Coursework and Assignment 5: Formative Feedback

Many thanks to Cari for her insightful feedback, which again has provided many pointers for improving my future work.

Cari’s feedback follows and my reflections are below that.


Overall Comments
A beautifully presented resolution to the course, with a clearly documented body of playful development work.

Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Project 1: Developing Visual Research
You reflected on your previous visual research critically, extracting salient points to build upon. Your early contextual research is good – it is all relevant, focussing on textiles or materials-led work, but sourced from a range of art and design contexts. It’s great that you’ve chosen to focus on the practitioners’ processes rather than outcomes too, to help inform how you work, not just what you create.
You developed a good body of visual research based on your photographic compositions. These photographs are full of colour and form. It would have been good to see the camera lens used to zoom in to capture sections of your still-life or different angles/views, but the overall composition is considered and tested. You’ve employed
a range of media to develop your drawn imagery, some of which is more traditional and representational in nature, others more graphic and stark drawings. The point at which they started straying towards surfaces, rather than still-life drawings, filling the whole page and selecting elements to focus, on was particularly interesting. It was good to see some monochrome and visually quieter imagery amongst the riot of colour that you capture so well. I had hoped for more left-field drawing experiments within this, like the lawnmower drawing developed earlier in the course. In future courses, continue to explore the boundaries of what drawing can be.

Project 2: Building a Response
You’ve selected interesting practitioners whose work relates to natural forms, from both 3D craft and textiles disciplines, which you’ve discussed objectively and in relation to your work.

Some beautifully sensitive surfaces have emerged through your paper manipulation exploration. Through cutting and piercing you’ve invested the materials with more interest and value, which you’ve then photographed beautifully, using light and shadow to alter the surface. Your evaluative drawings during this phase are strong, sensitively translating structure and form.
The sensitivity to texture and pattern continues as you incorporate stitch to create surface patterns and textures.
It was great to see development design drawing playing a part in your exploration of linear forms, particularly for yarn concepts 1 – 3 where multiple ideas were explored on paper. Some really playful linear concept samples have emerged from this investigation, particularly those that incorporate negative space within their form.

Project 3: Experimenting and Taking Risks
This phase sees you logically summarise and review each mini-collection of visual imagery (e.g. tulip, catkin….).
The new samples clearly extend the visual information within your mini-collections, experimenting with the structure, form, pattern and colour. There’s an increasing investment of time and crafting into the samples as you progress through the projects, with high quality delicate textural stitching and detail within these samples.
You’ve explored material qualities well, selecting appropriate found materials or manipulating them to fit your chosen idea.
The strongest mini-collections developed through this project are those in which you’ve developed multiple iterations, visualising the qualities in multiple manifestations. I enjoyed the deceptive subtlety of catkins #10, which required light to energise the details within its surface. Despite the bold colouration of your subject matter, it was great to see such restraint and subtlety in your translation of the subject. The tulip and plum tree
samples are particularly experimental with surface and form, both extending the surface with structural elements and incorporating negative space in the way your linear samples did.
Assignment 5: Capsule Collection
You’ve translated earlier surface qualities well, such as the tufting and cut surfaces, though some of the more playful structural elements haven’t been incorporated. The collection has a more traditional sensibility than the earlier sampling but it forms a coherent and lively body of textiles, showing strong potential for an interior
context.
On one hand I lamented the loss of some of the delicacy and subtly of earlier samples, such as the subtle cut and stitch work of the plum blossom or the delicate extrusions of the early three-dimensional catkin samples, but you have explained on the learning log in project 3 how you have narrowed down to a bolder, abstract, uncluttered,
pattern-led aesthetic, which demonstrates clear active decision making and personal selection.
The final collection is varied in surface and pattern and yet coherent due to the consistency of material and colour palette, the constraints you successfully applied at the beginning of the assignment. Overall the collection demonstrates a sensitivity in the translation of visual research, a sympathetic approach to materials and
techniques, and forms a solid conclusion to the course. That work is presented beautifully in the collections book, referencing methods used and knowledge gleaned earlier in the course.

