I am not like my mother, or am I?

The second rotation of Edges and Overlaps finds me in Visual Comminucation, the brief was to create an 8 page Zine using a different topic to the first rotation.  I had an idea straight away and it was based on realisations I had during my time in Surface and Form.  For years I have said I am not like my mum, as in our hobbies and interests are totally different I can’t deny I look like her, or have the same family mannerisms.  However, she loves sewing, knitting, zigsaws, puzzles and reading.  I share her love of reading, but my passions are horses, art, dogs, dancing and music both listening and playing instruments, currently learning the piano.

My mum loves music, she also used to dance as part of her mums Morris dancing troupe back in the 1950s, and dance halls on a Saturday night.  My love of music definitely stems from listening to the top 40 with my mum on Sunday evenings. And my recent realisation is that I loved using textiles to create with rather than dressmaking.

The Zine is to show in a very simple way how our creativity although taking different forms, along with our expression through music and dance overlap.  The brief was that the Zine was to be a limited pallet of black and white and two other colours.   As it was about both of us I asked my mum what colours she thought represented us and the choice was autumnal tones of orange and green.

After researching different collages, illustrations and layouts and idea dumping, I decided on creating a concertina Zine. To incorporate my art the concept of watercolour flowers over photographs on the front and back page.  My first question do months have flowers like birthstones?  Would they correspond with the colours my mum had chosen.  I found out that you can get green Iris’s and orange Daisies so the colour choice for each of us fit with that idea. 

Working out the paper sizes, I could use one sheet of A2 and fold it into A5 but the centre pages would need to be joined.  To reflect my mum’s love all things sewing and needlework, brainstorming both me and my tutor had the lightbulb moment of sewing the two halves together and the idea of two different coloured embroidery threads running through the zine and crossing over on the centre pages came to life.

The first task, find photographs of myself and my mum at a similar age.  I drew the flowers and photocopied them onto acetate.  Following the eight principles of design, I failed a little on the balance and needed to add a little more colour on the bottom of the  pages.  I also needed to tidy up the acetate cutting it closer to the edges of the flowers. For the rest of the pages I think I manged to follow the eight principles of design:

Balance – contrast – emphasis – proportion  – scale – rhythm – direction – unity

The dancers silhouettes I wanted the dresses to portray the fact different genres of dance played a huge part in our family life. Also the fact that my mum made her own and our clothes, and designed her own patterns especially my ballet, tap, ballroom, rollerskating leotards and dresses. I photocopied a scarf my mum knit for me and used that for the ballerina. For the rock and roll dancer, I found a pashmina that had embroidered flowers on it that matched the stitch I was going to use.

The initials in the spheres are my Grans and my sons, to reflect the continuity of family traits, how they are passed from generation to generation.

My mum’s page
My page

The centre pages are created from an illustration I found in a book. I had an image of my mum and me holding hands in my head, but felt the outstretched hands portrayed what I wanted to say so much better. After sewing the two pages together I felt that my original idea of an infinity symbol in the centre wouldn’t work. After going through the meaning of words to describe our bond in a celebratory way, I went with my tutors idea of the scattered word floating between the two.

I really enjoyed following this brief and the concept of celebrating whether I am like my mother or not. I feel it definitely shows our connectedness and bond in a very simple way. It definitely flows whichever way you read the Zine, from front to back, back to front or middle out.

We also created a digital version and I was pleased my design worked just as well as a booklet.

In conclusion, most of my research was primary, talking with my mum and sharing memories and insights on how similar we are over a cup of tea. What has the most influence nature or nurture? Either way, I no longer balk at the concept of like mother, like daughter, as my teenage rebellious self would have done. Rather, I celebrate and embrace it.

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