Congratulations in completing this final part of Textiles 1: A Creative Approach. It is clear from the work you have sent me you have worked hard to use the design process to develop ideas and final textile pieces. You have used research material to inspire drawing work in a range of mediums. However there is a lack of evidence that you have worked through a number of textile samples in order to come to conclusions about the direction of your final design. Having said that your final weave piece is a clear development of your blurred tree photographs.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
During this assignment you have created a theme book based on trees, exploring their forms, colours and design potential through drawing and collage. Though your drawing skill still needs developing you have used it regularly to explore your theme with some success. There is a pleasing use of mark making to explore the structure of trees, for example the page where you use lightly painted some what watery lines accompanied by splashes of colour in blue and pink. I suggest you develop this loose style further, using mark-making exercises to develop your style. Mark making video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LrZGoW6-iw
Throughout your theme book you have used collage to develop and play with ideas. I particularly like the collage you have built up using different green papers in a linear arrangement that reflects the image opposite of a pine forest. There also appears to be a conscious effort to investigate texture through collage that works well in this project.
It would have been good to see a group of textile samples that came from this work, placing the samples alongside the work to illustrate how your ideas developed. It’s possible you conducted your sampling earlier in the course, if this is the case I suggest you organise your work in way that explains how drawing influenced you sample making.
Comment: I didn’t have time to do much sample making. I was nearing the absolute final date for submission and decided to work straight on the loom as I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make. It is worth repeating here that I primarily work through process, i.e. I work with the material and experiement as I go along. The course material suggsted we could work through process and I chose to work in this way, which is my preferred approach. I knew what colours I wanted to use, and the technique (in the case of the green sample) I wanted to try out. There was little point sampling when the final thing was itself a sample and the process of working through it was the main concern of this method. It would have been different if I was planning something that needed careful thought and working out for example in terms of size, blends, representation or interpretation, but that was not necessary in the case of either samples as they were worked through on the loom. Tapestry weaving is a slow process and there is quite a bit of time to think during the work.
You have sent three larger textile samples (including the book cover) with the rippled weave being your final piece I think. This is quite an exciting piece of textile work with its free use of colour and energetic texture. It clearly is a development of your photographic experiments. It has been crafted with care but also feels like an inquiring piece of work that captures the blurry movement in your photograph.
Comment: Originally I had intended to make four pieces for the final work, to reflect trees through the seasons. This was a bit ambitious in the end and the two woven pieces I have included represent an exploratory work that resonates with the ‘summer’ theme that is based on the abstracted photographs my tutor mentions, and the ‘spring’ theme, based on the photo-manipulated images of magnolia stellate from our garden. The feedback is useful and clear, I am encouraged that the work is seen as careful craft work, that is my intention with creating samples, and final work.
What are your thoughts on this body of work; blurred photo, drawings, colour palettes, collage and textile sample conclusion? What did you learn about the design process? How did the drawing work affect your thinking? Where did your ideas come from and how did you respond to them? Was the final outcome what you expected, not just in regard to techniques but also in its aesthetic? This reflective thinking and recording that thinking is an essential part of the course, making up 20% of your mark. I suggest you include a reflective piece of writing of about 500 words on your learning log to conclude this journey.
Comment: I am a bit confused about some of these questions. I put a lot of effort into describing my process for the ‘stellata’ piece, looking at the image and choosing wools, selecting colours, working in sections etc and referencing Fiona Hutchison’s work for the green sample etc. I will add some more words into the blog in a separate post, and will consider the aesthetic dimension. Some supporting wording is also included in the final reflections section. Maybe my blog isn’t clearly set out?
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
For this assignment you have conducted an in depth study into trees, using this as your theme to inspire design. This spread nicely into architecture in particular church interiors. You have collected the information in the form of photographs and cuttings. It is nice to see you have mixed paints to create colour palettes from these images. You have also used drawing and collage to explore the potential of the images too. These are all really good ways to explore your research material so I suggest you continue to do this in your future studies.
