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Week One – Farrah

Reflection on Previous Project

In my previous project, I responded to the theme of Nature through raising awareness of the increase of plastic waste due to the Covid19 pandemic. I could see that the environment was becoming irretrievably damaged by disposable masks, as well as other items we may associate with the virus, such as bottles of hand sanitizer, plastic gloves and single use wrapping on millions of items. Many of these items had not even been disposed of correctly, instead being thrown onto the floor in the environment, which would lead to thousands of animals, and thus nature being affected.

I decided that I would combine my interest in gardening with my intention of raising awareness of the environmental effects caused by single use plastic together. I began to collect masks which I had found on the streets of Aberystwyth, as well as photographing and documenting them. I used these masks to create small pots, which I then grew cress from. The purpose of this was finding a life cycle for an item which did not previously have one. For the Winter Show, I created a time-lapse video of the cress growing from the transformed mask pots, and then cooked and ate the cress I had grown.

I immensely enjoyed Semester One; I felt like in my own small way I was achieving something great – I felt empowered as I collected masks from around the streets, as I knew that I was doing my bit for the environment. I was also proud when I talked about my project with others, and inspired some to begin considering ways that they could re-purpose items they would have otherwise discarded, or to begin wearing re-useable masks.

Aside from the context of my work, I was very happy with the creative elements of my practice in my last project. The miniature pots I created with the disposable masks became like sculptures; each one had its own personality to me. As always, I really enjoyed the process of making the pots; I have found throughout the years that I veer towards making three-dimensional works; something that can become an installation piece that can be walked around and viewed from different angles. In my next project, I would like to continue with sculpture. I also would like to experiment with the technique of making a stop frame animation; this was something I used in my time-lapse video of growing cress, and thought it was a simple but effective way of creating a video.

Initial Ideas for Project Two

The theme for the previous semester was ‘Nature’; this is quite similar to the theme for this semester – ‘Animal’. Animals are an integral part of Nature; they make up our ecosystem – the world would not be able to survive without animals. We as humans evolve from animals; in many ways, although we may feel we are different from what we would consider ‘animal’, we are still very similar.

In the introduction to this Semester, Miranda made us consider the theme. Interestingly, the theme is not ‘Animals’ but ‘Animal’. This may seem a minor difference, but it changes the term completely. For example, the term ‘Animals’ mainly refers to creatures, such as dogs or giraffes. The term ‘Animal’ is much broader, and although it refers to creatures, it is also a characteristic, such as an instinctive need, it can be used to describe something, such as somebody who is acting wildly, or it can refer to a particular type of person or thing.

When I first heard the theme for this Semester I felt really excited. Throughout the previous theme of ‘Nature’ I was really affected by the harrowing images of animals I saw when researching the environmental effects caused by disposable masks – it is clear that both marine life and land animals are affected by plastic pollution. I feel urged to continue elements of my work from my first project, such as the context – raising awareness of the effects of single use plastic. I will relate it further to animals – using items which have been proven to cause damage to wildlife such as plastic straws, six pack rings from cans, and plastic bags. I feel my art should have a meaning, and this is an issue which is constantly on my mind at the moment.

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