Tutor Report – Assignment 2

Tutor Report – my own reply to my tutor’s comments where applicable is in italics immediately after the paragraph or comment.

Overall Comments

Jane you demonstrate your commitment and enthusiasm in the body of work you have created for this assignment, well done. You have worked diligently through the projects and exercises, and I can see you have put a great deal of time and effort into your work. As a result you have developed and grown in your intuitive responses. It is great to see you gain in confidence all the time as you progress through the course exercises.

Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   

Feedback on assignment

Project 3: Aims;

  • To help you to understand and actively explore basic colour theory
  • To develop an understanding of the relationship between colour and mood
  • To apply your knowledge of colour theory to the development of sketchbook work

You have learned a great deal from these assignment exercises in terms of understanding colour theory and colour relationships. You have worked thoroughly through the colour exercises and obviously gained a lot of knowledge regarding mixing colours and colour matching.

It’s a great idea to use different papers to construct a sketchbook; the larger size gives you lots of space to experiment. You could try and vary the papers, for example using brown paper, newsprint, envelopes and other papers to make it more interesting.

Colour theory is a subject I really enjoy which I feel I was able to show well and I take on board the comments regarding differing papers although I now understand this also has to be appropriate to the work I am doing.

Project 4: Aims;

  • To help you to develop your compositional skills
  • To help you to understand the interrelationship of the elements of design
  • To use a design process in order to develop your visual ideas

This section has demonstrated that you have a developing ability to follow the design process to stylize your initial sketches into interesting compositions using colour well. Continue to be bold and experiment with your ideas. You are growing in confidence all the time, so keep on exploring your ideas further, as they are more interesting the further you get from the representational source of your inspiration. Well-done Jane.

I was and am very pleased with this feedback as again I had enjoyed working through the sections although I also clearly remember feeling frustrated at times!

Stage 2;

Exercise 2; An interesting piece, it has a strong colour theme and good composition.

Exercise 4; The final painted composition has a strong stylistic and abstract quality that you seem to be able to achieve quite naturally.

As I write retrospectively I still feel happily surprised by the comments for Exercise 4 as I had struggled somewhat with the development of this drawing and I am really happy that my tutor has felt that I can work abstractly naturally and this is something I now want to develop further.

Project 5: Aim;

  • To help you to develop design ideas through the use of paint and print.

Stage 3

The white paint on black fabric works is the most successful, as its bold and defined and the areas that haven’t printed clearly actually work too, as they give an interesting mottled effect.

The silk painting has worked well too, perhaps because you have tried this technique before and therefore feel more confident with it. I like the way you have allowed the coloured dyes to bleed into each other. I agree I think the clear gutta is much more subtle and gels the colours more effectively.

Some of the printed samples and painted samples, I feel have suffered from choice of fabric. I understand fabric can be expensive but plain poplin cotton and fine calico have a good flat surface to work on, as you have often chosen a fluffy pile that will soak up the paint prematurely and not allow for a crisp defined print or brush stroke. Of course you should experiment with all fabrics but remember to reflect on the successful samples and put these to the front of your samples. From your blog reflections you have tried lino printing too, which is great, its good to try out different techniques and get a feel for different ways of creating imagery.

It would be a good time to start a sample book so you can collect fabrics and gain knowledge of various fabrics qualities.

I take on board all the comments – the black and white sample was my favoured one and is the one I now regret not continuing with on a larger scale as my final sample although I am still happy with the yellow brushed cotton despite it soaking up the paint as I quite like the slightly softer edges.  I did find it very interesting to experiment with the different fabrics and the different effects that can be achieved.  I have not kept a specific sample book although a later research project has effectively provided this for me and I am also aware of adding fabric samples to my sketchbooks as each provides inspiration and gives ideas for how the designs can be developed into textiles.

Whaley’s online fabric supplier’s http://www.whaleys-bradford.ltd.uk have an extensive range of fabrics and will send small free swatches. Although they are small swatches you could test a very small area for printing and this way you can build up a knowledge of fabric and its qualities of accepting different products before you buy. They are also very helpful if you want to ask any questions.

Also some retailers will allow you a swatch and also a small length of 10cm of a fabric so these are all possibilities.

My local retailers are not always very generous with even very small fabric swatches but I have kept a note of Whaley’s and will, as I go forward, look at requesting some small samples which could prove useful as I go into my next course bearing in mind this response is retrospective as I am near the end of my course despite taking on board the comments of my tutor at the time.

Also for your interest; have you tried transfer dying? It is really effective too. If you have transfer dyes you can use an iron as your heat source if you use it carefully. You can experiment with paper and real leaves and other flat objects to act as resists to get a myriad of effects. (You need to use man made fabric for example polyester). Have a look on you tube at the technique.

Transfer dyeing is not something I have not been able to financially afford to do despite being very interested in it so I am keeping a note of this suggestion as I think it is something I could really enjoy.

Kemtex are a chemical dye supplier and will supply small amounts. Again they are really helpful on the phone with any queries. http://www.kemtex.co.uk/  But please read all health and safety information when using dyes. (There will be a course dedicated to different types of dying on level 2).

This is a company I know happily and I have been purchasing my dyes from for about 3 years and I do find them incredibly helpful.

