Category Archives: Research & Reflection

Part 5 – Reflective Commentary

11 July 2017


Part 5 – Reflective commentary

Measurement against assessment criteria

In my blog post for Part 5, stage 7, I reflect in depth on the outcome of my process and final prototype/maquette for assignment 5. In this reflective commentary, I broaden my focus to the module as a whole, and target my response to the assessment criteria, course aims and outcomes.

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

In the first four assignments, I acquired technical skills in surface distortion, joining and wrapping, moulding and casting and mono and collatype printing. 

For assignment 5, I took the concept of a constructed repeating surface and looked at ways of enriching it by applying distortion techniques. I considered scratching, and cutting flaps and holes, but in general, found that these processes detracted from the purity of the geometric shapes. It was a valuable lesson for me to understand that complexity can lead to visual ambiguity and confusion and do not necessarily an enhanced outcome. It I am glad that I was able reach this conclusion in time to change tack and adopt a more simplistic, minimalist approach.

Design and composition played an important role in selecting a concept and resolving it to a final prototype/maquette. I was able to apply my spacial awareness through drawings in my sketchbook, to understand how shapes could be joined and the impact of negative space and shadow. It took an appreciation of the role of light (and a degree of self restraint) for me to reject the two bold colour schemes which I had been working on in favour of an achromatic white surface. This allowed me to focus on the most visually relevant aspects of my sampling; light and shadow.

In assignment 5, I was surprised at the number of occasions when I was able to draw on my technical experience of and visual vocabulary from earlier parts of the course (for instance, I used my sketchbook work from part 1 to inform experiment 2.2, my knowledge of joining curves surfaces to create an undulating surface in sample 10, and my experimentation into holes from exercise 4 of project 2, part 1 to inform samples 1-12 and my final prototype).

Outcome

In the first two-thirds of the assignment, my sampling did not produce the visual impact I was seeking. Looking back, I was perhaps too focused on outcome (which constrained my thinking). A tendency towards overcomplexity also played a part.

When I eventually did find a concept which excited me, I relaxed and was able to think in a more considered way. I realised that I had probably discarded some valuable ideas too hastily. I made a few “postscript” observations in my learning log/blog which show (retrospectively) how I might have developed these concepts into successful samples/outcomes.

In my final prototype/maquette, I managed to achieve my aim of capturing rhythmic fluidity in a three-dimensional surface. There is also formality and structure the piece, giving a sense of orderliness, whilst a tonal variation and shadow provide a visual element which can be transitional (subject to lighting and a suitable installation site).

Demonstration of creativity

In my final assignment, I extended my thinking beyond that of a two-dimensional surface; taking a sample which was fixed onto a flat piece of card and extending the idea into a supported structure in three dimensional space. Applying and extending the principles of Katsumi Hayakawa’s “floating city” (2011) allowed me to visualise this transformation.

I had wanted to place a greater emphasis on the inventive use of materials. However, despite identifying examples of materials for creative reuse, I struggled to find ways to incorporate them in my sampling. On reflection, I think this is because my experiments tend to be process rather than materials led.  In future, perhaps I could redress this by taking a material (e.g. old bicycle inner tubes) and presenting myself with the challenge of creating a constructed surface from it. In retrospect, I think this would have produced some very different ideas which might have helped to push me to be more experimental and risk-taking. 

Context
 
This is the area where I have made the most important breakthrough; for the first time my contextual research had a direct and palpable influence on my sampling. Instead of just investigating, recording and drawing comparisons, I have been able to identify visuals, materials, and aspects of the nature of work to modify, adapt and apply to my own practice.
 
In assignment 5, I looked beyond textile practitioners and sought inspiration from architecture, and from sculptors who use light as their primary source of visual communication. I also looked to the influence of Japanese culture and sensitivities in the choice of colour, materials and form.
 
For my final prototype/maquette, I used ideas of the Japanese aesthetic adapted from the architecture of Shigeru Ban and Kengo Kuma to inform my concept. In particular, I considered the transient nature of light and shadow, the simplicity of shapes and the combination of natural and synthetic materials.
 
From artist Rana Begum, I took an interest in how people navigate and occupy three dimensional space, and applied features which would help viewer be aware of the space occupied by my sculpture (and the negative space within and around it). Specifically, being able to walk through my sculpture, having no single vantage point, and having it set on different levels, so that the same repeating element could be viewed simultaneously from more than one aspect.
 
Looking beyond the culmination of assignment 5 in a prototype/maquette, Shigeru ban’s installation “Ceramic Yin Yang” (2010) and Zandra Hussain’s installation “Numina” (2017) prompted me to consider the possibility of further development, either using selective,  and/or transient lighting or digital projection onto, or behind my sculpture’s surface.
 
Thinking ahead to my level 2 studies, a longer project should enable me to extend the value of my contextual research further. With enough time, I hope to be able to engage in targeted development of a technical process or to apply techniques from other disciplines which have not previously been used in a textile context.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Part 5, Stage 7 – Reflection

7 July 2017  


Part 5, Stage 7 – Reflection
 
Assessment against the project aims
 
In an email dated 23 May 2017 (Eastaugh, 2017), I gave an outline of my plan for assignment 5 as follows:
 
“The line of enquiry that I wish to develop is a constructed surface, based on one of three sample ideas from Part 1. The plan is that I will investigate these surfaces in conjunction with different surface/edge treatments and contrasting materials, and through sampling, decide which to take forward as my final piece”.
 
