Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Assignment 5 - Further reflections

My tutor asked me to expand a bit on my reflections of the work in assignment 5, she included some questions that may provide a useful starting point:

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? 

I am relatively happy about the work I did in my ‘tree’ theme book, which contains various scribbely drawings, photographs of trees, both ‘straight’ and more experimental, responses to colour in mixes, some wool wraps and collages. (I had also included a sections on rugs used in interiors to show that the notion of the heavy woven cloth for interiors is still valid – although I did not look at where these things are made, they are more likely made in India and China to keep costs low; raising questions of tradition, fair trading and what happens with tapestry weaving in the West when such imports become more common) .

I was fundamentally inspired by the texts by Herman Hesse in a small book called ‘Trees’ – Bäume (in German) which contains some beautiful passages on his responses to trees and nature (see this post). I am interested in nature and natural things and the way we as a human race are affecting nature so dramatically. To contain the work I wanted to work on the tree theme, working in tapestry. 

My work is mainly experimental. I like to play with materials and with the technology of the camera and so some of the work in the theme books reflects this. I am not sure the drawing work directly influences what I do. I need to learn to look and so to draw more, but in fact when working with process the main point is the materials and the technique as starting points, although for the final pieces it was the photographs that directed the colour choices. You don’t always know where you are going with the work when responding to materials, but in the case of assignment 10 I knew I had limited time, I had decided to contain the work by using tapestry technique and used photographs to lead the colour decisions. 

Overall I believe I have already spoken of my inspiration (the theme book, the pictures) in various posts, but I might need to comment a bit on the final impressions of the pieces. Both the green piece and the flower piece are separate works with their own individual integrity. They are contained by their sides, although the green sample is more open and experimental in its expression, as it was a test-run of a technique I had only seen worked by others. The colours work well together and the green sample shows that using a coloured warp will help create interest both from the weaving and its structure. The final sample works as a sample and reflect my intended experiment with pulling the warp to tighten the weft, and it has resulted in something, which if mounted on a dark background, might even be seen as a final piece.

The blue sample with the flowers also works quite well. Again, it is a sample to try out sewing with the silk strips, and seeing how the smoothness of the silk against the textured woven background creates a sense of interest and tension that evokes the lightness of the petals against the hard ground on the photographs. Of the two samples this is the ‘pretty’ one, the flowers evoking white flowers in general, whilst the green sample is an abstracted sense of the green in leaves, just as the photograph indicated.

I enjoy photographing and considering colour. I do not necessarily contain the final piece in my head before it is made, althouh I sometimes do, and so the final sample may look incomplete as its function is to practice and work through thoughts. In both cases I think this has worked well, and I am content that they stand alone, each an expression of a particular mood, ‘Spring’ and ‘Summer’, density of leaves, lightness of petals, trees as element sof growth and change, affected by the seasons, the weather and how we see them.

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