In this exercise we want you to translate the notion of the performative act quite literally. Limit your still life to three to six everyday objects. Draw at least three A2sketches of the arrangements from different angles. Use charcoal, pencil, ink, coloured pencils, watercolour or any combination of these media.
The hard mark- making tools have produced some subtle areas of block shapes and tones. I have copied the shapes quite well but it lacks any sense of dynamism.
The ink and chalk mat block colours have had a dramatic effect on the composition. I am not that satisfied with the shape of the glass bottle but I will ignore that for now.
I have managed to describe the reflections with watercolour on the glass bottle and green wine cooler quite well although I am not that happy with the way the ceramic bowl and lid has worked out. Working in a wet-on-wet method has produced a diffused soft effect.
Reflection Placing all three sketches side by side and reflecting on which one is the best to take forward I have decided to take the middle sketch. The reason being in comparison to the other two it looks striking with blocks of bold colour and shadow work. I want to copy the line silhouettes of the shapes as accurately as I can so I can focus on the individual blocks of colour within the objects. Working from your chosen sketch alone, do three more A3 size versions.Each version (performance) should be inspired by a particular piece of music chosen by you. These should be very different pieces of music.
Before starting the following drawings I marked out the line silhouette of the composition so I could focus on responding to each style of music within the shapes, also I listened to the music twice beforehand so I could choose a colour palette
Wuthering Heights is a Victorian novel by Emily Bronte which Kate Bush has put to music, she has really captured the sense of Gothic Horror in this short track. In this drawing the main colours are violet and black to express the Victorian period and genre. The rhythm has a slow relentless beat emphasising the haunted pleas of Catherine’s misery but there are also delicate melodic riffs. The mood is sad and painful but also strangely beautiful.I switched from listening to the melody to focusing on the beat, I can see those areas of pattern and the thick dark shadow representing the layering of music.
Does music have a colour ? This ambient music is gentle and soft so I decided to choose mainly subtle colours. However I have introduced black to bring in a tonal balance to the composition. Of the three pictures I did not pre-prepare the colours for this picture. This got in the way of my painting as I became anxious as to what colours to choose which interrupted the flow. There is no actual rhythm to this music as such, just pops of irregular notes. The mood is very chilled and quickly put me into an almost meditative state. The music being slow and without a rhythm suggested to me that I should just respond by dropping colours onto a wet paper ground allowing the colours to spread out mimicking the diffused notes in the music.
This vintage sound reminds me of when the Americans joined us in the war so I have incorporated blue for American Airforce uniforms, the sky and brown for the land girls workwear and plowed brown fields to grow food. This was a time of austerity so for that I choose lead pencil. I am listening to different tracks so there are slightly different tempos to these tracks and all are blues based.I associate this music with WW2 although to me it’s joyful and energetic. This was great fun responding to the various trad Jazz tracks. I can really see the energy that has come through my responses to the rhythm of traditional Jazz.
Conclusion Looking back at all three sketches I can see how I have responded to the different genres of music. There are some areas of interest that I am pleased with. Brown is a reoccurring colour in all three pictures & I wonder if I have used that to compensate for the brown table in the original drawing. I can see the value of how listening to music can inspire different mark- making & how that tool can be applied in future sampling.
Choose a location – inside or outside – that inspires you. Spend time there & get to know it really well. Record it using your sketchbook and camera. You might want to collect things such as rubbings, natural objects, fragments, smells and sounds. Imagine that this collection will be used to communicate to others what the location means to you.
I will talk a bit about the dwelling and then the pottery so I can draw out ideas that will inform and influence my sampling. The location is a shelf between my kitchen & the original part of the cottage.
the location This cottage was built in the early 18th Century by an itinerate farmer. Life would not of been easy for him, in order to secure this place and make it his home he would have had to build a structure with an opening from where smoke could be seen to escape within 24 hours. If he could achieve this, the house was his to develop and live in.
the pottery As my location I have chosen a shelf that was once part of an external window but now opens into my kitchen and holds four studio pots. These pots mean a lot to me. They are hand made which adds an extra layer of beauty and inspiration. I know that each one has been made by a different person, from various places and times , using different methods and materials. That human connection gives these objects an emotive value.