In the same e-mail, I identified the following as risks:

  1. Getting carried away and making too many samples, leaving insufficient time to develop ideas and write up.
  2. That the surface treatments might overcomplicate the ideas and detract from the aesthetics of the simple geometric shapes.
As I feared, the surface treatments did overcomplicate the ideas, which then resulted in less time than I would have liked to develop samples (see summary and review of practical work below).

My initial thought was that I could base my three dimensional surface on one of three structures from Part 1 (e.g. the Mobius strip). However, in emails dated 6 June 2017 (Morton, 2017a) and 20 June 2017 (Morton 2017b), my tutor made some really insightful suggestions about how I might explore and extend the concept:
  • Size, structure and scale of individual units
  • Light/shadow, opacity/transparency
  • 2D vs 3D – to consider the surface as structure without back or front and enclosing negative space.
  • Flexibility/rigidity of all or part of the surface/structure
  • Too consider disciplines outside textile practice for inspiration (in particular architecture).
Simply applying surface treatments and colour variations to existing structures no longer felt as if it would push or develop me enough.
 
Summary and review of practical work (investigation, experimentation and sampling)
 
My practical work can be summarised by the following stages:
  • A review of previous work (output/selection: A constructed surface was chosen as the development concept)
  • A phase of experimenting with different surface treatments (output/selection: a strip with ladder-like cut-out holes)
  • A phase of exploring different ways of joining, configuring and grouping the strips (output/selection: a twisted strip)
  • A phase of sampling with the twisted strip, exploring size, placement, colour (output/selection: A design for prototype/maquette)
  • Making the final prototype/maquette.

The experimentation into surface treatments did not prove particularly fruitful in relation to developing a constructed surface.  I concluded that it was an over complication which detracted rather than enhanced from my concept. Although I had spent much time and effort on the diversion (in effect an extension of part 1 of the module), the experimentation nonetheless bolstered my visual vocabulary. The output of my experiments was a strip with ladder-like holes.

Exploring different ways of joining, configuring and grouping the strips was also problematic. Frustratingly, my samples presented as surface pattern rather than exhibiting the rhythmic, textural qualities that I sought. A simplification of approach led to a successful outcome (samples 7 and 8), and I was able to move onto the final phases of sampling for, and making my final prototype/maquette.

As well as a tendency for overcomplexity, I recognised that I had probably been too hasty in disregarding from some of the my concepts (for examples, see sketchbook page 23 “Zip teeth edges”, and the insert between pages 40 and 41 “Twisted loop”, sample 2, and the insert on page 44 “Figure of eight”, sample 4). 

It was timely that one of the areas of suggested reading/viewing in my assignment 4 feedback was Bruce Mao’s “An incomplete manifesto for growth” (Mau, 2010-14) – a list of directions about how to encourage creativity and development. Number 2. on the list “Forget about Good” and number 3. “Process is more important than outcome” were especially pertinent.

Thinking back to the start of the assignment, I was over anxious about producing a “good” output, so instead of of sticking with my ideas and trying to look at them afresh, I simply moved onto the next. Mau suggests that to be innovative and grow it is necessary to remove the constraints of the judgement of outcome and venture into the risky and unknown. 

When it became apparent that my approach wasn’t working I “allowed events to change me”  (number 1. On Mau’s list). Taking influence from my contextual research and guidance from my tutor’s emails, I came up with simpler ideas which I investigated thoroughly. I began to get more fruitful results and exciting lines of enquiry.

Although I chose sample 11 to develop as my final prototype/maquette, I feel that could also have developed successful outcomes from samples 9 or 10. With additional time, I would have like to investigate further variations in scale, colour, layering and materials. In fact any of these samples could easily have been turned into a series of related works.

I love colour, and particularly bold contrasts of hue, as reflected by the two colour schemes in my sketchbook (pages 19 and 57-58). These reflect an attempt to portray drama, passion, (perhaps even anger or violence), and form an important part of my personality and creative voice. The Japanese aesthetic (which had strong influence on my final piece), however, celebrates natural materials, a gentle sensitivity towards nature, weathering and the visual manifestation of use and wear. I feel an affinity with these Japanese sentiments too, and felt that my colour schemes were incompatible with the direction I wanted to development sample 11. I reluctantly had to drop them from my final piece, but hope that they might find application in future projects.

I sought to extend my sampling by considering placement, in particular with respect to materials choice and the effect of light on a full scale realisation of my maquette. I also touched upon the use of image projection and lighting effects and the benefits of multi-disciplinary collaboration,


How well did I address the points in my assignment 5 developmental action plan?

Problem areas to improve:

1. To make sure that I use sketching to record my responses to sampling – in particular to assist with development (such as design and composition), and as a springboard to propose further ideas.

