Assignment 1 – Reflective commentary

December 2015

Textiles 1: Exploring ideas, Assignment 1 – Cultural fusions

Reflective commentary


I chose native North American culture for my topic because of it’s strong symbolism a close relationship to nature. Unlike previous modules, I have not felt phased by the amount of design work/volume of samples. Computer software helped, and I took the risk of spending time to try out different programmes and learn how to use them to manipulate images and create patterns. At last, I am beginning to feel comfortable with the design process and consequently, feel that I have produced some strong outcomes for this assignment. 


The colours and textures in my Snoshone Lake samples work particularly well. The main colour palette is complementary (blue and orange), contributing to a real lift and energy in these pieces. The range of yarns and fabrics, and how they have been juxta-positioned gives a lively contrast of texture. The balance of colour is also important, so as the bright orange does not dominate and overshadow the cooler blues and greens.


A change of direction came with an appreciation of cultural sensitivities. It meant that I concentrated on more abstract ideas which were not identifiable as facsimiles of historical designs. It probably pushed me to be more creative. An example is the “blackfoot dress” inspired fabric block print – a simple analogy which was adapted into an effective sample. By introducing green (complementary), and accents of heavier lines, the piece was given a 3-D feel and became much more interesting.


At stage 4, I had to review my designs and samples in the context of colour trends in fashion and/or interiors. I would have preferred to do this earlier in the process, so as to better influence my division of time (particularly I would have liked to spend more time on tassels and fringes). It is a good learning point for future assignments.


Homeware colour trends are almost exclusively neutrals, blacks and whites. I altered some of my samples as a result of this research (e.g. the “feather mirror” prints). These pieces work well because of variations in tone and distinctive geometric shapes.  The two “Sioux breastplate print/appliqué” samples work less well because of confusion/conflict between the printed areas and the triangular shard shapes.


I have thought about my creative voice, and feel it is being reflected in the presentation of crisp, distinctive shapes and outlines, contrasted with “messy”, textured areas. This is self evident in the “fallen feather” prints (stencilled areas, vs. block-printed areas). Snoshone Lake weavings also demonstrate a similar contrast between “messy” texture (landscape and grassland) compared with bold untextured shapes (more regularly woven blue sections).


Outside OCA, I exhibited with textile group ‘Chain Reaction’ at Snape Maltings in September. I joined a new group (‘The Print and Stitch Group’) recently, and I am delighted that my idea of ‘Identity’ has been chosen as an exhibition theme. I have also just completed a course at Gainsborough House Printmaking workshop on drypoint etching, plate etching, linocut and screen printing.


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