SORRY ABOUT THE LENGTH OF THIS POST
Because I have had a few requests from students to see my G5 study plan, I thought I might also post my G5 Self Evaluation. This is an important document because your advisor will use it to write up the final evaluation which becomes a part of your transcripts.
Areas of Inquiry:
Art and Technology
Writing-memoir, poetry, nonfiction and a novel
Title of Final Product: "Taking it in as a whole" Introspection of a sculptor and writer
Part One: SUMMARY REPORT OF MFA-IA STUDY AS A WHOLE
ARTISTIC PRACTICE: Describe the evolution of your artistic practice over the course of your entire MFA program, including experiments undertaken, as well as a description of the bodies of work, performances, or projects you have completed. What new mediums or forms have you explored? What new skills, concepts, etc., have you learned along the way? In this retrospect, how do you view your growth as an artist? How do you see your practice now ? Where do you see yourself heading?
Throughout my time at Goddard College I have had a dual focus in both in visual arts and writing. These two disciplines have been inseparable through my creative life, one informing the other. Before Goddard, I would often write about my discoveries in the creative process, or marketing in the arts. The writing not only helped others but also positioned me as a sought after expert in my field and helped me to promote my services as a commissioned sculptor.
I had applied to Goddard as a published nonfiction writer, and my interactions as an artist bestowed on me the title master sculptor. My educational goals while at Goddard were to push myself in both these areas of creativity. The details of each of these studies are listed below.
Technology, art and the studio
Life events of an injured hand, caused by many years of sculpting and typing, persuaded me to see how to extend my career as a sculptor. A 2008 article I was asked to write for Sculpture Review on the impact of recent technologies sparked my studio art time at Goddard. I wrote "Exploring Digital Technologies as Applied to Traditional Sculpting" as an artist being introduced to these tools. I had yet to incorporate them in my own process, or find out how they were changing or advancing. Goddard offered me the venue to do this.
Throughout the study of art and technology in the traditional studio I looked at the history and progression of this technology. I explored and facilitated discussions comparing new technology with the "old" way and evaluating the "value" set upon the work and also the acceptance of technology in the process of fine art. The research and vigorous exploration also brought me to find problems with the evolving and changing tool set. New technology brings new issues such as copyrights concerning 3d work, digital art, and open source creativity, which I also explored and will continue to monitor in the future.
Technology is changing and evolving. Often I would resort to vendors or suppliers of software programs, scanners, milling, or 3d printing or developing service bureaus, to help me understand what was available, and how it could be incorporated into the artist's studio. The technology crosses multiple disciplines from fine art, architecture, archaeological, science, medicine and much more. I searched to see how others were pushing the limits of technology to make it do what they needed it to do. I realize that it is these creative people who are pushing the technology that will be the impetus of the evolution of better and more affordable tools.
Besides finding tools or adding tool sets that would extend my career with an injured hand, I was also compelled to find how this developing technology might one day replace the entire process of traditional bronze casting or infiltrate different portions of it-a process that has changed little in centuries.
Many 3d artists, who work in such things as animation or gaming, never take their work out of the computer. It was a personal journey to not only find ways that this can happen but to document the process and pitfalls in doing so. Up to the point of my research and documentation, this was not clearly defined anywhere.
The compilation of much of this research was published in the book coauthored in my second semester with Artist Mike de la Flor titled, "Digital Sculpting with Mudbox Essential Tools and Techniques For Artists." Chapter 7 is entirely on getting work in to the computer with digital scanning and getting it out of the computer through different means and materials. Chapter 3 was taking the traditional process of sculpting a bust and translating it to the digital medium of Mudbox, a digital sculpting program. From Mudbox, I continued on to the competitive program Zbrush and am becoming proficient in both. I learn the process and difficulties of translating traditional sculpting into digital or incorporating both traditional process and digital process into what I refer to as as tra-digi art.
As is the case with most technology, the cost of its use must get to a point for the consumer to be able to incorporate it as a regular part of their work-flow. I was lucky in that I had several commissioned projects where I incorporated the technology and the processes into my study at Goddard.
Besides the Mudbox book, I have written several articles and essays about the process. Personal interviews with individuals on the topics in my study were turned into online podcasts. Below is a brief description of some of the podcasts recorded for this area of my study.