On several of the modules in this assignment, my tutor has commented that I could be using sketching more routinely, not just to record and observe, but also to inform and develop the progress of my sampling. I have tried to extend the use of my sketchbook, including more sketches, and in particular, using them to hone in on areas for development. By means of example, sample 1 (pages 33-38) and samples 7 and 8 developing into sample 9 (pages 47-54).
 
Despite my efforts, I still think that I could have pushed my sketching further, and I feel that it will take determination and practice before this becomes second nature.

2. To make sure that I consider and record how I will use the technical and aesthetic knowledge I am acquiring to inform my practice.

An observation of my assignment 4 reflective summation was that I could have included more about how new techniques and aesthetics will impact my practice. I have attempted to be more prescriptive in my assignment 5 learning log/blog, for example: I have described how artists such as Rana Begum and Zandra Hussain use coloured light instead of paint as the primary visual art form in their installations and described how these techniques could be applied to my practice through sampling.
 
3. To be more experimental with materials, and to use them to push the boundaries of my experimentation and sampling.

I found this area the most difficult, and I will discuss it as a development point in my reflective commentary.

Strengths to extend and apply in different ways:
 
1. To continue with my thorough contextual research, but to extend it by looking to other disciplines. To think about material, visuals, and the concepts/nature of multidisciplinary creative practices and how these ideas might be translated to invigorate and enrich my practice.
 
I have been really pleased with the way in which my contextual research is developing to influence my practice. I will discuss this in detail in my reflective commentary.
 
2. To continue to explore and develop an emphasis on conceptual ideas and connotations beyond visual aesthetics. To use these ideas to inform my sampling and development.
 
In assignment 5, conceptual ideas didn’t form the basis of my line of enquiry. However, I took the opportunity to record conceptual thoughts in relation to my samples when they arose (i.e. Grenfell fire parallels, experiment 6.3, sketchbook page 30, description in blog entry)
 
Paul Nash study visit, June 2017
 
The key learning point that I took from the study visit was the way in which Paul Nash used process to develop an idea (exemplified by room 4 of the exhibition “Life of the inanimate object”). Starting from an object (e.g. A chair leg, tree root or park bench), Nash prepared a series of sketches, photographs and collages and used these to investigate scale, placement and groupings. He also focused on particular areas of interest – for example details of form or texture.

Edge Magazine, Issue 4 “Growth”, July 2017

I was pleased to have been able to contribute (for the first time) to “Edge-Zine”, (an arts magazine produced by a small collective of past and present OCA students, co-ordinated via Facebook). To date, three issues have been published, the most recent being concerned with the topic of “Growth” (Edge-Zine, 2017). 
 
As well as being a valuable and inspiring resource, contributing has given me opportunity to interact more closely with the community OCA students. Being someone who is creatively stimulated by conceptual ideas, I was especially pleased to see narrative and poetry included in the publication alongside visual imagery. I am looking forward to continued involvement and regular contributions to the venture.
 
 
References:
 
Eastaugh, N. (2017) MMT Assignment 5 – ideas. [Email sent to Cari Morton, 23 May 2017] 
 
 
Mau, B. (2010-14) An incomplete manifesto for growth. At: http://www.manifestoproject.it/bruce-mau/ (Accessed 11 July 2017)
 
Morton, C. (2017a) Reply to: MMT Assignment 5 – ideas [Email sent to Nicky Eastaugh, 6 June 2017]
 
Morton, C, (2017b) MMT pt. 4 feedback. [Email sent to Nicky Eastaugh, 20 June 2017]

Assignment 4 – response to tutor feedback

20 June 2017

Assignment 4 – response to tutor feedback

My tutor for this module was Cari Morton. A link to her feedback can be found here.

Response to tutor feedback:

Summary of the main learning points with my responses:

1. A couple of instances where I could taken my ideas further and suggestions on how I might have done so:

The Aldeburgh lifeboat drawing (well developed in motif, repeat and colour, but not translated into print).

When it came to deciding which sketchbook ideas to translate into print, I felt that the Aldeburgh lifeboat station work did not fit as well with the print techniques as some of the other themes (i.e. Thorpeness and Sizewell seascape: reductive monoprinting, Maggi Hambling Scallop sculpture: collatype). Looking back, I can see that overall my printing focused more heavily on drawing (which I love), than on pattern or repeat. I am glad that my tutor has made this observation because it has drawn my attention on how I might extend and apply my sketchbook work in a different way.

     

  

The collagraph portrait print (project 2, sample 3c) could have been refined into an interesting approach to image and/or pattern development.

Especially, my tutor mentioned the layering of different surface qualities and linear imagery.

Sample3c.jpg

Thinking about these comments in relation to my sketchbook work (see point 2, below), I can appreciate that sketching could have helped me to critique the sample in a more useful way. Instead of viewing it as a stand alone image to be judged as “successful” or “unsuccessful”, focusing on a particular areas of visual interest would have helped me think about how I might  apply the technique in a new context, or even to refine and develop it into a new approach. The ability to make this sort of mental shift is important because it helps to shape and develop a creative voice.

