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 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.  Viewed 24 Oct 2017    Viewed 24 Oct 2017


Ancient Japanese tradition of repairing broken ceramics with gold. 

Image from     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    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. 

Developed and composed samples (2.4) results

Here is the first of my two larger samples of stitch on manipulated paper. My paper supply is a bit limited here but I have tried to emboss this paper with folded flower shapes which I have then pressed into damp paper with the aid of a towel and my not inconsiderable body weight. Because the paper is a bit light it has not held the embossing well like my squares embossed paper which was proper heavy weight printing paper. 

I have chosen to use the embossed marks as my guide for stitching creating an irregular stitched flower shape. I have then used the movement of the sweeping yellow paint line and stitched in parallel lines to evoke this movement and varied the distance between the lines from one side of the page to the other to further evoke a sense of movement further away from the viewer as well.

That’s all well and good but I’m not really sure that I’m happy with the end result. It looks too scrappy and messy for me. If I was to try again I would make sure my surface was more clearly embossed by using better paper and possibly use a more contrasting colour thread for the lines. 

This is another fairly direct translation of the drawing. I have used handwoven grey thread and then when I lost that thread I resorted to handdyed thin brown silk.  Turned out to be a blessing because the thinner thread adds a bit more variation to the work. I was going to cut the threads in the middle to try and evoke a mending repair aesthetic but at the last minute I chose to put a hole in the paper instead. This is a bit of textural Joomchi paper with an inclusion, which I love, but I’m not sure how much the stitchis adding. Given more time I think this would benefit from a lot more stitching but I am happy with the placement of the hole and the brown patch. 

Both of these are very literal translations of my drawings and I don’t think this is good and will try to get away from this in the textile works. 

Thinking ahead 

Considering the need for some base textile to work on. I am living remote at present and only have undyed textiles that I brought with me, and some dye.

So before I think about manipulating the textile, I first have to consider what colours I would like to use in my base textiles. At this stage I’m not sure where I will be going with my textile works, but I can’t ignore my surroundings. I am draw to the distinctive colours of the outback, the red of the earth, the green of the plant growth and the blue of the sky.  

It’s going to be pretty hard to choose textile for my base because I don’t have much available  and I understand that I am making links always back to my drawings or my stitch works so possibly I should be using my cream/ white fabrics undyed as paper is undyed.  Actually reading the brief again I see that I should only be referencing colour in a limited way and relating it to the colours in my drawings.

Still I’m going to have some fun dyeing some fabric to use at some stage anyway in the colours of the outback.  I want to extend my work ultimately and apply what I’ve learnt to a body of work relating to my time here. 

Here I am trying to match the colour of the sky with dye on paper

Developed and composed samples (2.4) Sketchbook entry

I have chosen embossing and Joomchi as the more successful of my paper manipulations and couching and visible running stitch  and loose thread as more successful of the stitch techniques. 

These compositions are pretty literal translations of my drawing but I did consider composition in the original drawings.

I want to use repetitive directional line to show the movement evident in the original yellow drawing and develop that drawing with the added dimension of texture and paper manipulation to make it a more complex drawing with greater depth. 

With the patch drawing I want to represent the mending quality of the central square and I plan to start with continuous line through couching and then go to running stitch with the same thread and even some loose thread to emphasis the mending quality.

Drawing with stitch onto paper Part Two (2.3)

Here I have used the paper I deemed as soft and stitched with soft fluffy yarn in an attempt to create an irregular soft outline as in the plant negative space drawing. The irregular outline comes from the diffusion of watercolour through the paper and I have attempted to recreate this look with yarn arranged in knots rather than a linear arrangement. If I had more time this would have benefited from knots all over the background leaving only an outlined negative spaced drawing of the plant as in the watercolour drawing.


This stitch drawing is meant to reference the flowing overlapping lines of the kimono drawing. To this end I have doubled the thread and left the ends free. 

For this stitch drawing I have added fine lines of very lightweight machine thread in red to overlay the embedded collage and reference the random wispy lines of the red collage.

Here I am using the slits cut in the paper as a guide for my stitching. They were not originally cut for this purpose but the in exact way I have cut them makes for pleasing irregularity. 

The curly line of my grass drawing are shown here in curly yarn on raffia embedded paper. I have couched the yarn down only loosely to allow it to have some level of free rein to it’s curl. This yard has been knitted dyed and unpicked, hence the curl. 


Here I have used the embossing as a guide to fill in a geometric square but repeatedly using the same holes in different directions to build up a solid woven surface.

Similarly here I have used weaving but for this one I actually wove the stitches rather than just overlaying layers as above. 

In this paper I was thinking of the line that forms at the joining edge of two patches of watercolour. 

I used this to guide me in putting stitches up to a line and along a line. 

Various weights of thread highlight the contours in this work, attempting to give a sense of depth and movement towards the middle. 

This one comes from the same source drawing and this time I am using the direction of line to suggest depth towards the centre.

The solid wide yarn which ripples on the surface relates to the thick layers of dark ink in my source drawing. 

And finally little repetitive red marks in various scales and placements that are determined by the underlying structure of the surface. By not making any marks on the white collaged lines, I am hoping to suggest a space behind these in which the ‘T’ s exist.

