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Being an Adult. Week 6 Wrap-up.

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Waking up at precisely 9:30 on a Sunday morning without an alarm: I feel that I’ve transitioned into adulthood. No more college late-night/late-mornings for this hardworking student. In two days I’ll be handing over 1K of money earned with part-time jobs this semester and signing an apartment lease. My soon-to-be housemates will be having a little help from their parents with money as they get up on their feet, but the help I had from my dear Dad was finding the fantastic, perfectly-suited place.
To be honest, I’m slightly dreading spring break. Instead of a thoughtless respite from school, there’s at least two large-scale group projects (and possibly a partnered presentation) to keep tabs on, and I must gallavant from one childhood home to the next, collecting furnishings for the newly-leased residence we will share. And whilst wrestling with feng shui, and orchestrating heaps of laundry, as the laundry facilities at the apartment complex are $3.00 less expensive per load than those at school. I have to recoup rent expenses somehow. I’m also a little nervous about working some full-time days at my parts finishing job: I’m having nightmares about my fingers falling off and not being hired full-time for the summer (because obviously, one cannot sand quickly, efficiently, and accurately without a full 10-finger quota).

Not only has there been an excess of activity mentally, but this week has been eventful: the AFTERPIECE opening was this Wednesday evening! It was overwhelming. I took off work because I needed to spend the afternoon making baked goods. After morning classes, I realized that in the previous weeks’ grocery preparations for baking, I’d forgotten the requisite pound of butter. I hustled over to Giant, completing a quick round of goods collection (including bread and ramen) in less time than a good shower. I then had the first face-to-face group meeting for another class, which, though productive, cut into my cookie-making time. After repeated rounds of card games while waiting for baking, I had a sinking feeling and checked the time: it was 30 minutes until the opening, only 3/4 of the double batch of cookies was baked, and I wasn’t dressed formally. I was, in fact, quite floury. But we got there OK, and on time, glad that the clear pyrex mixing bowl looked the part of a fancy serving dish when mixed in with the other platters. (filled with cookies! not dough)

My parents surprised me by bringing my Nana to the opening! I spent the evening introducing my friends and professors to my #1 art fans. I even got a hug from Professor Garmon who introduced me to the MakerBot 3d printer, and helped me get a grant through the school to buy the one I used in creating my Individual Study project:

Ceremonial Garment (plastic age)

Ceremonial Garment (Plastic Age)
Alice Watkins
Thermoextruded Modules

It’s the culmination of my senior-level work as a Studio Art major, and I worked on it continuously f the Fall2012 semester. Each module, the visible feather-like units as well as the hidden linking modules, took ten minutes to print on the MakerBot. Constructing the garment from the plastic units was inspired by Scale mail, a pre-firearm variety of protective vestment.

I’m so relieved its all done. The senior show was the last requirement for the major I need to graduate. Now I can focus more on just passing my five electives to fulfill credit requirements. I’ll not miss the extensive hoop-jumping required for getting a degree. And I’ll still be close enough to appreciate the natural beauty of this area, one of my reasons for choosing the University of Mary Washington four years ago.

The second life-changing event this week was Friday’s arrival of the much-anticipated bluetooth keyboard. As soon as I had it functioning, I blogged about the experience in a post entitled Fairy Tale Moment. It’s rocking my world. I type now, using said keyboard and my iPhone nestled in a 3D printed stand so I can easily see the low- distraction Rich Notes app interface. Rich Notes is superior to the standard Notes app, which only has three ugly fonts to choose from and an uncompromising lined yellow background. I can type in a serif font in Rich Notes, and adjust the font size with a pinch and swipe. It has a very clean interface, and no ads even though it’s an independently developed free app. The only drawbacks I’ve encountered are it’s tendencies to forget the last five characters or so if the app is left abruptly (it autosaves the content at predetermined content intervals, it seems) and the app’s ability to absorb additional full-steam typing slows down when a note gets approximately 500 words long- as if the note’s file size gets too large. The former issue made me worry about content backups, but content is easily backed up by sending the note as an e-mail but holding it in drafts; the latter issue also easily solved by saving the original note and starting a new one, entitled ‘…part (n+1)’. It’s nice to be able to have a simple, clean word processor in a portable package that is compatible with an external human interface device.

This morning I had a serious realization: I’ve been coming to DS106 work with the perspective of a senior-level studio art major. It seems simple: that’s part of who I am. But I realized that the mindset gained from the training I’ve been through has impeded my full engagement in the class. Even before college, I’ve trained to create clean, fully-realized objects. Also, in critiques I’ve learned how to critically examine the fruits of creative endeavors and talk succinctly about visual communication. DS106 is a different take on art-making. This is not training to become a professional, 106 is opening us to the world of creative possibility. We are all beginners here, and my ego and unreasonable standards have gotten in the way my learning new things.

In this fresh new perspective on DS106 I have done my first 3 simple Daily Creates. No time-consuming inspired-by Daily Create time lapse drawings or comics. The first DC, take a picture of something you made is shown above: the photo of my individual study shown in duPont gallery. I took the picture for my own records, but can also proudly present it as a Daily Create this week with my newfound simple knowledge of creating.

This week I also reimagined myself as a pastry in the if you were a __ pastry why are you the best? daily create challenge. I don’t have a favorite baked good, so I created a fictional one, the Traditional Watkins Pastry that would encapsulate the outgoing side of my character. Pastries are sociable, even if I’m not usually. I endeavored to be brief, but also create a thorough description filled with tasty imagery, as well as juicy context to make a good digital story.

