ED 816 Response to Guest: Blair Formald

Blair’s stories about her projects really shined a light on how projects do not turn out the way you expect. And how you never quit but you keep working at it. One thing she said that stuck to me was when “you’re trying to put something (maybe non-linear) into image but it isn’t working. So you come back it again and again”. I believe I will be challenged with this problem in my thesis. There will be many issues that revolve around it and it may not come out the way I expect and I may struggle with how to put into one “image” (paper). But I will keep working at it and eventually, it will come out – most likely differently than planned. 

Blair mentioned a project about drinking some wine and how surprised she was people were willing to do so. I think this can be a metaphor to telling our stories. Often, we want to offer our audience something that we do not believe they will connect to and we are left surprised when they do want to share in our stories.

When Blair called her recipe project a “Collection of the losses”, I realized that my future thesis may be that as well. But in the losses, my hope is we gain something new and something that we can use for the future. Blair said it is often a challenge in deciding how much of your intent you will reveal and conceal. You do not want to be so closed off that you shut off ideas and connecting to others. But you also do not want to give everything away.

The idea of different perspectives in her coffee mug project was another metaphor that I see applied to stories. In her project, she said some see the mugs/tea cups as funerals and some see tea parties. My stories and my works will always be seen in different perspectives because my audience/reader/research participants will take my story and apply it to their own. This will create a whole new story. 

I am really beginning to see stories do not have any endings, but just new beginnings. They are never-ending as once a new reader connects to a story, it becomes a part of their own and they carry it on and pass it on in their own story too. This is similar to what Blair said in respect to her projects: “The work has moved on from that and become something completely different”

I will take Blair’s advice and I am going to learn to let go and let the work speak for itself. I often try to make everything turn out specifically how I imagined it and I see it. But how it comes out will be unpredictable and messy (Snowber), but once I allow it to become free, it will hopefully be a powerful piece of work that continues to live on all that it resonates with.

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