Sketchbooks
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
The workbook crisply presents the work but is lacking the organic development of a sketchbook. Because the work has been presented rather explored on the pages, I was conscious of the gaps in between the samples, where ideas had been explored and decisions made but not explored in the book. These gaps are generally filled
in by the learning log commentary but there’s a gap where more immediate, intuitive responses could be. Whilst I felt there were a few gaps in the decision making, there is a clear visual logic through the work, as a simple idea and clear visual identity is manifested in mark, line, fibre and structure.
This is something to continue to explore in future courses. Refined work can be presented more formally and crisply, as you have done in the collections book, so consider the sketchbook a place to test and make errors, as well as documenting as you have done.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
Overall, your log presents an analytical, structured approach to synthesising inspiration and practice.


My reflection on the feedback, above.

Good

  • Work is well presented, clearly documented and developed playfully.
  • Summary of previous visual research useful.
  • Contextual research relevant and sourced from a range of artists and designers, especially study of their processes as well as outcomes.
  • Photographic compositions provided good visual research (colour and form).
  • Good range of media explored in drawings, and good mixture of representational/more graphic work.
  • Paper manipulations produced surfaces with interest, relevance to the subject and value. These were well photographed in different lights. Evaluative drawings were useful.
  • Paper manipulations with stitch showed sensitivity to texture and pattern. Design drawing ideas well explored.
  • Playful linear concept samples: those exhibiting negative space as part of their form were the most successful.
  • Logical summary and review of work gathered and created as visual research.
  • Clear development of ideas and themes, with increasing time spent on later samples.
  • Material qualities well explored. (Use of found materials, manipulation of materials.)
  • Development of multiple iterations of an idea led to best outcomes.
  • Good use of restraint and subtlety in Catkin sample #10; experimentation with surface and form in tulip and plum tree samples.
  • Logical decision-making when selecting processes for final collection. Surface qualities well translated in final collection. Clear visual logic through the work. Coherent collection with potential for interior context. Clear visual identity.
  • Beautifully presented work (Collections Book).
  • Learning Log presents analytical, structured approach to synthesising inspiration and practice.

Needs Work

  • Not enough experimental drawing (eg my lawnmower drawing).
  • Playful, structural elements not incorporated into final collection. Too traditional? Loss of delicacy and subtlety compared to earlier samples.
  • Lack of organic development shown in sketchbook.

To Do

  • Carry out more experimental drawing.
  • When using the camera, zoom in to focus on details and different angles, as well as the overall composition.
  • More drawings focused on surfaces that fill the page, and of selected elements of the subject.
  • Use my sketchbook to test and make errors, as well as for documenting the work carried out.

Development Notes

  • Drawing: explore the boundaries of drawing. Draw more often and focus on details and textures, as well as line and form.
  • Research: continue to study a wide range of artists and designers.
  • Development: use more drawing and notes in a single sketchbook to show the development process. Make more variations on a theme at the sample-making stage. Keep introducing constraints, where appropriate.
  • Sketchbook: explore work during the development stage rather than simply presenting drawings (ie include ideas, notes, decisions, intuitive responses, etc).
  • Evaluation and Reflection: use drawing to evaluate work created. Continue to regularly pause and reflect on what works and what doesn’t.

Summary

I was pleased with my feedback, which I felt was positive overall. I had made a concerted effort to carry out more drawing and sample-making throughout the process, and will now strive to add notes, ideas and decision-making into that book, rather than purely reflecting in my learning log. Drawing seems to be the key to this creative endeavour, and I will aim to include more variety and experimentation in this area.

