Thursday, 28 June 2012

Project 1, Stage 4

The last stage for project 1 was working from my sketchbooks - again making textural studies. It asked for 4 or 5 images to work from so I then only made 2 textural studies for each. I feel partly guilty that I'm not doing more but I don't want to go on forever!

I ran out of A3 paper today so I've had to order another book - in the meantime here are all the separate studies arranged around the 5 focus areas.

And since I now have the A3 book here they are all glued in....

Now is the time to reflect upon work so far...

Have you ever thought about drawing in this way before?
Actually I sketch A LOT but I tend to sketch things like my dream house layout or website designs or dress designs rather than sketching for the sake of sketching. My sketching has always been for a design rather than for the art itself. I've enjoyed sitting down and forcing myself to draw. 

Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?
I don't think so!!! I looked at a lot of other students blogs so I think I had over-saturated my brain. Those moments where I was a bit more out of the box and free-flowing I didn't think turned out so well. I do think I've been quite inventive in my sketching at moments though so I think the exercises have opened me up a little bit creatively.

Did you explore a wide range of media?
I explored all the media I have and I don't want to go purchasing any more! I've used crayons, pencils, ink, felt tip, watercolour (hard, liquid, crayon, pencil), acrylic, gouache, chalks. On a few different papers - perhaps not quite as exploratory with the papers but I had to reign it in somewhere.

Are you pleased with what you've done? Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?
I look at my work and I sometimes I think 'it looks like a primary school kid did it' and sometimes I'm really happy with it. There are definitely some pieces that I'm thrilled with though so I have to take that as a plus. It will help me to approach drawing more confidently in that I'm more confident about starting. I'm not any more or less confident that the actual result will be pleasing!

Which exercise did you most enjoy? Why?
I enjoyed Stage 3, Exercise 1 the most - making textural studies based on images. I enjoyed it the most because I could take a starting point that I was already inspired by. I also found it interesting because I could analyse *why* I loved the image i.e. colours, textures, patterns, contrasts etc.

Which media did you most enjoy working with? Why?
Pens. I did enjoy painting but I do not enjoy the faff associated with getting out, putting away, tidying up. I love the quickness of pens, the depth of colour that I can get, the tidiness, the portability. I don't even want to try to force myself to use other media because I think instead of producing more work I'll end up doing less.

What other forms of mark-making could you try?
A lot! I know I could have gone on for a long time but I was conscious of time and also running out of inspiration and focus. I've seen posts from other students and other creative sources for different styles of sketching, painting and some amazing mixed media. But I'm happy with what I've done for Project 1 and know it will help for the upcoming projects.

How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future?
I'm more focused on textures, how lines are put together, what media might be best to test out a design or to prototype an idea. 'Sketching' does not necessarily mean just using a pencil to me now. I'm happy to explore the varieties of an idea. All of these things can only help to enrich future work.

Any questions for your tutor or any points that you specifically want to remember?
Not really notes or questions for my tutor other than "Am I doing this right?!" It is a little hard to do via distance learning if only because I think I crave approval!

Points that I specifically want to remember:

* When I'm truly inspired by something that seems to often be when I produce the best work.
* When I 'force' something it often ends up disappointing
* I like dark and/or muted colours. I'm not going to struggle against it!

Notes for continuance of the course:

* I still haven't completed taking photographs of man made things relating to texture, groups of objects, looking into the distance etc.
* I need to go to another exhibition - I'm planning to go to one soon but its an architecture one - I'll have to see what sort of exhibits are there before I can decide I can properly relate it to textile studies.
* I've stalled on my reading. I'm currently on 'Drawn to Stitch' by Gwen Hedley and I'm struggling with the repetitiveness of the course textbooks i.e. Its good to sketch. Take a notebook with you everywhere you go etc etc. I've allowed myself to get slightly annoyed by taking an 'I know it all attitude'. Time to rein that in I think...
* I've been doing the work on time but updating the blog (with retrospective dates) in big pushes at later dates. I'm happy with this but wanted to note it down here in case anyone gets confused by checking in one day and seeing no posts then another day to see weeks worth backdated!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Project 1, Stage 3, Exercise 2

Similar to the last project - textural studies except with real objects rather than just images. I'm going to stick photographs of the objects (a flower, a leaf and the dilapidated paper cover of a saw) next to these images on the A3 sheets. Again, I found it hard in some cases to 'let go' of just copying the object and in other cases I wasn't happy with the actual result.

