Urban Void- The Degree Show

After four years of University, sixteen years in education as a whole, I am finally finished with this chapter of my life. This degree has given me a lot and, after an incredibly stressful final week, the madness came to a sudden halt. And that was it.

It was difficult coming to terms with the contradiction of filling a gallery space to represent emptiness but once I was able to get into my allocated space and clear it out it was much easier to imagine the final concept.

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Painting the walls and scrubbing the floors came next, providing me with a blank canvas to create my urban void.

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Soon after this I hung the frames in geographical order relating to where they are in Dundee, with differing heights and spacing, and placed my 3D prints in between these to represent the life between the voids. I was then able to apply my shaving foam and PVA glue mixture to the walls. I knew this part would transform my blank space into an empty void full of history and memories. The foam took a lot longer to apply than I had originally thought, mostly because I had underestimated the size of my space until all of the desks and chairs had been removed. I covered all three walls in foam, making sure all edges of the frames and 3D prints were covered to appear as though they melt into the textured wall. By manipulating the walls I hope to encourage my viewers to come in close and wonder what this texture is. While doing this, I hope they then are inclined to look closely at the blank frames to uncover the blind embossings of forgotten Dundee.

The TV was last to be displayed, and after deciding against creating a white frame for the monitor and choosing to cover the edges in white electrical tape in stead, I ended up leaving the TV just as it is. This was due to the tape creating air bubbles and not looking as neat as I had hoped so I decided to not hide the fact that this is a television and that I had no choice in the colour. The monitor is displayed next to the blind embossing of the same setting as the fashion film and will be in the viewers field of vision while they watch. I decided to use headphones to give more of an intimate experience allowing my visitors to hear sounds from jute mill machines as well as my Grandmother singing ‘The Jute Mill Song’.

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My shaving foam monster appears on a white plinth alongside my guideline of my space, including my statement of practice, that I will hand out to viewers at the degree show. This guideline provides the names of my work and describes the concept behind my display to allow the viewers to understand where the urban voids are and to conjure up their own memories of this land.

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I understand that during degree show, especially the opening night, people may rub against my textured wall and cause it to fall off, just as it did when I was fixing some areas. I have decided just to accept this, let the foam fall and to just leave it there. I feel like this may be of interest to viewers giving them an idea of what the texture on the wall is making it less of a mystery.

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And that’s a wrap. Four years of hard work, discovering myself as an artist and changing the way I think and see the world, all over. The course has been very mentally draining but stimulating and has definitely helped me become a self-motivated and confident worker. I am excited to enter the world of work and put my creative skills to good use, I am raring to go! Come visit the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Degree Show 19th-28th May 2017 to experience my finished work in all its glory alongside the rest of my amazing year!

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Shaving Foam and PVA Monster

I have always loved working with unconventional materials that are not the obvious choice when creating art. Shaving foam has been this years odd choice that I have loved experimenting with and creating amazing textures. I wanted to push this further and see what else shaving foam is capable of. Inspired by the dripping wall manipulation of Daniel Arsham, I found out that using the same medium of shaving foam and PVA glue, along with a few added extras, I could create a tactile gooey sculpture. I mixed together PVA glue, bicarbonate of soda, shaving foam and contact lens solution until the liquid turned into a gooey, stretchy solid.

I love that this gooey monster will always adapt to fit the shape of the bowl or whatever it is placed in, no matter how much it is stretched and manipulated. It has a liquid look but can be handled whole. I played about with hanging the monster off of tables to see how stable it would be.

I could easily imprint my hand into the sculpture so I decided to try out what else I could imprint. I tried the photo plate I used at the start of the semester to create my early blind embossings and imprinted this into the goo. The marks were subtly visible but after a few minutes the sculpture returned to its smooth finish.

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I am currently enjoying trying out new things and having fun with my medium and am unsure whether this monster will appear in my degree show, dripping from a plinth perhaps, but I will continue to find out the possibilities of shaving foam and pva and push these as far as I can.

3D Printed Characters

Back in semester 1, which seems like a lifetime ago, I was stuck for what to make. I had been doing a lot of research but did not have much work to show for it. My tutor had told me just to make and the ideas would come, so I found myself in the DJCAD MakeLab. I had enjoyed 3D printing in the previous year so decided to give it another go seeing as they had just bought new, larger 3D printers. I printed my friend Kate’s head in real-size, placed it on my studio wall and dripped shaving foam down it. This work proved quite popular with passers-by and drew people in as much as the shaving foam covered wall itself did, it is also the logo for this website. The 3D print even helped me to become a finalist in the DJCAD artwork competition for the advertisement of the degree show.

