Page 1

Hannah Dawson EGRD3014: Independent Practice

The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower: I’ve always been very nervous when it comes to doing presentations so when we were given this first brief I wanted to produce a presentation that would exaggerate how I feel about presentations and talking about myself. I decided to create this stop motion animation using signs in the style of Gillian Wearing to show what I wanted to say and take the photos for the animation in a place where I go to clear my head and to escape the madness. Although this film doesn’t really reveal too much about myself it is still very personal and I think it represents me well.

The Five Obstructions: I wanted to have a clear link between my first presentation and my ‘Dogme 95’ film so I decided to set myself some additional obstructions. I wanted to keep the same location as in my original presentation and I wanted to film at the same time of day. I also wrote a list of things I wanted to avoid whilst filming, I wanted to avoid speaking as much as possible as I had done in the first presentation, avoid having people in the film other than myself, avoid the use of props. I decided to take on avoidance as a focus for my filming and not see it as another obstruction.

I think the naturalistic sections of the film are more successful than the ‘trickery’ as they build up a sense of expectation and me addressing the camera at the end removes some of the mystery.

Step One: After producing an in depth evaluation of my work during the Action Research stage of this semester I realised very quickly that to make a start on my experimentation I needed to take something very simple so that I would be able to move forward. I went back to my most recent piece of work, which was the Dogme 95’ Five Obstructions film, and stripped it down to its simplest sequence. I decided to edit the film down and the only section left was the part where I walk across the field towards the camera. I felt that this section used the potential of filmic language well, creating a quiet sense of expectation. I felt this particular sequence represented nicely where I was at the time in terms of my independent practice and where I was heading.

Step Two: Observational Photographs Now that I had a platform from which to work from I wanted to start to explore a theme. After reviewing ‘step one’ of my independent practice I picked up on two concepts to work with, simplicity and line. I decided that a good way to get started in looking at line would be to photograph lines around my house that I see daily. I found it very interesting to see the variety of lines that I look at daily and never notice. Also while doing this I noticed that there are a lot of objects in my house organised into lines of three, I decided to ask my mum what her thinking was behind having groups of three’s everywhere, her response was ‘its because I have three children.’ I personally think its because things in three’s tend to be more aesthetically pleasing.

Step Three: Lines of Rules I found when driving that there are many lines that we see and ignore but that there are also lines that we must abide by, lines with rules and restrictions, lines we must follow. I decided to document these road lines so that I could remind myself that lines have limitations too. I then recorded a quick film of the lines I crossed walking from my car and into university as documentation that these lines restrict people in vehicles on the road, but not people when they are on foot.


Step Four: Line/Rectangle At this point I wanted some audience participation, I wanted to know how people look at lines and how the width of a line can determine whether it is a line or if it is now viewed as a rectangle. So I produced this poster above and asked people: ‘At What Point Does a Line Become a Rectangle.’ I got a variety of responses; interestingly it came to my attention that people that class themselves as ‘creative’ people chose much thinner lines than those who do not, I think this is because of the way creative people look at shape and form. It wasn’t until after this experiment that I saw a link between this poster and the works of Op artists Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely and how they create optical illusions with their designs.

While I was working on this part of my independent practice I was also producing work for Handmade & Bound and had some spare lino. I felt like this experiment needed more supporting work so I made a lino printed posted to illustrate what the experiment was looking at so that it was clearer for people to understand and that I wasn’t just producing a black and white pattern. I think these designs are two very different styles due to the crisp lines of the ‘op art’ looking experiment and the distressed lino print. I then went on to produce some information graphics on the results that I had compiled from the experiment. (next double spread).

At what point does a line become a rectangle? Results from the questionaire.

2 People

3 People

6 People

5 People

4 People

At what point does a line become a rectangle? Results from the questionaire.

2 People

3 People

4 People

5 People

6 People

Step Five: Back to Basics I wanted to get back into being a bit more hands on with my work so I created some marks using everyday objects, for example a knife and fork, and food packaging. Going back into my comfort zone allowed me to then be able to think outside the box and think about other unorthodox ways to produce marks and lines.

Step Six: Drink Drawing I decided to run another participation experiment as I enjoyed working on the previous one. I wanted to use and unorthodox method to get people to draw lines. It resulted in me getting people to draw a line once, then the same person to draw another line underneath it when they were drunk to see how it effected firstly what the line looked like and secondly, how they drew the line. I found the results quite surprising. All the lines were better drawn sober, as I expected, but those that were really careful and precise with their first line seemed careless when drawing their second, and those that just drew it without thinking first time round were really careful and attempting to copy their previous line.

When looking back the next day at the lines that were drawn everywhere my first thought was that they looked like strips of string, so I then decided to use string to print with. It was a simple experiment but I like the marks that the string left, they are not perfectly straight lines, they have a slight distortion about them.

