Sunday, 31 May 2009

Speaking From Experience: Evaulation.

1. What skills have you developed through this module and how effectively do you think you have applied them?

I have developed in many areas throughout this module. Practical skills involve a new approach to bookbinding that I have never tried before, and pretty much perfected. I feel I have developed the most in areas like time keeping, and project management. Some of the areas I touched on in the self evaluation for my elective, I have made great progress with and I feel I am really getting to grips with some of the problems that have held me back in the past. As I was putting together all my work for submission, I realised exactly how far I'd come this year, and exactly what I'd achieved. Even though the tutors have said this to us many times, it was fantastic to actually see it for myself, and really believe that I've made a great deal of progress.
My time management and ability to stay focused has increased tenfold in the last few months. The more I begin to enjoy this course, the more I want to engage with it, and the less I am distracted by other things on my life. So what I haven't gained in practical knowledge of skills, I have certainly made up for in life skills, confidence, time and project management, and a greater focus on what I want to achieve.

2. What approaches to/methods of research have you developed and how have they informed your design development process?

The length of this brief really allowed me to explore ways to gather research, and research that will actually help my design process. I think the most innovative way I collected research for this project was how I collected information on the types of design that our class found inspiring or were influenced by. I collected information firstly by sending out questionnaires asking for the names of 1st and 2nd years favourite designers, this then lead to me collecting a good selection of their work (I tried to be fair in this selection process, picking pieces that showed the best range of the designers work) and passing these sheets out to the entire class, asking them to pick their 3 favourites, and a brief explanation as to why. This proved to be a particularly efficient and practical way of gathering research, and I spent a long time gathering, processing and using the information gathered to inform my design process. I will say however that perhaps my project was lacking in secondary research, and I should've looked at the work of other designers, other calendars, other books to gain inspiration. However I did feel that the information gathered from my peers was at the heart of this project, and any secondary research would not have had as much bearing on the resolution.

3. What strengths can you identify in your work and how have/will you capitalise on these?

The research gathered was definitely the strongest part of the entire project, I spent such a long time processing it, and unlike other modules, it actually helped direct and inform the entire project. I feel I have already capitalised on this, however research will always be something that I can improve upon, and the skills I have developed in this area I will remember, and take with me into the second year. I don't think its ever possible to have too much research on any project, so although this was my strongest area, I can't say I was particularly satisfied with what I did gather, I could easily have processed much more. As I mentioned before, my project and time management has come on a lot since the last module hand in. Again this is something that will be ever improving, and I'll probably never feel like it's good enough! However I can recognise that it is improving, which can only be a good thing.

4. What weaknesses can you identify in your work and how will you address these more fully?

Weaknesses. Where to start? The resolution I was severely disappointed with. The feedback I managed to get from the rest of the class was mainly positive, however I can't help be feel it looks completely rushed, because it was. I am so disappointed that I didn't manage to get a complete calendar done, and I wish I'd spent a bit more time adding the details to give it a professional edge. This aside though, I think the negative view I have on this is purely a result of me yet again not achieving what I set out to do, not because the resolution was particularly bad.
The lack of development work I feel had an impact on the quality of the final piece as well. I think maybe I spent too long gathering research, and neglected to develop the design of the piece. I think also it is the work from other artists included in the work that makes it look good, not my own design? It was quite difficult to design something that was simple enough to act as a backdrop for the pieces of design that were all so incredibly different, but still reflect the time and energy that went into designing it! I think this could have been a lot better, had I given more time to development. I just need to get a good balance between research and development in the future, as the two go hand in hand.

5. Identify five things that you will do differently next time and what do you expect to gain from doing these?

1 - Remain focused.
If I can focus, and remain focused on a project, for the entire duration of the project, which I still haven't managed to do yet, great things are sure to happen. I know I haven't reached my potential yet, and I can only hope what I've learnt will stay with me through the summer, and into 2nd year.

2 - Allow more time for the final resolution.
I am so fed up with not resolving anything to the standard that I had in mind. Though I don't think it's such a big deal right now, as we have been mainly focused on the design process, by next year a higher standard of final piece will be expected of us, and this may be the area that lets me down most.

3 - Don't neglect development.
Developing the final resolution is something that should happen naturally anyway, so when it doesn't happen the finished piece will suffer massively. The development I did produce wasn't nearly enough to bring out the best in the calendar I produced, like I said, I spent too much time researching and I need to strike a balance between developing and researching to bring out the best in any project in the future.

4 - React to the feedback I receive. (positively!)
I think I can misconstrue constructive criticism as negative remarks, when really I'd probably benefit from taking what they have said on board and actually doing something about it. I know my own feedback can be quite negative sometimes, so it seems quite hypocritical to dish it out, but not be able to take it myself!

5 - Involve more practical print processes.
I have tried my hand at screen printing many times this year, and each time I have came away with the worst results I could've imagined. I'd love to have to confidence to use it in my work, without the worry of making a mess of it and running out of time to change my idea. Screen printing is a great way to achieve really professional results in your work, and I'd hate to miss out on this next year, when I assume the resolution will have more bearing on module grades.

Overall. This project has been one of my more successful. It's had it's ups and downs, though I feel I have learnt a lot about myself, and the way I work, and how to overcome some of the problems I've suffered from in the past. These are things that are obviously not evident in my work yet, though they are things that are just as important in my eyes for my own personal development.

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