I’m working on ‘A Piece of Your Own’ which is the first extended assignment of the OCA Textiles 1 course I’m doing. I never really got going again on the course after moving house last year and though I’ve only completed half of it, I would have run out of time round about now, but the OCA has kindly given me an extension and a new deadline of early next summer. Right now I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or not!
The textile piece is to form part of an item such as a garment, cushion, bag, wall hanging – it doesn’t have to be the whole item, and you are asked to keep an open mind about the end product for as long as possible.
The piece has to be developed from design work and techniques accumulated throughout the course so far; I gathered a lot of previous work together and did some design development on the computer back in July, and then some felted samples using ideas that came out of that. Gathering felt was one idea that I’ve already blogged about; these are some more experiments with that, before and after felting.
Then I took another of the computer designs and have been playing with it. I tried stitching needled merino before wet felting (using yarn made from the same fibre so some of the yarn would ‘disappear’) and felted half onto muslin and half onto white fleece.
Nothing is really working though and I desperately want to get this module over with since I’ve been stuck on it forever… It’s not that I’m not producing textiles at all – I’ve made several felt scarves over the summer – this is the latest.
I wish I could just use this scarf for my textile piece! I’d be tempted to but there’s no link with any design work, which has to be the starting point, or if there is, it’s inside me somewhere. When I make something in ‘real life’ I usually have an idea to work to – in this case a wrap and the word ‘flame’, or something I’ve seen or heard that’s inspired me, and the materials do the rest. Sometimes I write down words that extend the idea, like a mind map. My imagination tends to be verbal and then tactile. I don’t seem to be able to start visually, with drawings and designs, and then progress to something that means anything to me. When I draw or paint that seems like an end in itself. I don’t understand why I find a visual design process such a struggle, but it feels like there’s a magic casket and I can’t find the key – and it’s frustrating because I’m sure my work would be stronger and more defined if I could get to grips with it.
Anyway, enough moaning, my plan is to persevere with the circles design and to try and interpret it in fabric manipulation (using nuno with silk). Silk painting was one of my favourite bits of the course, so I’ve painted a big piece of silk to sample with and, well, I still prefer the original computer design, but if I don’t compare it with that I am quite pleased with it, apart from the dark splodgy bit in the middle where I used too much salt! I want to see how it looks with the background ruched and the circles felted, and vice versa, and if either works it could be a cushion cover or part of a bag or scarf. That’s Plan A, at any rate…