Paper Manipulation Library Part Two (2.2)

With this image I was looking at the soft flowy nature of the watercolour and the way the edges of the watercolour form lines where they meet. 

Here are some of the papers that I have manipulated inspired by this image.

These two papers have been manipulated to emulate softness and absorbency. 

In the first I have textured the paper using the multiple wire points on my fleece blending board.

In the second I have pricked through the paper all over with a needle felting needle. This second one was tedious and the holes still tend to present in rows rather than giving an all over soft appearance. 

but the hand of both of these is definitely softer than the original paper. 

This is a third attempt at creating a soft looking paper. I have used two layers of paper and sewn them together in parallel lines. I then cut through one layer along the lines. This is similar to how I have read about making a chenille like fabric. 

It didn’t look at all soft after this process so I then wet it and massaged it a bit to create this holey and soft paper. 

With this paper I am looking at the way the watercolour forms an irregular line where it meets its neighbouring patch of watercolour. I have used Joomchi to meld strips of paper lightly together after I have burnt there edges to give a darker irregular line. 

It hasn’t worked perfectly because the burning paper was difficult to control and disappeared quickly, but I was impressed by the resulting dark edges and this would be one of my favourite paper manipulations. 

Here I am looking closely at the repeating motif and the various irregularities within the same motif.

I have taken a stiff piece of watercolour paper and cut out the motif all over. It has resulted in the loss of the central square segment of the motif. 

Another in interesting way of presenting this may have been to cut out the four little squares that are formed within the motif. 

With this segment from one of my collages, I am taking inspiration from both the T shaped kimono motif, and the ethereal red overlay, with its spidery interplay of threads. 

I have not had a great deal of success in referencing the fine random layout of threads, but my results are below. 

These first three are experiments with embossing the paper. I have used the geometric kimono shape and various combinations of my body weight, a towel, the septic metal cover, heavy paper cutouts and a Perspex paperweight, to try and create a geometric embossing into soaked printmaking paper.

The most successful was the septic tank cover as I was able to walk on the paper and apply my full body weight in one go.
The paper cut outs one was more subtle because I couldn’t create the full print experience here using only a metal pipe and a towel.


This paper manipulation involves further exploration of the T kimono shape by using cutouts (the same ones that were used to emboss above) and embedding them in paper pulp.

I wasn’t so keen on this one as it looks a bit too close to the original collage with its paper cutouts glued to a surface. 


The next two views are of the same paper. I have used joomchi to embed a geometric shape in the paper. It’s only really evident and effective with the light behind it. 

Here I am referencing the gauzy lines of the red non woven fabric overlay, by folding random straight lines multiple times and from both sides. I had hoped to create the sense of looking into another landscape that I get from the red fabric, but this looks pretty flat. 

This is a different attempt using cut paper glued to a backing. Also too chunky and coarse. 
 And this one is some red threads held between two pieces of paper laminated with Joomchi.
I’m hoping that some of these may nonetheless provide an OK starting point for the next phase of the exercise.

This grass drawing is the inspiration for the next papers. I am focussed on the tangle of fine lines

My attempts with using raffia were too chunky. I struggled to embed fine threads of raffia but they tend to sit on the surface and look too coarse. I tried with different finer threads but they were lost or clumped in the pulp. 

This one was slightly better because I have tried to separate the strands more with holes but still very gross representation of the characteristics of the original drawing.  Would need to use much finer pulp and laid threads to resonant better with the drawing but I wasn’t able to achieve that this time. 

For me this drawing suggests opening and down a tunnel with it’s contour lines. 

I have tried to take this idea and manipulate the paper to also suggest these features for the next few papers.

Here I have crumpled heavy brown paper more around the outside and less in the middle to try and suggest depth. I also puddled water in the centre to further relax the paper and smooth the central area. Burnishing didn’t work to do this. 

I would have liked a more gradual transition but not sure how to achieve that at this stage. 

This paper is created by folding and then cutting concentric ovals. I had to be careful that I didn’t cut all the way around otherwise the centre would have fallen out! This one is ok and does reference the characteristics of the drawing a bit better I think. 

 I used toilet roll centres to cut these ovals and then glued them on to a backing. 

I’m quite interested in the optical illusion in the photo that makes it look like the paper is alternately bulging and recessed. 

Here I am simply looking at the outer shape of the drawing of the open bag above, and repeating that across the page. 

I love the falling lines depicting drape in this drawing and I have tried to translate that into the paper below. 

The torn pieces of paper are melded together at the top with joomchi and allowed to fall freely at the bottom. 

I think this is quite successful in giving a sense of falling line and drape in paper.

The thick overlapping ink of this drawing is the feature I would like to reference in this final paper manipulation.

I have several layers of paper here massaged together using the Joomchi technique in an attempt to create areas of variable thickness and subtle variation in tone. I didn’t think that it was overly successful but seeing it placed below the photo I am thinking it’s actually not too bad at suggesting this characteristic of the drawing. 

This is some rusted paper that fell apart, salvaged by using Joomchi. I’m including this in my paper manipulation library and considering that it arises out of attempting to meld paper into layers of different thicknesses as in the different thickness of ink in the above drawing.