Stage 5; examples of stitches on black fabric is a good demonstration of your strong ability to stitch and use a wide range of stitches. This strong skills base can be a spring board into explorations into stitch, to experiment and develop your future designs.

I do like working on black fabric and find that it highlights my stitching and the threads I like to use even if I use it as a foundation step before I move on to coloured fabrics.

Stage 6 ex 1 & 2

The french knot compositions really stand out as very strong skilled work and the colour match is very well seen as is the colour combination of threads. I like the use of different textures/threads to create different depths and textural surfaces, and the composition is good, as the knots fill the piece with a dense intensity that is really beautiful.

The french knot samples and compositions were the ones I admit to having dreaded but ended up being the most enjoyable of this assignment so I am delighted with the comments.

Overall you have tried lots of different techniques and processes, which is commendable. The design process requires you to return to your sketchbook, to develop more material then take those ideas and push them further. I feel you have made progress with understanding this process and are starting to realise the further you get from the original inspiration the more interesting your work can become. Creating more unexpected outcomes and explorations. You can now apply what you have learnt about the relationships between colour and composition in this assignment to make further progression.

As a design technique, it can be a good idea to make repeated photocopies of images and work into them or cut them up and experiment with composition, this can be executed on a small scale to develop ideas further before you make a final piece.

I fully understand the comments and the design process is something I found really exciting and continue to do so.  I am loving taking an initial image and working through the different stages with the end results being so different from the original sketch or source material.  I understand the suggestion of making photocopies of images and working into them or cutting them up as this is a simple but effective way of developing ideas.


It is good to see you gaining confidence in the pages of your sketchbooks and you demonstrate a developing eye for colour.

You are beginning to experiment further with your work to allow your ideas to grow in unexpected ways, continue to take risks in your approach, and be bold.

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 the larger scale has liberated you and really helped you loosen up, I would suggest you continue to work large scale, as it is obviously empowering.

As I think back to this part of the course and reflect on the comments again I am aware I took note and acted on the comments although I prefer to work in fact on a smaller scale initially before working up to  larger scale.  I do understand the comment that the larger scale does liberate the way I work and I do find it very empowering although space in my small home can be a factor when considering the size I work – the summer means I have more space to work in the garden and winter means my working space is more restricted.

Try to think visually as much as possible in your sketchbook; that is jotting down rough sketches and ideas for designs, making colour notes, collecting swatches and yarns, images and postcards of artwork that inspires you.

These suggestions are ones that I have increasingly taken on board and understood.

I suggest you develop a visual theme to work on, 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.

Have a look at this video on the OCA student website Keeping a Sketchbook Useful with Eileen Adams. You could watch this several times as you progress through this course and you’ll gain different insights each time.


Also have a look at the weareoca website, there is a really interesting article by Neil Mussan a Textiles tutor all about sketchbooks.  http://weareoca.com/fine_art/what-should-my-sketchbook-contain/ 

Learning Logs or Blog

 You have reflected well on your learning progress in your blog. Can I suggest that you print off a couple of pages when you send in your assignment, as I can’t always read all of your blog. It would be a good exercise to select a few pages that really summarise the assignment for you, perhaps include a successful out come or an inspirational influence.

Several students do this and it is very effective and gets your thoughts over in a more clear and concise manner.

You have demonstrated that you are always aware of your surroundings and looking for inspiration where ever you are, which is a great quality of yours. Try to be more aware of contemporary artists and exhibitions and visit some if possible. You are so enthusiastic, which is fantastic.

I understand the comments and definitely took on board the comments and as my blog demonstrates I did visit some exhibitions although they were written up very much retrospectively due to working on other aspects of this course and the History of Art course I have been doing simultaneously.

This is a good website full of interesting interviews and information http://www.textileartist.org/

Suggested viewing/reading


Mark Rothko’s later works on canvas are interesting to research for a spiritual approach to colour.

Howard Hodgkin for his work’s dynamic use of brushstroke and colour.

I’m suggesting these two artists to emphasise the use of colour in an abstract sense, as I feel your work would develop if you move away from literal interpretations of nature and focus on your passion for it and your intuitive response to the subject.

It is only now as I near the end of this course and look back on these comments I fully understand how both these artists will inspire me in the future and I also take into account of the fact that I have studied abstract artists and colour field artists through the History of Art course and so have an understanding of their work. I now understand how I can respond intuitively to nature and develop my designs and work.

Sally Greaves Lord works on large textile banners inspired by landscape and nature. She reinterprets her landscape paintings into textiles.

Of course you will have your favourite artists, but open yourself up to look at different possibilities within different artists work.

 I am very much intrigued by Sally Greaves Lord’s work and will no doubt come back to her during the course of further studies.

Pointers for the next assignment

  • To continue to develop work in your theme sketchbook and build up a collection of visual information that you can draw on later.
  • The key words of advice here are to experiment and explore to develop the spontaneity and imaginative elements in your work. I would encourage you to let go of any preconceived ideas and not get too absorbed with literal representations of objects.
  • Select a few print outs of your blog to summarise your reflections.

I have taken these comments on board.

Enjoy working through assignment 3. Well done Jane for all your hard work.

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