Art And Technology podcast interviews
- Dan Gustafson of the NextEngine Scanner and Traditional Sculptor Mark Byrd spend time with me talking about using the NextEngine scanner in the creating of life size traditional bronze sculptures. What are the advantages of using the scanner? What are the pitfalls to watch out for when incorporating this technology in your own studio? Some of these concepts of digital scanning and printing were featured in chapter 7 of the Mudbox book.
- Joris Debo from .MGX, a division of Materialise talks about the technology of large scale 3d printing and investment casting that their company is offering to the traditional and digital studio. .MGX works with 3D printing technologies and some of the top designers in the world. This interview was helping me in my direction of finding alternative methods of bronze casting.
- My direction was also supported by my interaction with a company called Ex one, who is a pioneer in digital printing of metal. This company was extremely accommodating in assisting me to learn their process.
- Paul Effinger is a digital sculptor who is exploring different methods of bronze casting other than the lost wax method of bronze casting. He is on the same search as I am. I enjoyed sharing information and chatting on the podcast about the advancements and processes.
- Kevin Gillespie, a pioneer in CG talks with me about 3d technology and copyrights. How can we protect ourselves as artists? How can we be more aware? Copyright in 3D is an emotionally charged issue. It is also an issue that I am following closely. Along with interviewing Kevin Gillespie I wrote several published Essays on this topic such as "Antiquities, Masterpieces, Rights of Ownership and 3D scanning" and "Copyrights and 3D."
- A turning point in my study came with the meeting of Orron Cats and the introduction of regenerative Medicine. I enjoyed talking with Catts about SymbioticA at the University of Western Australia. SymbioticA combines artists and scientists in exploration and the creative process. This interview opened up and investigation for me into how artists are bringing to light the social and political concerns of the evolving technology and medicine to the general public in their art. This was a profound experience with my time at Goddard and will most likely be something I continue to investigate long after I leave. I combined this research into an article titled "Frankenstenian Art. "
I searched for many artists who were using digital technology in the traditional studio. A few like Robert Lazarrini who creates, physical art that appears skewed, and does so using some of the techniques that I was studying, lead me in directions of research and contemplation that, as an artist, I never thought I would go.
Bathsheba Grossmans use of math as art led me to the intrigue of using data in creating art. I also loved the work of Nathalie Miebach who weaves data.
I could not attempt this study without looking at the work of Barry x Ball and the Digital Stone Project. Their work of milling stone using digital technology opens up an entire new process and set of opportunities. I have always been a sculptor using an additive process. I can now carve, using the technology, and saving my hands.
Because of my very long association with working in 3d as a sculptor I realized that my brain thinks better in 3d, therefore, the exploration of art in the traditional sculpting studio is personally translating into using my sculpting as illustration. But, this is not the only advantage that has come from this study. Being able to create in stone, or create a 3d sculpture in the computer using symmetry makes architectural work much easier. It and opens up a new resource and market for me as an artist.
The possibility of being able to print ceramic in my studio using my own 3d printer is continuing to hold my intrigue. I will be watching Solheim Additive Manufacturing Laboratory in the Mechanical Engineering Department on the University of Washington to see their progress with their open source exploration of printing ceramic. Adrian Bowyer from the University of Bath and his creation of the rep rap home 3d printer is also another resource I'll be monitoring. These individuals and universities are pushing the technology and processes to become available and worthwhile to the studio artist.
What I have listed here is only a fraction of my study in studio art and art and technology. A bibliography representing the key resources for the art and technology and studio art part of my study is included at this end of this document.
My second course of study while at Goddard was writing. I experienced this in several ways. I compelled The work and research in art and technology into a nonfiction book. Though I have been a contributing writer on a couple of books in the past, "Mudbox: Essential tools and techniques for artists," was my first coauthored book. It was published in May 2010. I do plan on continuing this exploration with another book after graduation. The new book will expand on the knowledge and become a source of inspiration. It will feature artist working with art and technology as well as full resource book featuring vendors and their processes.
My writing study and exploration was multidimensional. Experiential learning and the death of my mother in my first semester pulled me into a focus of memoir writing and a study of grief as it pertains to fiction and nonfiction. I was quite familiar with death and grief. I had spent a considerable deal of my undergraduate study focusing on the dynamics of my sculpting deceased loved ones and the nuances of the process of posthumous commissions. In my own grief, I felt the need to document everything. Writing is my companion that helps me figure out life - and in this case, death. I wrote, savoring the creativity and the spirituality found in burying the woman who created me. This experience put a color to my practice, first appearing as a haze that through the process brought clarity and sharpness. This lingered through my study as it does in my life.