Assignment 5: Self Evaluation: Performance Against Assessment Criteria

Demonstration of technical and visual skills
Materials – use of both traditional and atypical materials, eg, nail varnish, wax and plastic.
Techniques – exploring a diverse range of media and techniques (eg, drawing with paint, nail varnish, wax, paper cuts etc; melting, stretching and cutting plastic; cutting, printing, bleaching, painting, embroidery, batik, layering, appliqué, couching, needle punching, etc used in textile creation. Book-making to present work.
Observational Skills – drawing from primary sources and for evaluative and planning purposes. Evaluating and selecting work throughout the development process.
Visual Awareness – selection of appropriate media and colour palettes when drawing and creating yarn and textile samples. Selection of elements from drawings to develop further.
Design and Compositional Skills – picking the motifs, marks, patterns, materials and colours to use. Developing a coherent capsule collection appropriate to its proposed end use; and following a logical development path. Creation of a presentation book.
Quality of outcome
Content – choosing which samples to develop further and include in the presentation book. The book also illustrates my design process.
Application of Knowledge – the lessons learnt so far on the course came together in Part 5 – eg, how to:- carry out relevant research; select primary sources to arrange and draw from; selection of appropriate media; abstracting elements of drawings to develop into paper and stitch manipulations, yarns and then textiles; regular evaluation and reflection throughout the process.
Presentation of Work – work has been simply presented in a workbook and textile collection book, demonstrating the flow of the design process. Larger samples and drawings are presented separately.
Demonstration of creativity
Imagination – using the drawings to suggest appropriate techniques and designs for use in the created textiles.
Experimentation – some unusual materials have been used where appropriate (eg, melted plastic to represent the chard leaf drawing); small samples have been created to test ideas, materials or colour combinations (eg, paint-on dye sampling; tulip motif samples).
Invention – the patterns and motifs used are all developed from my drawings and samples. Making textiles (coursework) that could be layered allowed unusual mixtures of colour, texture and materials (eg, cut plastic layered over batik fabric).
Personal Voice – use of simple, abstract motifs, textures and patterns, inspired by nature; paired with strong colour contrasts, flat colour and uncluttered designs represents my ideas and voice exactly.
Context
Reflection – continued reflection on my research, progress, ideas, experiments and outcomes in my learning log; and through the use of evaluative drawings.
Research – focused research has been very useful for Part 5: looking at drawing techniques; artists’ working practices; textile design processes; current design trends; as well as exhibition visits and lectures that proved to be timely and appropriate.
Learning Log – research, course and assignment work, and reflections are recorded in my learning log blog.

Assignment 5: Your Capsule Collection

I started this Assignment with a review of the coursework created for Part 5, and took time to consider the context of the collection I was going to put together.

As I had been working through the coursework, I thought that several of the designs could be adapted to work well in felt, which could then be used in household decor, such as cushion covers or wall hangings. I decided to apply some constraints to the created textiles: they would all be in felt (some with embellishments in other materials) and would feature white, green and pink from my originally selected colour palette.

P1290733
Drawing #10 colour palette

I carried out some research into current trends in interior decor on amara.com, vogue.com, telegraph.co.uk, thatssogemma.com and pantone.com. I was pleased to see that Pantone’s colour of the year is ‘Greenery‘ – a yellowish green that is a slightly darker tone of the green in my palette (which was originally derived from tulip colours).

The white, pink and green from the palette have a fresh, Spring/Summer appeal with strong contrasts and a connection to flowers and the white of summer clothing, white interiors, and weddings (the ideal wedding gift!). It also has a cheerful and light-hearted feel to it, while the warm, fuzzy feel of the felt gives a comforting, cozy, homely element to the created textiles.

Other trends that I thought I might be able to incorporate into some of my designs included:- tropical; texture; geometrics; natural materials; varied patterns; romance; eco-friendly interiors; and plant motifs.

I made some drawings of ideas for further development.

Textile #1 – “Scribble”

This has come a long way from the source material of tulips. This idea was one that I went back to: Yarn Concept #1 and the subsequent drawing of it. I tried a couple of samples. The first was machine sewn, but I found the thread was not bold enough for my liking so I changed to couched yarn. I thought that this was quite successful and I could imagine it as a handmade cushion for the luxury market or as a printed textile for the mass market.

Textile #2 – “White Bamboo”

This textile was again derived from the tulip drawings and subsequent plastic manipulations, and this evaluation drawing, in particular. My husband gave me the idea for this name, when he said that it reminded him of bamboo.

The construction involves cutting the white layer with a scalpel; sewing it to a layer of green felt, then using large hand couching stitches to secure the two layers while adding the pink highlights.

I liked this textile and felt it could be used in a similar way to Textile #1 – handmade or converted to a print version.