 

2. To use drawing to observe, record, extend and develop my prints:

Because the prints were drawing-based I made a decision not to draw them. However, having read and considered my tutor’s feedback I can understand that it would have been a valuable exercise. In a few instances, I have used photography to focus on areas of interest (e.g. a close up of an area of burlap stencil print, project 1, exercise 4 , sample 4b reproduced in my learning log, and close ups of project 1, exercise 4, samples 6a and 6b on page 53 of my sketchbook). I can see that drawing would have helped to widen my thinking and perhaps push my sampling in a new direction.

3. To include a few evaluative notes alongside my prints:

Although I wrote a detailed analysis of my prints in my learning log (blog), my tutor made the point that it would have been useful to have included a few “first reaction” or “off-the-cuff” evaluative notes in the print folders alongside each image. I agree that this would have enriched the experience of looking at the prints, and would also have helped with cross referencing them to the evaluative discussion in the learning log. 

4. In my summative reflection, to have mentioned more about the impact of the knowledge I acquired (techniques and aesthetics) and how it will be applied to my ongoing practice:

I agree that I could have been more specific about how I will apply the techniques and aesthetics I have learned. It will facilitate me think creatively about context, development and my creative voice.

5. To write an plan of developmental action points and areas to focus on in part 5:

Problem areas to improve:

  1. To make sure that I use sketching to record my responses to sampling – in particular to assist with development (such as design and composition), and as a springboard to propose further ideas.
  2. To make sure that I consider and record how I will use the technical and aesthetic knowledge I am acquiring to inform my practice.
  3. To be more experimental with materials, and to use them to push the boundaries of my experimentation and sampling.

Strengths to extend and apply in different ways:

  1. To continue with my thorough contextual research, but to extend it by looking to other disciplines. To think about material, visuals, and the concepts/nature of multidisplinary creative practices and how these ideas might be translated to invigorate and enrich my textile practice.
  2. To continue to explore and develop an emphasis on conceptual ideas and connotations beyond visual aesthetics. To use these ideas to inform my sampling and development.

 

Paul Nash study visit 10 June 17

12 June 2017


Paul Nash study visit

 

Overview/introduction:

The study visit was held at the Sainsbury’s Centre for the visual arts in Norwich and was hosted by tutor Hayley Lock. The exhibition was essentially the same one that appeared at the Tate, London earlier in the year.

Paul Nash (b. 1889, d. 1946) was a British painter whose work spanned the period of both World Wars. Initially trained as a designer/illustrator, he served in active service during WWI, becoming an official war artist during the latter parts of the conflict. Nash experienced the full horror of the trenches, and had to endure the death of close colleagues. As a result, later suffered mental illness (which we would now describe as post traumatic stress disorder). He also suffered physical illness; notably severe asthma.

During the inter-war period, Nash continued to paint and draw, being especially influenced by landscapes, found objects (the life of the inanimate object), the prehistoric, ancient architecture, natural history and the emerging surrealist movement. In addition to painting, Nash continued as a writer, author of natural history and artists’ books and photographer. He later painted powerful images depicting the destruction of WWI, most notably the airframe scrapyard in Cowley, which he depicted as a sea of tangled metal in “Totes Meer” (1940-1) (Tate, n.d.a)  In his latter years, Nash reverted to landscape paintings returning to favourite scenes and the recurring themes of mysticism and spirituality. 

 

Focus on specific works and areas of interest:

Paul Nash was a prolific artist and it is possible to see development in style and influences over the course of his career.

The first of these is the crossover between his background in illustration: Nash’s work shows a characteristic interest in the use of straight lines and angles in the form of triangles and zig-zags. Theses feature are present is almost all of Nash’s works. 

Nash was interested in the spiritual (perhaps with a Pagan slant?), and his work is full of symbolism. The sun, moon, moonlight regularly feature in his paintings, as does the idea of the viewer “floating above” the subject matter of the painting; suggesting an otherworldly detachment from the scene. Also present is the suggestion of an “underworld”, the idea of there being a hidden world underneath the soil or water. The fruiting bodies of fungi feature frequently in Nash’s work. However the bulk of a fungus is in fact the mycelium; a strange branching, thread-like fibrous material permeating the ground or substrate from which the fruiting body appears.

Throughout his career Nash used a very distinctive colour palette; yellow ochre, pale blue, black and grey, soft brownish pink, olive and viridian greens. He also used a distinctive oxide red, as in the dock leaves in his famous WWI oil painting “The Menin Road” (1919), (Imperial War Museums, 2017) and the red tress and brick wall of “Behind the Inn” (1919-22) (Tate, n.d.b)

Throughout his career, Nash frequently bent the rules of perspective, deliberately using it to make his paintings more intriguing, for example “Nostalgic landscape” (1923-38) (Artuk, n.d.), “Pillar and moon” (1932-42) (Tate, n.d.c)

For the 1930’s, Nash became increasingly interested in Surrealism and became a pioneer of the Surrealist movement, promoting it through the International Surrealist exhibition of 1936 (Parker, 2017)

A recurring theme of Nash’s work is the English landscape. We saw in his early works that he had painted landscapes close to his home in Iver Heath, and the “Wittenham Clumps” (1913) (Nashclumps.org, n.d.) (twin beach woods on the site of an Iron Aged fort he had visited in Oxfordshire). After WWI he moved to Dymchurch is Kent and many of his paintings of the period (1921-25) reflect this seaside landscape, such as “Wall against the sea” (1922) and “The Shore” (1923) (Holford, n.d.). Many of these themes reoccur in this later work.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the exhibition from a student’s point of view was room 4 ‘Life of an inanimate object’ – essentially a study on how to develop a concept. This part of the exhibition gave insight into how Nash took an idea (e.g. a piece of wooden driftwood or found object) and worked it up into sketches, collages, photographs, exploring and focusing on particular elements, thinking about groupings, contrasts, or perhaps how the objects would look if placed out of context.