This striped hand painted pot was made in The Prinknash Abbey Pottery. It is made from terracotta clay, hand painted with blue and white slip with a milky over glaze. The Prinknash Abbey Pottery was founded in 1942 by the monks when they found a seam of clay during some building work. The Benedictine monks continued to make pottery at the abbey in Granham, Gloucestershire until 1997 when the pottery was sold to the Welsh Porcelain Co. (Info sourced from google)
These jars were made especially for the export market and mass produced. I can see that in comparison to the Prinknash pot and the studio pot at the bottom they are really quite crude although still very decorative. The stoneware pot of the left has a chop mark but the white pot has no markings. One reason why I value these pots so much is because of their imperfections and uniqueness. (Wabi – Sabi) ‘Despite the name, a ginger jar is more than just a vessel once used to store ginger. These decorative, squat containers originated as a means to store spices. Since the 18th century, though, the beautiful, sometimes ornate jars have been used primarily as decor’ (info sourced from google)
I bought this pot in May this year from a studio in St Ives in Cornwall. It has been made by a professional potter as a decorative piece only. Bernard Leach set up his pottery here before the Second World War and was the founder of Modern Decorative Studio pottery in this Country.
This hangs on the window frame where the pots sit. It was cold cast and made by hand at the Wild Goose Studio. On the back is a saying ‘not of I love you because I need you. but of I need you because I love you’ This dark wall plaque may be made to look like bog oak & is covered in Celtic patterns with a Celtic cross on the centre of its back. I think it’s a rat ?
The people that originally built these timber framed / wattle and daub dwellings had very little money so many of the beams are crooked and the wood may have come from old ships.
Produce three (A5-A2 size) works all based upon the one location but using three different techniques. What does each technique bring to the location?Think hard about the qualities inherent in your technique and how they can be used to convey something about the location.
After looking at all the elements before me in the sketches I chose images that were linked through the same main colour – blue, and they were shapes that would make interesting compositions. I have used watercolour to start so I can quickly get the design elements on paper – details such as shape, design and colour that I found in the location. I have painted these elements on a flat plane so I can select which images to take forward. I have moved the shapes around from the original composition, played with scale and introduced the Celtic love token that hangs from the frame. For the ground I have used the hinge from the cottage door and the pattern on my kitchen blind. I am pleased with the colour balance and placement of this sample.
This first sample was influenced partly by the Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackadder. This artist will collect objects for their abstract pattern, shape or colour then arrange them as a group until she is happy with the composition. Then she will paint them as a flat ground. Elizabeth Blackadder is not concerned with perspective, but rather pattern, shape and colour. In this painting she has used images of clothes to form part of the ground moving the boundaries between clothes and abstract pattern and shape.
I have used various textures of paper and card to describe the different objects. The blue and white willow pattern describes the pottery and the corrugated card describes the old wooden frame. I wanted to portray a sense of calm and attentive placement alongside the weathered aged wood of the timber frame cottage. From the previous sample I looked at patterns with an equal amount of negative & positive space. I found these in the kitchen blind and the Prinknash striped pot. These were a good starting point to lay something on to the paper. It took a while to get the placement of these shapes correct to achieve a composition that I felt worked. My collage has been influenced by the randomness of Elizabeth Blackadder’s compositions which has added a dynamic in comparison to the watercolour. Collage has enabled me to move shapes around and use materials to highlight a range of textured surfaces.
With this final sample I decided to work with the colours on an intuitive level rather than being too representational. I did want to achieve different planes by use of colour so I referenced back to Patrick Heron, an artist who was a colourist and artist living and working in St Ives throughout the second half of the 20th Century, who used that method in his abstract paintings.
I wanted to try to use the his methodology used during a key phase of his work where abstract shapes shift within a plane as you look at colour against colour. However I did want the shapes to retain an element of their former shapes and use patterned materials as well as flat colour. By making the shapes float and shift within the plane hopefully achieves more of an abstract feeling to the collage. Without being representational, the use of silk machine stitch embroidery captures the sense of the exotic flavour of the pottery, the geometric black and white vertical bar hints at the timber frame and black latch, and the ground: the cottage walls. Other shapes are inspired by other pottery on the shelf.
