Tutor Report – my own reply to my tutor’s comments where applicable is in italics immediately after the paragraph or comment.
Jane, you have really entered into the spirit of this brief and worked hard to build and use your own looms. There are some really positive points and several areas in which you could develop this further. I like the fact that you recognise that restrictions (access to materials / colours etc) can be seen as a positive – I agree and my impression on opening your work is that you have a natural ability with colour. You are able to put colours together which may be unusual combinations but which have a harmony and resonance with each other. This is most notable in your sketchbook.
Also working well in the book are your material combinations – you have combined several contrasting materials and allowed their properties to ‘reinvent’ each other. Later when you start weaving this becomes a little lost; more of that below.
I completely agree with these comments as in retrospect I felt I had started to loose some of the interesting new properties during the weaving sections.
I would have liked to see a greater quantity of samples here but of course I understand the time weaving takes and the fact that you had to build the loom also! The reason for this comment is that you have not been able to make selections from a wide range of samples and therefore the development process narrows down the designing before it has really had a chance to expand. Allow your projects to flow into each other; there is nothing wrong with continuing a technique in another assignment of even in your next course. Let your ideas progress and grow rather than starting each project with a clean slate – there is not time to do everything in one assignment and it is good that you have acknowledged that you are doing this with weave.
This paragraph really does make complete sense to me and I really understand what my tutor is saying and I am also aware that I was also not able to do as many samples as I would like due to having suffered a whiplash injury before the end of this assignment which restricted how much time I could weave for and has continued to affect me. UPDATE: JANUARY 2017 – I had hoped to be able to do further samples using a cardboard loom but unfortunately the whiplash has been more problematic and persistent than I expected and this is frustrating me both from a general assignment point of view and from an assessment point of view.
Another idea is to remake a sample which you have already made and just make subtle changes to it. From an assessment point of view this is seen as good practice because a) there is more work present and b) it shows how you have adapted, developed and refined your the ideas. Don’t worry if this feels like repetition; it will not turn out the same a second time. Artists and designers have always made work several times – sometimes hundreds of times – until they discover something fresh in the work. This can be very useful if you have limited resources as you indicated.
As I write my responses I have now finished assignment 5 and do fully understand my tutor’s comments and plan to go back and re-work a couple of samples to see how they work using a cardboard loom. UPDATE: JANUARY 2017 – As I have stated above frustratingly the whiplash injury has been slower to heal that I had hoped and I have been unable to re-work these samples although I am still planning on doing so in the coming months. From an assessment point of view I have been incredibly frustrated and upset about not being able to achieve what I had planned but I do totally take on board my tutors points.
I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Creative Arts 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
Stage 1. Exploring the qualities of yarn
You have used a varied collection of yarns within your samples and made some really strong colour connections. I like the reference to source material and your spontaneous response is probably far more appropriate for you than the measured and calculated approach (hopefully you are pleased to hear that!)
All I can say is yes I am very pleased to hear that my spontaneous approach works well!
Once you have a ‘collection’ of yarns, expand the connections between these yarns and your inspiration images. For example what mood do they evoke and how does this link to other designers work which you have seen? Variety of texture is interesting: what can you find that could be called a yarn even if it is not sold in a textile shop? Are there packaging materials / household items / natural materials that could be reinvented as yarns? Raid that shed again!
I am writing this response as I am nearing assessment and am gathering a selection of yarns together including some from the Christmas period with a view to continue to work with them in the coming months.
Contrast of weight and texture is a key here because they can be combined to invent new surfaces. I believe you are naturally able to relate materials, colour and pattern to stories and moods and so make sure you express this fully through your sketchbook work.
The last sentence is a comment I am very pleased about and will add in further notes.
Stage 2. Experimenting with structures
This is where the combinations can really begin to get interesting; in your book you have a strength in relating image and experiment (i.e. you relate the making to a source image). More of this please….also you have developed some good stories in here. I mean visual stories which take the viewer on a journey and relate to a context. The is strongest with the maps (p4 & 9) and and it would be good to see this pushed further – at present it is an idea left undeveloped (here is a perfect example of how making the ‘same’ thing 2 several times could really progress a theme. I wonder what would happen if you used several maps, several patterns, different colour combinations, drew over the top of them, photocopied, cut and rearranged, laminated, painted onto, included photographs from that location, let the edges trail off into the wilderness, drew your own maps, stitched lines into them, ripped elements out of them etc etc etc. All of this and more – the same thing but constantly reinventing itself). Apologies for all the commas but can you see how this process of remaking is also a process of resolving and building a collection? At the sketchbook stage it is cheap, meaningful , quick and effective.
I am intrigued by the suggestions my tutor has made and they are ideas I would like to explore further as I go forward into my next course perhaps as part of a separate sketchbook. I have added some additional variations of woven maps into my sketchbook for this section of the course although I am not particularly happy with the variations but also understand the process and what my tutor is pushing me towards – constantly re-working and resolving that gradually builds into a collection that can be used as a direct reference for further ideas or as a collection of ideas that can be used for inspiration.
Your braiding may have taken a long time but you have been very conscientious and worked hard at it. There are some strong results and I hope that this has taught you more about material combinations and how they can become something new through the combination.
I do enjoy braiding, albeit not plaiting, and love the different combinations you can produce with different yarns.
Project 9 Developing design ideas into weaving
You have successfully prepared for and woven several surfaces which combine your yarns in interesting ways. The scale is also impressive as you have not chosen small scale samples due to the complexity. I know how long this takes and it is good that have bridged this assignment into the next in order to continue working on this technique.
There is a strength (or perhaps a confidence) in the sketchbook samples which is becoming lost in the final weaves and it is related to simplicity and spontaneity. You have packed so much into the warp that each element is rather overwhelmed by the next. I really think you have as many as 50 samples here if you took all the good ideas and separated them into different samples! Don’t be afraid of simplicity and remember that the handle (weight and movement) of the cloth is very important – try to vary this.
This comment really does make sense – a weakness of mine is to over complicate matters and this is something I need to rein back and be confident in simplicity in my actual stitched or woven samples as well as my sketchbook samples.
It may be easier not to try and ‘draw’ with the loom but to focus on your use of colour and yarn in more simple patterns, after all these are distinct strengths in your work. Also look back at the research to see how those unusual material combinations could be more fully employed in the weaves.
I understand the points my tutor is making and realise I need to focus my strength on use of colour effectively although I do confess to liking the use of a loom to effectively draw – I am inspired by historically woven tapestries as well as the work of Martina Celerin.
Your writing about textile artists is extremely strong because you have introduced, analysed, reflected and related to your own work and opinions. You have also used images well to compare and contrast. You develop some very well thought through arguments and have clearly enjoyed this element of the assignment.
I think this is where the benefit of having been working through the History of Art course is showing – I have enjoyed research tasks immensely and now understand that the alternative course has developed my writing skills.
I have already touched on many sketchbook points and so here I just want to encourage more integration of your artists research, more gathering of 3 materials which you find around you, more development of each sample idea and less ‘decoration’ of a page where it is not related directly to the experimentation. The book is strong – just let it get fatter!
Again I understand the points my tutor has made and think this is now coming down to confidence and understanding of what is required.
Learning Logs or Blogs
Well considered and well written.
Pointers for the next assignment
Theme book: this will become increasingly important in developing your project and personal style. Think carefully about the piece you are going to make and how it is relevant to you. Also remember it does not have to be a complete piece and so it could be an element of something larger. What we are looking for is your creativity with the materials, colours, textures and proportions.