Assignment 4: Reflection and Review against Assessment Criteria

Written reflection

I found this assignment the hardest so far. The world of yarns was unknown to me in any depth, although I had spun a bit before. I found the research fascinating although have not written this up. I think one of the blocks I have on the research write ups is to do it with integrity rather than to ‘show’ an assessor that I have done the task. Some of the research I do is thorough, I read around and spent time on the internet clicking through websites and going off -piste. I don’t feel the need at that point to write things down or ‘discuss’ them. I do however need to consider hot to find a way to make this work for me. My instinct is to jot these notes down in a notebook rather than present them in a clear coherent manner on the blog.

I spent a lot of studio time at the start of the project trying to get my head around the making of yarns. I didn’t feel I was doing it right. It wasn’t until delving into knotting techniques in the Re-interpret exercise that I understood the potential more. However I was focussed more on learning the techniques and feel that I didn’t get to really explore the idea of ‘re-interpreting and re-inventing’ to its’ full potential.

I think my strengths here was that I persevered despite some real resistance at the beginning! This has been a huge learning curve, not necessarily in the techniques and creative outcomes but in terms of learning how I go about my own creative practice. The areas where I struggle, the ebbs and flows. Although I feel this assignment isn’t complete,  it has had a strong effect on how I approach my work.

What I feel is incomplete:

My research file – I have not written this up, although I did look into the research point at the start of this assignment, as well as investigate the techniques in Exercise 4.3 and research the yarn constructions in Exercise 4.5 Collage-inspired yarn

I have only just skimmed the surface in the tasks in Project 2:

I could investigate Exercise 4.3 further paying closer attention to the challenge to re-interpret the Rubens’ painting.

I would like to refine techniques that I have begun to explore further and to revisit Exercise 4.4 – Deconstructing colour as yarn. I thought there was more scope than I got to investigate. For instance I could have spent time not only manipulating and  deconstructing the linens but careful taking apart the threads and then plying them with others, or spinning them with wool to mix colours together in a subtle way.

I have not presented my thoughts and outcomes on Exercise 4.5 Collage-inspired yarn although I did work on this I have not written about in my blog as a post. I would like to spend more time research the yarn construction techniques and practice these more.

I have only temporarily presented my work so far in order to send to my tutor. I have done this in a simple A3 sketchbook loosely taping my yarns in the pages. I think my final presentation would look best on some bigger A2 boards so as to give the yarns full room to ‘drop’ down on the page.

 

Reflection on Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills – I did refine my drop spinning technique and used you tube tutorials to learn macrame and braiding. Some of this criteria and it’s outcomes overlaps how I have responded to the demonstration of creativity.

Many of these skills shown are new to me and lack a refinement.

Quality of outcome – I attempted to ‘match’ yarn designs and concepts not only with colour/texture but also the overall ‘vibe’ of the source material.

I am aware that I didn’t use a sketchbook at all for this assignment! I didn’t visually ‘plan’ my yarn concepts which I have seen other people doing the course work through and show this in their blogs. Did this hinder my conceptualisation of ideas?

I observed myself working intuitively with the materials. A lot of the thinking was happening through my choice of which yarns and materials to select for each task.

Demonstration of creativity – I did get more inventive as I gained confidence in the tasks; for instance using plastics, netting, raffia.

Exercise 4.4 Deconstructing colour as yarn – I ripped organza, found a selection of materials that I felt leant themselves to the colours and lightness of the watercolour inspired palettes. I made decisions and experimented bearing this aesthetic in mind.

I began to experiment with the collage inspired exercise  ‘blindly’ working out how to create some of the effects similar to some of the yarn construction such as slit film yarns.

I could have pushed the boundaries further in Project 2 however I acknowledge that I was concentrating on gaining technical understanding of yarn concepts, of materials and of techniques. This took time and some ideas didn’t get to be investigated.

Having said this, I do feel that my work and making does carry a personal voice. I can see ‘my hand’ in how I approach the exercises. I can see similarities and threads, a sensibility and sense of aesthetic that is running through my assignments.

Context – Using the macrame and braiding I felt were the right selection from my research. I returned to the neutral palette investigations and build on my yarn designs with my newly learnt knotting techniques.

I re-visited my spinning technique (which I had forgotten) through research and practice.

I am learning the importance to see my art practice as cyclical rather than linear. I persisted with certain ideas (again another new lesson learnt) even though at the time I thought it wasn’t working. I have discovered from previous reflection how important it is to persist, especially in times of resistance to certain exercises.

