Saturday, 30 March 2013

Fist post after colour lacks colour

So to make matters a bit more complicated. I move jobs. Being in the military I am posted every few years. My new job is within what I consider to be 'London' and though sometimes I'll be able to commute, most of the time it won't be worth it due to the time to plow through the dreaded traffic.

So I have some faceless accommodation to live in and I had to plan ahead a little. When I have a craft room at home (also something that delayed my studies considerably, after getting married and moving house of course), I've gotten quite used to having everything to hand. 

Heres my list of things to take with me to my new room. I got some odd looks moving in with all my craft stuff!

But of course I am now in LONDON so its a small matter of hopping on a tube to go see and do cultural things. My first was to go to Camden Arts Centre to look at the two small exhibitions there and see a free presentation of 4 artist's videographer 'self-portraits'.

I'll tell you that most were pretty boring... but I think that was the point of them! To show the monotony of life perhaps?! One showed possessions and sort of 'boasted' about them but I believe the point was that possessions do not make you cool...

My favourite was the last one where a series of photographs were shown slowly burning on a camping stove. Each photograph was narrated but the description didn't make any sense at all in relation to the image on the screen. After a few I worked out that the artist was describing the next photograph, as if he was holding it in his hand whilst describing the content whilst the previous photo burned. I like the puzzle, but I also became a bit mesmerised by the photos burning in the pattern of the stove metalwork.

In relation to textiles, it probably wasn't an amazing research trip. Though I did start to see those burning patterns looking good on a calico type fabric.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Project 3 Stage 2 - Colour!

On to Assignment 2! We're now on building a visual vocabulary and step 1 is Colour.

I really liked the quotes in the learning folder by Johannes Itten:

1: "He who wants to become a master of colour must see, feel and experiene each individual colour in its many endless combinations with all other colours. Colours must have a mystical capacity for spiritual expression without being tied to objects."

2: "If unknowing you are able to create masterpieces in colour then unknowledge is your way. But if you are unable to create masterpieces in colour out of your unknowledge then you aught to look for knowledge"

I've visited basic colour theory many times in various courses, most recently when getting a diploma in Professional Interior Design. Each time I have half boredom from repetition and half enthusiasm for revisiting the simple concepts concerning colour.

NB, I've noticed through looking ahead that we look into colour aesthetically (colour block exercises), psychologically (use colour to express a mood or feeling), and scientifically (mixing of colours to create others) but I haven't seen symbolically.

I do know a little about symbolic use of colour - purple for royal for example, but if the course doesn't force it in an exercise it might be worth exploring this on my own.

I tried different versions of mixing. The biggest issue in paints of course is  that an equal mix of colours does not give you the 'theory' colour - red and blue does not make purple for example! Thats why an artist doesn't set off to create a masterpiece with red, blue, yellow, black and white paints!

Next comes Exercise 1 & 2 where there is lots of cutting and sticking. I feel that the process aims to do three things:

1: Show that the higher the contrast in colour, the more the small square 'jumps out'.

2: Show that though red, yellow and blue are primary colours they are not 'equal' - yellow is the lightest, then blue, then red. At least in my perception.

3. Help you to see which colour combinations 'sing' to you. In my case, very little did. I believe this is because I prefer muted colours and so every combination looks to horribly harsh to me, apart from those using white/grey/potentially black. Again, perhaps I should revisit this with muted shades, with both muted and bright little squares.

Exercise 2 used grey squares. This is where I find the difference between the apparent darkness/lightness of the primary and secondary colours the most.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Short Reflective Commentary

'Describing your experience of this part of the course using your answers to the review questions for each project as a starting point'
Project 1 Review Post Project 2 Review Post

My experience of this part of the course has had a lot of emotions involved! Fear of getting it wrong, fear that I won’t be as good at all of this as I thought I would be, fear of not finding my own style. I think as I come towards the end of this section I’m getting closer to feeling comfortable with my processes and ways in which I work. I’m more confident now that I can create work I’m really pleased with. I’m also confident now that I’ll be able to home in on my own personal style or look. I’m not saying for a minute that I’m there, but I think the longer I study with this course, and hopefully others, and beyond even the course or degree work, the more I will get that work/develop/style triangular building blocks sorted that will define me and my textile work.