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I could not ignore the popularity of this work, but I could develop it to see if it could be a possible contender for my degree show. As drawing people into my space is a big task for me I felt like these 3D prints might just do the trick. I decided to test out how successful the work would look on a foam covered wall rather than a plain one which proved quite popular as well.

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To develop this I 3D scanned the heads of the 3 girls that are in my fashion film and printed these. I hope these prints bring my film to life in my exhibition by immortalising the nostalgic yet futuristic characters and allowing them to fill my ’empty’ space just as they fill the urban void in my film.

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I plan on displaying these 3D prints in among my framed embossings showing the life that lies between the empty land. They will be displayed at the height of the characters and in the order that they first appear in the film.

New Things and a Change of Mind

After continually working on developing my blind embossing and my film I needed a change of pace, at least for a little while. I started doing more research on urban voids in Dundee to see if I could come across something that I had not before. After finding my way onto the governments website a found a file that is very relative to my project, a map of Dundee that highlights the cities derelict and vacant land.

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At first I was a little frustrated about not finding this map sooner due to having to scour the city myself to find these bare areas of land. However after thinking about it, I am glad I did not have this map. Finding the land by myself was a big part of my process and my concept, I was looking for and uncovering what I and other members of the public usually ignore. Being told where it is took away the challenge of finding the land for myself and noticing the unnoticed. It was difficult when I set out as I often did not know where to start but it made it even more spectacular when discovering this forgotten land.

I did want to use this map though as I could not ignore it relevance to my project. I decided to use the map as a template and mark out the shape of Dundee along with the empty land it holds. I decided to laser cut this design onto mdf and turn it into a blind embossing, just like my framed prints. I love the marks made and it really shows the abundance of forgotten land in a fairly small city which does not just lie in the poorer districts, but all over Dundee. The sites that I chose to look at when making my series of urban void blind embossing are also from all around Dundee and I will show this when displaying them in geographical order, highlighting that even those living in affluent areas can forget about their empty land.

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After framing my aforementioned urban voids blind embossing, I was unsure on the colour of the molding. I had opted for natural wood but, when imagining my completely white space, I felt like natural wood but stick out too much and the viewer would be concentrating on the frame rather than the print. To solve this, I framed another print using off-white paint so as not to make the print look less white to compare against the natural wood frame. I found this to be a lot more successful and tested how the frame would look against a shaving foam covered wall. I feel like you can see the frame enough to know it is not trying to blend into the space and it will still draw people in to see what is inside the frame. I just have to work out how to properly photograph my framed prints without glare and to get the detail from the embossing.

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I have also been considering what to do with my digital drawings of urban voids that I used to create my blind embossing. I wanted to develop these images as I enjoy the aesthetic of them and was interested in where I could take them. I printed these images on acetate and decided it would be interesting to see how these would look as screen prints on canvas. All white screen prints are very hard to make as they are difficult to see, as I found out at the start of 4th year. to solve this I mixed burnt umber with white ink to create an off-white colour that still keeps in with the same white tones but is visible. I created one print on canvas and left it as is, and printed one more which I then sprinkled dried shaving foam that I scraped off from my studio wall (you can find out more about this technique here https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/foam-canvas-development/). My plan is to screen print all of my urban void images and perhaps try to sell these at the degree show.

After researching the jute mills that once stood at the site of my fashion film, I decided to research what used to be at the land of my other urban voids in the same era. I was surprised to see how many of these areas were home to jute and textile mills, while some held no buildings at all.

I printed the maps from the 1900s onto jute to bring the history of this land alive and to fill the urban void.

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After hanging my foam canvases on top of the jute I wanted to find a way to relate the two textures together. I have always loved the swirling shape that shaving foam creates when directly sprayed out of a can, so I decided to mimic this shape with jute. The completely different materials are made strangely alike by creating a relationship between the two through form.

I decided to try this out with the previously printed jute as well to see how this would alter the relationship. I love how the material bares the image void while the white shaving foam creates the feeling of the void, both of which join together to produce the concept of my degree show. The history of the void will be uncovered.

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A Fashion Photo Album

Fashion is a big part of my life. Fashion is self-expression, it is self-confidence, it is self love. It is also my job and is the field I hope to progress in once I leave University. It was therefore important to me to bring fashion into my current project and my degree show. ‘She Town’ my fashion film about urban voids in Dundee features costumes that I made from Tyvek. This allowed me to combine fashion and my love for unconventional art mediums to highlight the emptiness of the setting, the reason being the material of the costume itself that led to the closure of the jute mills that once stood there.