 

What can I learn from the exhibition and how will it translate to my practice?

  1. The exhibition demonstrated a process of how to use everyday objects to identify and develop ideas for visual art.
  2. It made me look at still life in a different way (i.e. that it doesn’t need to involve obvious/conventional grouping – for example his surrealist work).
  3. Elements of Nash’s practice which I could translate to my own work include mark-making and the use of line (in particular fine straight lines for texture), his colour palette, the intentional distortion of perspective.

  

References:

Atuk (n.d.) Nostalgic landscape (1923-38) At: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/nostalgic-landscape-81330# (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Benson, E. (n.d.) Inspiring landscapes 3: “Wall against the sea”. [Pinterest pin, n.d.] At: http://pin.it/qrtwkDo (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Chambers, E. (Ed) (2016-17) Paul Nash. London. Tate publishing. 

Holford, J. (n.d.) “The Shore” (1923) [Pinterest pin, n.d.] At: http://pin.it/s0wSjs5 (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Imperial War Museums (2017) The Menin Road (1919) At: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/20087 (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Nashclumps.org (n.d.) Paul Nash and the Wittenden Clumps: Wittenden clumps (2013) At: http://www.nashclumps.org/early.html (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Parker, P. (2017) ‘Paul Nash’s commitment to the English landscape’ In: Apollo magazine. 13 January 2017. [online] At: https://www.apollo-magazine.com/paul-nash-tate-britain/ (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Tate (n.d.a) Totes Meer (Dead Sea) (1940-41) At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-totes-meer-dead-sea-n05717 (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Tate (n.d.b) Behind the wall (1919-22) At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-behind-the-inn-n04259 (Accessed 5 July 2017)

Tate (n.d.c) Pillar and Moon (1932-42) At: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/nash-pillar-and-moon-n05392 (Accessed 5 July 2017)



Part 5, Stage 2 – Research (preliminary phase)

22 May 2017


Part 5, Stage 2 – Research (preliminary phase)

As a result of stage 1, I decided to conduct some research along the lines of option 1, which is a constructed surface (see conclusion at the end of the stage 1 post).

I started by making a mind map of all the variations that I might consider, which I illustrated with examples from the Internet, literature, and from my sampling (see below). This has been included as the first page of my sketchbook.

I realised that within the idea of a constructed surface, there was actually scope for incorporating other aspects of sampling from module which had excited me (such as flaps, cut-outs, and other surface treatments). Consequently, although I had initially focused on the Möbious strip sample (part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 9), I decided that at this stage it would be helpful to widen my line of enquiry.

A particularly fruitful source of information was Pinterest; I created a specific board for this assignment on the subject of “Geometry”, with ideas from architecture and textiles (Eastaugh, 2017a). 

The diagram allowed me to revisit what type of constructed surface I might consider:

  • Folded/creased
  • Windows/cut outs
  • Twisted joined
  • Folded/creased
  • Flaps
  • Modules
 
I also realised that I could not afford to make my line of enquiry too wide, or I would run out of time. Based on my review of stage 1 and the focus of my mind map, I decided on the following:
 
Definitely:
  • A constructed piece
  • A repeating pattern of some sort
  • 2 visibly contrasting surfaces (either an inside/outside, front/back, on top/underneath). Nature of the contrast to be confirmed with sampling, but could be colour, pattern or textural.
To consider:
  • The use light and shadow
  • The possibility of incorporating contrast of opacity and transparency
  • Whether it would be appropriate to use transition or scale, colour or tone across the surface.
 
 
I selected the three ideas from my sampling which show the most promise and which might be suited to different surface treatments and/or materials:
 
View_one.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 5, sample 9 – Möbious strip constructed surface
3_circles.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 5, sample 8 – Intersecting circles
Mult.jpg
Above: Part 2, Project 1, exercise 3, sample 3 – Plastic honeycomb surface
 
 
Instead of writing up my research into relevant artists/designers as a blog entry, I have decided to include the information alongside development drawings, ideas and materials in my sketchbook. Instead of repeating the information in this blog, I will give a summary of contemporary practitioners which I found especially relevant and influential.
 