Research Materials Principles of CollageAuthor: Brian FrenchMills and Boon London 1969 accessed 4.12.2019 https://yalebooksblog.co.uk/2011/07/08/modern-british-artists-elizabeth-blackadder/ Reflection Before you send this assignment to your tutor, take a look at the assessment criteria for this course, which will be used to mark your work at assessment. The assessment criteria are listed in the introduction to this course guide. Here’s a reminder: The assessment criteria listed below are central to the assessment process for this course, so if you’re going to have your work assessed to gain formal credits, please make sure you take note of these criteria and consider how each of the assignments you complete demonstrates evidence of each criterion. On completion of each assignment, and before you send your assignment to your tutor, test yourself against the criteria; in other words, do a self-assessment and see how you think you would do. Note down your findings for each assignment you’ve completed in your learning log, noting all your perceived strengths and weaknesses, taking into account the criteria every step of the way. This will be helpful for your tutor to see, as well as helping you prepare for assessment.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills– materials, techniques, observational skills,visual awareness, design and compositional skill (40%).
I believe I have spent much longer than usual looking hard at my chosen location and capturing aspects in sketches and photographs. From this observational practice I developed clear design ideas, which I experimented with and produced different compositions with different materials.
Quality of outcome– content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thoughts, communication of ideas (20%).
I am trying to be less formulaic in the way I express myself by being more emotionally responsive so the content is more engaging. I have tried hard to communicate these thoughts and feelings both in the visual work and in my descriptions.
Demonstration of creativity– imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice (20%).
I am enjoying this new module very much so far as I feel I am being given more freedom of expression so my personal voice is emerging more. I hope I have experimented sufficiently with both compositions and techniques.
I am becoming more aware of the importance of researching artists and designers that can guide my processes and sampling. I find myself making clearer links to artists that resonate with me and new practitioners and in what context I can draw from their skills. This process is ongoing and becoming easier.
I started this felted picture in October 2014 in St Davids in Wales on a weekend felting workshop with Textile artist Amanda Wright. The process was fairly straightforward but needed a certain amount of patience and dexterity. We each found a subject to work with, I remember that most people choose birds or animals. I thought I would slot this into my blog between modules…
Review the whole course, taking time to look at your samples and read through your learning log/ blog and your research material. You’ve learned a great deal during these last few months and you’ll have many creative ideas. While you’re looking through your work, think about what you enjoyed ?
Were there any techniques or materials that spoke to you or you felt particularly comfortable with?
Note these down in your learning log/blog along with any ideas you had at the time for further development.
Spend time considering how you could develop the samples you’ve already made. This could be by using other materials, combining a number of techniques, changing the scale or making multiples.
Selected images from MMT Part one Surface distortion
Making irregular widths of the folds was a new idea for me and I enjoyed the end result. If I folded or creased a substrate this would be a version I would return to. I could incorporate a folded substrate within another surface area.
MMT1 Drawing of Figure 1.14 incremental pleat
This sketch of sample 1.14 generated a line which is organic, random and flowing which appeals to me as I could work with this into my sampling. My hand-drawn line interpretation has softened the image. The different colours separate and untangle the lines that touch. Using a variegated coloured thread would be an effective way of achieving that effect of separation.
MMT1 Figure 1. 16a twisted pleat in striped wallpaper
I could use a paper or printed fabric with a stripe or line and then twist in a pleat to distort the line, highlighting the distortion. Or perhaps taking a small section of a twisted pleat into a corner of a sample could be effective.
MMT 1 Drawing of Figure 1.22 crumpling – embossing a plastic bleach cap
I have chosen this sketch because there are a series of repeated themes of mark-making and also different tonal ranges.
MMT 1 Figure 1.40a cutting holes and double layering
I am thinking of building a structure that stands up so possibly one idea is to have a flat surface which has been deconstructed in some way with multi-layering and somewhere within that a fine substrate allowing light to penetrate through. Combining paper with materials could be a way forward.
MMT 1 Figure 1.42a layering torn strips
When I look at this sample my attention keeps radiating towards the edgelines and particularly the white areas underneath where the cards surface layer has come away, revealing its structure during tearing. Using a collage technique and revealing the different layers of deconstructed patterned card could be considered.
