Q: Do you feel happy with the work?
A: Yes I do. I didn’t skimp on any part and I put a lot of time and effort into each exercise.
Q: Do you prefer working with stitch to drawing? Can you begin to see the relationship between the two?
A: Yes I prefer working with stitch because I still find drawing laborious and difficult but, having said that, it has been extremely interesting to see a stitched work develop from an initial drawn piece. So, yes, I can see a relationship between the two.
Q: Having worked through stage 2, were you then able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of your drawings?
A: Yes. Stitching is far more familiar to me than drawing so the different effects I was trying to achieve came more easily to me in this form.
Q: Do you feel that you chose the right source material to work from?
A: Is there a right source material? For me, it works if I ‘click’ with the original source. If it is something that piques my interest, be it a drawing, a quilt, a photo, an idea, a text, a spoken word or whatever, and it stays in my mind and germinates then it is the right source material. My new bathroom tile (Project 2 – Stage 3) had been in my mind for quite some time, just sitting waiting for further development. The Project 2 – Stage 2 chain stitch sampler is loosely based on the same tile markings.
Q: Do you think your sample works well irrespective of the drawing? Or do you think your sample is just a good interpretation of your drawing and nothing more?
A: My drawing is the start point. It gave me good line, direction, colouring and dimensional ideas but my stitching has evolved and developed a life and individuality of its own.
Q: Which of the activities did you prefer – working with stitch to create textures or working with yarns to create textures? Which worked best for you and why?
A: I really can’t choose. I enjoy both equally, although I’m a big fan of Perle cottons as can be seen throughout. So far I haven’t incorporated stitched items such as torn fabric strips, wire, fancy knitting yarns, plastic bag strips and so on but there will be time for that down the track if they feel right at the time.
Q: Make some comments on individual techniques and sample pieces. Did you experiment enough? Did you feel inhibited in any way? Fix them in your sketchbook if you want to or start a separate book of sample references.
A: I’ve made quite a lot of comments throughout the exercises which analyse techniques and samples because I felt it was a good idea to include this information while the project was fresh in my mind, rather than later on when immediate thoughts would be forgotten. I suppose the work that stands out the most to me would be Project 2, Stage 3 – the blue/purple bathroom tile piece. The reason is that blue is a colour that I don’t commonly use and have no affinity for but, surprisingly, I quite like the result.
I believe that experimenting could be endless but a line has to be drawn somewhere, decisions have to be made and a sample has to be worked.
Yes, I felt inhibited with the wrapping requirement in Stage 6. I fully understand the point of it – to choose threads that closely resemble the chosen drawing in the proportions they appear in that drawing and to create a sample using them. However, I know, from pieces I have stitched in the past, that my samples seem to evolve as I go along and I change threads to beads, ribbon, string or whatever when I don’t get the effect I want from those items I initially chose. So sticking to specific threads I had previously wrapped on a piece of cardboard wasn’t something that I felt comfortable with.
I would prefer to be asked to paint, cut coloured card, or colour in squares in the proportions that they appear in the drawing. Then I could be left to choose whatever threads or other bits I want within those colours, sticking to those proportions, that I see fit as I progress.
The scanned image here shows a trial I did a little while ago which is very detailed and I’m not suggesting that I want to go to this level but I prefer working in this way. The coloured paper has been stuck to both a black and white background to show how the base colour will affect the final work.
My Stage 6 learning log entry didn’t show my wrapped threads because my red coloured cords didn’t work out on the machine so I couldn’t use them to wrap as they were only completed by satin stitching them on to the background. I used less of my teal green thread because I replaced some of it with bugle beads the same colour and my light green wool was fully replaced by a variegated green Perle. This made my wrapped card useless to the project, except in relation to the proportions of each colour used.
Q: How do you prefer to work? From a drawing or by playing with materials and yarns to create effects? Which method produced the most interesting work?
A: I like both. At this point, so early in the course, both methods have produced interesting work so it will be good to see how I develop. Drawing should open my visual mind more and I hope this will generate new and exciting textile ideas.
Q: Are there other techniques you would like to try? Are there any samples you would like to do in a different way?
A: I’ve already done my bathroom tile in two very different ways and it is still stuck fast in my brain so I’m sure it will pop up again at some stage in another format. In Stage 4, Preparing to create textures, we detailed what we would do to interpret marks made in previous exercises but weren’t required to produce the textile art – thank heavens because that would have been an enormous task for 6 samples – and those are also niggling at my mind. Eventually I would like to develop some into finished artworks, especially the drawing ink and salt piece and the distressed spiral piece.
Q: Is there anything you would like to change in your work? If so try to think out why and make notes for future reference.
A: Looking back at what I have produced, no there is nothing I would change in my stitched pieces but, having gained the valuable experience of these exercises, I’m sure if I were to redo them in the future they would be very different.
As opposed to a change, I need to make an addition to my work though. I must step up the volume of drawing I’m doing and widen my scope through that.
A reflective commentary:
Overall I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the start to this course and, looking back, I’m amazed at how much work I have done since starting. One of the main things I have realised is how unfocused I had become in my textile work. Without a clear goal, which this course is now providing, I was stitching what I wanted, how and when I wanted but many times without a clear purpose or end result in mind. The fact that I am being forced to complete exercises which are not of my own choosing is proving to be stimulating and fulfilling. I am going over basics that I learned a long time ago and am enjoying being reminded of these steps in development.
Having stitched for many years I now see that I have become very familiar with certain threads and yarns, particular types of embroidery and stitching and a fairly unstructured way of producing textile art. The methodical approach of the course is pushing me to think, analyse and outline my work in a more orderly way which I hope will aid towards consistently better results.
As I’m doing more sketching I’m finding that I want my drawing to be as accurate as possible and closely resemble the real thing, but with stitching I am more free and flowing in my interpretation. As I do more drawing and painting I hope to loosen up and not take it so seriously. I keep reading in my text books, and in the introduction section of my course manual, that you just have to have a go and practice, practice, practice. I’m so slow though that I keep wanting to put it off until I have loads of time to sit down and really concentrate for a long time. Then when I see several hours have gone by and I’ve produced one fairly decent image I’m aghast at the little that has been achieved in the time. I’m trying to get myself into the ‘just do 10-20 minutes more often’ frame of mind so I speed up and am not so overly critical. My precise, neat, orderly self has chucked half my drawings in the bin (so my sketchbook is very slim), whilst my thinking, rational side has been yelling “Are you mad? What on earth are you doing?”
Later this week I’m having a charcoal drawing lesson which I am really looking forward to and I hope it will be the first of several sessions of drawing with other people.
This is the final part of this Assignment and it’s all been fun and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now it’s time to label and pack it up before posting it to my tutor in the UK. Then I can turn the page to Part 2.