Comment: yes, I like collaging, using texture and working out colours, good to hear she likes this technique. I went on a Cas Holmes course on creative journal making which was a good introduction to how to work with papers, samples, sketches etc. I think the box I made for the sketchbook course earlier in the year was useful in that respect as well. I believe that I pick up impressions from many different sources, including from an in-visible source such as music, and they all leave traces in the subconscious that get worked through when I am developing my ideas in some way.
You have also gathered imagery and information about other practitioners, for example Fiona Hutchinson whom you explain you met taking part in one of her summer schools. You include some lovely imagery of her work, including sample pieces on her studio wall. To get the most from this experience and from other workshops and talks you have attended it is vital to explain what you have learnt. Not just in terms of techniques but also ways of working - how an artist develops their ideas, their design process, how they use drawing, sampling and times of reflection. From this you ought to spend some time considering how what you have learnt will affect the way you approach your own creative process. This critical reflection is essential when studying towards a degree but it will also assist you creating more meaningful and considered textiles.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Further to what is written above your learning log is well organised with imagery of your work and details of techniques and methods used. I suggest you develop you critical thinking skills by writing about how your ideas come about, how you respond to these ideas through drawing and making and then write an evaluation of drawings and the things you make. This will assist you in gaining a good mark at assessment and it will also encourage a deeper understanding of your own personal design process.
Comment: OK, this is a similar comment to the one above about writing about process and ideas generation. I mentioned that I felt I had done this already, but will do a bit more. There is something personal about idea generation and process development that I feel should not always be revealed and disclosed to the world, and I am still not sure what it is that is being asked here. 'Telling all' is almost turning oneself inside-out in public, and although there is a movement for people to open all to the world on the web I do not necessarily want that. There has to a space for one's own self and quiet making. For example, one of the course tutors whose course I attended was quite sensitive about her process and did not want this shared with the world on another person’s blog.
My first tutor on this course thought I should spend more time making and less on writing - I have since been asked to write more. I have spent several years in university undertaking critical writing on art and design, and reviewing design thinking (design history to MA level), and I continue to have to think hard and write in my daily work.
I believe that practice is itself a mode of expression, and yes, there should be words attached, but in the design and art disciplines surely making, as praxis, should be the primary mode of expression. The work is the embodiment of the learning and the thought process. Perhaps this is a limitation of distance learning that there is no immediate discussion of the work. In classes with tutor feedback and real presence we discuss the work using language to describe and reflect, but it is an immediate and responsive environment to support the work and we find essences in the spoken rather than writing long realms of text. Writing so much on a blog feels artificial and can become a chore, it ditracts from the work to some extent. Add to that the expectation of participation in on-line environments (sometimes with more self-revelation) and there is little time left for making.
For me it is the process that is the important thing above everything else.
Pointers for further study
- To work within the time scale provided by the OCA (you work arrived 2 days after you course finished) – yes, I submitted late, but that was due to work pressures and over-reaching my project
- Develop your drawing skill – agree – I am going on a couple of drawing courses at West Dean college soon, and will take life drawing classes locally to where I live
- Include your reflective thinking and analysis of the work you make – Hmm, see my comments above
- Write about what you have learnt during workshops, talks and when looking at your research material. – again, I thought I had done this. I am keeping the writing slim-lined and will try to write just enough, as I still think the making takes precedent over writing.
Pointers for assessment
- Reflect on this feedback in your learning log
- Make suitable adjustments to your work in line with tutor feedback.
- Reread your feedback forms to check you have used all the tutor suggestions.
- Look at the learning outcomes and the assessment criteria to judge whether your work has met the requirements.
- Refer to the assessment guidelines on the oca website, Research ▷ By Course Area ▷ Textiles ▷ scroll down to page 2 ▷ Assessment Guidelines: Textiles
- Aim to organize your work so that it tells the story of how you went about achieving the outcomes. You did this by conducting research, doing drawing and making samples.