Session 1 – Analysing and writing in an academic manner

During our first session of constellation we were given a section of ‘Pygmalion’s myth’ to analyse in relation to materials and textures and two images of Marlene Dietrich to analyse in regards to Glamour. To summarise Pygmalion’s myth, it starts with Venus turning women who ‘made their bodies and their reputations common property’ into Granite, Pygmalion witnesses this and was repulsed by women, being a talented sculptor he made himself a wife from ivory for his ‘bedchamber’. Pygmalion fell in love with his sculpture so Venus took pity and gave him the power to bring her to life. We looked a lot at the relationship between materials, granite is hard and a cold material this represents the disgust Venus had for the women, whereas Pygmalion used Ivory which is a pure and delicate material to create his wife ‘He even frets that bruising may appear where he has put pressure’. We also discussed a lot how the girl (nameless) is treated like an object, she had no power in any of this and we don’t get her perspective.


We were given extracts from Dyhouse, c (2010) Glamour: Women, History, Feminism, Zed books, London pp1-47 and Brown, J (2009) Glamour in Six Dimensions: Modernism and the Radiance of Form, Cornell University Press, New York in relation to Glamour and two photographs of Marlene Dietrich. Our task was to describe, analyse and theorise what we saw in the image in relation to Glamour to help us write in an academic manner.


This image on Marlene Dietrich was shot in Black and white to emphasise the soft texture of her skin and the sparkle of the jewellery around her neck ‘Its consumers dressed her in fashion heavy with sexual imagery, which showed up well in black and white : glitter, thick lustrous furs’ (Dyhouse 2010). Dramatic lighting and make up has been used to show her skin glowing to hide her flaws, this changes her into an object rather than something living ‘Light plays across skin, stain, the surface of skin and hair, and it is in large part this quality, along careful posing and retouching that gives the well-known stills of screen goddesses their extraordinary seductiveness’  ‘A key sign of modernity in women was the wearing of cosmetics…power paint’ (Dyhouse 2010). We can also see flowers in this photograph, this is a sign of femininity and purity but also we can assume that they were given as a gift and that she’s adored and praised for being glamorous. ‘Glitter, thick, lustrous furs, slinky dresses, exotic flowers… combined with witty, risque, devil-may-care confidence’ (Dyhouse 2010). We can see how she’s showing quite a lot of skin around her collar bones, this could be a lure to the viewer and evokes undressing and sexual desire, ‘Glamour has almost always been linked with artifice and with performance, and is generally seen as constituting a form of sophisticates – and often sexual – allure’ (Dyhouse 2010)

At the end of the session we can to analyse a piece of work we’re working on at the moment, currently i’m making stamping stamps for StFagan relating to their new project ‘Y Gweithdy’, I started by designing a form on Rhino then 3D printing, my next steps are to develop it into ceramics and experiment with rubber so it’ll look aesthetically pleasing.  I decided to use rhino as it’s an opportunity for me to develop my CAD skills and learn a new method of making using technology. The name of the project is ‘re-considering tradition’ so sticking to technological methods reconsiders this tradition. Using ceramics then to develop it further allows me to concentrate more on the look of the piece and allows me to add decorative element to it’s attractive to the customer/viewer. Improving time management is something I need to work on, I need to start on ideas sooner rather than later and produce more test pieces.

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