Deepa Panchamia
  • Orientation of elements across the fabric surface and use of a limited colour palette (Panchamia, 2016)
  • Use of layers and semi-transparent fabrics (Cole, 2008:72)

Anne Kyyro Quinn
  • Use of shadow to present tonal variation in single colour fabric panels (Quinn, 2009: 54, 168-171)Arrangements of repeating elements (Quinn, 2009: 169-170) 

Nani Marquina

  • Textured carpets, interlocking pile components (Quinn, 2009: 255)

Cornelia Parker
  • Sculptures explore symmetry, waste materials/found objects, textural surfaces (Blazwick, 2013)
  • Hot poker drawing (2011) – patterning and surface distortion due to symmetrical burning of folded paper with hot poker (Ingleby gallery, 2017)
  • Sculptural work makes effective use of shadow and is often on a large scale (Waters, 2011)
 

The following sources are not specific to a single practitioner:


Arrangements and patterns:

  • Sources of design for architects (and everyone else!) – shapes, patterns, constructed surfaces (Spuybroek, 2011)
  • Some ideas on how everyday objects can be arranged to make patterns (Mossman, 2008: 60-61, 72-73,  110-111, 120-121, 131)

Found materials and creative reuse:

  • Lots of ideas for arranging and joining everyday materials to make interesting surfaces
  • Cut-through shapes (Renshaw, 2009:72-74)
  • Cording (Renshaw, 2009:30)
  • Joining punched and braided leather belts to make an interesting textural surface (Seo, 2011: 58-59)
  • Using transparent properties of overlapping masking tape to create tonal variation (Seo, 2011: 40-41)
  • Using plaster to transform/stiffen fabric (silk flowers) (Seo, 2011:26-27)
  • Using cut outs from discarded drinks cans (Seo, 2011:158-159), (Johnson, 2009:135, 220)
  • Use of found/recycled paper (Thittichai, 2014:44-52)
  • Using rolled paper for edge patterning and texture (Diane Gilleland, craftypod, USA) (Johnson, 2009:28)
  • Paper sewn together to make patchwork surface (Heather Price, Winemakerssister, USA)  (Johnson, 2009:30)
  • Zipper teeth for textured edges (Johnson, 2009:55, 107, 128, 138)
  • Tyre tread for surface texture (Johnson, 2009:84)
  • Playing cars used as printed pattern  (Johnson, 2009:107)
  • Fraying fabric for textural edges  (Johnson, 2009:193)
  • Transformation of plastics to make sculptures, David Edgar  (Johnson, 2009:256-257)
  • Colour transition  (Johnson, 2009:299)
  

References: 

Blazwick, I. (2013) Cornelia Parker. London. Thames and Hudson.

Cole, D. (2008) Textiles Now. London. Laurence King publishers.

Eastaugh, N. (2017a) Geometry. Pinterest board. At:http://pin.it/j6ZNnRL (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Ingleby gallery (2017) Cornelia Parker: Hot poker drawing. At: http://www.inglebygallery.com/exhibitions/cornelia-parker/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Johnson, G. (2009) 1000 ideas for creative reuse: remake, restyle, recycle, renew. Massachusetts. Quarry books.

Mossman, S. (2008) Fantastic plastic: product design and consumer culture. London. Black Dog publishing.

Panchamia, D. (2016) Deepa Panchamia: Paperworks. At: http://deepapanchamia.com/work/paperworks/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Quinn, B. (2009) Textile designers at the cutting edge. London. Laurence King publishers.

Renshaw, L. (2009) Textiles handbook: Mixed media & found materials. London. A&C Black.

Seo, D. (2011)  Upcycling: Create beautiful things with the stuff you already have. London. Running press.

Spuybroek, L. (2011) Research and design: Textile tectonics. Rotterdam. NAi publishers.

Thittichai, K. (2014) Reclaimed textiles: techniques for paper, stitch, plastic and mixed media. London. Batsford.

Waters, L. (2011) ‘Interview with Cornelia Parker’ [online] In: The white review: Art. September 2011. At:  http://www.thewhitereview.org/art/interview-with-cornelia-parker/ (Accessed 23 May 2017)

Zilber, E. (2015) Crafted: Objects in flux. Exhibition catalogue. Boston. Museum of fine arts publications.

Part 5, Stage 1 – Review

16 May 2017

 

Part 5, Stage 1 – Review

This final assignment of the course is designed as an opportunity to bring together all the learning within the Mixed Media for Textiles module. It is a chance to consolidate practices, combine methods and take them further; to explore and be creative. 

I was pleased that the course notes encourage students to consider the final piece as prototypes or maquettes. The fact that there is an empasis on experimentation promotes a relaxed and open approach to risk taking.

I decided that I would start by concentrating on the “sorting” stage from each assignment. Mixed media for textiles is my third level one course, and I am now sufficiently confident in my down selection selection process.

 

To recap:

Part 1 was a series of samples selecting 10 exercises from the following projects/categories:

  1. Folding and crumpling
  2. Tearing and cutting
  3. Heating and fusing
  4. Scratching and embossing
  5. Puncturing and stitching
 
These exercises generated lots of samples. The techniques which I found most stimulating were Project 2, exercise 5 “creating flaps” (Along with the related technique of Project 2, exercise 4 “cutting holes”) and Project 5, exercise 2 “stitching”. 
 