MMT 1 Figure 1.47a embossing
Highlighting negative marks by colouring onto an embossed surface could be incorporated into a sample. I could select a pattern and play around with scale.
MMT 1 Figure 1.50 puncturing
A strong smooth cartridge paper takes folding and puncturing really well & I am drawn to the clean edgeline and negative block silhouettes of the hole punched marks. This is another form of deconstruction I may consider.
MMT 1 Figure 1.50a puncturing fine linen weave
Areas of destruction of this fabric has generated additional shadows and tones, edge lines and negative shapes. Wear and tear of fabrics has a suggestion of a history of use. Has the material been worn and damaged through repeated wear or has it been used to hold objects or protect something? I find this method of manipulation which suggests a narrative really appealing.
MMT 1 drawing of Figure 1.50b
I enjoyed sketching this punctured plastic bag. Some of the more abstract shapes could be used in further sampling. My attention is drawn to the line of abstract shapes above the three stars in the centre of this sample. This pattern could be reinterpreted into stitch.
Tutor feedback from assignment one
Moving forward we discussed the idea of being more extreme ( but still keeping the sensitivity you have) So being bolder or more fragile. Having samples with very large elements or maybe very small details. We also discussed layouts and placement with your samples. It could be that a sample is filled with ideas or it could be there are areas of quiet. Motifs or areas of interest could just be in a corner or edge of a sample rather than all over. Play around with these ideas.
Selected images from MMT Part two Joining and wrapping
MMT 2 exercise 1 Joining sample 1
Drawing attention to the join line by stapling then adding additional repeated pencil lines mimicking the mark but in a more organic way turned out really well. The staple and pencil line draws attention and enhances the join. Making a theme of edgelines in this way could be dynamic.
MMT 2 exercise 1 Joining sample 2
The join in this sample is enhanced by stitching on to one side of the edgeline. Using the same colour gives an added surface texture to a concentrated area but remains a subtle addition. A repetition of this idea could be incorporated.
MMT 2 exercise 1 Joining sample 5
With this sample I sense tension, as if the bound grass is ‘clamped’ into the fabric. The red threads stand out and has dominance over the cool green and white ground. I will think about how colour can be used to emphasise a method of manipulation or mood.
MMT 2 exercise 2 joining straight edges with gap sample 6
My attention is drawn to the regular stitch line and then the double stitch and gap pattern, whereas I am used to looking at a conventional stitch line with a regulated space. I will use irregularities of stitch somewhere in my sampling.
MMT 2 exercise 2 sample 8a straight edges that both touch & leave gaps
The tea stained bags have left marks similar to rust marks & the bags are joined by metal staples which seem a brutal dichotomy to the delicate weathered squares. This stapling compliments the rust-like qualities of the paper. The random negative spaces and joins give movement to the sample.
MMT 2 exercise 2 sample 8b straight edges that both touch & leave gaps
In comparison to the sample above these tea bags are joined with a delicate red overstitch.
I may consider combining both stapling and sewing materials together in sampling.
MMT 2 Part 2 exercise 3 Joining sample 11a
curved edges that leave a gap with holes that have been joined up
The fine metallic variagated thread tethering the lace discs to the vertical line on the left is a dynamic that I could investigate further in my sampling. The sense of tension also of the discs being held together by the white safety pin against the floating metallic ball on the right interested me.
MMT 2 Part 2 exercise 4 sketch of overlapping edges sample 15
Deconstructing the edgeline of the green and white patterned printed fabric revealed that the pattern had remained. Sketching the sample allowed me to focus on that concept of a design holding on to a partially destroyed substrate.
MMT 2 Part 2 exercise 4 overlapping edges sample 17
Layering two very different materials such as plastic sacking against fine silk and fraying both edgelines could be worth consideration.
Tutor feedback from assignment two
Think about taking one idea and doing iterations of it, take one idea and create 2-5 samples, repeating processes, refining, changing until you come up with the best solution.
