I chose to got to Morocco for my second module of Field as I thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit and explore a completely new culture. In addition to this, I have based the majority of my work so far this year around the concept of colours and patterns and the ways they can be used to create different effects. Before Morocco I felt like I was coming to a roadblock within my work and didn’t know where and how I could develop it further. Just doing quick research on Marrakech, I discovered that it was a vibrant city full of patterned ornamentation. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to tie together all the work I have been creating with patterns, both in my term 1 Field project and in my subject work, develop it and put some context behind it.
Visiting Morocco has given me a new found confidence. Before the trip I had done a lot of travelling but never to a non-westernised country out of Europe. It is fair to say that I was really nervous about going as I didn’t know if I would be able to handle such a change in culture and was really nervous about being the minority. I found when I arrived in Marrakech that it was a completely different way of living, but that was actually quite refreshing to see. A surprising turn of events was that the wifi in Marrakech was awful, even in our Riad. Although this seems trivial, it was quite daunting to begin with as I was worried about being completely cut off from my life at home. But as the week progressed, it was actually a huge relief not to be tied to my phone 24/7. I think I was able to appreciate Marrakech on a deeper level and was able to get a lot more sketching done as i had no other distractions. Visiting Morocco has given me an intercultural awareness that I was lacking before, and has given me a new found confidence to visit other countries in the future, that before I would have been to nervous to visit.
I found it really stimulating to work as a group, especially with students from different disciplines as I was opened to new ways of thinking. I found that being around illustration students meant that I started to adopt a more illustrative style in some of my drawings, and added narrations which I have never done before. Also being around and working in a group with textiles students, I noticed that they are way more focused on the senses, especially touch. It never crossed my mind how I could use touch to create multi sensory work, as within Fine Art, touching work is normally prohibited. It has made me question why this is so. I hope to create some multi-sensory responses to Morocco in future work. I have enjoyed working as a group as I think it has led to a more successful outcome. The combination and merging ideas and skills has meant that our group was able to create a strong final piece that reflected all of our ideas within the theme of covering.
One of my biggest achievements from my trip to Morocco was the amount of drawings I produced in my sketchbooks. I always take a sketchbook with me when I travel abroad, but I almost never use it, and when I do I only tend to do a couple of drawings. I normally take loads of photographs and work from them when I get back. I managed to fill 2 sketchbooks for the week that I was away which is a first for me. I think this is partly due to having the opportunity to see Chris’ collection of sketchbooks before we left and listen to how he uses them to document events or travels. I have found it so much more satisfying completing them whilst I was away, and now I can look at the drawings and remember where I was when I drew them. Doing drawings in the moment also improved my confidence as I was drawing out in public, a prospect that I usually find daunting due to fear of being judged. I learned to let go of that in Marrakech and actually found it quite liberating when people would peer over my shoulder to see what I was doing. Sketching so much in real time, I think, has also improved my drawing skills. I can now draw a lot faster and create a lot looser drawings, a concept I was never able to grasp before. I love that I have been able to move away from photo accuracy and the stress that put on me, and now just have fun with my drawings.
Taking part in the Morocco field option has given me new skills within the School of Art and Design. I was given the opportunity to partake in a video editing workshop working on Premier Pro. I have never used video as art before and always found it a really daunting concept. I never thought I would be able to use the software to create a successful video. However, after having the induction, I have found that it is not that hard to do and it has allowed me to create a video with my group for part of our final piece, that I believe to be a really strong piece of work. I would like to explore video art further on in my practice as I think it could be used to create a really strong support with an object to create a final piece.
From Morocco I am going to take away all these new skills I have acquired as well as new techniques that I can incorporate into my own practice. I learned about the process of zillij whilst in Marrakech, and the context behind it. One of the contacts I made in Marrakech has emailed me a video of the process of zillij and I have taken a book out of the library covering all of is details. I plan on using aspects of this craft, especially the patterns they use, and translate into my own practice. I was also introduced to several new artists whilst in Morocco, but my favourite was Jacques Majorelle. I plan on looking at Majorelle’s work further on in my subject practice, especially his depictions of Moroccan landscapes in which he incorporates bold, contrasting colours, as I believe this could be complementary and could be used to contextualise any work I do with patterns.
I am really pleased with both my individual final collection, and the group work we created for Morocco. I remember worrying in Marrakech on how my group were going to be able to come together to combine all of our ideas, and create one final piece reflecting the theme of covering. However, our decision to use performance art has meant we had to work as a team at all times and has given us two final pieces that combine each of our concepts within the theme of covering well. We also talked afterwards about how our work could be improved if we were to go to Morocco again or redo the trip. We thought it would be interesting to do a performance piece after our first day in Marrakesh, and then another piece at the end of our travels, and compare them to see how our opinions changed throughout the week. I am pleased with my individual work as I believe I have made a successful collection of objects that reflect my personal experience and journey through Marrakech. Although I didn’t finish my concertina book documenting the patterns of Marrakech, I am pleased with the patterns I have created as they have many different layers, and are interactive. I plan to continue adding patterns within the book after the Morocco field module is over as a starting point for any developing work.