Below are the samples from project 2, exercise 5 which I selected as most inspiring and promising for development – from left to right: samples 3, 4 and 5:-
 
Light_differently.jpgSmall_roll.jpgBlinds_from_front.jpg
 
I found that many of my samples could be enhanced by the use of lighting to heighten shadow and tonal contrast. I also found that part of their appeal was that they could be configured into a variety of three dimensional shapes. These pieces also have an element of pattern repeat (or at least a suggestion of rhythm).
 
In Project 5, exercise 2, I started to combine ideas of stitching with holes and flaps, exploring the sampling in the context of sutures or surgical stitching. I used stitching to hold back flaps: Project 5, exercise 2, sample 11 (below left) and emphasise the openings of holes: Project 5, exercise 2, sample 12 (below right), referencing the work of Rozanne Hawkins and Ann Wilson.
 
 Shadows2.jpgFlaps_sewn_back.jpg
 
 
This was a topic which I revisited in Part 3, end of project 1 (thinking about how the techniques in parts one or two could be used to embellish or manipulate samples). 
 
I used a papier mache sphere: Part 3, project 1, sample 28 (below left), into which I cut “windows” which I stitched across to bridge the gaps: Part 3, project 1, samples 62-67 (below middle and right):
 
Transparent.jpgSewn_samples1.jpgBookbinders.jpg
 
Again, the appeal for me was the tonal variation created by the different thickness layers of material which constituted the sphere when it was lit from behind. I also liked the idea of cutting holes, to allow viewing of the interior surface of the sphere (and possibly an object placed within it). The papier mache surface reminded me of the skull bones, so it was natural to consider suturing and the bridging of the holes with stitches. However, for me, samples 62-67 did not really move the idea forwards; the investigation was not bold enough – there was insufficient contrast of materials to make the result exciting. In hindsight I should have taken more risks. However, I had already made 61 samples for project 1, and because I didn’t get the balance of allotted time correct, I left myself short of time to explore the idea properly. The same can be said of sample 72:
 
Part 3, project 1, sample 72 was developed from the ideas arising from a latex mould of an aluminium pie dish (part 3, project 1, sample 48, below left). Coloured with red paint, duplicated and pulled and stretched between holes in a cork backing, it reminded my of a grotesque body part, pulled out ready for investigation or dissection (Part 3, project 1, sample 72, below right). I referenced the work of Rozanne Hawksley and the “bodyworks” exhibition of Gunther Hugens.
 
Pie_dish1.jpgFramed1.jpg
 
Although I really like the concept, I do not feel that the development led to a line of enquiry which was sufficiently stimulating or fruitful. The same can be said of the skull bone and suture idea.  I had found out after selecting the latex moulding for development that they discoloured in a way which I didn’t like because it made the moulding less similar to biological tissue. For these reasons, rather than continue and look for an alternative, I have decided to seek an alternative line of enquiry for my final project.
 
 
Part 2 was about joining and wrapping. 
 
From project 1, all of my favourite samples were three dimensional. I like the fact that they could be viewed from different angles, and that in some cases they were configurable. Part 2, project 1, exercise 3, sample 4 is one such example (see below):
 
Cone1.jpg
 
The strength of it’s appeal is its simple geometry, repeating pattern and shadow. Although I feel that the colour choice is not especially important, I do like the pattern created by the two colours being “randomly” placed. The colours are harmonious, so do not detract from the geometry of the circles, their shadows and negative spaces. 
 
Two other stand out samples for me are Part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 8 (below left) and Part 2, project 1, exercise 5, sample 9 (below right).
 
 3_circles.jpgView_one.jpg
They appeal for the same reasons as sample 4 of exercise 3, but I feel more excited about their possibilities for development. Both these have the possibility of using contrasting materials on each surface; perhaps a contrast of colour, reflective vs. matt, smooth vs. textured. There is the also possibility of exploring transparency, or surface treatment such as stitching, embossing or scratching. If these samples were to be developed, consideration would also need to be made as to whether they could be scaled up/down, multiplied and joined to make a constructed surface or more complex 3D shape. The sample made with Möbious strips, in particular, is suficiently developed to show strong potential, so I feel confident that I could develop an excellent final piece from this idea.
 
Wrapping encouraged me to move away from realist representation and to become more abstract. In this respect it is especially liberating and fun. Part 2, project 2, exercise 5, sample 5 was my strongest piece (see below):
 
Photo_1_pan.jpg
 
All the elements work extremely well: variation in texture, contrast of thread thickness, orientation of wrapping and especially the colour scheme and colour accents (which are complementary yellow and violet). However, to me this sample is a finished piece, and does not suggest any immediate ways which it could be developed or taken forwards as a line of enquiry. Similarly, whilst I produced some exciting results using Japanese package techniques (part 2, project 2, exercise 2, samples 5-8, it has not prompted any immediate thoughts for a line of enquiry, so at this stage I would probably bear it in mind to bring into my work as an influence rather than basing a project on it.
 
