Marrakesh Pecha Kucha!

PechaKucha (Japanese: ペチャクチャ, IPA: [petɕa ku͍̥tɕa], chit-chat) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total)



One of the first things that I did as part of the Field module was silk painting in the print studio, I chose to do this because the vibrant of the colours used in silk painting, was something that I felt would be reflected in my experiences on the trip. In addition to the colour, silk painting was the first thing that I became interested in looking at in terms of what I might produce as a final peice for the module; as, while it is something that I’m familiar with, silk painting is not a skill that I have used in my practice or explored in my work sine gcse, so going back to it would be quite a fun exercise and produce some interesting outcomes.
At first, my paintings reflected my limited knowledge of Moroccan culture; henna flower patterns and bright vibrant colours and dyes being the only two thing that I knew featured in Moroccan art for certain. Due to my love for these form and pervious experiences with henna patterns, this painting was also a nice and easy way back into silk painting; looking again at the way the colours blend and interact when applied to the silk. This exercise was a nice gentle way into something that I would later consider to perusing into a final piece or as art of a larger piece of research in my process.
download-1Setting out to Morocco was full of expectation, being a keen traveller, who rarely has the money to indulge this passion; I was super excited to get immersed into the chaos and feel the culture shock that comes hand in hand with leaving the west. As usual I’d grabbed a trusty copy of the relevant lonely planet and book marked all the best laces it featured; including a couple of cool places to eat that catered to Meg and Suzan- who are veggie, vegan and/or nut intolerant. While I’m not a fan of planning, to pretty much any degree, when visiting a new country or city, having a guide book is always invaluable.
    It was the lack of concrete planning that was exciting me the most; in my experience, the best way to see and experience a place is to go with the flow and keep yourself open to do whatever you feel like at any given time. Having a basic day to day ‘we might do this then’ is great, but having to stick to a timetable is not what I’d call fun. While we had some basic scheduled events and tours with the group, we were mostly free to organise ourselves as we pleased, and this suited me just fine.
I was also really looking forward to all the photos that I was gonna take and how much fun it was going to be to get to play around with my camera with such a diverse and interesting subject; seen as I don’t get out with my camera as often as I’d like, mostly due to the fact that I never have it on me when I see something worth taking a picture of, as I can only go on so many photography excursions with my camera around Cardiff before I have about a million near identical pictures of the Taff and the castle.


Arriving in Marrakech did not disappoint, while we spent much of the first afternoon that we were there waiting for our rooms to be ready at the riad, the view from the roof top seating area was great and we had our first taste of Moroccan mint tea to welcome us to the country; though not normally a fan of mint tea, the Moroccan style of mint tea has fast become one of my favourite teas. Being sat at the riad for this period of time gave us a great opportunity to do a little drawing and a have little bit of a chill before we could get into our rooms and then do a little exploring. Needless to say that my camera had already made it out of my case.

The tour on the first day and visiting the souks for the first time was one of the best days for taking pictures, we saw so much in such a short space of time and so much of it was worth documenting, I had a really great time looking around and finding great photo opportunities; though there were obviously far too many photos for me to fit onto one slide and sadly I need to be a bit economic with my slide to fit everything in to this Pecha Kucha. So this is just a selection of a few of my favorites.

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Something that really caught my eye about Morocco was the endless detail in tiles and the patterns that cover the floors, door ways and walls of even the most modest buildings. I was instantly compelled to try to record this in my photos, as I wanted to have within my research and element of the photographic research, I wasn’t sure where it would go, but at the very least I wanted to create a series of photos that represent this element to my trip. If anything it was really fun just looking out for interesting spots to take these photos  and also kept me looking and watching for the many interesting patterns and mosaics that often featured in many of the buildings that we visited; may of which I might have missed completely.


Another thing that court my cameras attention, in the complete opposite direction, was the intricate and dazzling ceilings and door panels. It seemed only right that I try to draw myself away from staring at my feet the whole time and look up for a change, the reward was pretty great; the  geometric designs and the bright colours were really captivating, and the way that the light fixtures fit into the shapes and forms of the patterns was really beautifully. While in the souks, I was lucky enough to see some of the panels laid out ready carved and painted, which explained how the carved patterns and painting was done in such detail; I imagine it would be near enough impossible to do while on the ceiling. It also explained how the unique ceilings and buildings are accommodated for, each building was so amazingly put together and shaped around each other, that anything less than custom built would be pointless. 


The theme of impressively designed windows and doors was one that continued throughout our time in Morocco, and it was pretty hard not to just take photos of all of them. I particularly loved all the oddly shaped and tiny rooms in the collage that we visited as part of our first day tour, the rooms where so weirdly laid out, all being strangely small and often featuring windows into the interior ventilation, that in turn had a window into the room beyond. This is so vastly different from modern building design, and reminded me in many ways of Esher’s designs and paintings; the old city is full of these intricately and confusingly laid out buildings that look completely different from the outside.   


The Clock café, where we went to see a traditional henna demonstration, and then ended up spending pretty much the hole day at.


