This assignment has not been an easy one in terms of at times it has felt like a hard slog but that is in part due to my medical diagnosis which caused me to loose focus and concentration for a few weeks and also in part due to loosing some confidence after assessment for my first textile course. However this part of the course has also proved to be one of self discovery and creativity as I learn to work with my quirks rather than fighting against them – I am finding I am keeping referring back to the exercises on identity and although my chosen theme is on place the place I have chosen is very much a part of who I am too.
I have found the research element of the course really interesting and that is starting to impact on my own work – I really started to notice an influence of other artists and designers creeping in in the last two exercises of weaving and constructing a cloth in particular as these are areas in which I am aware of designers and textile artists I already know and love and even want to emulate in some form what they are doing. I think the one thing I will be changing however is researching artists or designers BEFORE I work on an exercise rather than remembering to do it after which I have been doing – it has been a fully admitted afterthought but also in one aspect that has proved useful because my ideas and creativity have not been influenced by their pieces of work and are purely my own. My art history module has left me with a love of research which has really paid off because I do not find it difficult or a slog to do but now I need to think about how it can enhance my work from the outset and this is a weakness I need to rectify.
The critical reflection and regular self-appraisal is developing my understanding of the creative process and I am noting that I am starting to do this naturally throughout my blog rather than just where the course notes point me to do so. I am finding I am beginning to be self-critical and note where I want to improve aspects of my work or where I am not happy with some samples either in my sketchbooks or in my blog or on the other hand I really like what I have done as I note ideas of where the ideas could go forward. At times I am noting samples or sketches that I do not like or have even scrapped but I am still keeping them in my sketchbooks as reference points that may still generate ideas, not necessarily even for this course, but for future work and the critical reflection is enabling me to recognise this.
I am very much aware that my weak points in this part of the course have been the crochet and knitting and also the fabric manipulation – both were done during the time of my diagnosis and I feel my creativity just got up and left! I have also felt really unsatisfied and in truth a bit low mentally over some of my sketches of the samples which also felt like a hard slog at times – I feel I want to go back to basics and really work on my mark making skills and textural studies in order for me to more accurately depict my work. However I have also been trying to develop a looser style of sketchbook work that enables me to get ideas down relatively quickly when and if I need to and this aspect has been working for me – I have been able to sketch some samples in diagrammatic form which makes sense to me. At times I have felt that I have wanted to be really detailed orientated previously and now lessons learnt in previous coursework have finally sunk in in regards to sketching or painting what I see or what I feel emotionally particularly in terms of when I am looking at an object or scene.
Finally regarding exploring the range of textile techniques – as mentioned above I felt I struggled with the knitting and crochet and also the fabric manipulation exercises and I am not particularly comfortable or happy with the majority of my samples. There are more in the crochet range that I like and feel I can use than in the other areas but creatively and innovatively I am not at all happy and was glad to get to the next exercises. The range of textile techniques has been really interesting and I won’t say fun all the time but it has shown me potential ideas – the fabric manipulation I think is one technique I need to continue to explore and work with and find my own way with and researching other textile artists and designers will help on this aspect. The weaving and the fabric reconstruction is more up my street at this point – they both felt freer and made more sense to me for some reason although the crochet I can without question see being used in conjunction with these …. I have had an idea overnight about inserting a woven panel into a crochet piece of work in a fusion style that I want to explore over the next few days and see if it works.
As I now reflect on this course I can see how textile techniques can really help with ideas when working with a specific theme – exploring each through the courses is giving me a solid foundation from which to build and I am going to print off a list of techniques to pin on my notice board in order to generate ideas as it is easy to forget what you have at your fingertips. The explorations are not always successful but lessons do get learnt from the failures and some techniques I know I may use regularly whilst some I freely admit I am happy to leave behind! I think my biggest weakness of the whole course is my dislike of repetition but I have also come to understand how important it is with regards to samples and artistic sketches as you try new ideas, fabrics or media to achieve a resolved piece of work that is either part of your final outcome or leads to it.
One thing I have really started to notice is my use of a wider range of media – the sketches have undoubtedly forced me to not to rely on just pen and pencil as I have sought to vary what I have been using to depict the samples.
My final note has to be on the fact that I am really wanting to develop my strength in using colour considerably further – I want this to be part of my personal voice and to be part of who I am as a textile artist as for me colour is a way of speaking to the viewer as I seek to express a narrative or range of emotions. Colour is now becoming my voice which combined with textures can provide the words that I am not always able to say.
oh heck – the suggestion was 500 words for this self appraisal and as usual I have done far more but I think this self appraisal has been one of the most important for me as I have sought to understand in greater depth how I work and how to overcome my difficulties. I am aware of my weaknesses and my growing strengths and can see a pathway forward in my personal voice in terms of self expression and techniques I feel I can develop much further.