Things I have learnt in this part of the course:
  • Draw, draw, draw and note, note, note. All in one big mish-mash in the sketchbook/workbook.
  • Don’t push forward with anything you’re not inspired by because it will lead to work you are not inspired by.
  • I’m most comfortable with pens and can produce more and explore more in this medium.
  • I like muted colours, so the base colours of my work are best for me when they are muted. This doesn’t mean ruling out brightness altogether, it just means the base colours.
  • When it comes to the point where I feel like taking a sketch further into a textile sample, this is the time to choose materials and continue developmental sketches so that I can have a firm plan of what I’m going to do – I think I work better that way!
  • Stitching-wise I believe I prefer simple stitches with texture becoming involved with choice of materials and yarns.

On my development of my own personal style, I’m not drawn towards the ‘fine art’ aspect of textiles, I’m more looking towards how textiles are used everyday (dare I say the commercial aspect)? I get more of a buzz out of thinking that one day several strangers might have bedlinen or curtains based on my work than thinking one person/corporation might have a piece of work of mine hanging in a room. I guess I’m even looking more towards the interiors market rather even than the fashion market. I posted a video recently that I rewatched where fibre optic lights were used inside carpet. I was more excited about the thought of fibre optics inside carpet, curtains and somehow on ceilings than I was about using on clothing.

Whilst noticing the world around me for textures, patterns and inspiration has improved over this course, its something that I have done for a long time due to other design courses and interests. What has been more important to me, and what this course so far has done for me, is development of my own style and thoughts about how my work might develop in the future.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Self-assessment using the Assessment Criteria

'Review how you think you have done against the criteria and make notes in your learning log.'

My first thoughts on doing this were that even if I didn't think I was doing well against the criteria I would still send what I had done. There is no point in stressing about not 'getting it right' resulting in sending nothing at all!

So here are the criteria and how I think I have done.

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills materials, techniques, observational skills, visual awareness, design and compositional skills.

The pages I sent show that I'm not the best drawer but can certainly get an idea across in my sketching. They show that I'm looking at inspirational areas and noticing areas that can be developed and making notes as to where to explore further which shows visual awareness. I think they show that I'm fairly new to painting mediums but that I'm thinking about light and dark areas and composition. They show that I have some skill in embroidery and am working with unusual materials to get the texture and feeling I want to convey.

Quality of Outcome content, application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherant manner, discernment, conceptualisation of thought, communication of ideas

My sketch pages are full of both drawings and notes. They show areas where I have explored a concept further and thought about where it can be applied in my textile work. My learning log is laid out chronologically but contains tags for assignment work, learning work and 'broadening' work which means that it is coherant. My communication of ideas is a little bit scattered and rambling, but does convey the points I wish to get across.

Demonstration of Creativity imagination, experimentation, invention, development of a personal voice

I believe that I demonstrate this quite well in my sketchbook, I hope the pages I have sent show this well. I am constantly going off in tangents to explore an aspect more before coming back to the original thread and continuing on that path. I am thinking hard about my own 'style' and direction I want to take my work. I have had to reign myself in a few times because areas I want to explore are in the scope of other courses and I should save that for then!

Context reflection, research, critical thinking (learning log)

Needs work perhaps. I have been to a few exhibitions, spent time in an arts library and have read quite a few of the books and have explored each of these in my learning log. I've also noted what I've taken from each of these forays. I can always try to do more though.

Packing up and Shipping out

So reasons for my little sabbatical for my course include getting married, moving out, setting up our new home and various other things to do with work and life changes. But one other reason was a silly fear of 'not doing it right'. I even had letters from the OCA saying that my student number would be amended to 'dormant' if I didn't return work NOW!!!  

I was confused because I'd read that I should be sending A1 size papers and 2kg of work... I think perhaps this is more towards the OCAs Arts courses rather than textiles. I did measure all my works weight and realised that yes, in theory I could send everything I had done so far and it would come in at under 2kg! But I contacted my tutor and said that I was confused as to what to send, and she did reiterate that it is a 'sample' of work.

So I chose around 6-8 of my favourite A3 pieces which contain my assignment work, still spanning across the course to try to be representative. I  enclosed these in blank A3 card to stop them from getting crushed.
I chose around 8-10 Sketchbook pages, again, choosing my favourites. I think I was concerned that if I were to be truly 'representative' then I should include some rubbish ones... but I'm clearly going to send the best when it comes to assessment so why under-represent myself now?!
Finally I included a sheet with my address and my learning log URL.

All bubble wrapped up...

 And now placed in the OCA provided bag. I used myHermes to send it off, It cost under £5 so I believe this is much cheaper than Royal Mail, and it got picked up from my house :)

I'm not sure if what I've done is *right*. I'll update this post later if I find out. I hope this might help other students get over any similar 'fear'!

Project 2 Stage 6

Creating a sample from my sketchbooks. As you might have seen in my sketchbook pages update I gave myself a bit of a written telling off for not using colour more. I realised that by choosing a sketch with colour and texture I had to narrow myself to around 6 images, a few of which I'd already stitched!

