Sunday, 9 June 2013

Classifying and Measuring the Creative Industries

An article in the OCA Weekend Bulletin this week (4th June) states 'The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has chosen to remove the category of ‘crafts’ as a recognised creative industry as part of a paper for classifying and measuring the creative industries due to be put forward in June of 2013.' 

My first reaction to this news was confusion. How could the government not think of crafts as a creative industry? And after all the recent articles and exhibitions demonstrating its relevance in modern life, didn't they know this decision could have devastating consequences on the sector?

Comments from several OCA tutors showed that they thought this was another example of a general misunderstanding of what crafts people do, and of the contribution of creative thinking to their work. 

This decision seemed so counter-intuitive to me, and from the comments from tutors I was not alone, that I looked it up on the website. And this is what I found Link to page

'Why we are proposing changes to how we measure and why crafts will remain a creative industry.

We recently published a consultation on proposed changes to how we measure the value of the creative industries.
As a result of our consultation, many people in the crafts sector got the impression that we are considering dropping crafts from the creative industries. This is not true and the purpose of the consultation is not to redefine the creative industries. The definition of the creative industries will remain the same and continue to include crafts.
The purpose of the work is to look at how we measure the contribution of the creative industries (including crafts) to our economy...'

(Here they admit that the wording of one part of the original consultation was misleading, especially out of context)...

'So we have re-drafted this section to make our meaning clearer. The consultation now reads:
We believe that many crafts workers are very clearly in creative occupations. However, in the official classifications, many of these workers are spread across a range of occupational and industrial codes which contain vastly greater numbers of obviously non-creative workers. To include these codes would not give an accurate value to the crafts sector, so we are looking at better ways to measure this contribution.'

Obviously what the government say on a public website and what they really think may be different things, but it may be that this is not an example of disregard and misunderstanding of craftspeople after all.

And from this response, it seems that the Department of Culture etc has got the message about crafts being predominantly creative industries.

There is less than a week left (Deadline 14th June) to make suggestions as to how crafts workers can be classified in the international codes in order to show that they are creative industries.

It seems to me that it would be worth as many people as possible contributing to the consultation. 

It can be reached through the link above.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Stage 4: Reflection

Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawings and samples to the final designs?

A continuous thread is a better way to think about it than a continuous line, because the thread curves round on itself repeatedly, sometimes right to the first internal experience of hearing the sound of insects rising from the grass. But each time I went back to it I was at another level of questioning and the return to the origin was in order to help me decide whether to cut things out, or what material to use, so that I didn't go too far off the point. It's more like a spiral thread than a straight line. And there were many detours, which came to an end through making samples or drawings.

Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process? If not, what changes would you make?

I am glad I changed my mind about which colour range to use - the blue-green would have been heavier - and to use the mauve as contrast. I think this works well to give the impression I wanted.

I did make an early pragmatic decision to use beads at the tips of the wires for safety reasons, which has influenced the look of the final design quite dramatically. If I had not been making something to wear the whole thing would likely have looked different, most likely without any of the 'insect eye' iridescence at all. In retrospect I don't know if this would be a good thing or not - difficult to tell because I didn't consider non-wearable pieces from quite early on in the process.

I was disappointed to find out how much bigger the recording device was than I had anticipated. I would have liked to have had time to either find a smaller one, or to have had the information about its size earlier on in the process so as to incorporate it better into the overall design.

I feel as though I tried hard to keep my options open at each stage, and the result was that I incorporated a lot of different images and ideas into the design. I know that the coursework instructions warned against this, but, well, now I've learned it from experience. I can now see that choosing earlier, sticking with one main aspect of the experience of the sound of cicadas, and taking it up a level of abstraction would have resulted in a piece with more power, and less decorative prettiness. (It isn't that there is anything intrinsically wrong with decorative prettiness, just that when you see it you categorise it in your mind as 'costume' and stop wondering what it is trying to say to you.) I now intend to go back and do exactly this simplification and abstraction after I have sent in this assignment.

Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and materials you chose to work with?

Yes, I think so. I had not tried silk painting before, but my sample showed me that the gutta produces transparency while retaining the fragile look to it. The clarity of the colours on silk meant that it feels light and sharp despite the complexity of the pattern, and the contrast of intensity and texture with the bead sections. I think the fineness of the wire frame does not detract from the lightness of the whole thing, and allows movement of the verticals which was the intention. If I had tried to make this collar using fabric alone, it would have been too soft and heavy for the theme. I like the way the fishing line warp worked out, although I might try other ways of fixing it if I do it again. It does look like the lines on a sonograph as I hoped, and as a whole gives a wave of pale green upwards in the direction of the sound.

How successful is your final design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?

I think there is no part of it which seems to be obviously out of place, and I hope that it appears coherent to others.  I believe that it is an inventive design, especially in the use of gutta on silk for its transparent fragility, and fishing line for its linear quality.

I am not sure if the inventiveness will be considered entirely 'within the medium' as there are important parts of this design which do not use textile materials or techniques at all - i.e. the sound recording, and the wires bent into vertical sound wave patterns.

Stage 4: 'The Grass is Singing' Collar

I photographed the collar against a pale background in order to show detail

This photo was taken from above so that the curve of the collar is visible. The curve is to allow the vertical wires to be at a distance from the ears, to visually reflect that the sound is coming from around and behind the wearer.
View from the side. This shows the shape of the parallel fishing line yarn better

View from the back.

I am particularly pleased with the way it has turned out in this view - the grass-like colours and verticality, as well as the vibration look.

You can see the paper from the sound equipment sticking out of the bottom, and the ends of the curving fishing line as these are yet to be neatened off at the time of this photo.