The photographs from my film are just as valuable to me as the film piece itself. I love the whiteness of the costumes against the empty setting and how the characters appear as voids in the landscape. The photographs are alien, but also relatable due to the recognisable setting. As I hope my film and blind embossing provoke the feeling of nostalgia from what once stood in the urban voids, I decided to create a photo album of the photographs from my shoot. Photo albums often store memories that when looked at, take the viewer back to time or place different from now, I hope this fashion photo album will do the same.

I covered the photo album in jute to relate to the history of the land and to bring back memories of what once stood there from the first touch and site of the album.

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While creating my fashion illustration sketchbook, I took a liking to painting white acrylic on top of my photographs. I found that this brought the photographs to life while acting as a void itself on the image. The texture was also not unlike shaving foam that I have been working with on the walls of my studio and that also features in both my film and my photographs. I used this paint to animate the photographs and react with the characters as if the paint is a character itself.

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I also included the photographs of my costumes hanging on the gate at the setting of the film. This highlights the importance of the costumes in this project and the fact that the work is both art and fashion. I hope that this album provides both a new and nostalgic experience, just like my fashion film, and brings this forgotten land back to the attention of the viewer.

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Exhibition Inspiration and Degree Show Space Allocation

The allocation of my space for the degree show really brought home that there is only 2 months left of uni. Not just this, but in less than 2 months I will be displaying my work to thousands of people for the first time ever. I am desperate to make my space visually enticing to compete with all of the amazing artists and designers who will also be displaying their work at the degree show. However, I will be enticing my audience with the notion of emptiness. My allocated degree show space, shown below, is perfect for my concept. I imagine an all white  space that feels empty so having a contained space with 3 walls is the perfect way to create this. I want the audience to feel the void and on closer inspection, discover that there is so much more there than initially thought.

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I have been researching exhibitions that concentrate on the unseen, a classic example being Yves Kleins’ The Void in 1957. People waited for hours to enter an empty gallery in which Klein claimed to hold his artistic sensibility, which cannot be seen or felt but is there all the same. I also came across the multi-artist exhibition Invisible: Art About the Unseen 1957-2012 at Hayward Gallery. The gallery contained all-white canvases including Tom Friedman’s’ 1000 Hours of Staring, a blank piece of paper. Andy Warhol displayed a plinth on which he once stood, showing the presence of the artist and also the absence. I hope to create a space that shows the unseen, the urban voids that are overlooked and the memory of this land that has been forgotten. It is up to the audience to come into the space, to look and to feel.

 

I recently visited Edinburgh with my uni friends to see the RSA contemporaries exhibition featuring last year graduates from DJCAD and other Scottish universities. I found it funny how I was not only looking at the work itself, but how it was displayed; whether it was framed, the colour of the frames, how they displayed video work etc. I do not normally concentrate on these aspects when visiting a gallery but as I am nearing the end of my degree and close to degree show set up these thoughts were very much on my mind. It was amazing to see the different mediums used and the interesting ways they were displayed. I enjoy how Alison Wright’s photographs above how been displayed in a scattered manner while Lucy Wayman’s mop sculpture interacts with its audience as they walk between it just like Tamara Richardson’s plastic sheets.

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As I too will be presenting a film, I found it fascinating looking at the different ways these graduates presented theirs. Below left shows Clara Hastrup’s film shown as two projections with a seating area for its audience. This was an amazing film for the senses and I loved that the audience were given a specific area to watch the film. Natalie Howlett uniquely displayed a video projection on a cut out of the woman who was being projected which added to the clinical and unemotional feeling of her work.

After trying out projections for myself, I decided that a monitor would show my film in a more successful way. I was paying close attention at the RSA for how their monitors were displayed. Elaine Ang presented her film on the floor which changed the relationship between the viewer and the work as they looked down on it. I am planning on building a frame for my monitor as the ones available to me are all black and this might ruin my all white space, so seeing this framed film piece was a handy experience.

Framing was also something I was focusing on when at the RSA, especially Eleanor Elks Herrmannsen’s white frames. After taking part in the framing workshop and making a wood coloured frame, I decided that a white frame would be more successful in my space. I have made one frame white to compare against the wood coloured frame and I have found the white one to work better with my prints.

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While in Edinburgh we visited a few more exhibitions that were currently showing. One of my favourites was Mark Wallingers exhibition that is showing in two parts, one in the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh and one in the DCA, Dundee. This picture is from the fruitmarket gallery, the artist makes his mark while also writing his own name.

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The DCA provided me with lots of inspiration on how to display film. Projections, hung on a wall, multiple monitors in a round, monitors propped on their side. I just have to work out what is best for my film and the space that I am in but it was amazing to see how successful artists like Mark Wallinger show their work.