I decided on a slate image and wanted to go with a more scrappy look, as my previous samples were more rigid and 'designed'. I prefer the more ordered look but wanted to try to stretch myself.

The course said to select the yarns and wrap them to create a sort of sample board. I guess looking back I could have realised at that point that the colours are not exactly 'blending' and don't look very slate-like at all!

The sample itself I did enjoy doing, though I quickly saw that the effect I had in my head was not going to translate onto the work!

Perhaps I need to loosen up in some ways, but still put thought into the process, maybe if I'd had more thought in my yarns the finished sample wouldn't look such a mess. But then again I think it looks a mess just because it is not really my style! I still show the shapes of tiling, and there is an element of the reflections you see on a wet tile in the sunshine.

Review and reflect....

Can you begin to see the relationship between stitching and drawing?
Yes, I think I grasped this in Project 1 - marks made on paper and on fabric are essentially the same thing, though obviously they each have their own properties (stitching having 3 dimensionality for example).

Were you able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of your drawings?
I mainly stuck to running and satin stitches because of the nature of my lines. I did go further in the last sample but the stitches didn't necessarily 'represent' the lines or texture I had made on paper.

Did you choose the right source material to work from?
I worked from drawings that were originally inspired by my photographs of man-made textures and patterns. I really enjoyed this and believe that yes, I chose the right source material.

Do you think your sample works well irrespective of the drawing? Or is your sample merely a good interpretation of your drawing?
My final sample... no! I think that this is a good way to explain how I feel about that - that it is merely an interpretation of my drawing and doesn't stand up on its own two feet! HOWEVER, my previous sample - "If you have time, work a small sample trying to relate some of these effects to your drawings", show below, I think that does work well irrespective of the drawing, and I'd love to explore this style further. I can see it being an amazing cushion or even wall art.

Which did you prefer - working with stitch to create textures or working with yarns to make textures? Which worked best for you and why?
I think that that maybe I haven't explored enough with the different stitches. I love pretty much everything that Sharon of PinTangle does and particularly her textures created with stitch. However, I think I preferred best working with yarns to create textures - I love the simplicity of basic stitches and bringing in different yarns within those stitches to create texture.

Make some comments on individual techniques and sample pieces. Did you experiment enough? Did you feel inhibited in any way?
Even just answering these questions I think my 'style' will probably go down the more subtle, simple route. Creating texture with choice of materials and pattern. I think I experimented enough without taking eons to complete this section of the course (I could sit down and continue for years making endless variations to see 'what if I'). I don't think I felt inhibited in any way other than time.

Do you prefer to work from a drawing or by playing with materials and yarns to create effects? Which method produced the most interesting work?
Definitely working from a drawing. If my preference for my samples were on a basis of 1-10 then my blue squares sampler and cobbled roundabout sampler shown above would get an 8 whereas my 'just go for it' tiles would get a 2. I know I was working from a drawing on the final sample but I was deliberately just kind of playing and letting go. However I do think that if I play with fabric and yarns (without stitching together) then I can try to get an idea of 'what if', then sketch, then stitch a sample if theres anything I think 'could work'.

Are there any other techniques you'd like to try? Are there any samples you would like to do in a different way?
Yes and Yes. Hundreds. Too many to count. I feel like I want to try the cobblestone sample in infinite other ways with different patterns/yarns/stitch placements for example. And I feel the same about other samples and other drawings. I'm itching to try other techniques but know that many will be covered, if not in this course then in others.

Is there anything you would like to change in your work?
There are some things I would change from the work I've already produced should I ever create the same sample (I guess thats the whole point of creating a sample...). I'd never even consider going back and changing something now. In the *way* I work, I'm going to be focusing more on pouring my thoughts into the sketchbooks/workbooks rather than saving it for a blog post. I'm going to think more about the materials and make more sketches of an image I want to sample before stitching.

Presentation of samples

I've probably put myself under more stress than necessary by sewing my samples taught around some thick card stock - I've done this for samples outside of the course so I automatically did the same here. I do think it looks nice though, and once I actually get round to doing it it doesn't take that long. 

Sketch/Workbook update and a visit to UCA library

Related to the exercise work - keeping tabs on the types of yarn used
Telling myself off for not using colour, and selecting what I was going to stitch for my sample.

An amazing day spent in my local Arts colleges library thanks to a girl I met on the train who was also doing Textiles 1! This is how I imagine my sketchbooks will look like as I progress on my course - more on that in the Assignment 1 reflective commentary.