Assignment 5: Initial textile ideas

I am finding it SO challenging to resolve my experiments and as per usual feel like I still need to explore more possibilities and compositions, delve more into yarn creations; however I am conscious of my time and he need to get all work ready and sent off really by mid September.
Here are some photos of some of my development:
I am using different coloured linens, some paper like parchment paper.
I find both work better for me if I ‘treat’ them with PVA glue to stiffen them.
I have worked heavily with the diamond style stitching as I I find it works well suggestions he texture of the fish leather, copper bottle and suggests a stylised/ geometric form that creates crystal compositions.
I am at times combining yarns when stitching.
I also want to keep playing with screenprint, possibly on a smaller but repeated scale.
It may be that 1 or 2 of my outcomes may end up being trims, so as to allow for intricate stitching.
I m also interested in the ‘line’ that keeps coming up, like a boundary/the strong edge of the fish leather:

Despite turning up and working, I don’t know where I am going or what I am doing! It feels like I am in the dark. I am observing how this must be part of the process. I feel very much like I am following breadcrumbs. There are many possibilities and ways and avenues to explore, yet there is a fine line between going for all of them and then losing focus.


I have found cutting out interesting and continuing on from the concept of  ‘fragment’ I am looking to use any scraps.

I’ve used the brown paper bag that my croissant came in. I liked the ‘waxy’ parchment quality. It echoes something about the copper bottle – something a bit bashed or crumpled. By playing with layering, I have observed how using negative space through cut outs allows me to incorporate another fabric underneath.

I knew that I needed to consider yarns too. I revisited assignment 4 and remembered how much I enjoyed making the flat type yarns.

I attempted this using the yarns and fabrics from my yarn wraps.

I din’t think these worked well and didn’t reflect the qualities of the theme.

It did help to continue thinking about how best to combine colour together through materials and yarns however.

I thought about the diamond style stitches and researched how to make nets. Using this, I created a ‘net’ out of wooden yarns which I thought might have more scope with being incorporated into more resolved samples.


Assignment 5 – Beginning

Looking back over my previous work, I considered using Iced Landscape and revisiting the first brief because I remember enjoying it and found drawing from the objects there was more scope. However after talking with my tutor, I was also excited by the prospect of creating a more self initiated brief.

I spent most of March still working back into the yarn exercises whilst mulling over my focus for assignment 5.

I had two different ideas emerging.

1) a collection of objects – not sure how they related but I put them up on my pin board:

  • a plastic bag from the V&A museum in bronze and black – originally I saved it thinking I might want to use it for alternative yarn making but I liked the islamic style design on it too.
  • a fish leather – one of my original chosen objects from the iced landscape project that I would like to explore further in terms of texture, pattern, colour and concept
  • a little sample of a velvet fabric with a bird on. I am interested in the texture and colour of the piece.
  • A book on Rodin and a book on Islamic Art
  • I found all  pieces fascinating, hence having them pinned up, but not sure they would  pull together and I assume the objects/collection needs to have some thread to connect them.

2) I have a load of crystals, Some of which I inherited, and some I bought.

I have become really fascinated by them for their range in colour and the potential to make a capsule collection inspired by them.  I also thought the Islamic art and bashed metal bottle remind me of some the smocking work I began to investigate in assignment 2.

I emailed my tutor for advice on which option might be a stronger start.

I knew I needed to refine the selection and began the process by drawing my chosen items. The more I engaged with them and photographed them, the more I was able to get more of a sense of how some may go together.


Radical Craft and Itinerant Quilters

Living in a smallish town in mid Wales, it’s not every day I get inspired by exhibitions! We do have an Arts Centre with two galleries that curate often interesting shows but they are on for some time so I can feel culturally starved once I’ve seen whatever is on.

However I recently went to visit the ‘Radical Craft: Alternative Ways of Making” exhibition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre which really blew me away. It is rare that I visit an exhibition that I find so inspiring I want to keep going again and again. I took some students on my second visit.

I drew drawings and made notes and even bought the catalogue!

What I found so inspiring about this show was how I noticed nd it was focussed on artists who work intuitively with their process and don’t necessarily know what their outcome is going to be. Interestingly I found their work so powerful and inspiring, like really the most well curated and inspiring exhibition I’ve been to in a long time!

So as I heard myself say these words to my students, something clicked for me- that I need to work intuitively too and trust my own process….trust it will lead me down the right path.

And then yesterday I heard that Ceredigion Museum were hosting Two Itinerant Quilters so I whisked my daughter and I off wearing one of my most loved and oldest dresses to be ‘mended’. IT was a really fun experience, it felt great to take part in something, to offer a piece up to a quilt and to have my dress ‘up cycled’ at the same time.


I thought it timely since I am due to work on Research Point 1 and begin to consider artists and designers who work with the theme of mending, re-using and recycling.

Both the exhibition and the quilters have made me think about this even more. Using and re-using materials, using what is around you. The effects that you gain when you leave some of your making to chance, to working with what appears before you.