Tutor Feedback: Assignment 5

I was really pleased with my final assignment report and relieved that I have moved in the right direction.

I was initially concerned that my prints are a little different, and not in line with the course requirements. I don’t have access to proper printmaking facilities so have had to make do with what I have, but my tutor felt that this worked for me:

“Even though a little of your experimentation was due to ‘workarounds’ due to health issues/lack of facilities, I thought that your final images were much stronger as a result of your having to think outside the box. As artists we are all problem-solvers and you have been a very good problem-solver in this respect, to your own advantage.”

In retrospect I think she is right. It is unlikely that I would have come up with the idea of producing postcard or photograph-sized images without the use of the small shuttlebug embossing machine that I borrowed from my friend, and this also led to the map idea.

Exercise 13

My tutor commented that the way I presented the final prints needed consideration as the 21st century folder plus the strong writing underneath detracted from the feel that I was trying to convey, which I completely accept. I decided to trim the original “polaroids” down to remove the writing.

In my sketchbook I had played around with presenting them in a leaf from an old photographic album, I made note of my tutor’s comments as she felt it was:

“…an unusual way of presenting them…I rather like this idea after reading WELLS, L. Photography: A Critical Introduction (2007), 3rd ed. London: Routledge. In this book there is a chapter on personal photographs where Liz Wells refers to curators who used to remove specific photographs from historic albums, however they now realize that it is the whole album which is important and relevant particularly in respect of the chronological order and context in which people placed the images (p.130).”

She also said:

“The key is to get the viewer to buy into the distant past (old artifacts/buried treasure/ long forgotten containers) rather than bring him or her to the present day (contemporary folders).”

She recommended that I continue researching Baudrillard, simulacra and also hyperreality; which I have done. I must admit that I found his writing particularly difficult to understand but after about the fifth time of reading things started to make sense. I have added the detail, where appropriate, into my final assessment submission review.

My tutor’s comments and this research led me to purchasing a second hand photograph album from eBay. Luckily some of the pages were blank with no corners adhered to, so I was able to unpick the stitching and mounted my own work in place.

I wanted to make reference to the Emily Dickinson poem I had found an inspiration: “One need not be a chamber to be haunted” so I wrote two lines out with permanent ink and mounted this on the front. I felt the paper was too stark and bright and not in keeping, so I decided to ‘age’ it with coffee. Pouring hot coffee over the paper and leaving it to soak led to the lettering almost being completely obliterated. I was considering writing over this but instead felt it worked well as it was. It gave the work ambiguity and the fading references the disappearing memories and material absence that I had previously alluded to, it also reminded me of Rauschenberg’s “Erased DeKooning” perhaps I am also being haunted by the ghosts of art history?

I asked my friend Jane and other fellow students for feedback about this format of presentation they understood the reference to memories straight away. Jane said it was nostalgic, mysterious and old and added interest to the final work. I feel that the decision to change the presentation, as per my tutor’s recommendations has led to a more successful outcome.

Exercise 14

I was really pleased that my tutor liked my feather gelatin chine colle prints, she said they are:

“subtly showing the delicate and fragmented nature of the person and their memories. “

which is exactly what I intended. I have decided to also include one of these prints into my final submitted works as I feel the process adds something to my portfolio.

Exercise 15

My tutor disagreed with the feedback that I had received on the OCA forum that this work was too illustrative as she said:

“I disagree that some of your work is too literal in nature because your underpinning research goes to a much higher level and is much deeper now “

This was a relief to hear because, particularly when producing figurative work, I find it difficult to know the difference between fine art and illustration.

I received positive comments about my map and postcards although, again, I need to consider the way I present these. I decided that a homemade box would work for this. To create an authentic experience for the viewer, I felt a prisoner of war parcel would be a good idea. I viewed images online, which presented a standard format. I created an image in photoshop and printed it out on A4 brown paper.

I worked out the sizes I needed the box to be in order to comfortably fit the contents and found a site online which gave me a working plan. Luckily my husband used to work in distribution and is good at making boxes so he made this for me over the Xmas holidays. I added the printed design onto the lid and felt tying with string was authentic. I think the ‘performance’ of opening the box and finding the contents inside could add to the meanings- the hyperreality of the work as a whole.

Other comments

My tutor made comment regarding my bibliography, that I need to separate out books / articles etc. but the guidelines from UCA say I shouldn’t do this, so this is something I need to check before submission.

She liked that I had posted my work on the OCA forum for critique and recommended I keep doing this in future courses to get differing perspectives from other students, which is something I am planning to do.

