My hope and expectation was that doing this assignment and making these samples would open my eyes to the effect of light and shadow in the world, and allow me to explore ways of expressing this and creating it myself through textile work.
The immediate effect was that I started looking and seeing these effects in the everyday, in a way that I had not seen them before. (See blog entries showing the range of photos taken early on in this module). I tried to write a list to encapsulate all the ways that light and shadow, reveal and conceal, can be used in art, but it was quickly obvious that this is too broad a subject to summarise easily.
My research into textile artists who predominantly use this aspect of materials in their work was a great pleasure for me. I wanted to use the experimental workshops to try out new techniques as much as possible, rather than sticking to ways of making things that I am already familiar with. The result was sometimes surprisingly uninteresting (eg knitting with different sized needles in Workshop 2) but mostly interesting and inspiring - giving me lots of new ideas to follow up. So many in fact that I can confidently say that no, I have not fully explored this topic. In fact, there is a life-time's intrigue ideas and challenge right here.
Workshop 3: Stitched nets, grids and structures: This worked well and produced a light lacy sample with a delicate feel to it. Workshop 4: Woven structures allowed me to explore the use of holes, and the effects of using translucent yarns and reflective materials in contrast to matt or light-dense ones. Workshop 6 illuminated the challenges and pleasures of layering fabrics and yarns to explore shadow and colour effects. Bonding techniques led me to a further exploration of the relative light-blocking qualities of various materials, with sometimes surprising results. Workshop 7 Deconstructing and disintegration: I started trying out thread-pulling and heat-distressing, with some interesting outcomes. I immediately had lots of ideas to develop this further. Workshop 8: Working with inkjet printers: I only just hit the tip of this particular iceberg - there is so much potential for using this fantastic technique.
Reviewing these materials and processes made me look again at what I had done, and combine techniques to produce new effects. I felt particularly inspired by the effects from sewing onto soluble fabric, and using bonding fabric. I combined these to explore shadows and coloured layers further.
My work on these, and on the multiple uses of these ideas in fashion this season, produced conceptual ideas of masks and concealment which led to my making a woven/ shadow mask sampler.
Issues that I would like to have had time to explore further include:
More thread-pulling samples using different fabrics, and to include adding threads of different qualities by weaving them into the fabric.
How shadows change with the qualities of the light making them, and the texture and shape of what they fall on;
How colours are changed by light going through them;
Changes of pattern, or of texture, with changed direction, or intensity, or colour of light;
The size and relationships of holes as the important quality of textiles (the negative spaces);
Conceptual aspects of masking/ revealing in human beings; skin as exposure and as mask.
Since these are not things that I was consciously thinking about before, I would say that yes, making these samples has more than fulfilled my expectations of this part of the course.
How important was the choice of material in terms of determining the qualities that you achieved and how much did your choice of technique contribute to the overall results.
If someone had asked me this at the beginning of this assignment I would have expected that materials would make by far the greatest contribution. That was why I made a page comparing the translucency of a variety of materials.
This is true for some if the techniques - for example, the effect of bonding fabrics of different colours together depends very much on the qualities and colours of the fabric. And the effect of deformation of material by heat is different for each material.
Having tried out some of the techniques, though, I can now see that different materials can produce different and sonetimes unexpected effects depending of which technique you use, and how you use the more translucent holes within and between materials. For example, results from soluble fabric techniques and from weaving loosely in the way described here, do not rely on the materials sewn to it so much as the holes left after it is finished.