Selected images and text from MMT Part three Molding and casting
MMT 3 Project 1 sample 7
clothes peg components made of wood – latex
The sensitivity of latex as a recording material to surface textures was a real revelation to me. My tutor is correct by drawing my attention to the beauty of interesting and unusual surface textures. If I return to Molding I would re-address latex and try to enhance the surface in some way and not suffocate it.
Tutor feedback from assignment three
We discussed that the artists you looked at really let the materials speak for themselves. The forms and textures that were created by the castings were on the whole pure. I understand that this is not really a way of working that you respond to. If you are interested in more decorative work, I would like you to think about how you could enhance (decorate) a casting/ texture in a subtler way, perhaps gently rubbing over with a charcoal? applying a foil? It is important that your work reflects you as an artist/ designer but you also need to again think about what the brief is asking of you and how best to answer it. You over decorated your samples.
Selected images and text from MMT Part four Mono and Collatype printing
MMT 4 Project 1 exercise 3 sample 17
I could have worked a lot more into some of my printed samples. The ghost print above was consequently drawn into again with backdrawing, that process has created a developed sample with a tonal range that is lacking in many of my other prints.
MMT 4 Project 2 exercise 3 sample 33
Taking a fine and intricate pattern such as lace and reproducing that in print appeals to me.
Using a small area and scaling it up could produce a powerful design. I would stitch into certain areas to develop the shapes further.
I have reviewed all of my samples over these last four assignments and have selected the ones that have inspired me the most. There are 22 in all and most of them were from assignments 1 and 2 which concentrated on 2D surface distortion and manipulation.
From those 22 samples I will take a small selection forward into this final project.
Stimulated by the previous stage, conduct some further in- depth research into any relevant artists you looked at earlier in the course.
You may find there are some gaps in your research where you feel you don’t have enough information about particular techniques or materials, Gather this from online tutorials or study guidebooks.
From a young age Barbara Cotterell was drawn to textiles. She was fascinated on how different materials felt and moved and she learnt to sew and knit from her mother who was a resourceful and skilled seamstress and knitter. She learnt to appreciate materials that were to hand and make the most of them. Achieving a City & Guilds diploma and finally an arts degree added to Barbara’s confidence.
She loves the clever diagrammatic work of Escher with his limited palette of monochromatic tones.
As an artist Barbara uses found materials and objects which she recreates into a something new and beautiful. This practise of using found objects is now ingrained within her practices as a textile artist. There is a history and added depth to worn, weathered and pre-used materials which really appeals to me as well.
Once she has worked out a process with her chosen materials and tools around her she will put some music on and give herself time to get into the rhythm of manipulation and repetition.
“Everything is about repetition, the similar but slightly changing unit. Like my mother’s sewing it is overall very neat but on inspection wonderfully untidy.
This wall hanging by Barbara Cotterell makes use of the light that is shining through from the window. The piece is made up from sections loosely joined but separated from each other. What connects the piece is the pin prick light design crossing the gaps.
This structure has been constructed with wire and recycled plastic bags. Rolls of coloured plastic have been spaced in such a way that they would rotate independently of one another. This work has been placed outside, using moving air to interact with it and bring it to life. I can visualise some of these little tubes gently rotating in different directions whilst others strands remain quite still. Barbara Cotterell uses space, light and movement as an intrinsic component to her work. A possibility for me is to work with frameworks which will enable me to create tension, hold constructed samples and support negative space.
Karola Pezzaro was born in 1955 and is a sculptor and mixed media artist. She graduated from The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Holland. Her work is embued with meaning, it is considered and intricate. She is drawn to connections, whether it be a city map or a branch laden with berries. She wonders about life and its changing forms and fragility, and I can see this reflected in her work within the organic naturalist images.
She feels a deep connection to her history and her family’s past. In one piece she has used old photographs that belonged to her mother. These photographs were collected and placed in an old tin and given to a friend for safe keeping before she was interned in pre- war Indonesia. Karola visited Auschwitz in 2010 to get a sense of her father’s relatives because she knew some were taken there during WW2. The war was not mentioned in the family home because the memories were too painful for those who survived it.
The name (of my father) and the (country of my mother)
This instillation is made of of strips of silk, each piece holds a photograph which directly links to her family’s past. Under each pocket is a shelf with a small object connected to the piece above. I cannot see the photographs very well; these are intentionally hidden.
