Sunday, 3 January 2016

Textile 1 - Assignment 5 - A Piece of your own - Final reflections

Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawings and samples to the final designs? 

Of the two samples the first is the most spontaneous and impressionistic of the designs and follow in the same vein as my method of loosely photographing leaves and trees. I am quite satisfied that this way of working allowed for free choices of colour, with some determination of what would sit where, and trying out a new technique. In that way the final piece was really a sample, but I decided some time last year that I would make beautiful samples as much as possible, as partial samples lacking coherence leaves one a bit dissatisfied; and so in that way I think this piece was satisfactory.

The aim of the second sample was to be a more finished item. It was designed from a photograph I had altered, of magnolia flowers in the spring, where the pixels had been turned more blue than they could ever have been in reality. From these I selected various blends and placed areas of colour across the surface of the work. I knew this would become a background surface, so the designing was again fairly improvised, but the placement of coloured areas was much more controlled than the green sample had been. Choosing how the petals would be rendered took some thought and trying out. In the end I think this also worked as I could add petals and move them if they didn't quite fit.

The book cover is not really part of the final submission but has ended up being quite  substantial piece of work, so I am not how this fits in. It is machine embroidered so not a 'constructed textile'. It was good to make it, I wanted to try to make a book with properly sewn together sections and that has worked well as it proved itself as the theme book. I also like the size of the book and the final cover in its whole. I am less convinced when the book is folded up, although the cover does suggest something a bit precious lies within.

Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process? If not, what changes would you make? 

The green sample would probably have benefitted from a bit more control of the greens I chose. For example, I could have chosen shades and tones of similar greens and yellows as in the photographs, but to be honest, I wanted a stronger contrast than just tonal variations, so I am not worried about the final selection.

I had a two month break from this work as I had exams to study for, for work. These types of breaks cut the creative continuity that I need to create a consistent piece of work. However, despite the break I had decided some time ago, when I was photographing trees and leaves, that I would have a go at the three dimensional technique and I think that was the right thing to do.

In terms of the second piece I in the end chose a different image to work on from what I had originally intended due to shortage of time. I worked directly from the photograph of the magnolia and a landscape from the early 20th century. I laid these on a table and then brought yarns across to the pictures and blended against the colours in the pictures. Then once the work was in progress I continued to blend, matching against the original colour selections, but here the design of the tapestry then changed to be one of weighing the balance of browns and blues, darker and lighter shades across the surface of the piece. Occasionally I had to undo certain areas if they became too dominant, created an imbalance or something was missing. I tried a few additional techniques such as wrapping over a single warp and in short sections across three warps, and I like how these break the surface up a bit and create a different texture to the weave. And I have to say, that I love the tapestry weaving process for the way the weave progresses, and when a certain amount has been built up I find myself stroking the surface, pulling at the edges and warps to adjust the width, checking the back and so on, I do enjoy the making and the materials and how these elements make a new thing.

If I had had more time I would have done more drawing work. I still haven't fully worked out how I figure-in drawing as part of my design technique. I like finding pictures of art from the history of art, painting, textile art and so on, and looking at the way for example landscape is rendered. I think that is very important to the way I look at colour and how I would like to think about my selection of techniques - this research seems to build up over time, some sort of inner pictures of what I would like to work on grow and intertwine, and they are then triggered when I look and feel materials for projects. I also thought that I might start using a felting machine and making small samples using that, as well as support these by wet felting and embroidery to enhance the design of the tapestries. That is, using these textile techniques in the design process before I start a piece. This is something I have just started working on - felting/fusing a black sample and then putting out a variety of black yarns and a certain pale minty greens on a table where I can walk past it and consider how this might work. This is then supplemented by looking at textile art on the web and in books, 1970s fibre art, embroidery by Junko Oki (I have just discovered and am absolutely fascinated by).

Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and materials you chose to work with? 

I am happy with the choices of materials. Wool, silk and linen are all natural materials and using second-hand or stash materials in the main, mean that I did not have to go out and purposefully buy new materials.

I have probably covered the answer to this question in the above answer.

How successful is your final design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?

The first, green, sample was a test of a technique I had seen, but never woven before. It was new to me, but as it really was something Fiona Hutchinson uses I cannot claim to have invented it, although using greens and shades of brown to represent dappled light in leaves that was my take on it.

On the other hand I think that my use of fabric as suggesting petals on the Stellata piece was quite inventive, and had its roots in embroidery rather than weaving, as I think tapestry weavers in the traditional vein will normally seek suggestions in the weave structure rather than embellishing the surface.

In both cases the pieces are coherent, although placed next to each other they probably would not be seen as part of a meaningful series.

I have thought a bit about 'voice' in art. I look at some work and think how neat and precise some people's work are. Or some re-interpret similar themes many times over in similar techniques and seem never to tire of these, or others again work spatially, conceptually with esoteric themes (although I am tiring of the concepts of memory in textiles, this really has become a bit of a cliche of itself in some works I have seen - this will be seen as a bit philistine I know). Being a novice I think my 'voice' is just starting to develop. I think that in the end my work will have a certain heft that I have seen in some fibre art that uses heavier materials. In a way I am disappointed about that, I would love to be able to make small, fine stuff, but it simply is not part of my language and may never become so. I just need to accept whatever comes through the design developments I work on in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment