I’m really enjoying the course so far and the graded entry into textile work has been good for me. Closely observing my textiles has resulted in many ideas for my own textile work as well as simply seeing interesting lines and detail that had previously gone unnoticed to me.
I gained a lot from the paper manipulation section of this unit. The ease of manipulating paper made me push harder to entertain ideas about what could be done with textile beyond my cut and paste quilting background.
Similarly attempting to draw with stitch rather than embroidery gave me a new perspective on stitch and freed me from the constraints of regular embroidery stitches. Although I did use some traditional stitches to achieve the effects I wanted, I also realised that I could stitch freely and loosely, simply applying lines and texture with thread rather than thinking of it as embroidery. I tried to relax and to some extent let the stitches fall where they may as the lines do in expressive drawing, rather than keeping rigid control of the stitching.
I was a bit less happy with my final textile works, than I was doing the paper manipulation and stitching on paper. This often happens to me when I try to work on a single large work that is intended to be a more resolved work. I seem to freeze and am less adventurous in my approach compared to when I am working on “testers”. I am fearless when it comes to experimentation in the lead up to attempting more resolved works, but final works tend to be more contained and often less interesting. One way I try to get around this is by prolific making of smaller units. Following this I can make choices about inclusive or not of these smaller units directly into the larger work. I have always been drawn to textiles as they allow for this way of working more easily than paper. It would be good for me to try and allow the same freedom and experimentation to come through in my larger individual works.
Evaluation of my works against assessment criteria:
Demonstration of technical and visual skills – Materials at my disposal here have been somewhat limited, but I did plan ahead and bring materials I thought I could use, and as such I believe I was able to make good use of locally sourced and my own materials. I think I have quite good technical skills with wide ranging experimentation and lots of technical ideas. My observational skills and visual awareness have been developing over the course of this unit, but probably more generally over the last few years in the context of my other tertiary visual art study. I have found that I am quite amazed how ideas based on observation are now generally too many rather than too few, and I’m in danger from leaping to one to another without fully resolving anything. As far as design and compositional skills go I am pretty two dimensional in my ideas and often forget to consider depth and interaction between design elements fully. I am not as accomplished with composition and design as I would like to be and tend to think in terms of rule of thirds from photography and containing geometric design within a frame as in traditional quilting. I have tried to push beyond this a bit with my current works but it is an area I find more difficult.
Quality of outcome – Here I am pretty dubious. I was not very happy with my final works, although I did manage to improve them to some extent as I went. If I am ruthless I could describe my works as a messy jumble of rag, a kindergarten wall hanging and a tatty scarf. The series holds together in terms of colour, and has resulted from an application of techniques and ideas previously developed through the course, but I can’t really see much communication of ideas in this work and as such it leaves me a bit cold. Possibly I have overanalysed the inclusion of ideas from the drawings to the point where they do reference the drawings but don’t go further at all to be expressive or meaningful works.
Demonstration of creativity – I love to experiment and invent new techniques or adapt old ones. This is the area where I feel confident and relaxed, and the area that is most pleasurable to engage in. I’m not sure that these works show much development of a personal voice. They are not expressive, complex, serendipitous organic works which is what I gravitate towards, but I like to think of this as just a start, the tip of the possible iceberg.
Context – Another area in which I struggle. I often find I want to be making, not researching, and yet when I research I do find that it opens up unimagined possibilities to forward my work. I haven’t done enough research in Part Two, but I hope to get that back on track. I think I can manage critical thinking but at times I also find that I spend too much work time in my head and perhaps I could spend more time thinking on the page, or the fabric.