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My Drawology Experience - Anna Manfield 24 February 2016

It has been such a great experience to be part of the Drawology exhibition, to see this exhibition evolve every day and be a part of all the processes.

For the first few days I assisted Deborah in the cutting and manipulating of huge roles of paper. It was interesting to see the paper become more than just a flat medium and make something so dynamic and sculptural.

Secondly, I assisted Joe Graham filming and making large pieces with paper and tape. It was great to see how he could be so expressive with his drawing style and wasn’t afraid to work quickly and make use of the whole space, despite mentioning that usually he works on a small scale. Working with Joe was great fun and inspired me to think much bigger and be much more expressive in my own practice.

On the last day of the exhibition I joined John Court in writing words around the Gallery walls at full body height. A seemingly easy task which proved to be extremely physically demanding and required a great deal of strength.

When John asked me to start by writing whatever words came to me, I found it so difficult as I was too conscious about what I was writing. He said to write backwards, forwards or upside down and not to worry about the outcome. After a while I felt so comfortable just thinking of words and responding to what he had already written. I became so involved in what I was doing that I was no longer worried about making decisions.

John helped me to see drawing in a completely different way; he said “I don’t need to see drawing, I like to feel it or taste it”.  To him, the act of drawing can be so much more than just pen on paper and can involve the whole body and all of the senses. Working with him has helped me to loosen up and make decisions that are not conscious.

The exhibition has made me so much more confident in my own drawing style and has led me to adopt a much less literal approach to drawing. Being on a Decorative Arts course as opposed to Fine Art I have often felt as though everything I make or draw should be planned and precise, but Performing Drawology has shown me that drawing should be something that is freeing and expressive.

Martin Lewis suggested to me that to loosen up I should try working on a much larger scale, with marks and techniques that were fast and not as conscious, then to use these pieces as source material for patterns and designs. The final pictures on this post are of me working on big rolls and pieces of paper to create large scale illustration pieces for my ongoing project. These pieces have really helped to kick-start my project and generate ideas, and to realise that fine art and design can work together so harmoniously.

The exhibition has definitely changed my perception of drawing and has made me open to so many different ways of working that I would never have thought to use before.

It is just sad that it has come to close.

Thank you so much to Deborah and Phil and to all of the artists for making it such an enjoyable experience!

-Anna Manfield

BA (Hons) Decorative Arts, Year 2.

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