Category: Art Practice

Getting To Know You: Week 1 Semester 2 Video Project

Our first set project back for summer term 2021 was a two minute video in response to the theme ‘Where Are You’/’I Am Here’.

For most of the week I was rather stuck on my very first idea of short clips placed within a clip of me walking up the stairs to my flat, with the perpetually faulty fire alarm sound of my building and my footsteps setting the pace. However, after trying this idea out with a couple clips, I found I was bored, uninspired and left feeling shut in with the film.

My final idea was born from a new interest I have in my corridor. It is a large, airy and strangely shaped room, but one I hardly use, avoiding lingering there as much as possible due to the lack of sunlight and arctic temperatures. Nevertheless it is one of only five spaces I am now able to inhabit (due to the January lockdown) and part of the rent I pay to live here. The cold, impersonal walls intrigue me, as the rest of the flat is full of our clutter, it struck me that in this world of familiarity and routine, the corridor was an element of the unknown, something I am craving. I began to think about my relationship to the corridor, it being a space I passed through but had never before given a second look. Could I foster a tighter bond with this space?

My first idea along this line was to do an endurance piece, living in the corridor for a set amount of time, 24 or 48 hours, and seeing what that impact would be on a) my mind, productivity and creativity, and b) my relationship with the corridor. However, the brief for this project was a 2 minute video, and I was also running low on time. I still plan to carry out this idea at some point however.

Now that I was in the mindset of my relationship with the space being exciting, I began to think about the intimacy and romanticism I am no longer receiving from the outside world, and how I could pursue this with the corridor. Craig David’s ‘7 Days’ was stuck in my head while I was thinking about this project, and led me to consider the stages of a relationship, and how this could relate to my overall experience the past year, under various Covid lockdowns and now back in national lockdown once again. When I honestly reflected on my emotional response to these events; stages of initial excitement at the unknown, settling down into a new banal reality (while confined within my home), then the encroaching fears, panic and depression as I began to think negatively about the future and my situation, seemed to correlate strongly with the phases of romantic relationships. I decided therefore that the container of the corridor would be both sad and ironically funny enough to act, in a short film, as my new partner.

I was pretty methodical about most of my scenes for the film, visualising and bullet pointing exactly what I wanted the shots to portray. I did, however, include one section of madness, an unplanned makeup/dance segment where I would aim to completely let loose, the act of filming this part and therefore ideally the footage of it being a form of catharsis following the (metaphorical and literal) weeks of steadily declining routine. This segment would reflect my real life, in which an expressive video project with my mother towards the end of the summer lockdown pulled me out of a state of mental and physical stagnation.

Filming the piece was incredibly fun, more so than I had expected. Planning all my shots in advance was a brilliant move as it meant I was organised when it came to getting everything done in the right order, and not forgetting shots. I received help for the start and end of the film, where the camera needs to be handheld to follow me, and my friends also joined in for some of the mad blue section, but ultimately this was a project I made alone, with two cardboard boxes for a tripod and the most minimal set I could create, as I felt this played to the spaces strengths.


Editing the piece was by far the worst part. I started at 5pm on Sunday (having woken up late) and eventually finished at half past 6 Monday morning, although I was up for another hour with export issues. It was a slog, and wading through the material was difficult, but thanks to my organisation earlier in the project everything came together relatively smoothly. The biggest thing for me was getting the colour correction in, which I think I got pretty spot on to my vision, if I do say so myself. This really tied it together as a narrative and made it look 10x more professional. The sound was also a tricky part, particularly as I left this til last. I had the backing track of the broken fire alarm, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, and I had also planned on recording a voice-over so that I wouldn’t have to record any dialogue, but had begun to realise the potential of that to sound horrendously cringey. In the end, a premiere pro tutorial inspired me to increase the speed of the alarm in steps, which I think worked okay, but in future I must dedicate more time to audio. I’m glad I went with the captions, rather than a voice over, as I think they add visual interest and simplify the piece. They also distance it from me, which I like.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this film. It is a project that I have actually finished and have something substantial to show for, which is nice. I am also quite proud of some of the cinematography, which surprised me as I didn’t think I was very good with the camera – although it is certainly far from accomplished. The idea I stand by as interesting and actually reflective of where I have been and thus where I am, although I do think I lost the relationship narrative somewhere along the way.