 

While visiting a 3rd year illustration student exhibition in Duncan of Jordanstone called Chaos & Order I was intrigued by not just the work, but the presentation of this work. They had a few display tables containing sketchbooks, drawings and other bits and pieces. The display table I have been working with (shown here https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/film-as-a-piece-of-art/) is a lot more robust and I feel like these ones would work better in my ’empty’ degree show. I am currently trying to gain access to these tables but I am also in two minds. I do not want to clutter my exhibition as I want it to feel empty so I am not yet sure if I want to have a display table in my space. There is still lots to think about but I have found it very rewarding taking time out to view exhibitions and gain an insight into successful ways to showcase artwork.

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Foam Canvas Development

While thinking about different ways to make my Park Seo-Bo inspired foam canvases I came across a handy tool, masking tape. Unlike the razor, masking tape allowed me to make clean, straight foam-less lines on the canvases which I believe to have a powerful aesthetic. I have also been mixing up the ratio of shaving foam to PVA glue to give different textures and effects once dry. The more glue, the lighter and fluffier the end result.  This process has allowed me to learn a lot about the application of the foam and how it dries and I will apply this knowledge when covering the walls of my degree show space.

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Inspired by Lucio Fontana, I also tried cutting the canvas and putting light behind it to see how effective this would look but I was not as fond of this technique.

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Getting back to the razor, I created canvases inspired by the white acrylic on my fashion film photographs (https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/a-fashion-photo-album/) complimenting the animated effect these strokes have, whether they be made with razor or brush.

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While deciding what to do with these canvases, I wanted to see how successful they would look on the gallery wall. I enjoy the canvases displayed together on the white wall much more than on a foam covered wall as this makes them stand out less. I also placed the canvas on a wall where the foam does not cover the area around the canvas.

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While scraping shaving foam off my studio wall, I found use for the fallen debris. I scraped shaving foam off one of my less successful canvases using the same tool that I use to apply the foam. I then reapplied this dried foam back onto the same canvas using the same pallet knife to add pva then sprinkling the foam back on. I love the amazing texture this creates and how I am using the same mediums, tools and techniques as I have previously been using but I am given a completely different result. This action relates to my theme of urban voids by removing what was on the canvas, just as the buildings and life were removed from the urban voids. I then fill the canvas again just as I hope to fill the empty land with the memories that my audience holds of them.

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I am not yet sure if these canvases will be displayed in my degree show space as I am still figuring out how my space will look, but I am learning a lot while creating them and enjoying the medium of shaving foam even more.

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I stumbled across the technique of having foam and PVA on Facebook while procrastinating from doing actual work, and I have never looked back since. I have found this texture to be really exciting to passers-by and always draws people into my studio space. The majority of viewers are completely unaware of what the medium is I have used, they just love how it makes the wall come alive. I hope this technique fascinates my audience just as much at degree show and pulls them into the void. My urban void. I have been playing about with the application of the foam, using pallet knifes (left below) and pushing metal plates onto the wall to create a suction effect (right below). It was also helpful to see how the foam would look on a larger scale as I hope to cover a full wall in foam for my degree show.

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As well as working directly onto the wall, I have been applying the shaving foam technique to canvases. Inspired by Park Seo-Bo, (see blog post https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/degree-show-plan/), I have been working with the application of the foam and also the removal of it. I applied lines with a ruler, scraped the foam away with a pallet knife and also used the same suction technique as on my studio wall to create texture.

I also tried using the tool that is associated with shaving foam, a razor. I scraped foam onto the canvas and removed foam already on the canvas to create new shapes and textures.

As my fashion film is based around the urban void at The Stack Leisure Park where a jute mill once stood, I decided to incorporate jute onto my canvases.I used similar techniques as on the studio wall to both add and remove shaving foam from the canvases and let the remaining of the jute hang loose. I enjoy the way the foam clings to the jute, just as I am clinging to the land at the stack and the history of this material.

I have played about with compositions and love how effective the canvases are when hung on the white studio wall, but I am unsure whether I will include these in my degree show display. I am currently concentrating on emptying my space to encourage the viewer to feel like they are in the urban void, so I have to be careful not to clutter the exhibition. I will continue to develop these canvases and take photographs of them and I will soon have to decide their fate.