I am pleased that she said that I am beginning to find my voice; this is something I really wanted to get to grips with in this course. I have really enjoyed playing with these objects and bringing them into the 3D plane. It has given me food for thought as to how I can take these ideas forward into my next course. It seems inevitable that absence and memory will form the basis of my personal project and my mind is already ticking over with ideas. I feel quite excited to get going with the next part of my studies.


Bibliography: Part 5

The bibliography for this final part of the course is attached in the document below alongside my reading notes.

I have recently acquired the phone app: “Ref Me” which has made the whole process much easier to manage,. This has enabled me to log all of my reading rather than a selection and the list is quite extensive for that reason. Also  I had a period of illness when I was not able to produce any physical artwork but was able to read, which allowed me to spend more time on the contextual side.


Assignment 5: Gallery / Evaluations /overview of submitted work


I have enjoyed the course greatly. Considering I had next to no printmaking experience at the start, I am pleased to now have at least a basic understanding of the processes involved. I know that I am not technically perfect but the freedom of the course has been fantastic for me as it has allowed me to focus on my personal interests and improve my contextual studies.

Below are the detailed evaluation documents for this final assignment and the course as a whole.



Part 5 Research link

Part 5 Bibliographylink

Part 5 sketchbooklink


In preparation for assessment I wrote a summary document detailing my thought processes for my submission:


Gallery of submitted work

Project 13: Combination monoprint and linocut (link here)

Project 14: Incorporating chine colle (link here)

Project 15: Four combination & experimental prints (link here)


Tutor Feedback: Assignment 4

Overall good- she was pleased with contextual reading and research. I do feel I am starting to find my feet with this. The critical theory learned during my English lit degree does really help as there is a lot of crossover between the two disciplines but there is still more to learn, especially as things have moved on since 1990s when I was at college.
Use of ephemeral items fits with theme of hauntology and simulcra. She recommended I revisit using a selection of feathers, which I intend to do.

Not clear why I chose the poster- to be honest neither am I. Upon reflection I think I was trying to reference protest posters as a way of justifying the use of text in my work but I agree it doesn’t necessarily fit the theme so well. My tutor has reassured me that I can use text in its own right within an artwork, something I am interested in pursuing.

4 prints on cartridge are seen as patchy. I sent these to her as a contrast to the others in the book- personally I quite liked the atmosphere from the patchiness, but I can now see that they look a bit weak as prints.

She liked my use of monotone but gave advice to be more confident with my choice of colour, something that I need to work on. I realise my issues lie in self doubt and lack of confidence. Going forward I feel I need to try a number of colour options out in my sketchbook then have the courage of my convictions to carry it out without second guessing myself all the time.

My tutor liked the artists’ book. She felt the decked edges and fragile nature of it suited the theme well. She recommended that I interleaf tissue the same size as each page throughout. I know I have sought more reassurances from her here and she gave good advice to ask myself the questions- how does this fit with my own theme? Keep thinking of techniques that connect and through doing this I will find my own answers. This is really useful feedback on how I can become more autonomous in my practice, something that I need to be able to be as I develop into level 2.

The complexities of Japanese stab binding were mentioned and the combination of fine tissue and thick printing paper would make it very difficult. She thought perhaps leaving the clip in place would be ok- I think I will do this because it fits with the ephemeral/ throw away theme anyway.

In regard to the book she also recommended I consider narrative more- thinking in terms of my previous research into Andy Warhol and Marilyn – the fading away. Something that I will look at.

Finally further advice to blend research with own practice as at the moment they are two very distinct separate entities- this should help everything flow together a lot better. This is something that was picked up on in feedback in the painting course. I really want to tackle this and get to grips with as I approach the end of this course. 

Suggested viewing

  • Mark Hearld- I had a look at his work earlier on in the course and can appreciate his images of the natural world.
  • WW1 postcards on display – West Yorkshire print workshop- I had a look at the website my tutor suggested and she was right- I have found this particularly inspirational and relevant. I keep being pulled back to ideas around the archive as well as the ephemeral and there are many links there that I would like to explore further in the remaining exercises. It has made me think about other items that are ephemeral and my mind is whirring with how I can bring this all together in my final pieces.

Final pointers:

Do not feel restricted by nature of assignment brief- push boundaries. – The above exhibition had given me some ideas on how I might do this.

Develop your theme further- a final push to identify your own voice.

Ensure that written theoretical research and notes about concept of brief connect together.

As an attempt to start thinking about the last point I put together this mind map as a starting point.

Assignment 4: Gallery / overview of submitted work

Below is a summary of the work that I have submitted for assignment 4 with links to the relevant pages in my blog.

