Formative Feedback: Part 4, and Reflection

Thank you to Cari for my latest feedback. Lots to take on board and reflect upon!


  • translation of aesthetic, material and structural qualities of samples into yarn concepts
  • range of shape, form, structure and material investigation in 2D and 3D
  • constraints in colour palette worked well for red, black and white drawings
  • strong crafting skills without over-precision
  • exploration of scale, however, delicate/intricate samples most successful
  • exploration of translucency with hints of colour (eg, ice and hair yarns)
  • interesting use of objects to form yarns (eg, jelly beans and coat hanger yarns)
  • some yarns combine materials into something new and interesting
  • construction and interior of yarn book, crisp and well-organised (minimal use of text)
  • thorough discussion of the journey of the project/decisions made and good evaluative summaries
  • strong drawing work (good use of sympathetic media/techniques to capture material, tactile and visual qualities; quality and nature of drawing varied according to role, eg, functional planning drawings, more fully rendered drawings of samples)

Needs Work

  • close up snake yarn sample felt inelegant and heavy (however, it works at a distance when overall pattern becomes clear)
  • some materials feel as if they are fighting each other, not working together
  • photographs: do they successfully capture and communicate samples? (eg, ice yarn – background of trees too busy)
  • cover of the yarn book not successful (too strong and not my own design)
  • too much technical information in learning log
  • ‘Research & Reflection’ sections confusing to navigate

To Do

  • consider how my samples read spatially and how the viewer may interpret them (eg, snake yarn) [ongoing]
  • reflect on how the materials have been transformed by my interventions when evaluating future work, eg, two intertwined materials – are they integrated and transformed into something new? [ongoing]
  • photograph samples sympathetically against a neutral background (show different lighting options and how they may change a piece)
  • present work in a visually quiet way, or use aesthetic details from the contents to hint at what’s within (redo covers of both yarn book and colour book)
  • use neutral grey for presenting light coloured work, rather than black [ongoing]
  • emphasise evaluative commentary over descriptive commentary (ie, more about the aesthetic/visual read of samples) [ongoing]
  • refer to evaluative summaries in learning log when working on Part 5
  • integrate research and reflection with the relevant coursework and assignment work in the learning log
  • move ‘yarn research file’ to the beginning of the Part 4 Coursework section
  • use more appropriate drawing media for proposed samples (helps to assess aesthetic qualities of resulting samples)
  • more sketchbook work for Part 5 (extensive drawing to capture samples, as well as planning for them; visual/theoretical/contextual research to underpin and inform the sampling)
  • keep working both inside a sketchbook and on other appropriate grounds outside the sketchbook (small sections of coloured paper can be stuck into the sketchbook)
  • view Cari’s Pinterest boards on sketchbooks, drawing for textiles and design research [my own Pinterest boards for sketchbooks and textiles inspiration have been updated with some of Cari’s suggestions, and some other examples that I find inspiring. I found this website through a link on Pinterest, which has a useful guide to making an art portfolio with some ideas of what to include in sketchbooks. Interestingly, I had just seem some excellent examples at Gracefield Arts Centre‘s exhibition of Advanced Higher Art Selection, such as the work shown below by one of the students.]

Megan Nodwell, development work for, and images of finished wearable art jewellery

Development Notes

A big area for future development for me is use of the sketchbook. I need to show in images (photographs, pictures from magazines, books and the internet, etc) and in sketches, where my inspiration for work originates, and how I have selected and refined my ideas, along with technical notes and experiments, samples, colour palettes etc. Then drawings for planning the projects, using appropriate media, grounds and techniques, and evaluative drawings of samples and finished pieces.

Another area for improvement is to present my work even more simply, with regards to the backgrounds in photographs (neutral and plain), and in the covers for my books (simple and plain, or more appropriate to the contents).

One of my first tasks will be to go back to the beginning of my Learning Log, and add links for the research to the relevant parts of each section of coursework and assignments, and to move the yarn research file.

