Part 5: Project 1: Option 3: Floral Compositions: Action Plan

I have chosen to pursue the work created for Part 1, Project 3: Picking and Portraying, which involved drawing and mark-making inspired by flowers and plants.

After reviewing the original drawings, and selecting any that I feel are particularly successful or interesting and/or offer further development, I will choose fresh source materials to create a new arrangement (or several arrangements) to draw from. I would like to draw tulips, and may combine these with foliage and flowers or blossom from the garden. I will experiment with different backgrounds and lighting options and additional objects.

I will approach the task by trying a range of possible compositions, and by trying to gather different information in each drawing. I will give attention to selecting appropriate grounds, tools and media to work with. I will make a mind map to suggest associations with the source material. I am aiming to combine densities and type of mark in this new set of drawings. In my initial research, I was intrigued by Alicia Galer‘s lively drawings of plants, and will try to emulate her range of mark-making in some of my work. I will try monotone as well as colour drawings. Paint, collage and mixed media drawings will be explored. I will also make simplified versions, and more abstract marks concentrating on smaller areas of the composition, or small areas of the initial drawings.



Website:- Accessed 03/04/17


Part 5: Reflection on Chris Ofili’s Quote

The course guide quotes Chris Ofili, in an interview he gave in 2010, to Gary Younge:-

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.”

At this stage of study, my workspace definitely feels like a laboratory: the various experiments and exploration; hammering; cutting; hot wax; combining different media etc, make me feel like a scientist making new discoveries. I have tried many new techniques and media so far on the course and feel that this broad range of exploration has helped to generate new ideas and directions.

I feel that getting stuck making the same thing over and over again is deadly for your creativity (having had a small taste of feeling like a ‘factory’ when one item I made became popular and I was requested to make numerous variations on the theme). Having said that, if you wish to sell your work, and people want to buy that particular item, then it can be both flattering and lucrative, (Andy Warhol’s The Factory springs to mind), but, in the long-run, I feel that taking your artwork in new directions is far more rewarding and stops feelings of stagnation. At my second study visit last year, the discussion turned to the way in which some of the artists had not progressed, but had found a style and subject that they were happy to repeat. Many of the students thought that it was rather lazy and boring to do that, and I suspect that such artists are less likely to be invited to exhibit, over time. Observation, information gathering, having views on topics, or stories that you wish to tell, filtering and selecting from that information and deciding how it will become part of your artwork are what I am aiming for in my practice. My main reason for starting the course was to learn and establish a productive and logical process for turning those ideas into art.

I believe that the two things are not mutually exclusive, as you can experiment and innovate with your art and designs, and have assistants or an actual factory making up the designs.

I was interested to see another view expounded in an article on the website: Are you a textile technique addict? The article by Joe Pitcher discusses the problem of having no focus as a textile artist, trying numerous techniques and styles but not being able to find your voice. Through the work of his mother, Sue Stone, and other textile artists, he suggests that dissipating your energies in many directions doesn’t work, and that imposing constraints is the way forward, for example, mastering one particular skill and set of materials fully to give cohesion and depth to your work.

While this does ring a bell with me (having tried many arts and crafts over the years), I feel that I tend towards the ‘laboratory’ method for generating new artwork, while still being evaluative and reflective about which experiments I take forward. I have seen that constraints can be introduced at any stage in the operation to refine ideas and techniques. The cyclical nature of the process means that we move from research to experimentation to selection and reflection and perhaps repeat the process several times before producing a finished piece of work.

Regarding Chris Ofili’s comment that an exhibition shows the results of experimentation, but is not a conclusion: I would have to agree with that. Although an exhibition may show one complete collection, there are hopefully more ideas to be explored, worked up and exhibited in future. The exhibition is a time to put your ideas and technical achievements on display, and to receive feedback and possibly validation from viewers.

I hope that at the end of Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary, I will be able to look back on all my coursework and reflect upon what I have learnt and can take forward into the next part, and integrate into my practice in the long-term. I have put an emphasis on experimenting with as many new media and techniques as I can, and will continue to do so in my own ‘laboratory’. I will also put my work forward for formal assessment, for which I aim to demonstrate my learning and the ideas that have come from my experiments. In the final part of this course, I hope to expand on the work I come up with, by suggesting further developments for the yarns and textiles created, which is a conclusion of a sort.