Step Seven: String Installation Continuing with the use of string I had looked at some work by Andy Goldsworthy and Christo and Jeanne Claude and although I don’t particularly like their work I do like the fact that they use very simple methods to change the environment around them. So I decided to produce a piece of installation art, something I have never done before. I went to the same place that I filmed in my Dogme 95’ film and used string to change the environment without it getting in the way of anyone. Keeping it very simple. I filmed me putting up the installation and again taking it down to document it. I never wanted it to be a permanent fixture, much like Goldsworthy. If I were to do it again I would like to be able to leave it there for a couple of days and see if anybody passing reacts to it or even notices that it was there.

Step Eight: Revisiting Observational Photographs Photography is an important part of my practice and something that I enjoy greatly, I try to integrate it into as much of my work and projects as possible, even if its just as an experiment or in support of a final idea. I wanted to go back to taking some observational photographs but this time going out and searching for really interesting and aesthetically pleasing lines as opposed to just photographing everything. I wanted to take some photographs that could stand alone and be very powerful images and I think I have achieved that with the images on the following pages.

Step Nine: Simplicity Publication After a meeting with Luke he mentioned that I need to look a bit more at function now that I have spent so much time on form and content so I went back to my photographs as a starting point to produce a publication. Also image has been dominant in my work so I wanted to use this publication as a way to play around with text placement. Sticking to the theme of simplicity I wanted to create a book that had a very simple and tactile feel, I also felt like I needed to move away from the usual paper book and decided to use tracing paper. The use of tracing paper means that when you are flicking through the book you can see what is on the next page before you turn it and you can see all the layers of text and image working together. It is this detail I find to be most interesting about the publication and is something that I would like to experiment further with over the winter break.

Step Ten: Embossing Thinking about book cover design I wanted to try out a new technique. Going with the idea of simplicity still I thought about producing embossed and de-bossed book covers, again very tactile like the tracing paper publication and also very economical due to the lack of ink used. This would mean that it would be easier to recycle the book once it was finished with. I think as designers in this society we should be aware of economical factors such as paper and ink usage; it isn’t always necessary to cover a page in ink to communicate effectively. Less is more in some cases.

Step Eleven: The Power of Making at the V&A The V&A run a ‘Friday Late’ night once a month and I got the chance to go to the ‘Power of Making’ and ‘No Strings’ exhibition and workshops. I got the opportunity to work with Nobrow and Publish and Be Damned. The workshops included brainstorming and illustrating for a comic with Nobrow and create a zine and screen print the front cover with Publish and Be Damned, which was a fantastic opportunity. There was also a book binding workshop running alongside the zine making so that you could leave with a bound zine at the end of the night. The large image to the left is the screen printed front cover and the surrounding images are of pages from inside the zine.

Step Twelve: Distortion Going back to looking at line I wanted to experiment further into the distortion of line and how you can manipulate and change something until it becomes something new and interesting. By moving a simple black line around on a photocopier I produced these images. This was a very quick experimentation but one I found to be very effective, I have physically changed the line to a point where it loses its identity. I decided to continue playing with distortion and taking these photocopied images further.

Step Thirteen: Books Taking the photocopied images I wanted to give them a function and as I am thinking about producing a book for my FMP so I thought creating a book with these images would be a good place to start. The first book I produced is made up with strips of the images into a thin book that could become a part of a series. I didn’t feel that on its own it was very successful or represent the process that I went through to make the images in the first place so I went back and brainstormed what it was that I liked about the images initially. It was the movement of the line, the movement of the paper on the photocopier. I felt that a flicker book would be more suited to these images so that the movement of the line change and developing into something new could still be seen.

Step Fourteen: Film Still interested in the idea of movement of the line and its transformation I produced a short film using the images and layering them on top of one another. I think the film is successful but I would like to make it again with a lot more images to produce a longer and more dynamic filmic piece but as an experiment I feel it works very well.

Step Fifteen: Monotone Screen Prints After evaluating my work so far I realised that something I really liked doing and hadn’t revisited again was screen printing. I continued my work with the photocopied images and printed and exposed them in monotone to get a dotted effect in the areas that were grey as opposed to solid black. I printed the images first in black but then I looked back over my work this semester and found it all to be very black and white so I felt I needed to inject some colour. I really like the effect that the screen print has on the images, I like the imperfections and the fact that the image has parts missing, it all adds to the manipulation and distortion that I have bee exploring.

Step Sixteen: Layers of Manipulation I wanted to take the screen printing of the photocopied images a step further. I watched the film I made with the images again and picked up the fact that I had begun to layer the images in top of one another. With this in mind I went onto produce these posters that contain layers of manipulation, each one transforming the next. These images work due to the use of colour that allows the images to compliment one another and the flowing lines which work together to disguise the original form of the line. This is a method I definitely want to take further into my FMP.

