On rework, and knowing when I’ve gone too far.

I tend to park rework of all assignments until I’m near the end of the entire course. I’m reminded of my daughter’s honest reply when asked if she had practised her guitar: “I did, but only in my head”. I like to have a clear head for rework and also the motivation to get it done.

Thinking about my assignments, Assignment 1 “Two sides of the story” will not be reworked. This is not for want of trying – there was a sequence of attempts involving photograms of net curtains documented on the blog. In retrospect these were more of a prequel to Assignment 5 (and invaluable as such) rather than a sequel to Assignment 1. I do however need to write about my tutor feedback and subsequent attempts at rework, and to read a book that he suggested and document that. Assignment 2 – the fairies – is slightly unusual in that I have already decided to present it as a Viewmaster and disk, and this is already done (I will submit square prints too). I need to follow up my tutor’s comments and write a blog post including more emphasis on the feminist aspect of the work. Assignment 3, Self Portrait, requires me to think about how I will submit this work and this is the one currently vexing me. There needs to be some new text too. Assignment 4, the essay, is largely done bar a bit of tidying. I need to write a full response to the feedback as it enabled me to improve the work significantly. I have decided to submit the essay on paper rather than via my blog as this allows me to include several relevant images without risking running foul of copyright law. Assignment 5 has not yet been submitted to my tutor so I don’t yet know what the rework will be.

So, onto the second part of this blog post. During my studies to date I have made work about pregnancy tests and miscarriage. I have taken selfies on every day of my menstrual cycle and layered those images with intimate details from a period tracker app. I have photographed my toilet bowl and my dirty dishes by torchlight. I have made photograms of underwear – both my own, and strangers, bought via ebay. I really ought to be beyond embarrassment. And yet.

I’ve been thinking for a while of folding one of my A3 self portraits into a simple fold out book and cutting front and back covers from a Tampax box. I’ve made a mock up today and somehow it feels like a line has been crossed; even though I’ve shared far more intimate and private matters in the past. Tampax boxes are mass produced and found in millions of homes so not exactly unknown or unfamiliar. Bookending my self portrait literally within a tampon box shows how my last few years have been circumscribed and defined by my hormones, living with the cost, the pain, the uncertainty, the extra laundry, the hideous pmt…. the knowledge that every single tampon in that box was part of 25% of my time that was rather less great than it could have been. I’m a long way from being alone with these problems. It might be uncomfortable for others to view and read, but I hope that as many people will be nodding in empathy as will be squirming uncomfortably and (quite understandably) moving on to the next blog in their reader.

However, Judy Chicago would never have made “Red Flag” with this kind of attitude. Working on the basis that anything this uncomfortable needs to be investigated, even if it results in my simply submitting some plain vanilla square prints for assessment in a discreet folder, I present, my mock up. It has one crease too many, one chamfered edge too many, probably isn’t the print that I will use and isn’t properly flattened.


11 thoughts on “On rework, and knowing when I’ve gone too far.

  1. Simon Chirgwin September 24, 2018 / 6:02 am

    That’s great, Kate! I’ve always loved the folding out ‘commissar’ edition of Rodchenko’s picture of parachutists and this reminds me of it. do you need to rephotograph or scan the Tampax box, to get round copyright? The cleverness of the fold and refold works really well in the video too. And good to see someone else puts off remakes and ends up writing up tutorials at the end too (I’m working through IaP, getting it ready for handing in by Sunday at the moment, or at any rate, I would be if I wasn’t reading other people’s posts…)

    • Kate September 24, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      All the best with getting I&P ready to go! Yes, I always want the perspective that comes with reworking at my leisure. My tutor’s feedback has been all written so far so I’ve had the luxury of not worrying about forgetting or misremembering anything.
      The Rodchenko reference is completely new to me – thank you! I’ve posted on the forum asking about the copyright issue – to my mind it is more collage, but certainly worth giving some thought to. Thanks again!

  2. Catherine September 24, 2018 / 10:29 am

    It works for me – and I was nodding my head as well. I enjoyed making the fold-out book with Polly – such an inventive, apparently simple way to show images but it’s quite a knack to be able to get those folds right without the paper splitting.

    • Kate September 24, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Thank you Catherine! I took it to my women’s climbing group this morning and it was a big yes from them too, which was encouraging. It feels like the right way to show the work. I shall do a couple more prints tomorrow and see how they respond to folding. The paper is Fotospeed pro lustre 275 and does fold nicely.

      • Catherine September 24, 2018 / 1:38 pm

        I’ll remember that paper.

      • Kate September 24, 2018 / 1:46 pm

        I can send you a couple of sheets if you want?

      • Catherine September 24, 2018 / 2:01 pm

        Thanks for the kind offer Kate – maybe bring them to next TV group as I don’t think I’ll be making another fold-out book just yet. I’m going to another bookbinding workshop locally in November.

      • Kate September 25, 2018 / 5:52 am

        Will do! And enjoy the workshop! I’m considering doing the new Level 1 book design course next if it’s out in time.

  3. Emma September 25, 2018 / 5:21 am

    Nodding along too 🙂. Have you tried prescoring the paper with a bone folder? Worked really well for my book. I laid a piece of paper on top to avoid damaging the print.

    • Kate September 25, 2018 / 5:51 am

      That’s genius Em, thank you! Trying that out today and telling my bookmaking friends too. I’ve felt very positive about the feedback on this post, thank you.

  4. sarahdandrews September 28, 2018 / 4:56 am

    Coming late to this post Kate. The fold out book is very effective to look at and so far as the time consuming misery of your experience is concerned certainly has me nodding with the long gone (thank goodness) memory of it all. There are some advantages to the ageing process!
    Thank you as ever to you and all others in this post for the helpful tips about references and paper etc.

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