of the above idea I wanted to develop the third print and relating it to war ephemera. I had been looking at maps and incorporated symbols and shapes into the design.

To continue the theme of simulacra I decided to turn this into a physical map with a cover. Initially using OS map as a reference to give the format I broke the picture plane up to incorporate different elements. In keeping with the ephemeral theme I produced a digital collage of collagraph test prints from assignment 4. I feel that the result is quite successful as a piece of design.

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