Assignment 2: Written Reflection and Review against assessment criteria

I began work on Part 1 18months ago and Part 2 last November so in the first instance I acknowledge that this assignment  has taken me a very long time to complete.

Here is what I have learned over the projects:

  • The importance of tutorials and having a dialogue about my process is of huge importance and heavily influences my work output.
  • I like to go into ideas and processes, exploring materials and techniques with more depth than I had given myself credit for.
  • It’s better to keep turning up and working on tasks, ignoring my inner critic and focussing on what I am doing rather than all the things I know I am not doing!
  • For Part 2, I particularly enjoyed the paper manipulation and sewing into the smaller samples. My interest waned when working on the more composed larger pieces. I think this is due to the pressure on myself that I had to create a focussed almost finished piece. On reflection it would have served me better to take the task less literally and work on however many more developed samples I wanted to. This would have probably kept my interest going. This is why I liked working on the paper manipulation library, the stitched smaller samples and the textile preparatory samples I made for Assignment 2.
  • Drawing and planning ideas out can be done in a variety of ways apart from literally sketching ideas. Using photos, layout and pinning up samples, selecting ones in particular to juxtapose together are also ways of drawing. I discovered taking photos of some of my inboards a good way to show my planning stages. These also influence my watercolour drawings where I make attempts to combine some of my selected images together.
  • I needed to break up the leap from paper to textile even further, spending a long time on playing with textile samples.
  • My understanding of drawing and recording has developed: I find that observing and looking at something, needs practice and for me sustained engagement. My drawings improved the more I got to know my subject (sounds obvious now!).
  • I do spend time thinking about my process and approach to my work and draw on my observations of this.
  • Folding and pleating fabric and making it go where you want it to go is so much harder than it looks!

My strengths are that I do have a strong aesthetic and can create samples and outcomes that show dynamism and delicacy. I do feel that there is energy behind the work I make and was very inspired and excited by the assignment. I recognise the importance of sampling and trying things out.

I certainly felt a frustration that I didn’t have the capacity to address all points, tasks hints and tips (that are in the course booklet) with the depth and focus I would ideally like to give. So much of my learning with this project is getting to know what my capacities are, how to make decisions and selections and where to prioritise my focus. I would like to spend more time further addressing the following:

  • Using a wider range of marks and tools in the same image/drawing sample
  • I also felt that I missed some of the point of the assignment and found myself not being very experimental with different forms of stitch? I think I might have stayed too ‘literal’ in interpreting the pieces as images rather than as textile samples.
  • Spend more time playing with layout and scale
  • Stop and look at what I am doing and ask questions half way, look at the back of the textile piece and be open to searching and experimenting with different stitch techniques – keep looking for different solutions to create textures with stitch
  • Annotating and articulating my reflections and thoughts through writing and the blog
  • Being open to drawing and designing ideas in different ways at the planning stages
  • Reading and looking at more artists, in more depth to gain a deeper understanding and to cultivate a better sense of enquiry and finding way to make links with my own work
  • Folding and pleating fabric and making it go where you want it to go is so much harder than it looks! This is an area I would like to explore and master more.

Review against Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

I did employ a variety of drawing techniques in Part 1 and drew on my printmaking knowledge. I was pleased with much of my observational work although recognise now that I could have extended my marks and worked with a wider range of them.  I had only used dissolvable film and discharge liquid once before as a quick experiment so was pleased in how much my technique improved with each use.

I do work naturally and intuitively with my materials and processes and feel like my formal art background helps with the basics of colour, texture, line, composition.

Quality of Outcome:

This is possibly the hardest to evaluate and critique since I feel that the assignment needs further work. However I am pleased with what I have achieved so far. My last very unfinished sample still excites me with where I could take it, and I am pleased that I have had the boldness to value it enough as I could have easily finished it ‘for the sake of finishing it’. I feel this way there is a better chance of creating something of high quality.

