Sunday, 10 February 2013

Open College of the Arts
Tutor report

Student name
Christina Rogers
Student number
Textile 1: A Creative Approach
Assignment number

Overall Comments
This is an excellent assignment and one in which you have taken a significant step in your journey of discovery in your textiles work.  What really comes across is your ability to see beyond the techniques and samples and work with ideas and experiment with them.

Just a note about presentation.  It was a little confusing initially until I looked at your blog how things related.  This is mostly because mounting work on both sides of the sheet you need to be careful of the sequence.  They didn’t always follow on and weren’t in order when I first opened them.  

Feedback on assignment Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
Project 6: Manipulating fabric
In this project you were required to experiment with various ways of manipulating the surface of the fabric including applied fabric techniques and raised and structured surface textures.  You were asked to take a selection of 6 drawings or source material and develop them into compositions based on shape, pattern and texture.  

You are continuing to develop your design work through various stages on paper and computer before taking them into samples. The development of your water sketch and the one of roots are particularly successful as you have explored the options in putting them into repeats.

This assignment is good for making you think about the properties and characteristics of the fabrics you are working with and that does seem to be the case with you.  As well as the colour, pattern and texture of fabric there is it’s quality and behaviour too.  You have used a good range of fabrics and thought about their use in relation to the techniques. Manipulating fabric brings out these qualities and you really have been able to identify elements of fabrics that you like to work with and the possibilities of what you might want to do with them beyond these exercises. 

Final samples for stages 3 & 4 
Finally in both stages 3 and 4 you were asked to review your work and produce a sample from your drawings using some of the techniques you had learnt in your experimentation.

Again in both cases you have successfully developed design work on paper into your fabric designs, refining and dealing with the challenges of fabric and techniques whilst keeping the essence of the design idea.

Applied fabric techniques sample
This sample is dynamic and bold and uses the fabrics well.  The background herringbone twill contrasts with the shinny fabrics and creates a sense of layering and depth.

Raised & structured surface techniques sample
With this sample you have learnt a lot about planning when combining techniques.  You have packed a lot into it and therefore had to tackle some complex problems.  The results have worked well and relate to your original idea, although it has moved on somewhat as a result of the practicalities.  I agree that the padded column on the left doesn’t quite fit in terms of the composition, it is a bit to smooth.  If it had textures incorporated into it like the one in the top right it might have worked better, by echoing that column.

Project 7 Starting a Theme Book
Theme: ‘The sound of cicadas’
Following our email discussion on this theme, you have started with some great images both drawings and your collected images on your blog.  Some of the artists you have found using 3D textiles are really relevant here too.   

Sketchbooks Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
It isn’t entirely clear if any of the drawings you sent are particularly sketchbook, but it seems some of your drawing might have come from sketchbooks and were not originally directly related to project work.

Your general sketchbook is for observational drawing, ideas and themes which can also include practice in techniques or how you want to use techniques. 

Learning logs /Research points Context
There were 2 research points in this assignment.  One dealing with market research, analysing the diversity of style and design within an area of fabric available to the consumer, and the other looking at craft based production.

Diversity and style in consumer fabric
Through your market research project you were able to learn more about fabrics, what is available, different mixes of fibres in fabrics.   Your comments particularly your review on your blog for this is excellent.  It has lots of information, your comments are articulate and well thought out.   Your work in looking for fabrics that relate to the fashions has really make you look and think about what is available, styles and influences in the fashion world.

Craft-based production
Your thoughts about this subject again are very articulate and well researched.  You have raised some interesting points in your commentary and it is obviously a subject that you feel strongly about. You have raised some very pertinent points relating to the definition of the terms ‘craft’ and ‘traditional’ in relation to skill, design, creativity, and pattern.  These terms are used differently by different people and therefore it makes for confusion.

The point you make about traditional textiles being no less useful than they have always been outside the developed world, I think is debatable. There are many traditional craft skills around the world that are being lost.  For example I visited Nigeria in the early 1990’s  where I found only a small number of weavers weaving the traditional Ase Oke narrow strip cloth because there wasn’t the demand for it.  It was too expensive for the majority of people to buy and so it was only used by a small number of people and mostly for major life celebrations such as weddings.  The traditional style of costume I did see worn was mostly made from printed fabrics that were widely available in the markets and printed in Holland.  Have a look at some of the early work of Yinka Shonibare MBE, a British -Nigerian artist whose artwork seeks to highlight this phenomenon.   

The point ‘who is asking the question what do craftspeople call themselves and why?‘ is a very interesting one.  As a craft maker myself I do get asked that question, usually by people who are themselves working or studying in the crafts world.  It is a discussion that is held as crafts people of any discipline try to work out how to present themselves to the public as a whole.  My own experience is that the public interprets the terms we use to describe ourselves in accordance with their own knowledge and experiences of the crafts world and disciplines but don’t often seem to question them. Like it or not (and for many craftspeople it is the selling part they like the least) we make products to sell and need to sell them in order to live and continue working.  How we present ourselves is important if we want to get our own personal message across accurately about what we do.  This relates to the points you make about crafts as a marketing term.  Increasingly, and especially with the help of the internet, craftspeople are seeking to present not just their finished product but the process and skills involved.  A way of engaging with their audience and explaining the value of their work and revealing the person behind the work.  See sites like or shows such as Art in Action, not mention all the social media options now available.

Suggested Reading/viewing Context
The book in the book list ‘Tapestry Weaving’ N Harvey is sadly out of print now.  There is an alternative with the same title by Kirsten Glasbrook and is quite a good practical book if you feel you need more than the instructions in the manual.

See additional references in above.

Pointers for the next assignment
In this assignment you are will be concentrating on construction of yarn and fabric which is quite a different way of working from the stitch and print work you have done so far.  Weaving as a technique is more structured and some students find this daunting.  From your comments you are looking forward to it.  Follow the instructions carefully and do email me if you have any problems.  

Tutor name
Charlotte Grierson
9 February 2013
Next assignment due
15 April 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment