Get your knits out for the lads! Are the Ultras the New Craftivists

My dissertation titled, Get Your Knits Out for the Lads! Are the Ultras the New Craftivists, is now available as a hard copy or e-book.


Video of the Holmesdale Fanatics (HF05) of Crystal Palace FC preparing a display for their home match against Manchester United
Published on Feb 22, 2014
HF05 Ultras CPFC

Abstract

This dissertation proposes that groups of particularly passionate football fans are a form of craft community. The ultras create extravagant displays which enhance their performances during football matches. Much attention has been paid to hooliganism and football violence, but very little has been written about the positive and creative aspects of football fandom.

Post-New Designers

An interesting and successful week at New Designers. I met some fantastic glass artists who also graduate this year. It was also an honour to present my work to the judges of the Contemporary Glass Society. Although I did not win any prizes, David Reekie sent me a lovely e-mail saying how much the judges liked my work. I was also invited to apply for membership of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and to cap it all I have been invited to apply for next year’s New Designers, “One Year On”.
Oh and another thing, I achieved a 1st class honours degree!

IMAG1705

Summer Show 2014

I was struggled with finding a subtext for my previous experiments, but through engaging with the material I gradually moved towards using a recognisable motif, the “Monopoly” house. By using it in a modular fashion I wanted to explore the notion of public and private spaces, as well as a comment on property as investment, not as domestic home spaces.


The “Monopoly” house motif is used to represent the notion of private property and space. The distinction between the public and private is now increasingly blurred. The current economic climate has seen an increase in evictions and homelessness and the notion of the private space is being re-evaluated. Private spaces have now moved into the public realm, as people are forced to take residence in these spaces to find shelter. Yet there are many rules, regulations as well as an increase in surveillance, that make surviving in these public spaces more difficult, and the homeless are punished for doing things in order to survive. (Belvis Pons, 2013)

http://www.furtherfield.org/features/performing-home-art-activism-and-affections



My interest in modernist architecture has focussed on brutalism, as there are many examples of this in Croydon. This style was mainly used for public building projects and was popular with governments and institutions. However, this style was not adopted for corporate projects, as its architectural philosophy was associated with utopian socialism and the public sector. The buildings are typically large, fortress-like, that uses modular elements grouped together into a unified whole. Concrete is used in its raw, textured state revealing the basic nature of its construction. (Wikipedia, 2014) 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutalist_architecture

Conclusion

I have been preparing for the Degree Show (11th – 18th June) at Plymouth College of Art, and New Designers in London (26th – 28th June).

My final body of work is inspired by the Brutalist architecture of my home town of Croydon.

Photography by James Mann
Photography by James Mann

Photography by James Mann

Photography by James Mann

Photography by James Mann

Photography by James Mann

Development

Previously my aim was to investigate the effects of light and glass. I investigated the optical effect particularly with float glass and the various applications of surface details, some of which were successful. The cast glass pieces had a lot of potential. 
As far as concepts, ideas and subject matter, I am still drawn towards architectural and geometric subjects. During my previous research I noticed that most of the pieces were modular, a combination of separate components. I have combined different types of glass together and a lot of the same, but with subtle differences, and this was the direction that I was aiming towards.
I noticed that the pieces that I had produced beginning to look like sound waves, so I investigated sound as a possible subject to investigate. I became disheartened as I did not want to just replicate established visual representations of sound, so I looked back to the modular nature of my previous experiments. 


I looked at stacks of circular glass and thought that the reverberations that I had produced previously could be replicated in some form. I was not happy with this so I looked at cubes, which was another format that I had used previously. I set about casting and cold-working these and I was during this engagement with the material, that I produced house-shaped forms.


I was struggled with finding a subtext for my previous experiments, but through engaging with the material I gradually moved towards using a recognisable motif, the “Monopoly” house. By using it in a modular fashion I wanted to explore the notion of public and private spaces, as well as a comment on property as investment, not as domestic home spaces.


As far as the technical aspects are concerned, it has been a struggle, but I feel that this has a lot of possibilities, maybe too many. I plan to create a statement piece and several “kits” to emphasis the modular and flexible nature of composition.



Experiment

I am now approaching the end of my degree and the modules this year are leading to my final degree show and New Designers. The first module was focussed on experimental work and I wanted to examine the nature of glass and how it reacts with light. I used float glass and applied textures and images to sheets of glass and combined them to create 3D images. I also looked at cast glass and used  spheres as a format to compare the different techniques.

Technical and visual appraisal 
1/ Float glass. Deep cut sandblasted, fire polished
This was a very disappointing result as the fire polishing resulted in a cloudy finish, although the sandblasted recesses were polished. The edges were dull so the image could not be seen.
2/ Float glass. Sandblasted rings
 Quite a good result but a bit subtle. The edges show the rings quite well.
3/ Float glass. Enamelled “coronas”
The opacity of the enamels resulted in the top pane obscuring all the panes below. Even when they have been presented back to front, the enamels have come out a bit weak and insipid. The edges are quite interesting though, but very subtle.
4/ Float glass. Sandblasted circles, dusted with enamel powder, enamel detail stippled
This is the most successful piece. The addition of colour has highlighted the effect especially from the edges. Ideally the enamels could be more transparent to show the stipple detail better.
5/ Float glass. Sandblasted circles
This is a pretty good result, more apparent than the rings, and the edges are very strong. 
6/ Float glass. Circular cut negative semi circles 
This is quite interesting particularly from the edges. combining it with a semi sphere of polished glasma seems to draw the light to it.
7/ Glasma, reed glass. Sand cast and hand polished
On its own it has little going for it, but combined with contrasting reed glass, it magnifies and distorts it. Seems to work well with stacked float glass.  
8/ Glasma, red/clear flashed glass. Sand cast with texture
The unworked texture from the sand casting is good and the flashed glass underneath highlights this quality.
9/ Float glass. Circular cut with grozed edges
The light catches the grozed edged well, and from the top a mirroring effect works quite well.
10/ Float glass. Circular cut with polished edges
This highlights the mirroring effect otherwise it’s unremarkable. As with the other piece the calculation of the curve of the semi circle is pleasing.
11/ Glasma frit, Float glass. Open cast, UV glue with float glass inclusion

This has a lot of potential despite the UV glue being visible, and the shape will need more cold working. The combination with float glass works quite well, and could potentially becombined with other types of glass and coloured epoxy resin.