Textile #3 – “Flower Net”

This pattern emerged when I was drawing ideas. It flowed from the idea for Textile #2, but as a regular, rather than a random pattern. I remembered making a net yarn for 4.2/3. I initially tried it with strips of felt, but they did not lie flat or change direction in the way that the cotton cord I eventually used, did. The buttons perform the function of holding the cord in place, as well as providing a focal point embellishment to the design. The hardest thing about this was getting all the measurements correct for placement of the cord and buttons to make a regular grid. The resulting textile has a geometric look to it, and combines that with the floral theme that is on trend for this year’s designs.

Textile #4 – “Pink Catkin”

This textile was a development from Textile #10 from the last part of the coursework. That was a mixture of textile marker marks with needle-punched embroidery thread in a small scale pattern. I enlarged the scale, added colour and made the imagery more abstract for this piece. I tried needle-punching on felt, but it didn’t work at all, so I had to inset monk’s cloth areas into the felt. I like the contrast in textures (another of this year’s trends) and colour. I made the pink areas too large (the monk’s cloth seems to stretch when needle-punched – something to bear in mind for future projects). I liked the contrasting textures and there is the possibility of changing the length of the looped yarn; cutting it to produce a velvet-like texture; and using all sorts of yarns and even fine strips of fabric using this method. I can imagine producing wall hangings with textured areas combined with patchwork or plain fabrics such as this example.

Textile #5 – “Blossom”

This piece was a more regular version of the paper and textile manipulations inspired by the plum blossom drawing.

I tried various sizes, layouts and petal types on rough paper before making a template for this one. The petals were hand drawn in slightly different sizes to give an irregular look to the piece. I did not want it to look ‘machine-made’. The white felt was cut with a scalpel and scissors to make the petals, before layering with the pink felt. I debated about adding centres to the flowers, and made a few tiny samples, but felt that the simple version was more successful. The petals fall outwards to reveal the under layer when the fabric is vertical, so it would be best suited to cushions, room dividers etc. Having said that I wanted it to look ‘handmade’, I think that this could be manufactured with a laser cutting service.

Textile #6 – “Magenta Tulips”

Derived from Textile #3 from the previous set of samples. I had envisioned this design made from velvet ribbon, but my sample wasn’t satisfactory, so I tried a few variations in felt. The heads alone looked as if they needed a stem in this iteration, so I took the opportunity to add a touch of the green from the palette. I attached the ‘petals’ so that they were slightly 3-D, but in retrospect, I think they would have been better flat. Each one was attached in a slightly different layout, so that the end result was not too uniform. I liked this simplified tulip and will probably use it on future projects. The basic flower head could be arranged in various patterns, printed or appliquéd.

The Plantasia Textiles Capsule Collection

The work will be presented in two books:- a workbook with some of the drawings, samples and notes in it, and a “Plantasia” presentation book showing the development work carried out for the 10 textiles samples made during the coursework, and a short section showing how these were then developed for the capsule collection (above). The capsule collection are 30 cm square samples, so will be labelled and presented separately, as will the larger drawings and paper manipulations.

Coursework Part 54

sample pages from workbook (above)

Coursework Part 55

sample pages from “plantasia textile collection” presentation book (above)

Summary

This has been a satisfying conclusion to the earlier experiments, and I feel that the six created textiles hang together as a collection, connected by the materials, colour palette, source material and some common techniques (appliqué, hand stitch, couching, cutting, layering etc). The context of designs for interiors helped to focus my efforts on a simple combination of contrasting colours and bold patterns that would work on cushions or wall hangings, for example.

What have I learnt during this Assignment?

  • thinking about the intended use of the created textiles made me think about suitable materials and techniques for the end product
  • working with a limited set of materials, colours and techniques led to new avenues for exploration and pointed to the best way forward for development
  • samples have again been useful in showing successful scales, techniques and colour combinations
  • four of these ideas evolved from a single source (the tulip drawings), so I can see the benefits from gathering lots of source material from first hand observation and drawing, and continuing to draw throughout the design process

References:-

Websites:-

https://www.amara.com/ Accessed 24/5/17 – 01/06/17

https://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/index.aspx Accessed 25/5/17 – 01/06/17

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ Accessed 25/5/17 – 01/06/17

http://thatssogemma.com/ Accessed 25/5/17 – 01/06/17

http://www.vogue.co.uk/?international Accessed 25/5/17 – 01/06/17