This for me is the section I have had doubts on whether I did exactly what was required for the first stage with printing and painting from my designs.
I wasn’t entirely happy with what I had done in a previous section on printing and painting so did further samples but with my designs pinned up in front of me and basing my new samples on them. I feel that because I already had two specific designs I wanted to use for my larger sample I managed to restrict myself in how I worked during Stage 3 and also Stage 2 where I selected my designs.
I have had a further look at my other drawings from other sketchbooks and recent work and now to question whether I could have made a better selection to use as source material but am also happy with the final result with the larger sample too. My problem is I was fairly set on the shell stencil which came from the rose petal to use as one printing idea and see how it would work on different fabrics – this is one stencil I realise I could have taken further and been more experimental with how I used it.
I have to bear in mind at this point ‘my head space’ as this latter part of the section was done during a time of phenomenal personal stress where it was very hard to work freely and to really concentrate on the task in hand – this is no excuse but it has without question had an impact on my choices and the way I have approached the task and in addition I now recognise I either misread the brief for what was required or misunderstood particularly in regards to Stage 3. One of the lessons I need to take forward from this is to break down the tasks into smaller tasks and write them out so that I can clearly see the stages and to analyse better how to do them – my assignments are broken down into sections on a white board already but feel if I am stressed or have an external influence causing reduced concentration I could break them down even further to help when needed. Looking now at what I have done I am just not satisfied with my choices but am also aware I have always been very critical of myself since childhood.
One of my other drawings In now feel I could have chosen better or taken further with interpretations is the street scene as this has possibilities I could have explored further – after sending off this assignment I am intending to spend a day or so just playing with this one set of drawings in particular (my photographs on my learning log and camera are clear enough for me to do some copies and see what I can produce). Although this is not conventional I do wonder if going back to these drawings may be a way forward with some pieces. Again I feel the same way with the drawings of the tree too – there are an infinite number of possibilities and it may just be that I need to look at my original sketches and other photographs taken and do some further work to realise the potential further.
Overall even though I am not now happy with the main selection of the drawings I chose I am happy with the final outcome and the Naval Memorial drawings definitely gave the most room for interpretation both as a stencil encompassing the whole memorial and also as an individual stencil that provided a motif that built into the larger sample. This is a set of drawings that have an infinite number of possibilities but then again the Arboretum where it stands also has numerous memorials and sculptures too which provide so much inspiration and that is not withstanding the grounds and trees themselves that are there – I am very lucky to live within 30 minutes drive.
My fabric collection is relatively limited at the moment and this I found a source of frustration eventually as I wanted to experiment further on different textures – texture is becoming ever more important to me although my focus has been primarily shapes or colour. I am desperate to pick up some velvet to try printing on now but unfortunately have also been restricted on going out due to a health reason (now resolving and not the cause of the stress) – I prefer to buy fabric in person rather than on-line particularly when I am looking for different textures. I think velvet would have worked wonderfully for the larger sample and in its place I chose the brushed cotton-mix yellow fabric as I wanted a very soft but slightly textured fabric that was in contrast to the smoothness of the glass. I did try printing and painting on hessian and cotton as well as a square cut from some old swim-shorts – the latter was more successful than I anticipated and am now trying to establish the exact fabric and mix of fibres so I could order some more.
I am wanting to use more textural fabrics than just plain cotton but am finding, as I did when dress making, that the polyester or man-made ‘silk style’ fabrics are ones that will be used very very sparingly – I never did like working with them and never will! I do like the qualities of silk and the pongee 5 I currently have is very fine and drapes beautifully but was a little too transparent and gossamer like for these experiments. I have some Habotai 8 on order now which is heavier in weight and more opaque and this I feel will not only take the silk paint better but will also no doubt be better for textile paints and Inktense pencils as well.
The hessian is fabulous to stitch with but is much more difficult to paint or print on but it does work with thicker textile paints and stencils and this is something I am bearing in mind for the future now.
For the larger sample I really loved both the felt and the yellow brushed cotton fabric – the felt I would have used if I had been able to obtain a much larger piece so this restricted my choice but I did have a black poly-cotton that would have at least given me the same colour. However the yellow fabric gave me the softness and feeling of warmth I required that was appropriate with my representations of the original memorial – I was very definite in that this was not just to be a motif but the colours to be significant and represent the Naval Memorial. I was also very much aware that the black textile paint and the marks used would give textural qualities and look to the overall design.