In future written work, I need reflect evaluatively on the processes I have used and on the work produced, together with weighing its aesthetic appeal, (Rebecca Fairley’s article “How to look at textiles” will come in useful here). I need to write less about the technical aspects of the work: I will keep the majority of these notes in my technical notebook. I have re-read my summaries for Part 4 and made notes to refer to in Part 5.




Accessed 25/03/17 Accessed 25/03/17 Accessed 25/03/17 Accessed 26/03/17


Assignment 4: Self Evaluation: Performance Against Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Materials – use of traditional and unusual materials, eg, toy snakes in Ex 4.3.

Techniques – colour analysis, colour palette selection and reproduction in yarn, abstracting elements from source materials to develop as yarn concepts, selecting, combining and joining a variety of media, designing, laying out and assembling a yarns book (YB).

Observational Skills – used in all of the exercises, eg evaluating paper and stitch samples for colour palettes and textures, to be translated into drawings and developed into yarns.

Visual Awareness – choices made for colour palettes, patterns and textures, eg, the clear plastic tubing cut into rings for Ex 4.4 represented the grey/white colour palette and the circular objects of the glass arrangement.

Design and Compositional Skills – selecting the size, layout, covers, labelling font, content and order of presentation for the YB, and assembling the book.

Quality of outcome

Content – selection of yarn ideas to create, derived from drawings made from source materials; choosing particular samples to pursue and develop (eg, the coiled sample led to a coiled pot and so to a snake vessel).

Application of Knowledgeresearch on basketry techniques and the work of designers fed into my work on this part of the course. Eg, Lucy Brown‘s use of hair in her artwork inspired my hair yarn.

Presentation of Work – the YB presents my work in a simple, clear, logical layout, presenting the created yarns in the order of the exercises, adjacent to the inspirational images.

Demonstration of creativity

Imagination – eg, using ice to make an ephemeral yarn; including surprise elements of sound, smell and taste in the YB. Using drawing, sampling, mind maps and play with materials to explore ideas. Linking snakes as media to the source image.

Experimentation – eg:- using unusual materials (jelly beans, glass buttons, coat hangers, etc); different scales of work (eg, French knitted linear concept on a large scale, gesso-dipped yarn on a smaller scale); different techniques (net making, binding, machine sewing, knotting, weaving, coilingorigami, etc) have all been explored.

Invention – Altering materials (eg, fraying, cutting, melting, painting, dipping, etc); and combining unusual materials (eg, washers/twigs/yarn, slate/pebbles/thread, wooden snakes/gardening wire, etc) have enabled me to approach the subject from a new direction.

Personal Voice –I feel that my selection of source materials, colour palette choices and combinations of media used, demonstrate an emerging distinctive identity.


Reflection – I have continued to reflect on and evaluate my ideas and work in my learning log. I have carried out more drawing and sampling during this coursework, and have found it helpful in focusing my attention on successful outcomes.

Research – The artist/designer recommendations made by my tutor, have led to research on colour that has felt very exciting in suggesting ways of developing and presenting my work. The research carried out for the coursework also helped to inform my choices, and expand my expectations of what was possible.

Learning Log – I have recorded my research, course and assignment work and reflections in my learning log blog.

Assignment 4: Yarn and Linear Exploration: Written Reflection

What have I learned from observing and developing materials and textiles?

  • yarns can be inspired by numerous source materials
  • drawing and mind maps are useful in generating ideas
  • sampling illuminates successful combinations of media, colour palettes, construction methods, possible developments, etc
  • imposing constraints has again been highlighted as a successful strategy
  • the selected colour palette, scale, and type of ‘line’ all help to define the look and feel of a yarn
  • the importance of ways of joining media
  • colour palette and proportions of colours, media, texture, scale and pattern can all be varied to create numerous ideas for yarns

Strong points of my work

Exploration of varied and unusual media, interesting techniques, and scale in yarn creation. Coherent presentation of yarn samples and inspirations in a yarns book.

