Assignment Four: Reflections

I enjoyed this assignment very much. I felt like there was more making involved and that is what I enjoy. I did go off on a bit of a tangent with spinning, which I’ve only just touched on before, and I rediscovered macrame and braiding from my distant past.

Overall I’m finding that this course is demonstrating how you can build a textile work from the ground up. Making every part to suit your intentions. I haven’t thought much about making the materials before, including making yarn, and I can see how this would enhance a project.

I wasn’t very happy with my presentation of the yarns though. It would have been more satisfying for me if I could have found a way of looking at them all at once in a pile of a box. Instead I chose to attach them all to card. I have attempted to leave one part free to allow movement to be demonstrated and to touch the yarn.

I haven’t yet mastered the subtle colour and texture section. My colours remained all too intense despite multiple attempts. I needed to take the time and find the patience to use much smaller amounts of diluted colour for a better result.

I was happy with the paper mache yarns. They were surprisingly strong and despite being stiff and holding there shape, they were also malleable, especially when wet.

The wool spun yarns were fun to experiment with, but here I suspect I was more experimenting with spinning that with yarn construction. They were successful but fairly traditional yarns.

The deconstructed yarns were exciting to work with. I wasn’t sure what result I would get as I deconstructed the materials and I love that uncertainty and potential for surprise.

Starting to construct simple forms was very satisfying. It opened my eyes to the potential of braiding and the possibility of building forms for use in artworks, from the ground up.

I’m pretty happy with this unit and I feel I got a lot out of it, that I can apply to future projects.

Assessment criteria review

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I like to use a wide range of materials and techniques, and believe I am aware of the possibilities detailed observation can bring to a work. I’m not sure how I go really with design and composition. In relation to this assignment I used design elements directly related to the previous works I was observing and they were arranged fairly traditionally.

Quality of outcome

I was happy with the yarns, but as I mentioned above, I was not very happy with the presentation of the final collection. I would rather it had sat together as a single coherent work, rather than mounted on the the thin board and arranged in a concertina book that was floppy and distracting to manage.

Demonstration of creativity

I love to experiment and explore and this is always a feature of my work. I would have to say that my personal voice seems to be about process and surprise, and the final works are somewhat lacking in finish, coherence and concept.

Context

A weak point of mine. I research techniques but probably don’t research artists enough. I take my information from all sorts of sources and continue to not be aware of where I best fit.

Assignment three – Reflections

Reflection on Colour Communication assignment:

I expected to really enjoy this assignment and I did. Colour is the thing that brought me to quilting, then to bead making, and subsequently to Tafe and then Uni. It was my pathway into art and the thing that still gives me the most pleasure in creating. Choosing colour for quilts was always my favourite bit, and then learning colour mixing in painting really opened my eyes to the possibilities of experiences all nuances of colour. Even as a child colour fascinated me. I remember pondering over my experience of colour as compared to others and wondering if everyone in fact saw the same colours, or whether what I learnt to call red was the same as what others learnt to call red. As it turned out both my sons are colour blind and so my question has been answered. What they see as red is not the same as what I see.

During this assignment I expanded my knowledge of colour mixing. I found the matching of colours quite challenging but there was definitively a learning curve and with time I had a better idea of what colours and amounts were needed to achieve the hue I was after. I realised that tone was also quite important in matching and used complementary to darken colours and white to lighten.

I discovered that blending colours with thread was possible and opened my eyes to how this colour matching could be further translated into textile. I used some of my new knowledge in parallel with dyeing work I was also doing and had much more success than previous in getting colours that I wanted in fabric.

The digital programs that created palettes gave me a better idea about creating the particular colour by looking at their breakdown into CMYK, and also suggested harmonious palettes based on a photograph. I had been trying to match colour in the landscape but found that what I thought I was seeing was not in fact what the digital program saw. It turned out to be a tool I will continue to use.

Seeing the nuances of very pale colour in the glassware was also a different experience for me. Previously I tend to gravitate to bright jewel tones but here I found pleasure in the subtle shades and flecks of colour amongst the glass objects.

Working with collage and colour suggested ways of translating this to fabric, and how applying blocks of colour could be used in textile work. I am currently using the technique of translating a photo into fabric collage and then using the new fabric created to further manipulate to create quilt blocks. I’m excited by the potential for collage, and translating some of the collage techniques I tried into fabric. I did feel I didn’t have quite the range of techniques and composition I would have liked in the final collages, as I chose quite a simple composition to work with. There would certainly be more work for me to do in this area.7

So all in all I feel like this unit has really moved me forward in working with colour and helps me to consolidate colour knowledge that I have from a number of sources.

I found the display element to the assignment challenging, as clean presentation is not my forte but I did find it surprisingly enjoyable and again it got me thinking about presentation in the context of some of my other textile work.

Reflection on work against assessment criteria:

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skill (40%).

I tried to use a wide range of materials and techniques within the brief, and closely observed the colours to try and analyse their make up. I did find that I imposed my own ideas of colours on to the actual colours present and I tend to gravitate closer to the primary jewel tones than colours often really are. My compositional skills are a bit limited and I find I struggle here and often tend to choose the simple composition because I don’t manage more complex compositions well.

• Quality of outcome – content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).

I used knowledge gained within in the course and previous knowledge to develop the colours for the works which I was happy with in the main. More work could have been done on the watercolour works and the collages, but I felt they were presented in a coherent manner which illustrated each exercise without additional words. Not sure there was much conceptualisation of thoughts on my part in these exercise and the idea communicated was fairly straightforward analysis and enjoyment of colour.

• Demonstration of creativity – imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (20%).

