Upon completing the most intimidating part of my university experience (dreaded dissertation), I have had time to reflect on my recent submission for the encounter module of my course.
In this module I explored the possible meanings and forms an artist may have, exploring theories and loopholes, which were discussed within my dissertation. This project was undoubtedly draining, as I was exploring a deep intricate topic, which required a lot of research, and open endings.
Having a topic which was so vague, lead to me confining myself to a circle, as I had too many ideas, and too many theories which would not have been able to be explored within the given time scale, meaning that I had found myself too tied up on all the available concepts the outcome could take. This in-turn lead to unfinished final outcomes, yet many ideas and concepts that were handed in.
Realising this, I have decided that the best course of action would be to choose an entirely different approach and topic, to allow myself to start over, in a better place.
One of the main pieces of feedback given was that my work was not a question of quality, it was quantity. Therefore, I would like to stay motivated in order to create more work for my next project.
I also understood, upon receiving and reflecting upon my feedback, that I also need to up my documentation of aesthetic judgement. This is because it will then allow me to cut down on the concepts and ideas that I am met with approaching the development process of this project.
During the course of the encounter module, I was met with the unfortunate circumstance of losing my family pet dog of 10 years. This lead to me slowing down in my approach to making in this project, as the topic required a lot of concentration and investigation, the event of losing my dog in turn effected my productivity towards my project.
This however, also lead to the idea of starting a clean slate, by beginning a different project.
FINDING MY NEW PROJECT
The day that I had to say goodbye to my dog, was devastating, but also eye opening.
For about a month, at my home back in Swansea, there seemed to be a moth sat in the corner of our living room; by the ceiling. It stayed on the wall, yet it didn’t move for about a month. I was afraid that it may have passed on and got caught in the wall, although it seemed quite stern in posture, which was confusing, which is why we left it; in case that it was still living.
Many times I went back home to Swansea to find the moth still in the same spot, and I had questioned if we should move it, yet every time we decided to leave it in its spot to ensure that if it were alive that we don’t disturb it.
Come the 24th of October, I was in Cardiff, in my shared house with 6 others. I was sat in the living room with my housemates, we were laughing and joking, when I had a phone call of my mother saying that it is time for my dog (Monty) to move on, as he was showing signs that he could not carry on any longer. This was heart breaking, but I understood, he was about 14 years old at this point, so I was aware that it would be soon that he would have to leave. Although I couldn’t be there with my family during this time, I was able to talk to them on the phone, informing them that it was the best thing to do. I was also able to say my goodbyes over the phone which was better than nothing.
Almost 2 hours pass, and I get another phone call to tell me that he has passed on. It was official. He was gone, and I can never see him again. Although, he didn’t leave without saying something.
My parents got back home from the vets, to find that the moth was no longer in the corner of the living room. The ‘moth’ turned out to be a chrysalis, which had hatched into a butterfly. Despite opening the windows in the house and allowing the butterfly outside, it flew back in 3 times, before eventually letting itself out.
Although some may say that was a coincidence, I am a glass half full individual when it comes to handling loss. I have dealt with it a lot, and was introduced to it at an early age. Although I am not strictly religious, I would describe myself as being somewhat spiritual. Optimistic.
A few days later my father had lost a trolley token from his key rings. Although, a day later, my mother finds the token. This token had a butterfly engraved onto it. Butterflies having a big connection to myself and my family, as upon me losing my best friend at the age of 12, I was introduced to a story about how a fish turned into a butterfly in order to help me understand. The story falls along the lines of it being time for the fish to go; so it floated to the top of the pond. It felt ever so much lighter, and continued above the surface of the water, where it turned into a butterfly. Above the water it met its older friends who had also turned into butterflies earlier in the fish’ life; although, the fish, now butterfly, could not dive back in to visit its friends, yet could see them and drop items and hints below for them to see.
I went home on the 22nd of December to begin my Christmas Holidays, where I finally had to experience the fact that there was no longer the presence of my dog. Keep in mind, Monty helped me through a lot. He was there 24/7. When I was sad, he would open my bedroom door (a large border collie who knew how to open doors), jump on my bed and consistently smack my hand with his face until I paid attention to him. He was there always. So experiencing this was difficult.
I walk in and put my bags upstairs. I get downstairs to the living room where I am met by my mother, who tells me to put out my hand. She places, again, the trolley token which she had just found, which she had been looking for, which was found when I came home.
Again, some may consider this a coincidence, I found it quite incredible to think that I may be receiving messages from beyond, to say that he is still with us.
This is what inspired me to entitle my new project: Give me a Sign.
I want to explore messages from the afterlife, or ways of dealing with loss and grief. As I find the way that I approach the healing process to work for me, and I had been moved by it throughout my life. Now more than ever.
Throughout this project, I aim to gain a greater understanding of the ways loved ones may be attempting to contact you through the afterlife, and find how this could benefit/ reassure those going through a similar time.