The objects on the shelves beneath the pockets are not explained either. These mysteries with mere suggestions of a narrative are probably how the artists feels about her ancestry. She knows a little of her family’s experiences but not much. The concept of creating pockets to contain objects appeals to me. A pocket is where you keep something safe, a place where an object is nutured and protected and these symbolic items although not fully understood are precious to the artist.
Foetus of the city (2009) embroidery 20 x 27cm
I can see the form of a foetus within her red block silhouette coiled form. Imposing a structure over this form makes me think about organic frameworks and how complex and mysterious and beautiful organic life is. A map allows me to find myself within a place so I am not lost.
Her work encourages me to think on a deeper level and make connections elsewhere.
Karola makes reference to the idea of finding something unexpected when on a journey in much of her work.
A technique I found online also inspired some thoughts about methods I could use:
There is an ordered regulated line and surface texture to the right of the sample. It’s cushioned texture would be comforting like a quilt or mattress, To the left where the fabric has been slashed lines of bright random colours and textures burst forth. I find the dichotomy of order and chaos stimulating. This narrative suggests to me a metamorphosis due to wear, a changing of state.
Similarly something from home sparked some ideas:
My quilt in a state of metamorphosis
All of the designs are delicate and the colours are soft and muted. I find myself asking where did all the different textiles originate from ?
It is interesting to see that one particular design is starting to break down.
Is it because that fabric is older than the others and therefore more frail ? This wear and breaking down of one pattern amongst an ordered range creates repetition and reveals its substructure. There is also layering and because of that I find this textile is developing a continuous narrative.
I am referencing back to my module ATV from a year ago when I made reference to the artist Roanna Wells to find a bit more about her. Roanna Wells went to The Manchester School of Art where she studied embroidery and it was during this time that she discovered a passion for mark making through drawing and stitch. Her work place which consists of a collection of desks are adorned with small paintings and ceramic objects, feathers and leaves. Many of her finds are foraged whilst out walking which she brings home to inspire her creativity. Her work for me is organic and calming and the spontaneity and accidental marks are made impactful by her signature of repetition and studying multiples.
Roanna Wells couching
This sample is themed by her use of the same dark coloured thread, cord colours and surface material. Variations of repetition and multiples connect the couched yarn effects on the ground.
Some of Roanna’s free form marks in stitch have been influenced by her experiences in working in a children’s nursery. The sample above reminds me of a child’s random scribblings in an exercise book. Children freely experiment with repetition, scribbles and pressure.
I have made some additional quick notes about other artists I researched before:
With reference to Part 1 Project 1 folding and crumpling I am interested in developing further a textured surface with textiles so I am going to use smocking in one of my samples.
I have decided to focus on surface manipulation of archived fabrics, developing a new technique which I have learnt for this final part of the course and incorporating concepts from practices learnt in this module. I have put together lots of images which have sparked up some new ideas to support my chosen samples in stage 1 review.
For this stage you’ll bring together the results of your review of your work and your research. Start by planning a small series of sample-making exercises to test the ideas you have.
Stage 4 Recording outcomes
Record the processes you’ve used to make your samples, and the samples themselves, in your learning log/blog as you have done throughout this course. Remember to reflect on the effectiveness of the methods you used and your thoughts about the outcomes.
Painted teabags stuffed with tea stained paper towel constructed into a frame
media – square & round teabags stained with red w/c paint, maroon thread on a bamboo frame
I wanted to construct a piece suspended within a frame so it hung rather than lay flat and used 3 dimensional space, so this sample was constructed within a light frame. The components were painted teabags on a threaded network tied within a framework of bamboo sticks. I was interested in the concept of shapes rotating with a suggestion of them floating in space with the surroundings beyond being inclusive. This idea did not inspire me to develop it further because the composition was too simple, symmetrical and static and failed to stir any emotional responses.
Improvements I could make – if I were to develop this idea I would use invisible thread and add elements to break the symmetry.
media – square teabags, round teabag stained with red w/c paint, invisible thread & pink and red wool on a bamboo frame
I tried using the tea bags differently within the frame making the connecting lines heavier and less symmetrical. There are elements of this sample that have worked and areas that are not so good.
