My initial response to the first assignment was that it was going to constitute a lot of drawing. I have done some drawing at Uni but I found that it can take me ages and I am very often not happy with the result. But looking at the examples given in the course handbook and the suggestions of other artists to look at relaxed me a little, and I realised I didn’t have to produce a huge folio of photo realistic drawing. Instead the exercises took me through a range of different possibilities for drawing and I was reasonably happy with the results. I didn’t feel lost as to where to start as the exercise notes were enough of a push for the ideas to start flowing. Placing limitations on me in terms of colour and trying to represent only a specific feature about the textile gave me the freedom to experiment and I thoroughly enjoyed all the exercises.
Selection of the textile works was an adventure in itself, and I enjoyed examining each piece closely and imagining the stitcher and the wearer, and what their story may have been. I experimented with a range of drawing techniques using only ink or watercolour, on a variety of papers. I was especially drawn to the line exercise and was amazed at what I could portray using line alone. I was excited by this but ran out of time at this stage to experiment further.
Moving on to Project Three I decided to use watercolour and ink again. I didn’t feel like I had fully explored its potential and wanted to play with the wet media seeping into soft paper. I have mostly used recycled paper and my works are nearly all the same size. I haven’t been too adventurous with composition but I have tried to think about using the whole sheet in some of the works. I love colour and was pleased to be finally using colour. I had a limited palette of watercolours and I attempted to mix the shades of green I saw, but was less successful at this than I would have liked.
I think I have definitely broadened my drawing skills through these exercises. I tried to think laterally about how I could create work and found that I was never stuck about where to start. In fact the opposite: I had lots of ideas and not enough time to execute them.
From now on I’m thinking that a lot of my textile work will start with drawing. Taking a source material through a range of manipulations that I subsequently work from, seems like a fun and effective way to develop and test ideas before committing to a final piece. It also serves to provide additional secondary sources of inspiration that would result in a more complex and less representational work. I am looking forward to transferring line into stitch now that my eyes have been opened to the potential of line in drawing.