Tutor Report – my own reply to my tutor’s comments where applicable is in italics immediately after the paragraph or comment.
Jane it is evident from your work you have enjoyed this assignment and you demonstrate the beginnings of a personal voice developing as you gain confidence. You are technically competent and dexterous in your application of techniques and handling of materials. Your designs and samples are starting to be more experimental, creating more imaginative outcomes. I suggest you build on the more interesting ideas to challenge and prompt new design ideas within your visual design work and don’t fall back on familiar ways of working.
I am still struggling with experimental work as abstract is not an easy concept for me but I do understand what my tutor states – it is not easy to push myself out of my comfort zone into new areas that can be developed.
Feedback on assignment
Project 6: Manipulating Fabric
Stage 2 requires you to select several drawings to work from and to experiment with the drawings by translating them into fabric images/ideas.
The initial flower collage was interesting with strong designed shapes, in subtle sensitive colours, placed on a black background, this works very well (p3).
You went on to create some strong bold lino prints (p7 & p8). I feel you missed a great opportunity to push your ideas even further at this stage and could have used different papers to print on perhaps combined with collage techniques to create some really strong design work.
I do totally agree with this comment – I did not have many papers at that time although have since been sent some kindly by another student and as I do more lino prints will try them on different backgrounds and will attempt collage techniques in conjunction too. Since I have had this feedback I have become much more interested in mixed media work so am considerably happier mixing techniques. UPDATE: January 2017 – at this point I preparing this work for assessment and have finished the course in its entirety and now have a fuller understanding of working on different variations repetitively of an idea as this in turn produces new ideas.
Do you know Georgia O’Keefe’s large scale flower paintings? They could be really interesting for you to contemplate as she often focuses on part of the flower capturing its essence, form and delicate beauty. There is a major retrospective of her work at the Tate Modern until 30th October this year.
I have come across this artist before and having taken many photos of blooms in my own garden over the summer I will be very much keeping her work in mind for future ideas.
The design development in pages 10 & 11 is interesting, executed with confidence; you obviously enjoy using linear design ideas.
Page 14 breaks down the image of a lake, into blocked then linear designs with strata like layered patterns, which could have good potential for further development.
I am rapidly discovering I love this process of breaking down images into simple shapes and working with the linear designs and would like to develop this technique further as my personal voice develops.
Page 17 works well with a good composition and colour balance; perhaps because you haven’t tried to be representational and have concentrated on very simple shapes and patterns the collage is more successful.
Page 19 demonstrates some sensitive handling of watercolors and the development of a linear sketch is an interesting design (p20), it has a good sense of composition and balance. It would be good to pursue your confidence in linear designs into print as you have a clear and confident approach. You could push these ideas further and explore possibilities on fabric with print and collage techniques. But you need to be mindful of loosing the strength of line and simple shapes, by confusing the composition with pattern, you need to spend time choosing carefully.
I do understand where my tutor is coming from – I can over complicate with patterns and do want to work with the linear designs into print and stitch much further.
It would have been a good idea to try to create your own textural papers and not rely on wallpaper, which I feel features too heavily in this assignment. You can make your own paper by using newsprint or maps, envelopes, sugar paper, different weights of papers, brown wrapping paper etc. and paint it or colour it with different media. You can scrunch it up or iron pleats and folds into it, paint it again then choose to iron it flat, the options are numerous. This would have enabled you to be freer to explore texture, pattern and colour options, and be more innovative and imaginative, I feel the wallpaper has limited your choices.
Totally agree with this comment – my confidence on creating my own papers is lacking but this is something I want to remind myself to do i.e. creating my own papers for future work rather than relying on ready made papers.
Try to experiment to extend your drawing abilities; use charcoal, pastels, large brushes anything that has a large surface area to draw/paint with. Move away from the obvious and look for the unexpected.
I am personally preferring to work with smaller sized areas although I understand working with a large surface area has its advantages – as much as anything preferring smaller surface areas is due to size constraints within my home. I think working with larger surfaces is also something that will come with confidence as will working with the different media.
Stage 3; Appliqué techniques
A good range of experimentation in your samples, as you are confident with these techniques and have a good level of competency. I don’t feel you have challenged your self enough experimenting with colour and texture, you have relied on very similar colour palettes when actually the colours within the primary source (photographs) were much more exciting. To create exciting innovative pieces you need to think about colours, and ask yourself what are you trying to express through your colour choices, and not just use what you have. You can always colour fabric with thinned paints for small pieces to get a precise colour and use dyes for larger pieces. Go back and look at your previous exercises on colour. Stitch can also be used to fill areas or used in a linear way so always consider about the colour threads you are using, as this is important too.
I am constrained to using what fabrics I have due to financial matters but do understand now that I can use my dyes or paints to colour my fabrics in order to get the colour matches I require. I have a reasonably good range of coloured threads and feel that my experience in free motion stitching as well as embroidery could have been used to create new surface textures and effectively colour the fabrics so this is something I can bear in mind.