The edgeline of the weave butted up to the teabags interest me because their diverse surface textures, appearance, colour and materials complement one another.
The long stitching into the teabags is an unwanted distraction to the neat weaving and edgelines of the plain teabags. The yarn wrapped around the frame is also an unnecessary distraction.
If I were to develop this sample I would leave the teabags plain without stitching into them and I would fill in the negative areas continuing the red weave design or leave as a alternating negative spaced design.
more ideas on how I could improve the sample above
Notes: maybe pad out the dyed round teabag to add depth and dimension
Kiburi stitch red thread into the brown teabags to emphasise diamond shapes
I looked hard at these two approaches and felt I needed a richer, and a more organic visual effect. I have decided to change tack & work with producing a sample with a complex structured surface – see below
basic honeycomb smocking 1cm apart on plain washed linen
media – robust pre-washed natural linen & chestnut brown quilting thread
As part of the development stages of initial samples & my research, I decided that smocking might create an interesting structure so I found a couple of YouTube clips and learnt how to smock.
This lattice work has a softer appearance compared to sample two. This robust sample has depth & an element of expansion and retraction.
Rough sketch of sample 3
I wanted to have a go at sketching this sample to better understand how the diamonds stretch, distort and change shape.
media – orange polka dot print lawn cotton with deconstructed ginger hemp string,
shredded black ribbon, black fine ribbon, dark purple wool, black 2 ply wool & black quilting thread mounted on blue card
rough sketch of sample 3A
media – orange, black and lilac poster paint, lead pencil, fine liner pens on A4 cartridge paper
I have used a much finer substrate this time with a decreasing scale of spacing as I worked from the top of the sample down to the bottom.
The top section of honeycomb was sewn together with hemp string and the pleats were 5cm apart. The 5cm pleats produced deep cavities which suggested to me that I should fill them with a textile taking reference from the negative shapes from the sketch above.
Each pleat was sewn with a short length of the hemp string with a knot secured at the front.
Although I enjoyed the organic feel & sound to the string as it was pulled through the cotton it seemed brittle, resisted knotting, split & broke so my confidence in it keeping the smocking secure was thrown into doubt.
I decided to attach the pleats in this unconventional way so I could access the cells from the back in future sampling and so not cut through the adjoining threads from one pleat to the next from the back. However I have not punctured through into the cells in this sample.
I filled some of the cavities with woollen yarn and cut ribbon & couched over them to secure them into the cells instead.
When smocking the middle section I linked black yarn across at the front of the sample in places to create flowing lines. The tight smocking at the bottom naturally created organic black lines.
my first honeycomb smock (sample reverse side)
A conventional way of smocking leaves threads carried over from one pleat to the next. See above. I got around this by using individual threads knotted at the front to attach each pleat independently. That gave me access to puncture through each cell.
rough sketch of sample 3A – image reversed
media – orange, black and lilac poster paint, lead pencil, fine liner pens on A4 cartridge paper drawing the sample -revealed the polka dots disappearing into the folds and distorting due to the folding and smocking manipulation. My attention was also drawn to the darker tones within the cells and flowing horizontal lines of the black thread. Reversing the image seemed to connect with my visual understanding of the flowing expansion of the sample. I wonder if this is because we are used to seeing fabrics drape, expand and flow from the top of the frame downwards suggesting weight and gravity as for example in women’s gowns or curtains.
media – brown paper bag, ginger coloured hemp string, staples & red plastic netting
on A3 cartridge paper painted with tea and sprinkles of coffee grains
I scrunched the paper into a ball & flattened it out a few times remembering the paper manipulation techniques from assignment 1. Then I folded and stapled the paper into a honeycomb smock pattern. I tore, cut holes & sliced into the paper cells to deconstruct it and around the edge-line which is not very evident from the photo except on the edge lines.
