Making connections

In the run up to sending everything off for this assignment I am writing a post to show clearer connections between my choices of fabric/textile base manipulations/stitch and yarn with my previous drawings.
I have mainly worked on folding, puncturing, slashing and markmaking through discharge as a follow on from some of my earlier paper manipulations.
The images below hopefully illustrate this better:

My textiles choices have been based on a selection from what I already had in the cupboard.
I opted for a selection to start:
Muslin, organza, linen, denim, velvet and a thicker woven cotton used for upholstery.
These were chosen as I felt they would both emulate the following qualities to work with:
Playful
Dynamic
Strong
Fragile
Delicate
Movement

I have become more and more focussed on the ‘triangles’ ‘that are evident in some of my earlier drawings and then emulated through puncturing and folding the paper with angles.

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Reflecting on work so far – transferring marks into stitch samples

I am recognising that part of this creative block is probably due to the need to transfer my drawings and marks into stitch. I love stitch. I enjoy free motion embroidery. But was aware that the task was emphasising the practice of spending some time on hand stitch. I own and indeed enjoying reading and rereading my copy of “Slow Stitch” by Alice Kettle. I love the idea of it. I have thought about this and finally reflected that what happens is I have all of these ideas. I know what I want to explore, but hand stitching slows everything down so much, and then I once again experience this huge gap between what I am making and what I am envisaging. I guess because my time is so tight, I am a single mother to a two year old, and working too, I have very little time when I have the energy to focus on my own creativity. So I want it to be productive. I want it to have some pace and to feel a sense of achievement. If I think back to the Introductory assignment, I had a few drawings on the go at all times. I know I can get bored easily, so I have found a successful way around this in everything that I do, where I have lots of jobs on the go, where I can leave one task and put my energy into another so that I don’t spend too much time in some sort of unproductive inertia. I need to find a way of working with these stitch samples faster. I need to keep them on rotation and consider working in layers….

Paper Manipulation

I need to crack on and write these up. It’s been some time since I actually did the exercise of the paper manipulation – over 6 months ago! Luckily I did photograph at the time and wrote some notes, so this post is a quick summary – to bring myself up to speed.

I’ve found that sometimes, the process of writing the blog has slowed me down. It’s only recently that I have been thinking and having conversations about the creative process with different people – that I have to remind myself that the reason I am studying this course is for me – so it needs to be a pleasure and not a drag or a drain! I am conscious that I am writing some of these posts BECAUSE I am studying online, and for the ease of assessment and for my tutor to keep track of what I am doing. So maybe this sometimes struggles with my real working process. I have discovered, and this has surprised me; that I do have perfectionist tendencies and this can sometimes halt my progress completely. So this post is a letting go and an acceptance of my limitations and what I am able to do.

As a result it is less polished, and more a presentation of images and notes. This is important to me as I hone my blog as something that works for me…

PAPERS:

I chose a variety: brown paper, thick printmaking card like paper, carbon paper, sugar paper, tracing paperOut of the drawings and images I chose, I linked up papers that I thought might lend themselves to the qualities.

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Brown paper three ways: loosely scrunched, wetted, scrunched and punctured, punctured with needle and hammer. The idea was to emulate the gritty, but soft marks made by the drypoint.

The other images I chose (see Exercise 2.1 Selecting  for images):

My ‘dynamic’ collage – that had strong sharp direction – slashing/cutting/strong folds and diagonals were my focus

My large ink drawing of the still life flowers – these had qualities of boldness to them

My small watercolour square: there was a playful quality I wanted to create so I chose to puncture and scrunch many of my papers with a randomness

A small mono print: inky, linear, textured, patterned – I folded, cut, used tracing and carbon papers

The fine liner close up on watercolour: crispy, edgy hard lines

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Slow Progress…

I am chasing my tail with the blog. Weeks and months behind, doesn’t feel good.

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who has reminded me that the best way forward is to think of what will ‘feed me creatively’ instead of paralysing myself with my inner critic by continually listing what I haven’t done.

In that vein, I have slowed down and pulled right back. I seem to contract when I think of / walk past my little room cum art studio… I just don’t want to carry out the exercises. I think I have finally figured out why, but I’ve saved that reflection for my post on my samples.

So I have spent my one day a week that I do have to myself (and my only chance to get on with ATV) doing other things. One of my other great interests is filling my house with plants, so I have been spending time reading up on caring for the plants I have, going to the garden centre and treating myself to a whole new lots of plants, and propagating and potting up some of them. Because of this, I randomly decided to research these two interests combined. This was due to having read a copy of “Steal Like and Artist”. In fact I had read somebody else’s blog (and apologies as can’t remember who’s it was!), who had been inspired by it, so I thought it might provide some light relief to my ongoing creative block! One of the suggestions is to go Google crazy. I like this idea. To make connections and expand and widen searches. To go down different rabbit holes.

So I Googled ‘Plant and Textiles’. Inevitably it produced a stream of websites, blogs and images mostly connected to dyeing plants / and eco printing. I am interested in this topic, and have it as one of my Pinterest boards , but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I don’t know what I’m looking for though obviously I seem to think I will know when I find it! This search led me on to looking for “Print Textile Artists” in general – because my background is in Printmaking, I thought it would be interest to widen my investigation into how these two mediums mix. Textile.org came up with a really good article on Cos Ahmet and a list of artists that I want to look at in more detail. I’ve also come across Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor and am interested in how she combines screen printing with textiles. I have recently got back into screen printing. The more I think about it, the more I think I am interested in the surface design aspect. I guess I need to play with mixing these ideas more?

Interestingly, just by breaking free and writing like this, rather than only using the blog to ‘write up’ my progress through the tasks feels better and more authentic.

2.1 Selecting

I thought this was a really good exercise to do at this stage. Although I didn’t have the space to hang all my drawings up around me, I did my best to lay them out. The importance of selecting and the ability to do it I think is key to being a good artist/creative.

It requires one to stand back and really consider what the intentions of the task require. I had to go through a process of keeping some drawings in my refined pile (which was about 18 drawings) before finally putting them aside, realising that I was keeping them in because I liked them, rather than because they would provide the most visual interest and act as the best stimulus for the next part of the project.

Because the majority of my work has been made out of a sketchbook I made notes on post it notes and stuck them directly to the appropriate image. In fact, I am STILL working out an effective system to use my sketchbook. I am still reluctant to write out too many notes in it only to copy them up on to my online log. Nor do I feel the need to take photos and both print them out for sketchbook annotation purposes as well as posting them online. I do like efficiency, possibly because I am so time starved in my life right now, but I worry that I am not ‘doing’ enough for the annotation/learning log aspect of the course.

I found it easy to gather about 10 drawings but it was harder to whittle these down to my final 6. I chose one of my large scale pieces, a monotype detail, my etching, another detail using pen and watercolour, a little square watercolour detail, one of my collages that had got feedback from my tutor as being dynamic. I thought it would be interesting to try and interpret these marks.

 

I then used post it notes again to describe each one before working out which papers I might assign to what in readiness to begin the paper manipulation exercise.