assignment 3

Long ago, when I started this blog, its primary purpose was to track and trace my progress through the Open College of the Arts Textiles 1 course. Which, if I hadn’t moved, I would already have finished; my new deadline of mid-November is looming and I still have half the course to complete so I need to step up a gear.

Right now I’m working on producing a textile piece – it can be either a whole or a part of something but the ‘something’ has to exist at least as a design, this isn’t just another sample. I spent yesterday reviewing the work I’ve done in the previous couple of modules – Design, Printing and Painting, and Manipulating Fabrics. There’s a lot of ‘stuff’ and it’s impossible to lay it all out in one place as they suggest: instead I went through it, pulling out anything I really liked the look of or found interesting as an idea, and then ‘collected’ those piece together in Flickr.

design sources
link to Flickr version

Apart from looking for potential in the work I’ve done, I’m also interested in how it impacts on other people, whether it inspires, gives pleasure, moves, communicates or challenges. Only comments really give an idea of that, but this next mosaic is made up of the work that Flickr rates most interesting, which they appear to work out from some combination of number of views, number of comments and how often the work is favourited. There is some overlap with my own preferences, but mostly difference – I should think about the implications of that, but not in this post.

most interesting images
link to Flickr version

Looking for relationships and themes in the collection of potential work from which to develop a further design, visually I see stripes and edges, borderlands where boundaries are in question, colours merging and glowing, textures combining with pattern, grids and intersections, irregular rhythms and flowing movements, circles, spirals and radials.

In terms of materials and techniques I see fabric manipulation, felt, silk, wool, cotton, paint and dye, and the traces of stitch. While that’s partly due to the constraints of being asked to choose material from the most recent modules, it fits with where I feel myself to be. Things that I’m not seeing, but would also include, are actual expressive stitch, text, and elements of collage or layering.

As for subject matter, well, hmmmm, it almost seems that the surface is the subject? something about the interplay of texture and colour, pattern and shape and light. I note that the work that interests other people is much more varied and includes conceptual and representational work as well. Definitely more food for thought there….

I’ve done a whole lot of playing in Photoshop both with the  design source mosaic and with some of the individual images – changing colours, applying filters, wrapping the pixels around displacement maps to create new surfaces. Gathered fabric and shibori make interesting maps to work with and I like the idea of recycling these images of fabric manipulation samples directly back into the design process. I’m ready to start developing the design work into samples now – the ones I may pursue are on Flickr – but here are a couple of them.

design work

design work

TIF Challenge May 2

Well I didn’t turn into a pumpkin! I got my May TIF Challenge piece done yesterday (just) but too late for taking photos.

I decided to create something that included some of the techniques I love most, and to try to express how I often feel as if I’m exploding in all directions – there’s such an onslaught of possibilities it seems impossible to choose between them.

For the background I used a piece of indigo-dyed shibori I made at a workshop taught by Nell Dale. I applied scrim that I’d dyed and torn, and some little bits and bobs – hand stitching, machine stitching, felt, knitting, dyeing, batik, printing, and layered fabrics. I also love textiles with writing, so I added the phrase that Neki of A Moveable Feast picked out from my thoughts on the challenge question – ‘naming is not defining – it is choosing’.

But choosing means saying no as well as yes. I long to learn to focus enough to practise, in every sense of the word. I enjoy exploring so many things but I also value skill and mastery, and to attain those things one must make choices and leave some roads untravelled. For now, as a student, I’m constantly trying out new paths and revisiting old ones, but I also hope that on the way I’ll discover which directions take me “further up and further in”… that I will learn my name.

appliqué piece

Links to the beautiful and thought-provoking work being done for Sharon’s Take it Further Challenge can be found on her blog In a Minute Ago, the Flickr group, and the Take it Further Challenge blog.

Feeling a little crazy…

… I just signed up for Sharon B’s Take it Further challenge for 2008. What was that about biting off too much? But then, sometimes things just sound too good to miss and I know how wistful I’d feel next year if I wasn’t joining in with this. The challenge is about stretching your design skills by working with a theme but developing and resolving it in your own way.

I had a lovely card in the post yesterday, from Isabell, she made it for the Embroiderers’ Guild Forum Christmas Card swap. Isn’t it beautiful?

my card from Isabell


Just a round up of some things that have inspired me as I caught up with some of my favourite blogs today…

And two new blogs: Inspiration Boards, thanks to Claire at Little Fish Creations, and kris’s color stripes, thanks to my friend Helen.

World Beach Project

I love the way the Internet makes art projects that span the globe possible. And I love art that is transient. So I’m very drawn to the World Beach Project, devised by Sue Lawty in assocation with the V&A Museum, where she is Artist in Residence. Over the years our family has left patterns and sculptures with shells, sand, stones, seaweed, and all the random richness left by the tides, on beaches all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The World Beach Project imposes a discipline – only stones may be used. Within that… explore the possibilities. I feel an excursion to the shore coming on.