Reveal and conceal, Reflective commentary

20 April 2016

Textiles 1: Exploring ideas, Assignment 3 – Reveal and conceal

Reflective commentary

Initially, I found it difficult to accept the generalisation that Japanese artists have an inherent sensitivity to the use of space, light and shadow which Western artists do not. However, as my own research added empirical support, I felt compelled to accept the arguments. Having completed my research, I now appreciate why cultural differences make Japanese artists and designers’ work so distinctive.

In common with Japanese artists, this assignment asked me to adopt a materials-led approach. I chose five workshops which interested me the most; netting, knitting weaving, inkjet printing and paper lamination.

It was easy to build up materials-led netting, knitted and woven samples, but more difficult to apply the approach to inkjet printing and paper lamination (as these techniques rely on the use of imagery). My sketchbook work, (including the use of computer manipulation to overlay images) was particularly useful.

I produced 43 workshop samples in total – a valuable learning process, both in terms of acquiring technical skills and understanding the influence of materials on visual outcome. I also carefully analysed and documented the behaviour of individual samples under different lighting schemes. This taught me that useful generalisations can be made about colour, shadow and clarity of form.

At times, I have questioned whether I put too much emphasis on stage 2 (the workshops), at the expense of stage 5 (translating ideas into samples). However, because I actually started sample development as I progressed through the workshops, the balance is probably acceptable.

The most challenging aspect of this assignment has been selecting samples (including those to develop further). I found it difficult to accurately assess their potential, and to identify which could be used/developed effectively together (simply because there were so many combinations). 

I had hoped that I could break the selection process down into three simple stages. However, situations arose where new work prompted me too look again at samples which I had previously rejected on individual merit. In recognition that the selection process must remain open, I have replaced the idea of “rejecting” samples with the word “park”. This allows me to revisit samples if new work suggests they might be incorporated. It also allows for the situation when a sample’s development potential has been incorrectly assessed (i.e. development work has been unsuccessful and the original set of samples needs to be reappraised) 

Throughout this assignment, I have been careful to ensure that my work meet the criteria of ‘reveal and conceal, light and transparency’. Despite producing many samples, I still feel that I have only just scratched the surface. Ideally, I would like to explore possibilities of additional materials, the potential of 3D structures, and techniques of stitched nets, destruction and disintegration.

In support of my continued learning and development, I have attended two thermofax screen printing workshops and an informal meeting of local OCA students. I also still regularly attend meetings with “The print and stitch group”.


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