This has been a difficult exercise in terms of motivation, confidence and creativity – the first two I have realised are down to passing my marks from my first assessed textiles course and the latter a combination of the confidence and also having been ill for the majority of this assignment so far. However even though I am not entirely happy with many of my samples I have recognised the issues and will be working to add further samples before the end of this course module – as I have stated in my blog on the actual exercise I have written the verbs out and pinned them up so as inspiration strikes I can add further samples to my sketchbook.
I was fascinated by the difference in appearance of the samples in differing fabrics and found that I really liked the contrast between harder fabrics such as calico and the softer ones such as silk or velvet – the poly-cotton I had available is one I use a considerable amount on a daily basis and was really not enamoured by the results because I was more intrigued by the other fabrics. I loved the play of light on the velvet samples – the technique was irrelevant and almost secondary because no matter how you use velvet it captures the light and shadows beautifully and this perhaps is an aspect I really did not expect and can see me wanting to use it in my theme and future work …. I am aware that a better quality velvet will produce either better or differing results but I am also not dismissing the cheaper version either because each have their own unique qualities.
I did find some of the fabrics infuriatingly difficult to work with – the voile, silk and muslin but have never liked working with these generally and have recognised ways in which to overcome these difficulties in the blog on the exercise but as much as anything it comes down to having more patience than I had due to the aforesaid illness.
I have not done a huge amount of research into other artists for this exercise but have discovered Rowan Mersh whose work I have seriously fallen in love with and am really entranced by – I am not as yet sure how his work will influence mine or what techniques he is using and more research is most definitely needed. However I have been to a local quilt show which exhibited a wide range of techniques including felting and fabric manipulation and these quilts and ideas do have a direct influence on me – the use of felting in an innovative wall quilt was particularly intriguing …. the show is blogged under the Research heading. I am finding the quilt world, which is familiar to me as it is my background, is one that is really starting to embrace innovative techniques which will no doubt have a direct influence – I am aware of quilt blocks using origami style techniques to give a three dimensional effect as an example.
Finally I am asked to collate together the samples which I feel represent my theme and I have specifically chosen the gathered and shirring samples including Suffolk Puffs, the pleated sample with the pleats stitched down and the felt samples. I feel these samples represent the textures of my garden and could be combined with further folded and pleated samples specifically worked to represent different textures. The felted samples have really got my attention as this is a new technique and I am aware that I can purchase wool roving in my required colours if necessary. I can see at this stage the possibility of combining techniques and now as I look at this photograph I would also add the layered and torn samples as well – the layering could be used to represent the different layers of the garden and be representative of the different layers of my life which the garden itself represents.
As I stated at the beginning I have really struggled with this exercise and am still not happy with the outcomes as a whole but there are aspects that give me a level of confidence in that I have recognised issues and problems and made note of them or made notes of how I feel I can overcome them. On the issue of lack of confidence I put a post on a Facebook group stating how I felt and the response of my fellow students was incredible with each stating that it is totally normal to hit these crisis in confidence and that everyone does from time to time – those responses have been enough to give me a lift because distance learning can be a lonely journey at times and the support of your fellow students is desperately important.
The problems I have had with the fabrics have felt easier to solve – patience and taking your time being the primary solution!
I am writing this having completed the final exercises on this part of the course and reflect on the fact that for this particular exercise that I had not done any sketches of the samples – I noted in Italic font in the exercise to really read through the exercise thoroughly in future to note any instructions so lesson well learnt! However I am not sure I regret not doing the sketches at that stage due to struggles with textural mark making and this is something I am trying to work on so will go back to these samples over the coming weeks and prior to assessment to add in new sketches in order to improve my area of weakness.
Regarding artists I am already a huge fan of Jinny Beyer whose quilts are full of vibrant colour influenced hugely by travels in India. I am also fascinated by her use of tessellations although I have not yet had the confidence to try some of her designs! A quick internet search lead me to an article on textiles artists who use recycled materials and in particular I love the work of Louise Baldwin primarily again for her use of colour …. the techniques for me are the not the first thing I look at but how she uses colour but I do like the fact she uses waste packaging to create her wallhangings which she stitches with machine and hand stitching. I also note the work of Jennifer Collier who creates objects using paper – on the website there is a wonderful photo of a manual typewriter which is immediately appealing considering I learnt to type on one such devil-made machine ….. the photograph can be seen at: http://www.textileartist.org/textile-artists-using-recycled-materials/n …. this website also shows the work of Louise Baldwin.
I think what I am now discovering is a range of artists who use a wide variety of influences and one the reasons I also love Jennifer Collier and Louise Baldwin is that they are using the objects and materials that surround them so I guess their work could be based on either place or identity but in terms of the typewriter in particular also encompasses words. I have bookmarked the above website page for further reading and research because the use of recycled materials is something that interests me – in part financial reasons force me to use what I can find around my home at this time but I am also interested from an environmental point of view too so can relate to the artists who use recycled or upcycled materials in their work.