Finally I wove the hemp string and plastic netting in and out through some of the holes to see how that would look. This was not as impactful an image as I anticipated so I returned to focusing on individual cell development with a material that creates a more defined structure.
developing sample 4 – basic construction
media – starched printed Welsh linen & red coats cotton thread
Continuing with sewing each pleat individually from the front so I can access the back of each cell has allowed me to cut into the fabric and insert additional materials. I have not washed the starch from this scrap of linen to see what difference this would make to the structure and look of the sample. The creases seem sharper compared to sample 3 but not as sharp as the fine spotted cotton or the brown paper.
and deconstruction- cutting out recessed diamond shapes
I deconstructed the smocking by cutting holes into the recess of each diamond. On observing this sample my attention was drawn to the negative erratic shapes within the regular lattice work and when visually taking in the whole sample.
cotton & voile material pulled through printed linen honeycomb smocking 2 cm apart
media – starched printed Welsh linen & red coats cotton thread, satin cotton and voile.
I have pulled through two different shades and strengths of fabric (one having a tighter weave construct) to make the suggestion of irregularities as I want to build on the textural qualities and start to create further complexity into the ground. At this stage I am keeping to a fixed palette but playing around with tone and different fabrics because my main point of interest at this stage was to focus on the overall structure.
My thinking was to incorporate other colours at a later stages of development.
Linen Sample 5 (reverse side of sample 4)
I am excited about the reverse side of sample 2. This to me was probably more interesting than the front. The reversed side of sample 2 which portrays an entirely different outcome with its undulating soft folds, fractured shapes and frayed clusters of fabric.
This idea throws up lots of possibilities for example –
. repetition & order by the regulated smocking technique – that framework supports
. different materials introducing individuality
. the sample has movement which includes expansion & retraction
. introduces diverse surface textures additional colour and depth.
Having reviewed the samples that inspired me and also revisiting the designers and artists over this module that resonated with me throughout this course I started to formulate some ideas on how this final piece was going to come together.
Initially I wanted to theme some ideas considering the spacial work of Barbara Cotterell but decided to change direction moving away from elements of space and moving towards structure guided by the concepts & designs of Anne Kyyro Quinn and Jule Waibel.
My initial concern I had at the thinking and planning stage was how to display the samples effectively and also how could I include some form of construction within the work. So after sketching out various frame ideas in my sketchbook I have settled on displaying my final samples onto an ‘A’ frame structure.
Once I settled on the smocking idea for my developed samples I choose several different substrates to experiment with. Each material responded differently to the manipulation techniques. I found the fine cotton and paper worked well with their corresponding materials but I decided to use linen in my final sampling due to its robust character, knowing it could support various weights of fabric.
Sample 4 & its reversed side were equally interesting but expressed different shaped spheres within a cellular structure versus fractured shapes, entrapment and rippling waves and this was an appealing idea which I could expand on.
This sorting stage is for you to make some final decisions about your preferred works or samples from the latest sample-making stage. You’re looking for a sample or samples that, with a small amount of development, you can make into your final prototype.
Your plan for the next stage would then be to bring together your skills and knowledge to create a well-crafted piece.
The following samples and sketches have been selected to take forward for inspiration for my final piece.
Printed linen honeycomb smocking 2cm apart with additional textiles pulled through
Rounded and puffed shapes with their own individual characteristics are encased within a structured and regulated framework. This sample encourages me to think about structures of growth in the natural world.
Sketch of sample 4 in my rough sketchbook
media – alizarin crimson watercolour, wax crayon on light cartridge paper
Sketching the sample enabled me to understand the depth & complexity of the structure in the centre of the canvas and the way the flat panels on either side creates contrast and context.
Blown up section of sample 4 sketch
Blowing up the scale has revealed a wide range of tones and rounded abstract shapes
Reverse side of honeycomb smocking 2cm apart with intersecting textiles pushed through on printed linen
The sample consists of flowing and waved shapes that embrace the scrunched and frayed bundles of colour and form.
Sketch of sample 5
media – tea stained 300 gsm watercolour paper, HB lead pencil, various water soluble coloured pencils
This sketch has revealed the dichotomy of this sample. There is a flowing and soft movement with a suggestion of depth & form against sharp lines and fractured shapes trapped within.
Blown up section of sample 5 sketch
Blowing up this sketch has highlighted some interesting mark-making
These samples and the sketches will help me to formulate ideas for my final piece.
I have considered my colours carefully using warm colours and I tea-stained one of the pages because I want to suggest a visual narrative of ageing and distress.