Chris Ofili has been back in his laboratory, as he has a new exhibition at The National Gallery, starting on 26 April 2017, featuring a handwoven tapestry art work, made in collaboration with Dovecot Tapestry Studio.


Publications/Websites:- Accessed 30/03/17

Younge, G (2010) After The Elephant Dung: Chris Ofili Accessed 30/03/17

Pitcher, J (2017) Are you a textile technique addict? Accessed 30/03/17 Sue Stone’s website Accessed 30/03/17

Key Aspects of Part Five: Building A Collection

This part of the course is laid out as three linked projects, with one research point, followed by Assignment 5. The key aspects of the coursework are to refer to earlier coursework and make new drawings, yarns and textiles exploring the source material with the knowledge gained so far on the course.

Visual evaluation of the source material through new drawings and sample-making will feed into the development process, along with contextual research of my chosen artist or designer. Documenting the process through reflection in my Learning Log (LL), keeping technical records, and taking clear photographs will be necessary for presenting the work.


Research artists mentioned in the course guide.

Introductory Task

Reflect in my LL about the ‘laboratory versus factory’ quote by Chris Ofili.

Project 1: Developing Visual Research

This project involves selecting drawings from my previous coursework, or new, related, inspirational material, to draw from, with the benefit of my learning in this area. The key tasks are:-

1 Review visual research from the Introductory Section, and Parts 1 and 2 of the course).

2 Reflect on the stronger and weaker aspects of the work in my LL.

3 Select a project from the three options provided, considering which will be the most satisfying to work with and build upon.

4 Email Cari with my choice and a brief action plan.

5 Describe how I plan to approach the project in my LL.

6 Make 10 new drawings in any media and any size. The emphasis is on generating new information (marks, lines, and colour palettes) and taking an experimental approach.

Project 2: Building A Response

In the second project I will be developing materials to enhance the information gained in project 1 in presenting a textiles capsule collection. Key tasks are:-

1 Observe the drawings from project 1, paint and present paint chip or stripe designs from one or more of the drawings. Give consideration to the proportions of colours in the palette.

2 Research 1 or more artists, designers or design companies that I admire. Compile a small research file containing both visual and written information. Reflect in my LL on what I can learn from this person/company, to influence my approach.

3 Create a series of 10 – 15 textile concepts using paper and other surfaces to develop ideas, textures and structures.

  • revise work carried out in Part 2 and re-read the course guide for this section
  • refer to my colour palette to guide investigations
  • translate the range of qualities shown in the drawings
  • source new materials to work with

4 Develop 8+ yarn/linear concepts, with reference to the techniques learned in Part 4 of the course. (Translate linear qualities from drawings into material explorations).

  • yarn designs should be combined with, and applied to, textile concepts
  • keep a sketchbook/workbook specifically for this project. Show developmental work/ideas
  • present key pieces and larger-sized pieces separately from the workbook

 Project 3: Experimenting and Taking Risks

This project encourages me to experiment and take risks with the translation of qualities in my drawings, through to the creation and manipulation of materials, and stitch exploration. Textile and yarn concepts will be developed into textile results.

  • revisit earlier processes if appropriate
  • select a focus for the experimentation (eg, a material or technique, different scale, colour, etc)
  • one experiment should lead to the next sample, including analysis and evaluation at every stage
  • be sensitive to the materials, processes and techniques employed, and learn from explorations

1 Make 10+ experimental textile samples.

Assignment Five: Your Capsule Collection

This assignment involves presenting my work to clearly show the developmental aspect, and to communicate the most interesting and attractive findings and outcomes.

1 Study and evaluate the work created so far in Projects 1 and 2. Decide which can be further refined and improved upon.

2 Make a capsule collection of 6+ related samples (minimum size 30 cm square). These pieces should show an increased perfection of technique and finish, building on the previous samples.

3 The capsule collection should be presented simply and appropriately on white/pale card. The order and unity of the collection should be considered. Samples should be attached by the top edge/top corners only.

Written Reflection

500 words reflecting on learning and development achieved; strengths and weaknesses; future work, added to LL and sent to tutor.


Performance against assessment criteria for this course (500 words), added to LL and sent to tutor.

Rework The Assignment

After feedback from Cari, I should rework parts of the work according to her guidance and reflect on this in my LL.