Statement of Intent (update) link

Evaluation against assessment criterialink

Part 4 Research link

Part 4 Bibliographylink

Part 4 sketchbooklink


This part of the course has been a bit of a struggle and time has run away with me once again, this is because I have never done any collagraph or intaglio printmaking before so needed extra time on the technical areas. Also the critical reading that I undertook was very dense and so took time to read, digest and understand. I could have done with longer but I do not have that luxury and so need to send my prints as they are. After feedback from my tutor I have decided to push my assessment back til next year so at least I will have time to rework pieces where necessary prior to that.

Project 11- Test Prints (link here)

After a few false starts I finally managed to get some acceptable results.

Project 12

‘Field’ poster (link here)

Fields Poster Print

I feel this is reflective of the overriding theme and the references to Peter Doig’s movie posters and Anselm Kiefer’s paintings can be seen. From these I have drawn a sense of atmosphere and foreboding that represents the plight of the yellowhammer.


‘Silence .is’ Artists Book (link here)

Silence.is BookConceptually I am really pleased with this set of prints, I believe it brings together many strands of my practice – links with poetry & text, representative of the theme of absence and presence and also relates to the critical ideas of ‘Hauntology’  – the yellowhammer’s past life but also ghosts of it’s lost futures; and also the ideas surrounding ‘Deep Ecology’ and the broader environmental issues therein.

Technically, however I ran out of time and did not have enough good quality printmaking paper to produce many editions, so this may need more work.

My intention is to bind it via the Japanese stab binding method when I have satisfactorily completed the prints.

Demonstration against Assessment Criteria (Assignment 4)

Demonstration of technical and visual skills


  •  The lack of experience with collagraph / intaglio printmaking methods meant that this part of the course was a steep learning curve. I needed to do lots of reading online, and in books taken from the library into the practical processes required. This all took time to produce acceptable results which was a difficulty considering the constraints I am under.
  • As I do not have a press I borrowed a friend’s embossing machine. This took time and practice to work out how much padding to use in order to create the necessary pressure.
  • There were many issues that could potentially affect the final result: pressure, right consistency of ink, using correct paper, dampened sufficiently – initially I found this very overwhelming and again took time to get reasonable results but did gradually improve.


  • I enjoyed the process of working from life initially. I produced some quite expressive sketches initially but unfortunately was not able to retain this quality through the printing process.
  • My design and composition skills are OK but the plates are all relatively simple in terms of the pictorial elements. I felt that it was better to produce simple plates initially as I am just learning; perhaps I will be able to produce more complex ones in the future.

Quality of Outcome

  • The overall theme and subject matter helps to give some coherency and a sense of narrative to the work.
  • I feel that continuing to use text into my work is working and is something that I plan to use – perhaps it is part of my ‘voice’ as an artist.
  • The final results are not as refined as I would have liked but hopefully that will come with practice.

Demonstration of Creativity

  • I feel the detailed research process (contextual and visual) at the start of this section of the course has fed into my practice in interesting ways which I think is reflective of me as an artist.
  • I enjoy experimenting with materials and processes and like to take risks. However, as this was such a new medium and my time was spent with learning how to do it I feel that there is more to be done here. Hopefully with time after the course has finished I will be able to build my confidence and come up with more imaginative outcomes.


  • I have enjoyed researching into the critical theory of hauntology and deep ecology. Derrida’s writing is very difficult to understand initially so took me many times of rereading before I could grasp his concepts. Hopefully I managed to articulate my learning in the statement of intent update at the beginning of this part of the course.
  • I feel that reflecting on my own performance is becoming second nature now and it is a useful discipline to get into.
  • The research into contemporary artists is becoming much more integrated into my working approach now which I have documented in my blog pages as I have been progressing through the projects.

Questions for Tutor: Assignment 4

Questions for Tutor

Specific Assignment

  • I would be really grateful for feedback on the intaglio printed booklet in particular as I have no experience of this at all and am in the dark as to what is good work.
  • I have included 4 extra prints that were printed on cartridge paper – because the paper was slightly drier there are different results – I quite like the atmosphere, possible reflecting the ghostly apparitions of the dead bird shape in them but they could be seen as patchy – I would value your thoughts on this.
  • I chose to use monochrome only for these prints as I felt it added more drama – do you agree with this choice?
  • Do you think the book idea is a good one? Or should I separate the prints out as a selection? My intention is to bind the book with the Japanese binding method – it would be a very thin pamphlet style book do you think this would be O.K.?
  • I quite liked the deckled edge of the paper so went with that – I am wondering whether that would look a bit messy as a book. What do you think – should I trim them instead?


  • Do you feel that I am at a standard where I can go in for assessment? I have taken your advice and have decided to push it back to March next year

Part Four: Sketchbook