Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Feedback - Assignment 4 - with my reflections

My first comment - on assignment 4

For this feedback review I will comment in a different colour throughout my tutor's text. This is to respond to the specific points. On the whole she has provided positive feedback, so I am satisfied, but occasionally I have been surprised at some omissions, and I will mention these here and there.

[Tutor's] Overall Comments

Lorna in general this is competent body of work where you have developed your abilities and understanding of textiles.  All the samples you have sent me have been made with care and attention to detail.  There is a pleasing use of colour and texture in your weave pieces.  The work could be better organised with more labeling that includes your name student number and which assignment the work belongs to.  This will help enormously at assessment.  Your learning log is organised, it includes both your work and any research you have done.
LG: this is quite good commentary and I am happy with this; the note about the lack of labelling does not worry me, I will be labelling up everything for the assessment.

Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to succeed at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   

This is a standard comment that seems to be included in all feedback

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

I think from your learning log you have not sent me all the work from assignment 4.  I suggest that you are clear with your tutor about what you have sent and what you may have left out.  This helps in making informed judgments and giving the appropriate feedback.

[LG: not sure why says this here - I had sent her an email prior to submission saying I would not be sending two items that did not fit in the box with the rest of the work, and she had said that was OK in a reply email.]

The sample work you have sent has been made to a high standard of craftsmanship.  There is consideration to colour and texture.  You have used some interesting materials in some of the weaves including the one with the central blue square.   There is evidence that you are skilled and conscious of the quality of your outcomes.  What I suggest you need to work on is your creativity.  Your blurry photographs are really interesting.  They are energetic in limited but pleasing colour palettes.  Here I feel I am getting a taste of something that stimulates and excites you that is quite individual.  But I feel you are struggling to express this in your drawings and textile work.  To be honest this is the tricky bit but it is also when you get it right the part that will get you a good degree. 
LG: This good feedback, I am glad she thinks my work has some technical quality, I try to work with quality in mind (up to a point though, especially in machine embroidery) - but then I have woven for a bit. I have enjoyed doing the photography and I agree that they could be worked up, what is not said here is that I printed out some of these pictures, and I am planning to work up these more in my workbook on trees (she would not have been able to see these plans, they are still in my head).

She is also partially right about the creativity element, I occasionally think about interpretation of design, it is not easy, and I will work on this more for assignment 5. However, I am also a bit concerned about what she means with 'creativity'. As she has not mentioned my colour matching elements, and as the course handbook allowed for free design on the loom I am surprised that the texture samples are not referenced here, although she does go on to mention the green sample and its links to the leaf photographs:

You are some way there, for example in your sketchbook there is a loose drawing of a photograph of what looks like peeling paint.  You have used a mixture of media to express the hard lines of the cracked paint and the soft rust colours.  This sort of drawing functions really well as inspiration for textile work.  I suggest you explore the blurry photos in the same way.  Using different media and ways of adding them to the paper to create what you see.  When I say different ways of adding the media to the paper I mean how you use the tool (pencil, paint brush, finger).  This could be by pressing down hard or lightly, moving quickly or slowly, filling your brush with paint or keeping it dry.  Repeat drawings of the same image but in different mediums or style – this will help to develop your skill but also find the best way of drawing a particular image.  For more information about your drawing please refer to the feedback on Foundations in Textiles: Sketchbook assignment.

LG: yes, I agree with all of this, that will be my next steps for assignment 5, as well as more photography now we are entering a darker, autumnal season

You are also some way there with the green weave; it has the abstract feel of the blurry photographs.  There is movement, texture and highlights of colour that balance nicely in the space.  I suggest you continue to explore the visual world through photography, drawing and sample making.  Starting with the photo that you explore through drawing and mark making which leads to textile sampling.  Documenting the journey in your learning log.
LG: so, overall I am satisfied that I can build on my learning from assignment 4.
Again surprisingly, she has not mentioned any of the colour work and samples in project 8. Not that I mind, this was preparatory work for the wider project 9 work. Neither has she mentioned anything about courses I have undertaken, I am not sure what to make of this.