Comments in my tutorial were net positive, while I’m not sure they fully got everything I was putting down, the main themes were communicated, and I was very happy when one of the girls thought she had accidentally set her own fire alarm off when my film started playing out of her laptop speakers. A good start.

Afternoon Tea – Used Objects

I thought it was important to record the objects in their used state, after the Afternoon Tea event.

The same display set up as I had photographed before the pieces had been used.

The cutlery came out fairly unaffected. You can clearly see the knives were the most useful/used pieces. The forks went virtually unused, as they simply weren’t strong enough and therefore not fit for purpose. The spoons had mixed results. Here they have had time to dry off, however once dipped in hot tea two of them had completely collapsed, possibly releasing glue into the drinks (oops) and losing all use for the remainder of the meal. The cutlery isn’t really able to be used again as it stays greasy and dirty and has been in peoples mouths. I also don’t think they are able to be recycled due to the grease.

Plates held up well and performed just like a plate. They could have been smaller, daintier and prettier.

Good news! Three out of four cups remained water-proof to the end, and even the one which leaked was still useable. I think therefore I may be able to remove the plastic and Sellotape, putting that in the bin and recycling most of the cardboard, as it was protected from food. Most of the placemats are also unblemished.

These jars were possibly the cutest part of the whole set in practice. The waterproofing worked very well, the size was great, both cute and practical, and I think if I remove the plastic the cardboard should be able to be recycled.

Ah, the teapot. I still think she’s cute, even in this compromised state. I linked the video to the teapot failing in my last post, but I have included it here too so you can see the disaster unfold in front of your own eyes. To be fair, I enjoyed making her, she was a cute addition to the table before I tried to use her, and even now I like these photos which show how impractical my design was. I think the spout was either on the wrong angle or just too high up to be used properly. The freezer bag I used to waterproof the inside is intact, I think, so the fault was probably that the Sellotape I used to secure everything just wasn’t strong enough when liquid was added to the equation. The handle was also ridiculously weak for the weight of the liquid, making it unusable in practice, and it eventually came unstuck when the leaked orange juice got to the Sellotape. A failure, but a fun one.

Finally, the ever-dramatic cake stand. After toppling under the weight of a few scones and having to be propped up with tiles (despite me already adding a support to the feet), when it came to photographing the cake stand she was in a bit of a state. All three tiers were covered in grease and crumbs, and the structural integrity of the piece was rapidly deteriorating. I stood the stand upright to begin with, and caught the gradual falling of it onto one side on video (linked above). I actually really liked the new form it took when in its most natural and comfortable state, toppled to one side.

Overall, the Cardboard Afternoon Tea project and event was a lot of fun, but I will not be making large amounts of finicky objects from cardboard again for a while.

Afternoon Tea Event


Preparations for the meal took all day. I wanted to make all of the food myself, putting the maximum amount of effort in (within one day) to make two savouries, scones and two cakes. The baking was fun, I had to whizz around the kitchen under the time pressure of the ‘Afternoon’ part of Afternoon Tea, and I served up at least an hour later than what I had originally estimated, but it was good.

^A fully set table – very cute.

Disaster Strikes! It soon became apparent that my cake stand lacked the structural stability needed to perform the task of supporting all of my creations. The scones took a tumble, but luckily the effects weren’t too devastating. The cake stand had to be propped up with tiles.

The gang gathered. They look pretty awkward in these pictures, and I guess it was pretty weird at the start, its not everyday your flatmate makes you afternoon tea and asks you to dress fancily on a Tuesday afternoon.

The finished set up. Quite pretty if I do say so myself. I couldn’t fit both cakes on the stand without it toppling over, so they had to be added after the scones had been eaten – if I do this again I would need to revise my cake stand design.

The food was delicious!! Proud of the posh beans on toast and the scones in particular. Natalia said I ‘had the scone genes’ (from grandma). Cups also held up for the most part, 3/4 of them were effectively waterproof.

The saga of Anna trying her cucumber sandwich.