I still feel that if I had had sufficient felt I would have used the stencil of the whole memorial in a design for the larger sample that tied in with the motif not being confined to the edges of the sample and went beyond it but this was not to be at this time. I liked how the marks I was choosing worked well on the felt as they did on the hessian – the hessian was more restrictive in that sense and more defined and less delicate marks had to be used. On the hessian I liked the brighter colours of the paints I chose and am not confident the black would have worked as well or been as appropriate to the representation I required. I do feel if I had had a heavier weight silk such as Habotai 8 I could have painted it before stencilling and this could have worked as well as the brushed cotton but the sheen would have also represented the glass of the original panels too – an idea to note and bear in mind if I take this design forward or if it can be used perhaps in my chosen theme.
I have written this review over a couple of days and am now questioning what my focus was on the larger sample – was it colour, texture or shape? the shape was the starting point undoubtedly as it reflected a single glass panel and I initially felt this was the focus; the texture is significant and is reflected in the variety of marks; but the colours were the most important due to what they each represented and were vital to my thinking and the whole concept and composition.
As said on many of the samples I do not feel I worked with my chosen drawings as well as I could and concentrated more on working out what marks and stencils would work with a view to the larger sample and this was my mistake at that stage. However I am happy with the scale of the marks and shapes on my larger sample and feel they are appropriate to the fabric – the fabric could take the smaller marks and shapes and effectively show them off to their best advantage. The main thing I feel on the larger sample is that I really need to ensure I put placement marks on the stencil in future and to clean the stencil between each stage to get a better final result – this would have resulted in a more even print and a neater finish.
I am very much aware I could have used different colours in the larger sample as well and could have experimented further with them. The negative shapes were not such an issue in this piece as it is the marks themselves with their placement that formed the patterns that go across the sample.
As a rule I am very much interested in negative shapes producing design as much as positive shapes and this is something to further experiment with – the tree would be the ideal drawing to work with this and I did attempt it although I am not sure how successful the silk painting was. The negative lines on the final sample are the lines that show the yellow through the black and I can see that now – the yellow background is key to this piece.
Concentrating still on the final sample the contrasting elements are the black and yellow and red and the harmonising are the marks themselves – I feel that this gives a balance for me personally. I like the contrast between the colours as it gives a very strong and exciting aspect to the piece but the restrictive use of the colours also harmonizes the overall effect too. I purposefully chose a limited number of marks and used them in more than one area to also harmonize – too much would have thrown the stencil off balance and I feel would have been detrimental to the piece as a whole. I am not sure about the tension itself created by the design when you see the sample as a whole but feel there is a delightful dance as the patterns go across the piece with an unexpected Eastern influence – I am interested in Eastern textiles and suspect subconsciously this had a bearing on my thoughts.
On the other samples as I have stated I had not concentrated so much on designs but on trying out marks and ideas with a view to the larger sample – again I state this was a mistake now but I also do not regret it in the fact that it helped me work out my ideas more thoroughly.
The other larger sample – the silk painting based on the eagle’s beak motif was not successful with the colours. The background colours were the same as those in the shapes and this meant the piece blends together far too much – there needed to be more contrast. The colours within the shapes harmonised well and the shapes themselves I have no issue with as they produce a kaleidoscope style effect when used as a repeat pattern which creates a dynamic tension and feeling of movement. This is a motif that could be used to create quilter’s style blocks and a repeat motif over a defined area. The negative areas created by the positive could also be worked on to produce more distinct patterns and this could be as a result of refining and re-working the motif and design further. To create a better contrast for the background I feel a complementary set of colours of even secondary colours produced from the original primaries (albeit with red instead of pink used in the colours in the shapes) would produce a much better result and create a balance – the other colours I have thought of are greys and blacks and stated this in my learning log at the time but now feel the secondary colours would work much better.
My larger sample as I have stated I do feel is relatively successful and I am really pleased with the design – it reminds me of Eastern style rugs and textiles although that was far from my intention and suspect there is the influence as stated. I worked extensively on the ideas and the developments can be seen in the smaller samples – I also have a sketchbook (which is including in my assignment submission) with some ideas worked on since visiting the Memorial itself. I do feel the repeating design flows across the sample and I am happy I effectively hid the individual stencil – to see where it begins and ends you have to look or know the original shape and consequentially you loose the internal edges. The shapes and marks were kept relatively small which I also wanted as they contrasted with the fact this was going to be a larger sample – I like detail within large spaces as it concentrates your eye but at the same time when you see it as a larger picture you get the impression of the patterns. Writing this up now I can see the fact that the work with French knots and my knowledge of pointillism has had a bearing on my marks – the dots that make up the whole picture I have translated into smaller marks that dance across the fabric and make up the whole design over a larger area.
I am really really pleased with the composition and apart from more accurate placement don’t think I would change anything.