 
In Part 3, I explored moulding and casting. I have already discussed some of the samples which I chose to take forward and develop. Other than these, the samples which most  appealed to me were: 
 
1. Moulding of bubble wrap – Project 1, sample 36 (with Mod Roc) and Silicone)
  Side_1.jpgBehind_lit.jpg
2. Moulding a sample of knitted string
 
Paperclay_knitting.jpgString_closeup.jpg
3. Moulding the surface of a chard leaf
 
Finished.jpgThumb.jpg
 
The bubble wrap moulding are very geometric with strong tonal variation. The moulding of the chard leaf and the silicone moulding of the bubble wrap are interesting because of their fragility. The silicone cast of the knitted string mould, presents a contradiction; in essence capturing the minute textural detail of the source material and translating it to a material with very different properties. In this respect it draws on principle underlying the success of Rebecca Fairley’s concrete mouldings from knitted fabrics.
 
From this group of samples, it is silicone which is standing out as being the most versatile and inspiring. The suggestions of my tutor to look at the work of Laura Simpson and Xiao Li gave me some ideas as to how it might be used in association with textiles to provide contrast and structure in the handling and texture of a fabric. The work of these artists/designers captured my imagination. I feel that it would be interesting to conduct further experiments to investigate the behaviour of silicone moulding in conjunction with other materials. This line of enquiry would no doubt suggest ideas for how it could be used in a final piece, perhaps in combination with other treatments, such as folding, cutting or scratching, depending on the materials. This would be a highly innovative and risky approach which could easily end up taking longer than my allotted time.
 
My favourite sample from Part 3 was sample 6 from project 2 (see below):
 
Casty1.jpg
 
I decided to rule this sample out for further development on the grounds that I do not have the facilities to enable me to do large plaster casts. For this reason, I view the sample as inspirational, rather than being one which I would develop from directly. It shares many of the characteristics from other samples which appeal to me: the concept of holes to enable the interior surfaces to be viewed, strong tonal variation resulting from shadows and a 3D structure viewable from different angles
 
Mono printing and collatype printing was the subject of Part 4. From project 1, my most successful samples were these in which I combined techniques to make a series of related figure prints (see below).
 
Additive.jpgWiping.jpgPrint_2.jpgRework_of_4a.jpg
 
These were prints which I developed from the samples which I produced for project 1, exercise 4 (stencilling). This line of enquiry opened the possibility of using stencils as a means of embossing as well as printing. It also got me thinking about combining mono printing with cutting holes or flaps, to emphasise part of the negative space. An obvious development was to join and fold the individuals prints to make a concertina book. Another thought I had was to consider scratching and distressing part of the surface. Although my results of my surface scratching sampling had been underwhelming in part 1, project 4, exercise 2, I now wondered whether contrasting effects might be achievable in conjunction with printing (either distorting the surface after printing or before printing).
 
Although I achieved some interesting textural results with collatype printing in project 2, I do not feel that these samples present such an interesting line development as the figures which I produced for project 1. Below are my favourite examples: project 2, sample 2a (left) and project 2, sample 3c (right):
 
Fabric1.jpgSample3c.jpg
 
The landscape and portrait prints feel less developed technically and are not suggesting to me a clear line of development. For these reasons, I would favour the figure prints for development.
 
 
Conclusions:
 
From my review of the work I have completed for this module, three possible lines of enquiry have emerged:
 
1. Constructed surface
 
Pros:
  • Themes of three dimensionality, repeating pattern, geometry, light and shadow have consistently featured in samples which I have selected as visually appealing.
  • It offers possibility for investigating and combining surface treatments from other parts of the course.
  • It offers the chance of strengthening what I see as one of my weak areas (i.e. not being sufficiently bold an innovative with material combinations).
  • Sample 9 from Part 2, project 1, exercise 5 (Möbious strips), in particular, is sufficiently visually appealing to be developed in it’s own right.
Cons:
  • It would be easy to get carried away with permutations of shape, surface treatment, materials and scale and run out of time.
  • Overcomplexity of surface runs the risk of detracting rather than enhancing the visual aesthetic.
 
2. Silicone moulding textured surfaces in combination with other materials:
 
Pros:
  • Silicone has proved to be a versatile and interesting material during sampling.
  • There is a strong element of risk an innovation in pursuing this idea.
  • It would push me to explore dissimilar and novel material combinations.
Cons:
  • Moulding with silicone is an area of relative technical novelty for me. It is not a technique which I feel comfortable with, so the project would rely heavily of additional experimentation, which is highly risky.
  • Because my sampling is not well developed/resolved, there are no obvious directions in which to take the development of a final piece at present.
  • This line of enquiry could be seen as simply an extension of the sample-making process, rather than leading to resolution.
 
3. Mono-printed figures in conjunction with other surface treatments
 
Pros:
  • Mono printing is a technique which feel comfortable with and enjoy
  • It utilises my drawing skills (one of my strengths)
Cons:
  • This is the least risky proposal of the three because the idea is already well resolved and I am comfortable with the processes.
  • Less scope for being innovative with materials or material combinations (which is one of my weaknesses).
 
At this stage I have decided to rule out option 3 because it is too safe. Presently, option 2. feels too risky, and probably too large an undertaking for a single assignment of 7 weeks duration. However, at this stage, I haven’t ruled out incorporating it in my final project. In particular, the fragility of surface interests me as does the contrast between very thin areas which are translucents, and thicker, opaque areas.
 
Next, I will conduct some preliminary research along the lines of option 1., reveiwing other practitioners work into constructed surfaces.