The teapot was a bit of an L, the spout didn’t really pour, and as soon as I tried it began to leak from the bottom. Live action video of the attempt linked above.

Molly using her cup with water. Hers was actually the only one to leak in the end, despite Anna managing to put hot tea in hers!

A fork in use. They were so blunt they could only pierce the softest cake (the carrot cake).

In the end, it was fun, a little silly, but we all came together which was the goal. We were there for around an hour and a half, and it was a nice break from the monotony of lockdown, where we had mostly been working separately in our rooms.

A list of the topics we discussed, that I could remember. Discussion and togetherness was what I wanted, and it’s what I got 🙂 Felt closer as a group afterwards.

The aftermath to be tidied up.

A pretty shot of the aftermath – cardboard and crumbs.

Public opinion of my piece – two opposing reactions to video linked above. ‘That is soo sickkk I love it’ – Lucia Sheppard, ‘You good bro’ – Amaia Johnson.

My finished plate.

Aftermath evidence 🙂 used objects and space. Thinking about making these into prints themselves. Would be good as postcards?  Evidence of a good time.

Packing away, I liked how most of the pieces fit into the one big piece.

Making a Cardboard Afternoon Tea Set

Shown above are some photos which give you an inclination of the carnage that took over my room while I worked on this project. Carboard is not a friendly material, as my carpet and irritated palms can attest to, and it takes some wrestling to get it to behave in any useful or attractive way. The making of these pieces therefore took much longer than I had anticipated/planned for.

I ended up basing my set on this image found on Google, from an eBay sale of a vintage tea-set. It felt like a good amount to tackle.

The centrepiece, a three tiered cake stand, was the first piece I made. Measuring each piece was a challenge, as you can see she turned out rather wonky, but I think she’s pretty cute nonetheless. “Rustic charm” springs to mind.

I actually debated for some time over which style of cake stand to emulate – so much so that I delayed the project from starting by at least half a day as I ruminated on which I preferred (the first) and which was feasible (the second). I inevitably gave in to practicality :/.

I decided to make a tea set as my first foray into cardboard because I knew it was something the whole flat would enjoy using, something which we wouldn’t otherwise have access to and it would test the limits and uses of the material. I had recently attended afternoon tea at the gorgeous (very expensive!!) Prestonfield House Hotel, which we had discussed wistfully as a flat, knowing that we could never afford a trip there together without our parents as financial sponsors, so I think this is what inspired the idea.

The juxtaposition of the typically high-class activity with the low-class materials interested me, and I thought added a level of humour to the event. Why dine from fine china when you can reuse your food packaging, adding Sellotape and glue here and there…

A tricky part of the process was the fact that I have 3 flatmates, therefore four sets of crockery were required. I used paper patterns and the natural lengths and creases of the cardboard to try and make them as uniform as possible, but of course the pieces are incredibly crude in their design and execution. I’m an ideas woman, not an artisan.

I used a combination of plastic folders, Sellotape and a freezer bag to waterproof my creations. The cups, jars and the teapot all received this treatment in an effort to make them at least partially functional. This was very time consuming, much Louis Theroux and 60 Day’s In was consumed during this process.

The teapot was probably the most aesthetically gratifying piece to make – it’s just so goddamned cute. Adorable one might say. This was made in four pieces; square based pyramid body, handle, V-shape spout and a folded lid. It took me a long time to make, and I knew it was highly unlikely I would even use it to pour tea, but I think it really brought the set together.

Overall, not the most enjoyable process, very time consuming, at times mind-numbingly boring, and irritating on the hands. However, I was very happy with the results, possibly because I was acutely aware of the effort that went into them, and once I found my rhythm I did come to enjoy making the pieces, the cups being particularly fun to make. Making took me three days in total.

Raw Material

On the 7th of October 2020, my flat, occupation five students, went into self-imposed isolation after one of my flatmates, Molly, tested positive for Coronavirus. Over the next two days we received a total of 11 cardboard boxes, each filled to the brim with snacks, cooking materials and ingredients. While well-appreciated, after we had put all of our food goodies away we found we were now the proud owners of 11 large empty cardboard boxes, that piled up in the corner of our dining-room-cum-living-space began to block some of the light from the windows, and appeared quite unsightly.

