Personal project, Stage 1, Reviewing your work so far

6 June 2016

The course instructions asked me to use a table and pin board to display the drawings, design ideas and samples that I particularly like, or that I feel represent ‘breakthrough’ points. Unfortunately that was not possible because most of my sketches and experiments are stuck into books (a way in which I like to work because it helps me with progression and development of ideas). Instead, I shall include the examples in this blog entry.


‘Breakthrough’ points:

Undoubtably a breakthrough came in the first assignment when I started to use computer software to manipulate, tile and layer images. An example is SAMPLE 6, assignment 1 (below), in which I explore different arrangements of Indian bead designs and variations in colour schemes. 

Another example is SAMPLE IP2, assignment 3: Portrait in ExtraOrganza) in which I have layered one of my drawings over a photograph and printed it onto silk organza fabric.

Ideas and samples that I particularly like:

From the first assignment (cultural fusions), there are three samples which I particularly like:

The first is the “Fallen feather” (SAMPLES 4a and 4b, assignment 1):

I think that the printed background works well because of the changing tonal qualities of the marks and how they contrast with the bold feather stencil shapes.

Secondly, I like the tiled bead design below – particularly the colour scheme and the texture of the squares (see assignment 1, design development book 2, pages 17-19). It was made by printing one repeat with acrylic paint and a carved rubber stamp, then scanning into the computer, replicating and rearranging the design to make a pattern.

Finally, I feel that the Shoshone lake weaving (SAMPLE 9a, assignment 1) is very effective, both in terms of colour contrast and texture. The idea originated fro a series of drawings/paintings using different media, which I interpreted from a photograph.

Looking back a screen printing (assignment 2), I found lots of techniques which produced really interesting textural results and which I imagine could be used effectively in conjunction with fabric manipulation and/or stitching. Some were not obviously appealing to me at the time because of their subtlety didn’t make them outstanding as ‘stand-alone’ samples. 

Examples are as follows:

Above: Acrylic spray paint used to make a stencil (SAMPLE 10, assignment 2).

Above: Cobweb stray used as a stencil (SAMPLE 16, assignment 2).

Above: Acrylic paint used to make a mono-print stencil (SAMPLE 13, assignment 2).

Above: Vilene used with acrylic paint and stencilling to make a screen which gives prints with a range of tones and surface qualities depending how much paint has seeped though (SAMPLE 9, assignment 2). 

One of the samples which was outstanding on it’s own was made using a resist/stencil of masking tape (see below, SAMPLE 8, assignment 2). It is bold and confident, yet has subtlety of colour variations where the two prints overlap.

I have lots of “favourites” from Assignment 3, but to pick just a few:

From the netting workshop, organza strips (SAMPLE N2):

Because of the incursion of frayed edges into the negative space as well as the semi-transparent properties of the fabric strips.

 – and SAMPLE N5:

For the same reasons as SAMPLE N2, and also because of the beautiful shadows it creates.

From “Knitted nets”, SAMPLE KN20:

The colour contrast is great and I like the way that the organise ‘core’ forms a spiral which is ‘followed’ by the blue semi-transparent ribbon bows, which emphasise the 3D structure and giving the sample a feeling of movement.

From the “Woven structures” workshop, SAMPLE WS1:

Lots of subtle variation due to some of the weft materials being transparent, some not (meaning that some are visible and others are partially or completely obscured). A strong contrast between the soft, brightly coloured weft fibres and the shiny, hard, bright copper wire warp.

And from Inkjet printing, SAMPLE IP4: Flowers on ExtraOrganza:

A contrast of light and dark, fine detail contrasted with strong edges, giving a definite depth to the sample.

Set questions:

What approach to drawing works best for you? 

In Assignments 1 and 2, (because of the themes I had selected) I didn’t have much choice but to work from photographs. Although I feel very comfortable with this approach, I am aware that photographs are themselves interpretations, so I always try and capture as much information from real life as possible. Although I haven’t explored the approach much in this module, I also like to use words/phrases to stimulate my creativity.

Which materials and ways of working do you enjoy most? 

I like to sketch and make analogies using as many different media as possible (including computer software), because this approach stimulates my creativity in different ways. I particularly like acrylic paint because of the texture and movement which can be implied with bristle marks and other implements. I also like oil pastels because they make it difficult for me to work in fine detail, and in so doing, both discourage copying and help me to focus on the most important visual elements. Collage has similar advantages.


Which ways of developing ideas have proved most fruitful?

I try and use as many methods as I can, including selecting areas of drawings which I find most interesting, changing scale, using printing to give exciting textures to my mark-making, cutting out and re-arranging or collating sections. I also try and think about how designs might be combined.

Here is an example which was particularly fruitful. It started by making a pencil drawing from a photograph of a Sioux breastplate (I selected an area which I was interested in rather than drawing the whole object):

I then made a 3D paper model:

Which I used to make prints and rubbings:

I also photographed and digitally manipulated the image of the model to come up with ideas for fabric design:


I then used the computer-manipulated section as a prompt for a sample using fabric darts:

Returning to the original pencil sketch, I took the elements which I liked best and made a foam printing block, which I used to recreate the design in white acrylic paint on black paper:

I used this design as a basis for some abstract collage.

Then also used it in conjunction with an earlier feather design, as the background for stencil screen-prints:

Which textile technique appeals to you the most?

That is a difficult question, because with the exception of Assignment 1, the work has been quite prescriptive (screen printing for assignment 2 and I had to limit myself to just 5 workshops in assignment 3 because of time constraints). I certainly feel at home with all types of printing (screen printing, thermofax, inkjet printing), but I can’t imagine not wanting to combine these with at least one other technique. I also very much like weaving (although probably not a natural choice to combine with printing!). I find weaving very constraining which actually helps me to think creatively, and be more abstract; freeing me from having to copy or represent the idea or object literally.

During this module I discovered computer manipulation of images. It means I can draw or photograph my samples, and use them in conjunction with other ideas. I particularly like the idea that drawings or paintings can actually be used as part of a final piece because I find that they can produce very expressive visual outcomes.

One of the techniques which I enjoy, but haven’t yet had much chance to incorporate yet is hand-stitching (as a method of mark-making, embellishment, or to join pieces of fabric or paper). It can be very powerful as a technique for introducing texture or colour accents, and I will certainly consider it for my final project.



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