What I need to work heavily on is drawing connections and noting my observations as I go in a more obvious way. I do use the blog more that just to log each exercise so I hope that with time I use images of my work and words to connect my thoughts together further. I know this will help me to refine and formulate new ideas.

The way I work is partly due to time constraints and I would rather ‘keep on top of it’ by posting more regularly. The flip side to this is that my posts sometimes lack the depth. They don’t articulate my decisions clearly. The blog behaves more like an online journal of thoughts in which I don’t spend time editing and adding to a post in order to make it ‘readable’ or to make sense?

I would like pin more of my work up and take photos of these. I feel this would be a good way to solve the problem. Then I can show drawings and samples and images which I feel all connect next to each other.

Demonstration of Creativity:

I think I have been up and down with this. Most of my paper samples are nothing groundbreaking and remain relatively simple in concept. My use of base textiles is varied and I think I did explore different possibilities – reaching the conclusion that both velvet and organdie can create soft/gentle/delicate outcomes.

I feel like I could have pushed the materials further, and I think this is one of the reasons why I stalled on my last piece. Trying to find the edge, and to take more risks.

I think some of my personal voice does come through – there is a playful and energised attitude that is beginning to emerge.


This is still a weak area of mine. Partly to do with the pressure to verbalise, articulate my thoughts and critical thinking. I know I do it, but it’s all in my head and I have not yet found a process or the tools that would work best for me to create a habit of putting it on paper/blog. I have a strong sense that this is very much linked to what I have previously communicated about keeping up a dialogue of my work. Hearing myself speak out loud to someone makes more sense to me. It is then so much easier to put some of these findings into words.

I am also conscious that I am a critical thinker but this has in the past also inhibited me from actually getting any making done, and it is vital to me that I establish  strong art making practice.



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:

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.

Larger Samples


Having looked back through my drawings, as the task requested, I chose two different pieces to work from: a large ink drawing and a small etching on an inky background.

I thought one was interesting because of the different opacities I had gained – using the ink in a number of ways and I was interested to see how how I would translate this into stitch.


I prepared my paper by creasing and folding, based on one of my earlier paper manipulation samples. I thought this would achieve some of the dynamic qualities of the piece and create movement. I used a mixture of black threads and wool to create the variety that the depths of marks show on the paper.

The watery diluted geometric shapes in the corner of my drawing I translated by using plain cotton thread and created long line stitches side by side. I think this is the most successful of the stitches/marks I have interpreted.

I noticed with working on this exercise that I did get bored and fed up with working on them. They are not completely finished, but maybe that’s because I felt like I ‘got’ what I needed from them.

I finally decided to honour my unlinear way of working, and despite not having fully completed this task, nor spent much time ‘planning’ the assignment. I nonetheless decided to dive straight in.

Stitched Samples


As a follow on from my previous post – these are the images, some of work in progress others that are complete of my stitch samples. I struggles with these because I found it hard to keep up the focus in order to capture the marks.

I think I was still working (still am!) in a ‘literal’ way of trying to recreate the marks themselves and this means I sometimes lose sense of the aim to capture the actually qualities of those marks.

In the end I have had to accept that this is not my strong point but I have had to move on as I felt like I came to such a state of inertia with it!


I did select from a number of threads (see title image), but when it came to it worked mostly with the black. I gathered black wool and different cottons and black threads. I doubled them up in some instances.

As suggested in the course book. I did indeed like the back just as much as the front of many of the samples!

I did select from a number of threads (see title image), but when it came to it worked mostly with the black. I gathered black wool and different cottons and black threads. I doubled them up in some instances.

The irony is that I really like the aesthetic qualities of these samples! Maybe they are ‘unfinished’ but I like these. I liked leaving all the threads on, especially with any machine stitching I did. They add another layer, a delicate and fragile quality to the work that I feel suited the images and close ups I chose.





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…


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.

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











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 figure 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. 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.