The most successful colour combinations are when you use the tweed fabrics; these samples have some depth and drama. The sample with the 3 sections (please number) has some interesting colour combinations, which has become lost in the Elvaston Castle sample. Using fewer fabrics has kept a stronger compositional design, and you could have stitched into this with similar colour threads to the background to create a more textural surface.
Spend more time experimenting with different combinations before you commit to stitching.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with the tweed fabrics and as I type I am looking to use them or plaid fabrics in my final piece. I do understand where I became lost in the Elvaston Castle sample as I used too many fabrics unlike the sample with 3 sections (the numbering has been addressed). I need to remember to consider any additional stitching to create texture.
Stage 4: Raised and structured textile surfaces
By working with different materials, you have learnt about different properties; creating and designing with this in mind is a key element.
You have created a good selection of fabric manipulations and experimented with raised textures well. As you comment in your blog, this is again an area you feel confident with, but be mindful that your challenge isn’t to repeat what you already know, but it is to build on skills and progress and expand idea development.
I was aware at this stage that it would be very easy to do as my tutor states and just repeat what I know already and tried to push myself further with different ideas than before.
I like the double sided sample with tweed and velvet in quilting, it is interesting and I agree velvet has some great qualities used with this technique. Could you have tried a variety of different stitch patterns to explore this further?
Exploring further with stitch in this technique is something I will take forward – I was very surprised at how well tweed and velvet quilted and it has certainly given me some ideas for future use.
The final sample was interesting and you evidently learnt a lot from this approach.
Project 7:Theme book
I couldn’t see any preliminary ideas on your theme book and I would have liked to see how you are getting on in this area, as you have changed your mind a lot, in regards to the specific theme. I suggest you start to develop your visual theme book if you haven’t already. It is a good idea to work in a smaller sketchbook that you carry around with you all the time and build up a collection of visual information that you can draw on later and develop in your larger main sketchbook.
Anya Gallacio uses flowers in her “Preserve Beauty” works, as her work follows the decay of the flowers. This may interest you for research in your theme book.
This is where there has been an error on my part as I added a new category for my new theme book Explorations on Dovedale and Derbyshire but for some reason it did not show up so my tutor was not able to comment on my initial ideas. I have rectified this error now and my Theme Book is available to see under Part 5 (with first part of it under Part 3 too).
You comment on your presentation skills and the need for some guidance. I suggest they are improving but in this assignment the glaring mistake is your use of masking tape to stick fabric down. It doesn’t work! Most pieces are becoming detached and it is very untidy.
I suggest you stitch into the top of a sample and tie the ends at the back of the presentation sheet, so the piece is attached by the top corners, or all corners if needed. This is invisible but allows for movement of the fabric.
Or you could create thin headers of white card (the same as your presentation card) and using double sided tape stick the top f your fabric down then a header piece over the top of the fabric this creates a good finish too.
These tips for presentation are incredibly appreciated and during my next assignment I will be trying better methods.
You should continue to use different size sketchbooks to allow yourself the opportunity to work on different scales and to develop your visual skills further, by continuing to explore and experiment in your work. I can see that you enjoy the larger A3 scale, have you tried A2? You may find the larger scale has liberated you and really help you to loosen up.
The only issue I have with A2 size sketchbooks is due to size constraints within my house and also in my working area although I am looking to find a solution. I am starting to really enjoy working with different sized sketchbooks and ideas and am trying to vary my scale much more although my common size for initial ideas is still A4 or A3 – from those two sizes I can work on design variations of scale much more easily.
Research point / Blogs
You reflect well in your blog and in your contextual research, it is evident that you have researched avidly online. I feel it would benefit you greatly if you could visit some art exhibitions to expand your knowledge. You demonstrate an enquiring mind and have an awareness of self-reflection and are able to articulate this well. Continue to expand your knowledge and use this research as a basis to critically reflect on work within a contemporary context and to enrich and inform your practice.
Over the last few months I have in fact visited several art exhibitions but for some reason had neglected to write them up, (I am doing a History of Art module along side this textiles module and think I have been distracted), this is now being rectified and those exhibitions are being duly blogged. I am also in the process of writing up some other blogs relating to textiles at some country houses my fiance and I have visited for my other course.
I have made suggestions in the text where relevant.
Pointers for the next assignment
- To try large scale visual recordings in different media with large tools.
- To continue to develop work in your theme sketchbook and build up a collection of visual information that you can draw on later.
- To be experimental with your yarn selection in assignment 4, think beyond the obvious, seek out unusual textures, and experiment with colour.
As I respond to this feedback I am nearing the end of assignment 4 and have worked in a variety of yarns and been prepared to experiment much more freely. I am going to try to work on a larger scale in my general sketchbook work and photographs taken over the summer months will be useful visual inspirational sources for over the coming winter.
Well done Jane it’s great to see you gaining confidence in your own abilities.