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Blind Embossing Development and Framing

While developing other aspects of my work, I felt as though I had been neglecting my blind embossing. My tutor encouraged me to keep pursuing this technique as he loves the idea I put forward of drawing my audience in close to uncover the urban void. I love that these prints seem like they are just blank pieces of paper but on closer inspection, they are detailed embossings of empty land in Dundee. For now, I just have the one print of the land at the Stack Lesuire Park in Lochee that is also the setting for my fashion film. I have been working with the photographs I have taken of different urban voids in Dundee to make more blind embossings of the different urban voids in Dundee. This is a long process, 10 hours on the laser cutter for each image, but I have found it very rewarding. I hope to turn at least 4 of these digital drawings into blind embossings.

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I took part in a framing workshop in uni to see how successful the blind embossing would be when framed. I enjoy the idea of it seeming although I am framing blank pieces of paper to make the audience come in closer and see what they would usually ignore. I framed my embossing on the Stack Leisure Park shown here and below ( https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/blind-embossing-development/), as before I started creating new embossings I wanted to know if they could successfully fit into my degree show.

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What took the most time was deciding on the best way to frame my print to get the most out of it. I decided against float mounting it as the colours of the mounts took away the whiteness of the image. As this is an embossing, the print already has a border around it which actually gave the print its own mount so I decided to just frame the print as is. I opted for natural coloured wood so as again not to take away from the brightness of the image and used a colourless wax on this. The slips were painted white to coincide with the white print and give a lovely finish.

Alan and Malcolm in the wood workshop were amazing help especially because my print is so big, just larger than A1. It was so amazing to create the frame yourself, it becomes part of the art process and gives you full choice in the display of your work. It is also a fraction of the price. I feel like the prints will be successful in their frames and plan on making 4 more, each containing blind embossing of different urban voids in Dundee.

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Unfortunately the frame and the print do not photograph very well due to the lightness of the paper and the reflection of the glass but I’ve included an image to give you an idea of how it looks. My plan is to have a collection of framed Dundee urban void embossings. I have imagined these being displayed in geographical order, dotted around the gallery wall in relation to where they are in Dundee. I will try this out once I have made more of these embossings to see how successful this presentation will be. The deadline is creeping closer and I seem to finally be finishing some work! Keep your eyes peeled for more completed prints soon!

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Film as a Piece of Art

With the degree show looming it was time to think about the best way to display my work. I imagine my degree show to consist of film, prints and wall based work. The wall based work is a little easier to display, however it is the film work that left me with a lot of decisions to make. I was introduced to an artist, Matthew Barney, by my tutor. Barney works primarily in film and displays his work on multiple screens in a unique way. I came across a book titled Matthew Barney : Mitologie Contemporanee that showed me some great examples of the artists work and his exhibitions.

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Left- Cremaster Cycle, 2002. Right- Drawing Restraint,  1987-2007.

The book made me think a lot about the message of my own film and the way that I wish my audience to interact with it. Once my film is finished I will display it on different monitors, both HD and 4×3 to see what works the best with the film. What I love about Barneys exhibitions is that he displays ‘props’ from his film in the gallery space to bring life to the 2 dimensional. This has inspired me to display work in my degree show that relates to my film and my concept of the urban void that led me to my finished work.

‘She Town’, my fashion film based on the urban voids of Dundee, crosses the border between memory and premonition, nostalgic and new- through setting, sound, costume and choreography. The setting is the true protagonist of the film, not the characters. The characters appear as objects to link past, present and future with no leading role. Sound provides a sensorial responsibility to fill the empty gallery space with the history of the bare land. Costumes made from the modern material that triggered the closure of the mills are cavorted in both a glum and fun fashion. A surreal world has been created that the spectator is not detached from due to the recognisable land and the memory’s that come with it. Many thanks to Dundee Heritage Trust for providing audio work.

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I borrowed a display table from the university to play around with and see if it would be successful in my degree show space. I placed Tyvek (the material that my costumes in my film are made from) a 3D print of one of my characters face covered in foam, and a canvas with foam on it inside the table. I laid these objects on top of a roll of jute, relating to the history of the setting of my film. I love how the colour of the jute contrasts with the white objects, which also matches the colour of my frames displaying my blind embossing,(see https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/blind-embossing-development-and-framing/).

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I returned to the site of my fashion film and collected the stones from the ground where I had spray painted the shape of the jute mill that once stood there. I placed these half white stones in the cabinet to see how these would look. I may need to spray them entirely white to make them blend in but I do enjoy the ombre effect they have. They also match with the new transfer technique I have been trying out in my fashion illustration sketchbook and on the material of my costumes. Pictured above on the left is Tyvek with an acrylic transfer of one of the photographs from my shoot. I am not yet sure if I will include any of these items in the display or if I will have a cabinet at all but I will wait until I receive my space to see what works best.