Now of course, we could have simply flattened all 11 boxes and gifted them to the recycling bin on our road. This would have been a fast and practical resolution to our conundrum. However, I am nether a fast or a practical person, so I decided I would bestow upon the boxes a second chance at life, in the form of material for my ‘Extraordinary Object’ project – which I had previously been struggling with.

A twelfth cardboard box arrived at the flat a day later, on Friday the 9th of October, after I ordered a Coronavirus home testing kit from the Scottish Government. For some unknown reason, while the actual test package was quite small, it arrived encased in a much larger cardboard box, which I kept, alongside some of the materials from the test.

On the morning of Thursday the 15th of October, a further 6 boxes were delivered, their vacant corpses soon joining the growing pile in our living room.

Later that day, a 19th box was delivered, a gift from my parents to offset the pains of living in a predominantly vegan flat. The box came complete with two freezer bags and heavy ice packs. A 20th box, a meat package from the uni, arrived the next day, therefore completing the collection.

I decided upon some rules for my project, they are as follows:

  1. Every piece made as a part of this project must include material taken from these boxes.
  2. By the end of the project, all boxes must have been utilised in some capacity.
  3. I may use any other material in conjunction with the boxes.


20 Cardboard Boxes. All delivered within two weeks, and all to be used, every last piece, in my project- or so help me god.

TOUCH ME (update)

27/09/20 07:09am

27/09/20 14:51pm

28/09/20 00:37am

30/09/20 13:24pm

05/10/20 17:55pm


Upon my last check of TOUCH ME, pictured above, I discovered that the rain had washed away my original print, leaving only faint black fingerprints on the board. The ink pad was gone, along with the tags that had kept it in place, and blue and white sediment from the ink was visible on the railings directly below the piece. The piece has therefore been stripped of its original purpose, both by the elements removal of the instruction, and human removal of the mark making material. However, I believe that through this, the piece has also somewhat achieved its goal of connecting with the public of Nicholson Street, and leaving a physical imprint of the public who frequent it. The piece now looks as though it belongs in its surroundings more than ever, having gone through sunshine, wind, rain and time on the street. To me this is a great achievement, I have made a small landmark of the public of the street, and even if it is taken away soon, for now it is at home in its place, it belongs to the street.

Schrödinger’s Fart

Schrödinger’s Fart.

I am very interested in the DADA way of thinking, in both art practice and life, humour, spontaneity and a divergence from the norm/a lack of “class” are very important to me. I particularly enjoy distributing my pieces myself, and am a big fan of public art, ephemera and performance.

With this postcard I approach the idea of truth in art. I declare an action has been taken upon the postcard that cannot be proved, and by doing this change the narrative of the piece of card. You will never know if I have indeed farted on the postcard, therefore to you, I both have and haven’t, it is forever in question – Schrödinger’s Fart. I’m interested in this state between knowledge, as well as how our knowledge of actions taken on or with objects impacts our view of those objects.

This print is of course quite graphic, by printing on the cards I have physically altered them, so it is not the same thing as me simply handing someone a blank card and verbally telling them I have farted on it. Perhaps I could experiment with that way of looking at these ideas, however I really like the appearance of these prints (although the ink quality could definitely be improved) and I think they hold more power as objects having gained the fart print. It is also much easier to convey the idea of the action if it is permanently stamped onto the object, rather than attempting to speak to everyone you hand the cards out to.

I distributed the pieces by plaguing strangers on the Royal Mile, asking if they would like a postcard in a similar manner to those charity workers whose job it is to flag down members of the public in busy parts of Leeds (and probably every large city). The biggest hurdle in giving them away was the first contact as many people are simply not interested in stopping, talking or taking a hand-out – this may be related to Coronavirus. I found however that the majority of people who took the time to look at the postcard would then soften up, usually taking one with a laugh. There were definitely a fair few weird looks, but I really enjoyed giving out the cards and would like to do something like that again.

Batman even came over to receive a card at one point, and I am told he later sniffed it.

TOUCH ME (Day 1)

TOUCH ME, a public postcard.