Exhausted from the unceasing effort demanded by my self-inflicted schedule, packed with work, classes, and group project meetings, I was happy to hire a friend to take the photos for my third DC. Caught snoozing in the early hours of Saturday afternoon, I completed the snuggled up in a blanket daily create.

Snuggly Daily Create

After my nap, I worked on design assignments. (If you didn’t know already, DS106 Week 6 is all about Design. Check out the great talk I helped cohost Thursday afternoon!

By cutting out the middleman this week, I’ve been more productive with assignments. Instead of physically hooking up my phone to my mildly dinosaurific Macbook Pro, then downloading photos, sorting through them, then using the slow Flickr website to upload images one at a time. On the computer, the internet is always slow – not only because I’m on the inconstant Apogee, but I have a habit of keeping too many tabs open. I multitask and I leave things open to remind me of tasks. But with a the Flickr app, as well as other new free apps this week (and a human interface device), I can move created content directly from my phone to the internet. Often I go back to it on the computer and edit details – for instance, on the Flickr app I haven’t found the settings toggle for putting an image under the category of drawing instead of photography, a change easily made on the desktop internet interface.

The first task this week undergone in this manner was designing a logo for my Radio Show group.

Team Radio Show Unite!

I’m in an incredible group: @bellekid invited me soon after the necessity for group formation was announced, and I enthusiastically agreed, having seen her frequent and well-crafted contributions to DS106 via twitter. I then invited Crafty Dayesee, a dedicated and cheerfully enthusiastic studio art comrade with whom I’ve previously collaborated. @foxylee13 I’m not as familiar with, though I’m enjoying the Ponies theme of her Ds106 blog, especially the inInsane Twilight trading card @chachachelsea I’m also not familiar with, but I’ll get to know her soon enough through collaboration and reading her blog.

"Insanity Twilight" MLP Trading Card

I have the Google Drive app now, though not completely happy with the interface (it doesn’t allow for typing in landscape view, it has a tendency to select text while scrolling, which could lead to an autosaved catastrophic deletion of content) its very useful for collaborating with groups, as it allows for recorded discussion that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. I’m using it to collaborate with Digital Dynamite as well as group projects for other classes. We each use a different color to establish who is contributing. It can be a little confusing at times – it would be fantastic if there was a collaboration app that automatically attributed and notified other members through alerts or emails. But the Google Doc is working OK. This week Digital Dynamite established its theme – we decided to do an interview format where we each talk about a DYNAMITE moment, an anecdote about personal change and motivation. I haven’t decided on what to talk about yet – I’m not sure if I should talk about something fresh and recent or really nostalgic and semi-fictional (as memories so often are). Unsurprisingly, each of our individual logo submissions to the Doc involved some kind of TNT/explosion theme, with red. After a few days of discussion, ??? created a logo that summarized each of our individual designs into a very legible logo statement:

Tuesday I created my first response to a design assignment. I had “Just Glue Some Gears on It (and call it Steampunk)” by Sir Reginald Pikedevant, Esquire, stuck in my head.

In outlining my work for the week, I picked design a tattoo as one of the assignments to do. Realizing, though I love steampunk (and making fun of steampunk), I’ve never drawn anything with a cool gear motif. I intentionally didn’t use a reference, realizing that my recollection of what gears actually look like is imperfect – just as steampunk is a selective interpretation of the Victorian/Steam era.

Ink Gears Steampunk Tattoo

As with the logo, I drew this in my thought journal – my physical multipurpose idea organizer. I first sketched the circles out in pencil, and where some of the teeth should be. As this was to be a black-on-skin tattoo design, It needed some strong areas of black, some areas of just line, and some scale changes for levels of detail so that it would be intriguing and legible whether it was viewed close up or at a distance.
Another way I’m embracing my imperfections this week is not cleaning up my designs. The presentation-conscious professional artist internal voice is driving me to take both designs into SketchBook and clean up the white areas with the eraser tool – take out distractions such as the smudges from erasing before the ink was completely dry and some text showing through from the page before. The realist in me realizes that this time-consuming activity contributes little to my DS106 experience, and would be better spent completing other assignments.

Carole has told students in various contexts: Be friends with the artist you want to be, but be the artist you are. I want to be a very clean artist, that creates beautiful objects that bear themselves with the mystique of unknown creation process. Objects so well-designed they seem born, not made. But I am not that artist. My objects always have the touch of imperfection, but I have learned that it adds appropriate humanity and additional beauty, so I can embrace these apparent flaws.

For the Learning by Design visual note-taking, I took notes on this week’s DS106 objectives Week 6: It’s All Designed.

Part 1 of Visual Notes

Part 2 Visual Notes

Part 3 Visual Notes

I had fun, even though I didn’t use as many pictures as the examples. I hope this outline will help future week six students or serve as a design reference on which to look back.

Embedded in this outline is my take on One Story/Four Icons This is not exactly an outline for a story, because I think very literally – I haven’t been able to guess any of my peers’ symbol stories.

Four Symbol Story

This is a visual translation of my favorite quote from a supernatural TV show I watched recently on Netflix.

Six Word Memoir

It doesn’t make much sense to me to write a memoir (six words or not) when my life beyond university is only threatening to begin. I know something for sure, though: DS106 has changed my life forever. I’ve never before been an active participant on the internet in this manner. I love all the new tools I’m learning with which to share and create. I’m definitely going to continue developing my proficiency in these areas.

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