The day/night spent pretty much entirely in the clock café produced quite a few drawings and illustrations, most notably when we where sat listening to the traditional story tellers; the stories where a bit confusing and my drawings are not horribly coherent, but the experience of being sat in the Clock Café and listening to the fantastic story tellers that they hosted was great. The odd fables and how both similar and different the stories where from what you might hear in a traditional story from the U.K gave them great context, as well as the fact that the audience in the café was full of people who’d traveled from all over the world. While the Clock Cafe was certainly not much of a local hang out and clearly got a lot of it’s revenue from tourist looking for a taste of Marrakesh culture; it defiantly did a great job of show casing some great aspects of both traditional Morocco and it’s more modern movements, hat you certainly didn’t see a terrible amount of in the Central Medina.

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Our visit to the Majorelle Gardens was a really cool experience and it was defiantly one of the highlights of our trip, the incredible colours and the light quality of the gardens was amazing to see, and even better to photograph. While the gardens themselves weren’t very large, there was an infinite number of phot opportunities, and once again I have far too many photos to share and could only fit a few of them on this slide, though being in the gardens mean that I got some really good photos on the plants and flowers there in, which I have featured in the next slide…

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The bright colours of all the foliage and flowers in Marrakesh were truly beautiful, further exadurated by the fantastic light quality, particularly later in the day when the sun was a little lower in the sky. I first started taking pictures of the plants in close detail in the majorelle gardens but then I started to notice it more and more in Marrakesh as a while and so I started to become a little obsessed with close ups; which left me cursing the fact that I’d left my zoom lens at home in favour of space. The patterns and colours that I found in these photos will defiantly be something that I continue into my feature work on Morocco, looking at the way the relationships between the printed lines and the colours that they produce, though I’m not yet sure how I will display this relationship.   

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My close up obsession continued at the ouzoud waterfalls, as I was equally taken by the colours and even more enamoured with the way that the light reacted to the natural forms in the valley and at the water fall itself. I particularly enjoyed the rock formations and the smoky quality of the light coming down through the mist produced by waterfall.

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These are just a few more standout photos that I wanted to feature because they have aspects of the landscape that I defiantly want to focus on in my future work, namely: the amazingly out of place street lights that seemed to pop up everywhere and looked so odd in the context of the old world streets and next to the mud wall that surrounded the old city, also the built up forms and shadows of the buildings in the street and in the city sky line, along with the imposing and impressive masques that dominated the sky line and could be found in almost every part of the city; when in doubt look for a mosque!   

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While in country I tried to use plenty of colour in the work that I did while I was there, to best get the feel for the vibrant colours of the city and the intensity of the natural pigments that where present in my surroundings. In order to do this, I’d brought with me a good set of compact water colours and fine liner pens and used them whenever I have the change to properly sit down and get them out. I also purchased some pigments from the pharmacist/chemist while on the guided tour of the souks. Though I’ve not yet used the pigments that I bought yet,I’m planning on experimenting with the different substances that I can mix them with, ei: oils, glues,  cold and boiled water ect; to see how it changes the consistency and the quality of the colour.

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As is my tendency as an illustrator, I of course frequently reverted back to the very traditional habit of recording my observations in simple pencil drawings, though I did try to do this in different styles. The drawing on the left is quite simply an observational and quite accurate depiction of a Moroccan tea pot, of which I saw many; while the drawing on the right is more about the perspective of the mismatched buildings and their strange aritechture, it’s drawn in quite a crude style to reflect the equally crude build and appearance of the roof buildings.
Though the blind school was not a altogether positive experience for me personally, I did also get some drawings early on n the visit of some of the students.

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Looking specifically at carbon copy printing, I want to use tis as quite a major feature in my work going forward, because I love the lines that it produces and the slight deterioration in the images that more frequently that you copy them. Loosing details ad aspects of the drawing just through human error or through a poor copy gives the work a new perspective and almost gives them a new life, changing the drawings style almost completely.
In addition it’s both quick and easy to both reproduce and replicate images in a short space of time, which them means that you can add colour and other features to a piece of work very easily; building it up in layers and changing the relationship between images. I’ve started simple with a few basic reproductions and adding sme colour but I want to go more into how I might layer and add to these initial pieces of development.   

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Another form of printing that I’ve been looking into is lino printing, again for the quality of line that it produces, but also because it’s another form of printing that I can easily build up and add to with other prints or by adding new colours on top. I will defiantly be looking at combining all my printing ideas and the images that I have from my photos, as well as on top of my photos, to see how the colour and line interact with the more solid and sharp images.


These are some of the lino cuts that I’ve made to work with, not all of which have been used so far obviously, but I have plans to use these to play around with and just o use to develop the idea of imposing the prints onto my other works. How that will effect them and interact.


In the very start of my development I made the happy accident of using my carbon copy paper the wrong way up, which gave me the initial idea of layering and juxtaposing my work by layering it. The Lamp shade, drawn in the Clock Café, makes a nice addition to the pencil sketch that was on the other side of the page, while I would of liked to have scanned in the original before I ‘added’ to it, the result isn’t half bad and gave me some great ideas to move forward with, adding in the lino print was a further exploration into the idea of layering and adding to my work.



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