Personal project – Reflective commentary

9 July 2016


Textiles 1: Exploring ideas, Assignment 5 – Personal project

Reflective commentary


Working through this assignment has been an extremely positive experience. I started by  reviewing my sketchbook work and sampling, looking for successful techniques and outcomes, and seeking those with the greatest potential for development. Seeing all my work together helped to pinpoint which are the most fruitful approaches to developing ideas.

I find that sketchbook work is an especially effective way of stimulating my creativity. Drawing using different media, making models and abstracting ideas, establishing links with other artist’s work and my own work from previous assignments. For this assignment, I made a dedicated sketchbook on the theme of ‘trees’ which references and expands on the concepts of assignment 4 (reveal and conceal). It gave me a firm foundation and point of reference as I worked through my personal project. As a consequence, I felt much more secure in the process and confident in my selections as I moved through each stage of sampling.

I have been surprised by the amount of synergy between the work which I have done to date (both practical and contextual), and this project. It feels as if the visual vocabulary which I have been developing is finally starting to behave like pieces in a jigsaw and coming together to form an overall picture. 

At no time in the assignment did I feel ‘lost’ or ‘lacking direction’. This is in measured contrast with a year ago when I was completing my personal project for Textiles 1: A creative approach. Then (I now realise), I was experimenting rather than sampling, concentrating on technique and technical skills rather than visual outcomes. Consequently, I had not done enough sampling to lead and focus my attention towards a finished piece.

The biggest difficulty I encountered with this assignment was having to make the final piece without being able to test all my ideas thoroughly through sampling. This was because my early samples were comparatively small, so it was not possible to test the colour interactions and composition due to difference of scale. In the event, I used a combination of sketching, further sampling and informed trial and error (i.e. I drew from my knowledge and experience to determine approaches which might improve the rhythm, tension and dynamics). I am pleased with the outcome of the project, if not somewhat surprised that it works better against a black background under natural outdoor lighting than against a white background under artificial lighting (i.e. in a gallery setting), as I had originally envisaged.

On 25 June, I attended a study visit at the Sainsbury’s centre for the visual arts. The exhibition: “Giacometti: A line through time” charted the life, art and influences of Giacometti and also, interestingly, work by artists who were influenced by him, including Elizabeth Frink, Francis Bacon, and William Turnbull. A particular aspect of his work which I am keen to read across into my own practice is the use of asymmetric placement and negative space to suggest tension.


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