I like individual qualities of some of the work I've done here, and I can definitely see how elements of each might inspire further work so I'm not completely downhearted about this exercise.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Project 1, Stage 3, Exercise 1

This one asked me to work from visual sources which I used a postcard and magazine adverts. It was a 'textural study' so the idea was to capture the 'feel' or 'idea' of something rather than just copying. I found that easier in some cases than others. Especially the advert with the chandelier and mirror - I think I found it so beautiful that I didn't want to ruin it by changing anything - I think I should have pushed the boat out a little more on that one as my results were a little 'blah'!

I really liked some of the results but again others I was a bit unhappy with. I think it was because when I first looked at the image I thought that I knew exactly what I wanted to produce and the reality didn't quite match up - I guess thats what sketching, creating samples and prototypes is for!

I also felt a tiny bit like the first, 'most inspired' pieces I produced were the best, and the 2nd and 3rd pieces that were more 'forced' weren't as good!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Study Plan

I haven't written down my plan yet so here it is:

From May (when I started the course) to December I aim to get one project done every two months. I'll be too busy with wedding planning (and making) to do more without stressing myself out. This means by December I'll have finished Project 4. After the wedding I hope to get 3 projects done every two months so I'll be working a lot harder. This means that project 10 will be completed by the end of April 2013.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Project 1, Stage 2, Exercise 4

Blimey I got stuck on this exercise! It seemed so much to do! The thing I felt most confident on (collage) I left till last then got a massive block and didn't finish for a long time. I know that the possibilities of each of these methods are endless and want to show a 'decent' cross section but also start/concentrate on the basics. I also wasn't massively impressed with the results - many of my pages look very pre-school which turned me off the exercise a lot!

 Fixative transfer didn't work for any of my magazines but did work for gardening seed catalogues. I found that rubbing over them with a pen worked better than pencil or crayon

Bleach didn't work on some of my papers and fabrics (nylon lace, bright felt and polyester were unaffected) it worked best on the bright red tissue that came with my OCA folder

Spraying acrylic mixed with water with stencils and with just the spray bottle

Stippling and sponging with stencils with acrylic

Rubbing away and combing with gouache

Block printing with bottle tops, corks, fingers, stamps, foam stamps, comb etc

Crayon rubbings and wax resist


 I liked some of the effects and know how I might use them in the future - actually DOING some of the techniques opens up further uses - a very valid exercise even if I didn't like the results as much as I could hope! This has been quite a long time in the making, I hope I don't get as 'stuck' on future exercises.

Book Thoughts - Textiles Today: A Global Survey of Trends and Traditions by Chloƫ Colchester

To start with I found this book really hard going. I could tell that there were wonderful pictures to browse through but thought that the text was going to be long, airy-fairy, 'artsy-speak' and irrelevant. I found it extremely difficult to properly understand the introductory section and felt like it was written in the way that students write to make up a word count!

I persevered however and soon got into the writing. In each section the language is easier to understand and gives plenty to think about for both textiles and the pieces that are shown in the imagery. I think the way different aspects of textiles are examined is a good structure but feel like the text goes from very detailed to very general in strange ways and the book ends rather abruptly!

I hugely enjoyed the parts of the book that explored future-textiles with scientific breakthroughs explored and also ways that fabrics are helping less developed parts of the world. Its nice to see that the author explored how very scientifically advanced fabrics can help the planet rather than poo-pooing anything that is not taking things back to our roots or historic farming/production methods.

At the end of the book I re-read the introductory section - I understood a bit better but still found it difficult going! Perhaps when I know textiles as a subject better I'll find it easier!