Reflection on Formative Feedback for Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary: Assignment 2

Formative Feedback from Cari, my tutor, followed by my reflection.


Overall Comments

Thank you for submitting another varied, playful, lively and enjoyable body of work. You’ve clearly acted on advice from earlier feedback and are constantly evaluating your work and reflecting on your approach to it to ensure continual improvement. The work is all well-presented, clearly structured and well-labelled, making it very easy for me to move through your response to each of the projects and exercises.

Feedback on projects 1 & 2

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

You’ve submitted a great range of samples in response to projects 1 & 2. The paper manipulation library incorporates such a lovely range of techniques, scale of mark and varied materials, which have been employed to alter both the surface and structural qualities of the papers. I particularly like the cut and layered paper samples and those which use paper like thread, e.g. to create raised loops on the surface. This translation of textile techniques (like hooking) is a real strength. There is a wealth of approaches in this body of work that you could draw on in future projects – use this like a dictionary and return to these processes to exploit in future.

I’d have liked to see a clearer visual journey of how you developed your selected drawings (ex.2.1) into these tests. Whilst there is some sketchbook work for the assignment, there isn’t much use of drawing to analyse and develop work for earlier exercises or to propose the myriad ways that they could be developed into patterns, textures, processes and materials. You work so well in response to the tactility of the materials and processes, but try to shift some of the emphasis onto using drawing to help you analyse, plan and propose throughout the development process. You’re using your blog very well for this but using a sketchbook throughout the journey of the course would prompt you to draw more regularly.

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

You’ve documented your research well on the blog and in how you’ve presented your small fabric tests alongside your larger, refined samples. The logic of how your ideas progress into physical investigation of materials and processes, and then into the final piece, is clear.

You’ve done well to challenge your urge to jump straight into creating larger samples without the prep work, and the small tests of different techniques and processes have had a clear impact on the development and success of the refined samples. Now you’ve seen the value of smaller samples, increase the quantity of this testing and start to use drawing as part of this preparatory, exploratory process. (You said it yourself in fact: “More sketching needed”.)

You’ve used drawing to plan out different compositions in for the assignment pieces- the range of media used to explore piece three is particularly effective. Try to draw far more extensively to test different compositions. I really like the texture, pattern and colour of piece two but something about the composition feels contrived and the shapes distract me from the wealth of detail within. I wondered whether this could have been resolved with more planning.

Consider using drawing to propose further developments for the pieces as well – like a form of visual evaluation. For example, your inspiration images for piece three show a sense of repeat pattern. What if piece three repeated in a similar way? Whilst making this sample would take far too long, a drawn idea of how you could extend it could provide a way of further reflecting on and evaluating the strengths of the sample. Again, this could be done in a sketchbook. This will all hugely help your exploration of design and composition, which you felt needed more practise. The close up photo of piece two in your log shows the huge potential this piece holds for further refinement too – I’d love to see it as a repeat design, or equally as a simpler design that focuses on selected elements.

Applying constraints to the development of piece three has worked very well- I agree with your evaluation that the simplicity that this approach created is the strength of the piece. There’s a lovely sense of rhythm in the regimentation of the design, which highlights the nuances of each knot beautifully – a feeling of ordered idiosyncrasy. The change in scale provides variation without distraction, so there’s an overall sense of harmony. You stated that the earlier two pieces are comparatively too busy. Piece one is nicely unified by the monotone palette – the muted tones allows the eye to focus on the movement of the cuts and details of the stitch, though there is quite a lot going on.

Though the presentation of the assignment is good, I wonder whether it would have been better to send it to me in a simpler manner and then present it later for assessment. The boards have got a bit dented in transit, for example, and it wouldn’t want you to have to waste time re-presenting it for assessment. An A3 sample file of the smaller presentation boards with the large refined samples folded alongside them would have been sufficient for me. (In fact, that would also sufficient for assessment. Some students do submit A2/A1 boards though.)

Research (including sketchbooks and samples)

Context, reflective thinking, analysis, Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

– Playful interpretation of textile processes into paper (e.g. stitches, hooking).

– Strong crafting skills.

– Continue to do small samples and tests to explore your ideas on a smaller scale before selecting those to develop.

– Draw more regularly to think, to plan, to propose and to document and learn from your samples.

– Use a sketchbook to prompt you to explore your ideas visually more regularly. – Continue to use varied media to create lively images that reflect the energy of your samples, as you did for piece three.

