Lesson Two - Marilyn H.

I wasn’t sure about this exercise.  It seemed far too neat and precise for me.  I tend to resist neat, precise, tidy and prefer to rebel by leaving ends, tearing rather than cutting and working in an irregular way.  So this was a challenge for me. I religiously did some of the squares as instructed but soon found this to be a bit tedious so decided to diversify a bit.  I used some previously inked paper and exploded the square a lot more.  These freer shapes are much more interesting to me.  I am realizing that the challenge of new exercises that I wouldn’t normally do is good – out of the old comfort zone – pushing me into slightly new areas.

Somewhere in the instructions I saw the mention of the cube, 3D, off I went, I carefully made a net for a cube and cut away areas before constructing it. I am really pleased with the result, maybe I should cut into it further to allow it to move away from the cube more. So much promise –but not at the moment, maybe I will revisit.

My last trail was a freeform mobile. Back to the flat black square, cut randomly and stapled into a form and suspended.  Maybe I will try this in cloth if time permits.  But for now I will move on.

What started as a rather formal, neat exercise that seemed a bit irrelevant has surprised me.  Keeping on trying, not thinking too much in advance and just going where it takes me has been quite rewarding.

I was late starting this exercise because of being on holiday and didn’t want to be too influenced by what others had done so I didn’t log on to the open studio until I had finished. Now that I have, it is interesting to see how diverse the results are and to discover that lots of us had the same issues.

Having done this exercise I then listened to Jane’s audio message and this clarified what the exercise was all about. So I tried to answer the questions she asked:-

Did I play by the rules or break them and go beyond?

I followed them to begin with to understand how (I think you need to understand a process before you can successfully break the rules of that process) and then I ignored them.  I wasn’t breaking the rules for the sake of it but to see how far it was possible to push this exercise and what would happen if I did.

Did I analyse the shapes or just go for it?

I didn’t analyse the shapes in the first ones I did – in fact I did very similar to the illustrations to understand how it worked. Having worked this out, I just went for it.  No analysis at all.

Did I find new ways to cut? Wild and experimental?

Once I understood the principle I let freedom take over.  Not purposely ‘breaking the rules’ but just experimenting and feeling free and ‘allowed’ to play and see what happened and which results I liked. The cube started off quite formally but ended up being free – ‘what will it look like if I cut this bit away?’  I tried a 3D mobile – someone else had done a swirly, freestanding piece and I wanted to see if I could do something similar.  People were impressed by hers on ‘open studio’ and I have to admit that while it was a challenge to see if I could do it, I realized that I also wanted others to be impressed by what I do.  That was an eye opener!

Did I intellectualize the exercise?

No, not at all.  I saw this as a practical task.  It was only after writing about it and listening to the input from Jane that I went back to analyse and evaluate my working and thinking.

Having made the decision to embark on the CST, I was determined that I would embrace each challenge with as open a mind as possible.  I was asked to do this, so I did it.  Now in analyzing the exercise I understand that the point was to begin to think about what lies behind how I work.