One of the most interesting parts of a postcard, in my opinion, is that it is a platform for connection and relationship. The tactile nature of a postcard lends itself to an intimacy between its sender and recipient, the effort of sending a postcard itself creates the implication of closeness between the two parties, even more so in the modern world where instant communication is the standard. Historically postcards are known to have contained messages to distant family members, or separated lovers, as well as stories of holidays and life changing events.

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, physical connection with others has been stunted. Our worlds have grown smaller as “the general public” has become a slur for “the infected masses”, it currently being illegal to meet with anyone living outside of your household. ‘TOUCH ME’ embodies my will to connect with those around me, a pulse check on the city; are there others out there?

The print is on an A3 piece of Styrofoam (not waterproof at all), and I zip-tied it and an ink pad to iron railings in a busy section of Nicholson Street, known for its abundance of students. I installed the piece at 7:00am on Sunday the 27th September, and placed the first finger print myself.

I checked up on the card at around 2:00pm the same day, happy to see that it was still there and had gained a couple responses. While I watched it garnered a few looks, with a couple of groups slowing down to look but no one going so far as to contribute.

At 1:00am on 28/09 I checked on the card a final time and it had gained a fair few more responses, doubling since my previous visit. Still, the visual effect was less than impressive and gave my cause to think about the difficulty of engaging an anonymous public in an artistic piece, particularly if it requires the sacrifice of an inky finger. I was, however, very happy with the appearance of some variation, in the initials which appeared in the top right hand corner, and I was glad that it hadn’t yet been taken down. I have therefore decided to leave the postcard up, and will continue to monitor the response, if any.

South College Street, Edinburgh


For my first postcard I decided to expand on work from my FMP at Foundation, ‘Post’. I was interested in the materiality of a postcard, as it is an object which is meant to be touched, felt, something which has been undermined in this project by the nature of the coronavirus pandemic and our lack of communal studio space. The commercial postcard is also often originally something of little value, produced in bulk and sold in tourist shops for often less than a pound. Value, in my view, is only added to these objects once they are taken by a person and changed, written on, sent, collected. I wanted to experiment with this idea of attributing value to otherwise unloved objects, as well as looking at my interest in place and material. Using the water soluble “sandwich” technique and a web of machine embroidery I combined pieces of detritus sourced from the street to create a postcard reflecting the nature of my address, South College Street.

I spent around half an hour collecting materials, using disposable gloves and freezer bags, and found the process quite enjoyable, peaceful even as I got lost in scanning the floor. The most plentiful items were cigarette butts, followed by a large amount of feathers, but there were also gleaming jewel wrappers, coins and half a cassette tape. While the process of collection was fun, upon returning to my room I quickly realised that I hadn’t accounted for the smell that I had invited into my space – largely wafting off of the damp cigarette butts.

The sewing process was surprisingly easy, this is probably due to the new, thicker water soluble fabric that I used for the two sandwich pieces. The machine handled the varying textures and heights very well and didn’t put up a fuss about being asked to allow freehand embroidery. Next time I wouldn’t trace the postcard shape onto the fabric in pen as this was visible after dissolving.

The above images show the piece after the water soluble fabric has been dissolved and it been given time to dry. After dissolving much more colour and detail of the materials is visible through the stitching. I am fairly happy with how the piece turned out; the process is both enjoyable and feasibly repeatable and the outcome mostly lives up to my idea of portraying the location through what is found there. I really like the variation in materials height on the back of the card, as I think the lumpy bumpiness has more visual impact than the flatter front. I would really like to improve on the thread used in the piece, either making it less prominent by finding a thinner or transparent thread, or using a less foreign material on the piece, perhaps by sourcing thread within the location. I could also ham up the involvement of the thread, playing into the lace-like texture and then the  juxtaposition of lace and street rubbish. I would also like to make the embroidered location name neater, smaller and more uniform.

The postcards final resting place – stuck to the side of one of the large bins on the street (around which I found most of the materials it is made from). The back of the card was still sticky from dissolving the water soluble fabric, so I was able to stick it to the metal part of the bin without extra materials. I hope it will stay there for a little while as a small piece of public art commemorating the street. In any case, it has been returned to where it began, and is out of my hands now.