Memoir and emotion prompted me. I explored my surrounding and experiences and continued in a daily writing practice. At first it was a difficult process to obtain, now it feels awkward if a day does not begin with the exploration of poetry, or 1,000 words of fiction or nonfiction.
Christian authors who are expressing themselves and their experiential writing in a real and authentic fashion are what I am drawn to. A focus on Anne Lamott and Donald Miller seemed to give me permission to get my thoughts on paper and to record the event, as it was happening.
Writing podcast interviews
Once again, working with podcasts satisfied the dialectic learning and my journalistic nature. I spent time focusing on those subjects that influenced my life, my writing, my faith and my development as a creative, spiritual being. Below is just a sample of the topics I explored and individuals that I have interviewed.
Publishing, revisions, writing and business
- Host Bridgette Mongeon talks with literary agent Chip MacGregor about the changes and guidelines in publishing for a Christian audience.
- Host Bridgette Mongeon interviews author Darcy Pattison about her workshops and her book "Novel Metamorphosis." Together they explore the uncommon ways to revise a novel and how to do it in a workshop or small group.
- Host Bridgette Mongeon talks with author John Shore about his books, the publishing industry, and e publishing.
- Writer Sandy Tritt shares tips and tricks for writers, along with the writer's prayer.
- Author Janice Hanna Thompson talks about her Christian books and her generations of faith. In a second podcast, Ms. Thompson shares tips on making money as a freelance writer.
- Hosts Bridgette Mongeon and Christina Sizemore Interview Mark Levine, the author of, "The Fine Print on Self-Publishing."
Focus on grief
- This interview with Dr. Haugk from Stephen Ministries talks about grief and this wonderful resource of books titled "Journeying Through Grief".
- Three creative women- Host Bridgette Mongeon, author Nancy Wesson and photographer and author Megan Cutter talk about their creativity after "Mother Loss."
- Host Bridgette Mongeon, author Nancy Wesson, and Author and Photographer Megan Cutter talk about the empowering transformation of "Mother Loss"
- Olympic gold medal winner, author and entertainer, Scott Hamilton talks about the 2010 Olympics, his upcoming show on the Biography Channel, and book "The Great Eight"
Faith and Spiritual questions
- The host of the podcast reveals her family secret, her husband has decided he no longer believes in God.
- Host Bridgette Mongeon and her husband Mike de la Flor talk about what it is like to be a house divided- a Christian and an atheist.
- Jerry Desobe from the Kris Samaritan Center talks about a special counseling that reflects on the issues revolving around faith your and your walk with God.
- Christian Comedian and Baptist minister Susan Sparks talks about laughter, comedy and creativity.
- Author and Speaker Ruth Graham shares her thoughts about her newest book, "In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart"
- Kimberly Rose Carolan author of "Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death" shares some of her suggestions when coming to terms with death and grief.
- Author and Actor Susan Isaacs shares her disappointments in her creative Christian journey as well as her humorous revelations.
- Host Bridgette Mongeon talks to author Robin Brande about Christians who believe in evolution. Robin is the author of the young adult book "Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature."
- Host Bridgette Mongeon talks to author Sara Zarr about novels, a crisis of faith, family and what Christian teens are looking for in publishing.
- Susan Isaacs shares her stories behind her new and humorous book "Angry Conversations with God- A Snarky But Authentic Spiritual Memoir."
- Host Bridgette Mongeon introduces some wonderful resources for creative and sacred times for self and bible study. Author Margaret McGee talks about her two books "Haiku - The Sacred Art: A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines" and "Sacred Attention: A spiritual Practice for Finding God in the Moment."
CS Lewis Writers Conference
Some of my guests came from my interaction and involvement with the CS Lewis writers conference. I attended my first C.S. Lewis Writers conference in 2010 and spoke at the 2011 CS Lewis Writers conference.
- Hosts Host Bridgette Mongeon talks with Nan Rinella about the growth and encouragement that the C. S. Lewis Southwest Regional writers retreat brings to writers.
- Andrew Lazo talks about C. S. Lewis, Toklein and the Inklings.
- Author, priest and musician, Malcolm Guite talks about C. S. Lewis, faith music, inspiration ad atheism.
Reading as a writer
I also spent time reading as a writer. Throughout my five semesters, I have read over 100 books. Within this area of study I focused on many award-winning novels, especially young adult novels and children's books. Writing for children and young adult are areas of creative writing that I have wanted to explore for a while. In my reading I was focusing on:
- Emotionally charged subjects of death or grief.