Weaker aspects of my work

Although I have done more sampling and drawing for this section, I am sure that I could do even more in future. I had ideas that I did not have time to explore, therefore I must aim to work faster.

New skills

I had an introduction to knotting, basketry techniques and net making. Working with plastic (packaging and tubing), toy snakes, ice, hair and 3-D objects were new experiences for me.

Potential work in future based on this project

I am sure that I will return to a number of these techniques in the future: basketry techniques; combining and joining assorted media; French knitting; knotting and binding; making repeating patterns, to name but a few.

Assignment 4: A Yarn Collection

The brief for this Assignment is to present the work from Coursework Part 4 as a collection.

The course text and my tutor, Cari, have both stressed that the simplest method is usually the best one. I felt that a book format would be the best for presenting the material. Having made a book for Assignment 3, which had four large, loose binding rings, I decided to try a bound version this time. The binding rings, although allowing for future additions to the book, are rather cumbersome to use, and damage the holes drilled in the pages somewhat.

After carrying out some research online, I found this tutorial for a simple, Japanese-style ribbon binding, that looked perfect, if I could scale it up to A3 size. I realised that, with the bulk of the yarns, it would not be a flat book, but rather a ‘fan-shaped’ one.

I decided to use an A3 size card page, as many of the yarns that I had made had larger-sized elements, which would not lend themselves to being wound around a reel or board wrap.

As I only had one page that would be seen in landscape format, I opted to use a portrait orientation.

In order to accommodate the binding, the layout would have a wide margin at the bound edge. I opted to put the ‘inspiration’ images on the left hand page, and the yarns on the right hand page. A few small surprises were included to add a little variety (a sound card on one page; a scent on another; and a ‘flavour’ on a third). Otherwise the layout would be as simple as possible. The deconstruction exercise, also had a small sample of the deconstructed materials for reference.

The majority of pages will be white card, but two will be black as they show off certain of the yarns to best advantage.

The next issue to address, was how to fix the yarns to the page. Some of my yarns were far too large in scale to fit in a book (the coat hanger linear concept, and snake vessel for instance are too large to even send, so will be represented in photographic form only, as will the ephemeral ‘ice yarn’ concept, which no longer exists!). Other pieces which are large-scale, but possible to send will be enclosed in a box, with white labels attached to each. The yarns for inclusion in the book will be trimmed to fit the page size and affixed with a rectangle of card at each end, glued in place with a glue gun. A few elements, required sticky fixing dots instead, and the photographs were attached with a glue stick. The thicker yarns were added towards the outer edge of the page so that they would not impede the binding. The yarns were added, more or less, in the sequence in which they were made, unless they felt more appropriate in other groupings (all the white ones for one exercise, were displayed on a black background, for example).

Labelling will be minimal and consist of page numbers, exercise number and name, and yarn numbers. I chose one of my favourite fonts: Courier New for the labelling throughout.

A brief introductory page and contents page were added at the front, once the pages were all in place and numbered.

I had intended to make the cover white with just the name ‘Yarns’ added, but when I was searching for some nice white paper, I came across some ‘pixellated’ wrapping paper that was very similar to one of my collages used as inspiration for one of the yarn collections, so I chose that more colourful alternative, to be paired with grey ribbon. (I may live to regret that decision, however, as I see that it is showing a few scratches already!).

The board covers were covered with wrapping paper, and had a small section removed at the bound edge, which allows them to open easily. I made a template to mark the punching holes, then used a hammer and hollow punch for the board covers, and an ordinary two-hole punch for the card pages.

The drawings, samples, technical media records and notes will be presented separately in a plastic folder. My written technical notes are so similar to the notes in the learning log, that I will not send them.




Website:- Accessed Feb/Mar 2017