There is still more to be done in finding ways to write up what I am researching and reflecting. I have found using a notebook the best however this is not ideal for assessment purposes.

 

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Assignment 3: Reflection and Assessment Criteria

Part 3 had been a whirlwind. As always, I wish I could spend more time than I have on the tasks.  I feel that I am reflecting on this at a point where it is 80% complete. I would like to return and update these reflections once I complete the colour book.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed studying the colour in the Rubens painting. I would have happily spent more time on that, playing around with the different ratios of colour. It had so much depth. The more I looked at it the more I could see different colours and tones that I hadn’t picked out before. I have certainly gained more knowledge on the use and application of gouache and watercolour, the properties of colour mixing.

I have sent my incomplete book to my tutor. Despite picking up the pace a lot more in this assignment, I have still found it very hard to be bold with my selections. Learning how to choose what is priority to get everything done within the time allocated. I felt like I wanted to do more, explore more and play more, particularly with the yarn wraps and the collages.

So I would rather hand in the ‘book’ as is, since I am interested and excited at the prospect of considering presentation and layout. I have learnt that this part can often go unforgotten, and something I am clear and would like to focus on just as much as the making and the researching is how to communicate all that. I want to consider what are the moods of the colours I am presenting and what would suit best. I didn’t want to rush it for the sake of it. I feel there is a lot to learn in this area.

I have found it challenging to pick out my strengths here as I feel it is so unfinished and incomplete. I think some of my collage work has some interesting elements. With almost all of the tasks I found it imperative to try them out a few times. To do more than what is asked for as the first ones are often trials/getting it out of the way so to speak. More confidence is gained by trying this out, knowing that not everything hinges on one idea/experiment being ‘successful’. I am also learning to follow my own interest and voice. For instance although I did paint out some colour ‘swatches’ to use, cut and rip up. I was much more drawn to using found papers, old magazines or old art pieces.

To summarise what I feel is incomplete.

I have not:

  • written up my research on artists (Research Point 1)
  • Made and bound the book
  • Stuck in my work and added labels, considering presentation of themes, aesthetic and layout.

Reflection against assessment criteria

  • Demonstration of technical and visual skills – as I worked with the gouache, my understanding for its’ properties improved. The yarn wraps became less awkward the more I did them. My watercolour work needs some refinement and painting out stripes I realised I left some gaps in-between.
  • Quality of outcome – although there is no finished book I think there are the beginnings of communicating my work with some sense of coherence. There is an emerging format
  • Demonstration of creativity – this is probably strongest with the collages, especially the monochramatic and multi-coloured study. There is something about both that I have found to be my strongest pieces and I look forward to seeing how I can present them as a certain mood.
  • Context- some of this has occurred in the making. I have found making notes the best way rather than only rely on the blog. The blog allows me to summarise, but as I am working and making and experimenting many decisions are being made that are not noted or articulated other than in the way they inform my next decision

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….

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.

Consolidating a folio of drawings and a written reflection on Part 1

I chose nine drawings to send to my tutor for ongoing feedback. Five of them were from the work I did in Project 2, drawings of the blankets from the archive. I chose a mixture, ink, drypoint, collage and watercolour/pen ones:

I found drawing the blankets from the archive quite a challenge. Trying to record the textures, patterns on a cloth was hard and required a few different approaches. I learnt that I needed to be a lot more focussed and selective when drawing, as it’s almost impossible to process and respond to all the information I am taking in at once, I found it better to make decisions about my drawing. So some I focussed purely on the marks and patterns I could see. Others I found rearranging the fabric and not having it laid out straight was more interesting compositionally. Translating these marks into collage also required me to think differently. How to portray such fine textures and details? I had never thought of using collage in this way. I’ve only ever thought of in terms of shape and form. I have also turned to colour more, and investigated printmaking a bit.

I selected four from Project 3 looking at my flower studies.

Although I enjoyed collecting and arranging my own sources to record from. I don’t think I pushed myself as much in Project 3: Picking and Portraying. I had lots of initial ideas of really playing around with print, pushing the ideas of composition as suggested in the file, but due to being ‘on/off’ with my study time at present I found it hard to keep up the momentum. I think I played it safe/easy in terms of materials.

I really enjoyed looking at Blackadder and Askey in particular – but wondering how I could bring in some other elements. From the research points, I noticed how often I was drawn to and picked out the elements of composition as well as when artists made a bold visual response.