- I was especially interested in a juvenile and young adult look at how young people make sense of death. How do individual writers portray the angst and confusion concerning death?
- A search of faith-exploring how different age groups grapple with the idea of faith, and not just Christian faith but all different sorts of faith, or even non-belief, interests me.
There were many different areas and processes that I was looking at while reading as a writer, such as symbolism, show don't tell, dialogue, character development, humor, and voice.
I also attended many different writers conferences through my graduate study and was a speaker for both the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators- Houston Chapter and The C. S. Lewis Writers workshop and conference- Texas.
A bibliography representing the key resources for the writing part of my study is included at this end of this document.
I make my living as an artist and writer. My practicum "Exploration of the Self and Sacred" is based on the process of creating to create, and not with the dictation of a client—a stretch for me. I spent time writing haiku, poetry with an extremely deep introspection. The memory of my family came out in artwork, especially the family altar consisting of cast hands of my parents, my daughter and myself. Incorporating these cast hands with found objects an explorative process that was a bit different for me. I also examined "fast" both digitally and traditionally creating quick gestures of work that was opposite of my very long fine art projects. Sculpting with nature was another exploration.
My practicum semester ended with the development of a 60,000 word young adult novel based on the undergraduate research that I had completed on sculpting the deceased. I enjoyed the editing process of this novel in my final semester. I also enjoyed becoming more familiar with the process of publication for fiction.
The incredible introspection of the practicum both in writing and art came forth because I forced myself to change my process. It offered me a different way to see both the art and the words. I discovered that, following the process of investigation with conceptual art, is extremely similar to the process I go through when trying to find the essence of an individual in a posthumous sculpture commission. The difference with the conceptual art is that the revelations and emotional connection, both with the viewer and artist seem to continue long after the piece is completed. I have enjoyed this part of the process.
The freedom of this type of creation will be something I strive for in my busy commissioned life as an artist and writer. The exploration and commitment to the novel was incredibly rewarding and has set up my life to record and view things much differently. I can hardly wait to begin novel number two.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE?
Both the writing and art areas of my study at Goddard have been thrilling. Upon graduating, I will begin a new writing project titled "Digital Art 3d 2012". The book will feature many different artists, their works and their use of digital technology in their own studios.
Using tra-digi art process will continue to be a regular mainstay in my sculpting practice. It has the added benefit of streamlining my process and giving me more time to create.
I hope to work with suppliers and vendors to help educate others in the use of their materials. My goal is a selfish one; if there are more people using technology they are pushing the limits and encouraging the technology to develop to a place of affordability. I will, however, also keep myself open to explore nuances of the technology and the affects it will have on a culture and society.
I am working on several other writing projects as I grapple with history, science and the Christian faith. I'm presently beginning a book "The Prayers of an Atheists wife" based on my own experiences with my husband, a book on marketing in the arts, and another one on a devotional for creativity and spirituality. My husband and I are also embarking on a new e publishing business. I will continue my study and practice of writing infused with my learning from Goddard.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES
This is not my total bib, just what I included in this document
STUDIO ART AND TECHNOLOGY
PODCASTS ART AND TECHNOLOGY
LEONARDO 35.4 (2002): 365-340. Web. 14 Apr 2010. .
de la Flor, Mike, and Bridgette Mongeon. Digital Sculpting With Mudbox: Essential Tools and Techniques for Artists. Burlington: Focal Press, 2010.
Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York. Random House. 2010
PODCASTS INSPIRATION GENERATION
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Inspiration Generation Podcast-Angry Conversations with God
. Inspirations Generations. God's Word, Nov. 2009. Web. 12 Oct 2011.
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Inspiration Generation Podcast-Are you having issues with God?
. Inspirations Generations. God's Word, Sept 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011.
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Inspiration Generation Podcast- Taize.
Inspirations Generations. God's Word, April 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Inspiration Generation Podcast- Transformation
. Inspirations Generations. God's Word, April 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
PODCASTS CREATIVE CHRISTIANS
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- Creativity Through "Mother Loss"
. Creative Christians. God's Word, April 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- C.S. Lewis and the Inklings.
Creative Christians. God's Word, Nov 2011. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast-Evolution and Christianity
. Creative Christians. God's Word, May 2011. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- Interview with Sara Zarr.
Creative Christians. God's Word, May 2011. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- Interview with Scott Hamilton
. Creative Christians. God's Word, March 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- Taking the Writing Challenge.