I love experimentation and so always try to push the boundaries of the brief to create works that come into being by partly serendipitous means, creating works that come not from my imagination but as a function of the process. This creates an excitement and sense of exploration for me, that makes me get up early in the morning to see what the dyepot or the kiln or the printing press can reveal. At the moment I would say that my personal voice is not well developed as I leap from one technique or process to another, although chance and serendipity in my work is a constant. For this assignment there was more restraint in my attempt to complete the exercises as requested but the final inclusion of the watercolour lakes did show my love for process driven art sneaking in to the book.

Context – reflection, research, critical thinking (20%).

As always I tend to research process more than other artists work, which is a limitation of mine, as I find that other artists work can send me in new directions and lead to the creation of new work. I reflect on what I am doing and try to evaluate the success of communication of my idea or concept. I can overthink some aspects of this and in effect sterilise my work to the point that the inclusion of conceptual elements overshadows and destroys the aesthetics. Not so much in this assignment which was more straightforward but in other works.

Part Two Reflection on the course so far and my evaluation of my works against the assessment criteria. 


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. 

Part Two/Research point one – Mending artists

Looking for how they select, apply and alter their chosen materials. 
Lee Mingwei – The Mending Project 2009-2012

http://www.leemingwei.com/projects.php# Viewed 24 Oct 2017

A interactive installation project whereby the artist mends textile articles brought to him by members of the public. Whilst he does this he chats with the owner of the textile and at the end the textile remains connected to its reel of thread on the wall.

The repair is designed to be celebrated and visible and is seen as a gift. The intimate act of mending something that is often seen as an extension of self. Something to be displayed as evidence of a caring gift. 

This artist does not select his textiles for this project but allows self selection by the public participants. He then uses thread that is chosen by the participant to repair the articles, often in a very visible and decorative way. His art is about the gift of mending but also about the connections made during the mending process. 

https://www.mca.com.au/events/mending-project/  Viewed 24 Oct 2017

https://www.mca.com.au/news/2012/09/06/mending-project-update/    Viewed 24 Oct 2017

Kintsugi: 

Ancient Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with gold. 


Image from 

https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/kintsugi-japanese-art-ceramic-repair     Viewed 7 Nov 2017

Charlotte Bailey:

This artist has adapted Kintsugi to repair fabric covered ceramic pieces with gold embroidery thread.  The idea of highlighting and celebrating the repair really appeals to me. The artistic form is defined by the serendipitous nature of the break or tear as is the artistic repair. It’s a lovely way of allowing chance to reveal unimagined beauty, and one that could readily be applied to textiles. 

I love to incorporate chance in my work because of the unexpected and unimaginable (ie I couldn’t make it up) and the unique work that results. The combination of chance and considered choices results in the most complex and beautiful art in my eyes. 

Vase by Charlotte Bailey below

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/04/embroidery-kintsugi-charlotte-bailey/    Viewed 7 Nov 2017

Assignment Two: Stitching placed and spaced


This is my first textile work and it was heavily worked in layers, partly because I kept not being happy with what I had done and wanting to add more to improve it. This is in part how I work and it’s not all bad because sometimes it can result in more complex works and with unexpected results. And you know how I like unexpected results. I am excited every day to see how works turn out and if I knew that all in advance it would lose the thrill for me. 

The idea here was to take the graphic qualities of the T shape evident in the red collage and interpret this in cloth melded together with stitch and manipulation into a single work. I tried to use Joomchi principles to meld the red cloth together and then on to the backing cloth but it really is of limited success in cloth. Even using silk fibre between the layers didn’t help much and I finally resorted to needle felting the fibre through to help bind the layer together. Once I had this done I then stitched in fairly regimented lines of T shape stitch. It all looked a bit sterile and flat so I added contrast in shape and colour by draping a piece of scrap of a random shape on top. I thought the shape looked a bit like another organic T so I went with that and moulded it a bit more to reference this. Then some red stitching on top to have some clear stitching to appreciate amongst the jumble of stitching on this work. In my red collage I get the sense of the T shape falling or tumbling randomly and I have tried to translate this into the red stitching on the surface of this work. 


This second work went through a number of translations before it ended up like this. My idea was to highlight embossing in the preparation of this textile for stitch. I tried to do this by using padding (a disposable towel from work) and cutting in to this and then stitching in the depression.  Originally all three motifs here where still part of the one layered towel but I wasn’t happy with the look or configuration so I choose to cut out the partial stitched motifs and re arrange them on a red background. Now I had the chance to highlight the raised nature of the individual sections by stitching along the background and then up on to the white sections. 

I have also tried to reference embossing with the raised couched stitching enclosing ribbon or thick thread under stitch. 

Each individual little stitch work references things in my drawings. The red net appearance of the top layer of the red collage, the woven appearance set into the embossing and the small red squares themselves in the red square embossed drawing.

The disposable towel I used is a bit thick and tough and not exactly as malleable as I would need to highlight embossing.  I was quite pleased with the raised couched ribbon and the running stitch but again I could have spent more time working the thing into more of a unified whole. 


My final textile work is my favourite. There is a more minimal approach to stitch and more focus on the luscious fabric. It is a piece of hand dyed silk organza that has not been manipulated other than to be dyed in my now signature red for this series. 😀. I am happy with the linear marks bound at the top and free at the bottom reminiscent of my partial joomchi stitched paper work. I intended this work to be hung as shown to highlight the drape and fall of both the fabric and the line. 

The silk thread stitching has been worked twice in reference to the twice drawn line in a kimono drawing and its translation in to stitch on paper. I was pleased with the way you can see both the front and back of the stitch through the thin organza giving the line a more continuous quality. 

I think this is the strongest of the three in highlighting drape and interesting line quality.  Plus I’ll be able to repurpose it as a scarf later.