– You’ve learnt the value of constraints to focus your creative exploration, so return to this idea to focus future work. (Austin Kleon’s Steal like an Artist book has a good section on how constraints broaden our capacity for creativity rather than diminish it.)

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

– Good ongoing reflection on the process and your evaluation of specific pieces. You evaluate the processes and materials, stating what you’d change if you did it again, and also evaluate the aesthetic and formal qualities of the work.

– Your analysis of contextual research (the work of artists / designers) is highly relevant and discussed critically in relation to what you’re doing. It’s clear the research is informing your work (e.g. into the American quilt books).

– Continue to explore work of both artists and designers to develop a good understanding of the context of contemporary textiles.

– The ‘Strong points of my work’ focuses on the techniques and aesthetics – also consider strengths in your approach, your development process and your thinking around the projects.

Suggested reading/viewing


– Austin Kleon’s Steal like an Artist

– Your playful adaptation of textile techniques into paper reminded me of a lovely book by Francoise Tellier-Loumagne called The Art of Knitting, which is full of knit structures but also inspiration images, like tyre tracks in sand which look like a knitted fabric. (The front cover of the English version looks like rather un-inispiring – the original French book that I have is much more engaging.)

Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • See bullet points above!


My reflection on the Formative Feedback, above.


Cari had picked up on the fact that I have acted on previous suggestions for improvements made in her feedback for Assignment 1. My presentation was clear and logical, (but could be simpler). I have worked with a good range of techniques and media in a varied and playful manner. The Learning Log blog has been well used in documenting and reflecting on my work. Preparing small samples prior to making bigger pieces of work was useful and should be expanded upon. The use of a monotone palette in Piece One allowed a focus on the movement and variety of stitch. Piece Two showed good use of texture, pattern and colour. Applying constraints to Piece Three led to a coherent rhythm and harmony in the outcome. My crafting skills were strong. Reflection in my Learning Log about the pieces made was good, as was contextual research.

Needs Work

Providing a clear visual journey in the selection process, (eg, Ex 2.1), using drawing to analyse and develop work, and to experiment with ways in which the patterns, textures, processes and materials can be developed. (I am having to overcome my usual method of working, which is to think about alternatives for a few weeks, before starting on the final piece with little, if any drawing, and no sampling. I am becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of drawing/sampling in exploring and refining ideas and saving time and materials with unsatisfactory pieces that end up in my bin!)

Cari noted that the composition of Piece Two felt contrived, and that the use of shapes (circles) distracted from the detail of the textures. (I had chosen circles to represent The Earth, which I thought made sense with the theme I had attributed to the piece, but I can see that sticking to a rectangular shape would have brought the focus back to the surface treatments.) Cari agreed with me that Piece One was rather busy and could have been simplified.

I should stick to a smaller, A3 format, where possible, for submitting Assignment work for tutor assessment.

To Do [links to examples of my responses in square brackets]

  • Store paper samples carefully to use as an inspiration library for future work. [A chest of drawers purchased for storing work].
  • Spend more time using drawing to analyse, plan, and propose during the development process. [Ongoing, examples in this post.]
  • Use more drawing to test different compositions.
  • Draw further possible developments arising from finished pieces (visual evaluation). [Assignment 2 visual evaluation.][Ongoing, example in this post]
  • Use my sketchbook regularly. [Ongoing, Sketchbook examples]
  • Use my ideas to make more small exploratory samples during development work and to draw before and after making these to aid in documentation and learning.
  • Make a drawn idea for extending Piece Three. [Assignment 2 visual evaluation.]
  • Make visual evaluation drawings for Piece Two (eg, a repeat design and a simpler design focusing on selected elements). [Assignment 2 visual evaluation.]
  • Simplify presentation of my Assignment work. Use A3 format and fold larger samples. [simple presentation and smaller format chosen for Assignment 3].
  • Continue to use varied media to create lively images (eg Piece Three).
  • Employ constraints to focus creative exploration. [eg, colour palette constraints used in this exercise]
  • Read Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist. [Read and reflected upon here].
  • Continue to explore the work of artists and designers to develop an understanding of the context of contemporary textiles. Examples of research into collage artists, designers who use colour effectively, knitwear designers]
  • When reflecting on my work, consider strengths/weaknesses of my approach, development process and thinking around projects (as well as techniques and aesthetics). [Ongoing, example in summary of this article].
  • Read Francoise Tellier-Loumagne’s The Art of Knitting. [Read and commented on in the context of contemporary knitting].

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