Creative Christians. God's Word, October 2010. Web. 12 Oct 2011. .
Mongeon, Bridgette, dir. Creative Christians Podcast- Questions about publishing for Christian authors. Creative Christians. God's Word, May 2011. Web. 12 Oct 2011.
Allen, Crystal. How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-sized Trophy. NY: Harper Collins, 2011.
Anaya, Rudolfo. Bless me, Ultima. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 2004.
Baty, Chris. No Plot? No Problem!. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2004.
Brande, Robin. Evolution Me and other Freaks of Nature. New York, Random House 2007.
Claxton, Eva. The World's Best Memoir Writing. Sourcebooks.
Hayes, Bill. Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood. New York : Balentine Books, 2005.
Hayes, Bill. The Anatomist : A True Story of Gray's Anatomy. New York. Ballantine Books: 2008.
Isaacs, Susan. Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir. NY: FaithWord, 2009.
Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. New York: Henry Holt and Co, 2009.
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. 1st Anchor Books ed. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott, Anne. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. New York: Riverhead Books, 2005.
Lamott, Anne. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. 1st ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1999.
Lukeman, Noah. The First Five Pages. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
Mendt, KL. Spiritual Themes in Young Adult Books. Alan Review 23.3 (1996). 24 Feb 2011.
McGee, Margaret. Haiku- The Sacred Art: A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines. City: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2009.
McGee, Margaret. Sacred Attention. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2010.
Miller, Donald. Blue Like Jazz : Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality. Nashville: T. Nelson, 2003.
Reinhardt, Dana. A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life. New York : Random House, 2007.
Patron, Susan and Matt Phelan. The Higher Power of Lucky. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Potok, Chaim. The Chosen. Santa Ana, CA: Books on Tape, Inc, 2002.
Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May. New York: Orchard Books, 1992.
Small, David. Stitches: A Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2009.
Schmidt, Gary. The Wednesday Wars. City: Sandpiper, 2009.
Winkler, Henry Holy Enchilada!. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.
Woodson, Jaqueline. Feathers. New York : Puffin, 2007.
Zarr, Sara. Once Was Lost. New York: Listening Library, 2009.
INTELLECTUAL/CRITICAL DEVELOPMENT: What areas of inquiry have you engaged in along the way, and how have they contributed to your growth, both intellectually and creatively? What artists, thinkers, etc., have you found especially helpful? What papers have you produced to demonstrate your knowledge of art theory and your critical skills? Include a general bibliography in an approved citation format, providing external viewers with a representative example of the key resources which most influenced your research and practice.
This is included in one document above.
PRACTICUM: Describe the Practicum in which you engaged, and briefly summarize the insights and learning gained from this experience.
This is included in one document above.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT: How has your overall work in this program contributed to your artistic development, your knowledge of and ability to engage critically and creatively with the contemporary art scene, and your understanding of the context of your own art practice?
This is included in one document above.
Part Two: ASSESSMENT OF MFA-IA STUDY AS A WHOLE
Here you write a thorough evaluation of the work you did, assessing your strengths and weaknesses or areas for further development. Comment on how you worked with your faculty advisor, your second reader, and other persons who helped you learn. This assessment will be separate from your Summary Report and will not become part of your transcript.
Please see above for my evaluation of the work.
Assessment of my strengths
Research and interview seem to be my strong points within these semesters. I have enjoyed incorporating this dialectic and Socratic exploration within both of my studies.
Assessment of areas of further development
As stated above, I will continue with my work and research in the areas of creating the tra-digi art. There are so many things I have yet to explore using these new tools. I'm always learning with my writing. I will continue to write, and read as a writer, and experiment with different types of writing. My biggest area for development is editing. My only recourse is to write, read and edit, often, along with hiring a skilled editor when needed.
My study at Goddard was immensely rewarding. It helped me to push myself in areas that I might not have explored without the encouragement and inspiration of my fellow peers and advisors. For that, I am very thankful.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Erica Eaton. It is difficult to find a fit between advisor and advisee, but I am thankful I did have that experience while at Goddard. Having a proper fit with advisor and advisee made my time so much more rewarding. I'm only sorry I did not have time to work with others that I thought might "fit". I greatly appreciate both the accommodations and the help that both my advisor and second reader gave me after the death of my dad in the middle of this semester. I was not sure how on earth I could catch up, but with their guidance and many long hours, I did. Thanks also to Jackie for listening to my thoughts and ideas and encouraging me in bringing those out throughout my time at Goddard.