Tutor Report – my own reply to my tutor’s comments where applicable is in italics immediately after the paragraph or comment.
Jane, you have made it to the end of your first textiles course! – well almost – there are several things which you could do to raise the level of the work at assessment and I will highlight these here. As it stands at present you have completed the task set out in the brief with a clear investigation of a theme and confident design development to turn this into a product. There is evidence in your making of the learning which has taken place in previous projects and you have very good attention to detail in your construction skills.
Re reading feedback for each part is an essential part of knowing how to build on it and the more reflective responses can be seen at assessment, the more mature your folio of work will appear. In this regard the learning log / blog is a useful tool for showing how you have considered and built on feedback.
As I write I have been going back through my previous tutor reports and making notes of anything I feel I need to add to prepare for assessment whether it is additional samples or just blog work and is in direct response to the comments above. UPDATE: January 2017 – I have worked through my blogs and added in any extra notes, blogs or samples as required and also where it is possible. The only area I have not been able to add more samples is the weaving for reasons explained in those blogs but I also understand my tutor notes and suggestions and can take this forward.
It is worth noting that you do not have to actually make the bag – panels are fine. It is designing the bag and creating resolved samples which could potentially be used in the bag that counts and so make sure your time is well spent showing a variety of techniques and experiments which link together previous projects and show how you have used your inspiration to really explore a subject deeply.
Although my initial plan was to make the bag I now feel that I am taking the advice above and concentrating on adding resolved samples and also any further experiments that I feel maybe beneficial to show further deep exploration of my chosen theme. UPDATE: JANUARY 2017 – all samples have now been added and any further notes to my blogs in response to this feedback.
Feedback on assignment
The stitched approach has often worked well and I really like your experimentation with different textured surfaces. Your personality comes through in the careful detail and composition within the panels and you have put a lot of thought into the colour and pattern.
Some of my favourite responses to that amazing Dovedale landscape are in the ‘explorations’ book – in particular the dripped watercolours where you let the ink run. The most powerful pages in terms of design development are the two with the water-soluble stitch on one side juxtaposed with the bold ink work on the other side. In these examples above your personal style shines through because you have not been overpowered by the materials but have reinvented them as designs with strong mark making and variation in density.
I am really happy my personality is showing through regards to attention to detail and composition and also the thought that went into the colour, pattern and also the texture – these particularly important considerations as I personally feel they are the voice of the textile worker.
I understand the comments regarding the dripped watercolours although I was unsure about how they would be perceived – I had not tried the technique before and was unsure of how successful they were and will now be more confident in experimenting further.
I did enjoy working with the water-soluble stitch compared to the ink work and at this point was not trying to look at resolved work so was just happy to play. I confess to not liking rinsing the stitched piece and felt it was a learning curve into how the technique works.
The acrylic works lack this sense of reinvention and I am not sure that you are recognising which of your paintings are the most valuable in a design portfolio – try to select pieces which have surprised you and which capture the mood of the place rather than the scenery. Later, when you move into stitched panels, this becomes more natural for you.
These are comments I really understand – I think I was trying too hard to capture the actual scenery rather than the essence or emotions of the places I visited and became almost restrictive in how I was working. I also understand that learning to recognise the best pieces for a design portfolio is part of the learning curve and it is important I understand that it is not necessary to capture the details of the scenery but the essence of emotion of the location and what I see … I need to capture my response to something more than what my eyes see. I enjoy working with detail and there is no question that I will continue to work some sketches or paintings as detailed pieces – partly for own enjoyment and partly as reference for particular details or shapes and colours but I also need to work much more instinctively and emotionally using colours and marks and this now needs to form the basis of my ongoing work. I have studied the abstract artists of the 20th century during my art history studies and now can understand the art considerably better and want to now further my research on this period – I feel this would benefit me moving forward into my next course. I find slight irony that as I move into the stitched panels this process of selection and capturing emotion becomes more natural – I cannot remember learning to sew so perhaps the needle is my real pencil in my mind so when I sketch I need to think in terms of how I would interpret what I see in terms of textiles rather than the artistic media I am using.
The bag panel is a well considered piece which combines several of your techniques. It is rather safe in comparison to some of the smaller experiments as noted above and this is often the case when we try to make a decision for something ‘final’. I feel that you have the beginning of a really good collection here in which each sample compliments the next. This is why seeing samples is more interesting than the process of assembling them as one object – a collection of samples counts as a ‘product’ as far as the brief is concerned. If you wish to finish the bag that’s fine but the more samples you have separate to this object the stronger the submission will be.
I do understand the comments and do re-call feeling that I wanted to work on something I felt completely comfortable with and was also considering practicalities when the bag is being used. I am now considering submitting the bag as finished panels and I will be looking to complete it after it is returned post-assessment. I have decided to add some other samples which will show the other panels of the bag and also am consider other samples which could later be developed further into an alternative version of the bag.
I like the way in which you have used your imagery as a direct starting point for the appliqué – the abstraction of shapes work well and the surface finishes on the fabrics pick up on several of the textures and patterns which you have captured in your paintings. Be careful that you do not lose the beauty of these by putting them all on top of each other so that the designs begin to merge – remember contrast is good and so areas of simplicity will make the more complex techniques stronger.
This comment comes back to me having to be careful to avoid over-complicating my design again – I wanted to keep the contrasts of the imagery but also felt that the pieces needed to cross over to give the impression of the perspective I was trying to show but totally understand what my tutor is saying and will keep his tips in mind in future projects. I am really happy with his comments at the beginning of the paragray as the imagery I realised needed to be the starting point for the applique.
It is very encouraging to read on your blog about how you allowed yourself to be led by the process and for the design to emerge rather than following your plans too carefully.
The quality of drawing and painting is more dynamic in the smaller book because of the broader experimentation and use of process and materials however this book has a clear objective and sets out your theme well. There is progression towards the abstract as the book developed and so we can see you playing with idea and compositions. Colour appears rather crude in comparison to the fabric work and I would like to see you producing colour stories and moods which relate to your theme photos and drawings. A range of different palettes would give you greater potential to build that fabric 2 collection. Ultimately this could be suggested as a range of bags with different textures and moods. Again, no need to make these but visualising the possibilities would be a good extension of the market research which you have done.
This paragraph really makes sense and I feel my ideas to add further experimental samples ties in with the suggestion of visualising possibilities of different bags with different fabrics and palettes. I do understand the comments regarding the drawing and painting being more dynamic in the smaller book as I was starting to restrict myself too much in the larger, later book as I was trying to work towards resolved designs and samples and got bogged down with trying to convey the scene rather than the emotions and essence of the landscapes.
Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays
Blog is clear and descriptive again – it could have more examples of your development process and thoughts about how the inspiration has led you (more from your sketchbook and inspiration here please).
I understand I need to further expand my blogs and explain my processes and inspiration.
Pointers for assessment
Make sure that you have reviewed your feedback sheets to explore ways of developing each assignment and then submit all of the work in a clear, simple and logical way. Sketchbooks are key and should be clearly labeled and related to each assignment. It is useful to make a distinction between ‘development work’ and ‘final samples’ to show your ability to critically select from your work. I am glad that you have enjoyed this course and wish you all the best for your future studies!