Step Seventeen: Pinhole Photography At this point in my independent practice I had decided that the ideas of manipulation was something that I was definitely going to work with during my FMP and so I wanted to look at another method in which I could manipulate and image. Photography being a key element in my work I wanted to look at how I could use techniques I already know to produce something fresh and exciting. After playing around with a pinhole camera and trying to create the right amount of space for a light leak to produce a distorted image I finally had a success with these images above. They are all originals and I could never recreate the same image again even if I wanted to and that is what I like about them, as distorted images I think they are great and have an effect of driving past lights fast in the dark or even the lines on hospital machines, everybody that has looked at them has interpreted them in their own way given their own personal experiences, they are subjective and can become very personal images to a complete stranger.

Evaluation: Over this semester I have been able to work independently to produce a series of experiments that act as a focus for my FMP. When I first faced this independent brief I found myself struggling to make a start because I was too focused on how it would end, but after a meeting with Luke I was left with a greater understanding as to what it was I was working towards and that I would get there in my own time. I needed to start with simple experiments in an area of interest which would then able me to move forward, it was this idea of ‘simple’ that stuck with me. I then decided to go back a step and produce an in depth Action Research evaluation which allowed me to look back over my practice and to select particular areas of interest that I wanted to explore further. Still with this idea of ‘simple’ in mind I began by taking my last piece of work, which happened to be the Dogme 95’ Five Obstructions film, and stripped the film down to its most simple sequence and it was this initial experiment that became the platform for my exploration. Although it was very basic it allowed me to generate ideas by picking out what it was about the sequence that I found most interesting. Throughout this semester I have worked to produce quick experiments and have realised all my areas of interest by sticking to the basic ideas of simplicity and line. I have continuously evaluated my work to be sure that I am not going off course or repeating myself so as to make the most of the time I have at this explorative stage. After a meeting with Luke it became clear that I had looked at all areas of interest to experiment and I had plenty form and content but a lack of function so I went away and began to then think about an end product, what I wanted to produce for my FMP and how that would reflect me and my work at the end of third year. By taking something as basic as a line to experiment with I have been able to physically and psychologically manipulate the simplicity of a line, and have been able to apply function to the form and content. In doing so I have learned the importance of function and how it is the key to the communication of any concept. ‘Design is the manipulation of form and content.’ - Paul Rand Through my experimentation I have gained a clearer understanding of my skills and where my strengths are as well as highlighting to me my areas of weakness, which is also positive as I can now practice and improve those areas in my spare time to be sure that when I graduate I have a variety of skills. I am now confident that when it comes to my FMP I will be able to identify the right output for my designs and be sure that I am working to my strengths to produce a well rounded project.

Reference Material: Books Creative Mischief By Dave Trott Contemporary Graphic Design By Charlotte and Peter Fiell The Art of Looking Sideways By Alan Fletcher Mondrian By Susanne Deicher Mondrian: The Art of Destruction By Carel Blotkamp Less is More: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design by Steven Heller How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul By Adrian Shaughnessy Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop By Timothy Samara


Workshops HTML & CSS at UCA Book Layout Design at UCA Typographic Workshop at UCA Book Binding at UCA Adobe Premiere Pro at UCA Friday Late: No Strings and The Power of Making at V&A




The end justifies the means.

‘Design is in the manipulation of form and content.’ - Paul Rand


FMP Proposal I intend to further explore the ideas based on simplicity but focus my attention on mundane everyday scenarios and/or objects to change and distort them with an aim to produce a publication and a series of posters. ‘Go beyond the complicated to get to the simple.’ – Dave Trott I want to make people stop and think about things that they would usually just walk past on a day to day basis and for them to then be able to take more notice of objects or scenarios as they go by in the future. This project has to be able to reflect the culture that I am in and it needs to still be relevant to society and audiences by the time I have reached the end of year show next summer. In my last meeting with Mike I mentioned that I had attended the HTML workshops over this semester and was also thinking about possibly producing a website to support my publication and posters which he felt would be ambitious but worth thinking about in relation to producing a wide project that could be developed further. Having looked back at my work I have noticed film has cropped up quite a lot for me in this unit and I believe that film would be an interesting outlook for my FMP as it would bring a new dynamic to my otherwise print based outcome and would add value to the focus on everyday life scenarios. Over the winter break I will refine and polish my FMP ideas so that I can make an informed decision as to whether I will produce either a website or film to compliment my publication and prints, it is unrealistic to produce both. Think Wide.

FMP time plan




Take Photographs Screen Print Posters Make Short Films Evaluate Work Design and Make Books and Posters Produce and Edit Film or Make Website Portfolio



Independent Practice Portfolio (Final)  
Independent Practice Portfolio (Final)  

Final version of independent practice portfolio for year 3 semester 1.