It would be good if there could be some sort of debate about what 'creativity' means. I believe that the making process itself is creative, I think what the tutor is trying to get at here is the actual designing and 'artistic' process which of course I am still a novice at.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays/Research Material

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis  

Your learning log is easy to navigate and articulate.  However I suggest you include less surplus information.  For example

We had a day out in Chichester recently. I had been promoting this to my husband for some time now, as soon I will be travelling to near there quite a bit, so before the journey becomes commonplace, I thought it would be good to do it for pleasure. And there are antique shops there, which we both like visiting...”

Concentrate on the artwork you saw and what you thought of it.  For example why were the St Ives paintings dull?  Was it the colour, texture, form, etc.?  You ought to be analysing the work so that you can learn something from it.   When looking at an artwork spend some time looking at it – several minutes.  Think about what you see, the materials used, the composition and how the artist has achieved their outcome. 

I didn’t realize there was a Marc Chagall stain glass window in Chichester.  What was it like?  Did it still have the dream like qualities of his paintings?  Did his strong use of colour work well in the window?  Was there anything you learnt from the window that you could bring to your own creativity?
LG: Hmm, I have to admit that I was quite tired after the Chichester visit, so did not want to spend much time writing in detail about the visit. In the blog I had separately included an object analysis of a brooch and a short analysis of woven obi, but these have not attracted any commentary. They were ways for me to practice short object analysis, but were not expected by the course book - I wonder whether the learning log should only be about the required learning material, or how far one can move beyond it?

Your reflections of your own work when prompted by the questions in the course material are thorough and enlightening.  You could do with examining your work more closely in the other areas of your learning log.  Start with description – materials, techniques, composition and then (this is the important bit) go on to discuss how well these elements work together.  Are there some parts of a sample or a drawing that are stronger than others?  What would you change or develop?  I also suggest you write in your learning log more regularly, very time you have worked on something even if it isn’t finished or you are not that happy with.  

Assignment 5 work on trees is a nice big topic to choose.  I suggest you use the feedback from this and the sketchbook assignment to improve your drawing and the creativity in your sample making.  Try not to be in a rush to make the final piece.  At assessment we will be looking at how you use your research, drawing and sample making to come up with an idea for the final textile sample.

LG: OK - the note about writing more commentary has been made before. Writing the learning log takes a long time, and writing more reflective thoughts is going to be more time consuming, when I am also going to be drawing more. I work full time, I am frequently tired when I get home from work, soon I will be doing some voluntary work which will be a stretch, so I reserve judgement on whether I can manage this additional work. This is about balancing my energy resource with time and demand of the course (goodness me how that sounded like something I sometimes say at work!).

Suggested reading/viewing


I recommend Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  This small book is packed with easily digestible information about how to do research and act upon it. 

Drawn to Stitch: line, drawing and mark making in textile art by Gwen Hedley and Mark-making in Textile Art by Helen Parrott.  These are both excellent publications with tips and inspiration on how to use drawing in your textiles. 

 Pointers for the next assignment

  • Include a contents list and labeling
  • Invest some time in improving your drawing skills
  • Use your drawings to come up with textiles sample ideas
  • Analyse the work of others
  • Reflect on your drawings and samples
  • Reflect on this feedback form in your learning log
Well done, Lorna I look forward to your next assignment.

LG final comment
So, a reasonable feedback and good advice for next steps, thank you to my tutor for these comments.

The recommended reading is fair, I have the Hedley and Kleon books already, so will re-visit these, and look at the Parrott. I will try to get in more observational drawing, continue to look at art and design through visits, do courses and continue to write about it on the blog. How much more writing I can do is a question to be addressed when I get to it, maybe it is more about saying the right things at key points, rather than to just add more narrative with little meaning.

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