Category Archives: Reflection on project outcome

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]

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.
 
 

Assignment 4 – Reflective commentary

11 May 2017

 

Measurement against assessment criteria

I used the assessment criteria as the benchmark against which to make my critique. I also referred to the course aims and outcomes on page 5 of the notes.

 

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Before starting the assignment, I had only limited experience of mono printing and no experience of collatype. Consequently, I found project 2 more technically challenging than project 1. 

I was careful to limit the number of samples I made for this assignment, so as not to overstretch myself. This made time management easier, and when it came to writing up and analysing my results, I feel that I had achieved a good balance between practical work and analysis.

Initially, I had to overcome technical challenges of finding the right thickness of printing plate to run properly through the press and to understand how to prevent smudging with Akua liquid pigment. Through trial and error, I learnt how much ink to apply, how tacky the ink needs to be, and the correct pressure. These skills can only be acquired empirically, and as result of the exercises, I feel that I have a firm grounding on which to build knowledge and experience.

As well as techniques, the assessment criteria mentions observational skills, visual awareness, design and composition (course notes, page 11). I was pleased that I was able to begin the process of resolving quite a few of my samples, in particular, in the latter states of project 1 and in exercise 3 of project 2. I was sufficiently confident to start combining techniques and to develop multi-stage/layer prints. This proved especially fruitful, and I feel that I have a secure understanding of how to take the methods forward and use them in future in new and different ways. In the collagraph portrait and seascape prints of project 2, exercise 3, I was able to use design and compositional skills to produce balanced and visually interesting prints. 

  

Outcome

In addition to quality of visual output, outcome is also concerned with the application of knowledge, presentation of work in a coherent manner, the conceptualisation of thoughts and the communication of ideas (course notes, page 11). 

More so than in any of the assignments so far, I feel that my sampling produced pieces which were either more fully resolved, or I could see the direction that they needed to be taken/developed. Sometimes I feel that my sampling produces lots of distinct, disjoint elements without obvious connection or application, but in this assignment, the read across between techniques was clear and straightforward.

My tutor raised a question about a dissonance between my use of colour to represent the samples in my Part 3 sketchbook. I am now confident that I understand the problems and the reasons why certain combinations did not work. I have explained this in a blog post and I do not believe it to be an issue, either in Part 4 or going forward.

 

Demonstration of creativity

This criterion looks for experimentation, invention and development of a personal voice (course notes, page 11).

I found it very easy to generate ideas for this assignment. Perhaps it’s because I have a natural affinity with printmaking? I feel that the loose and expressive style of mark-making fits my creative style, whilst allowing me to exploit my drawing skills.

I have been experimental, but not as much as I would have liked. I had to spend a lot of time understanding ink behaviour, so limited most of my printing to plain paper. More experimental backgrounds I tried included envelope paper, brown paper, paper bag, Japanese paper and cotton muslin. I feel that I had only scraped the tip of the iceberg in this respect and I would desperately like to expand and experiment further.

The ‘sorting’ stage was much more straightforward this time round because the direction in which I need to take/develop samples was clearer. It was also easier to pick out samples with the most potential, because techniques like back drawing, reductive mark making and stencilling are very much in tune with my creative voice/style, so I was naturally drawn to these samples. I am beginning to make mental links between the assignments of this module, especially between printmaking, and surface distortion, joining and wrapping. There are lots of exciting avenues which could be explored in my final project.
 

Context

I have continued with the format of my previous two assignments; completing a detailed piece of research into several artists relevant to the assignment in a dedicated blog post. I have taken on board my tutor’s comment from part 3 and tried to more closely relate each artist’s work to my own practice. I have particularly considered techniques, style and composition, and the emotional response prompted by the use of colour and tone. Although my style of contextual research is quite formal, it is a process which allows me to mentally rationalise and sift the information, and to present it is a format which I can easily a quickly return to and refresh my memory.

The difficulty with presenting research in a separate post (with a password, so as not to breach copyright), is that it is not presented next to the project work/samples to which it relates. I have tried to redress this by mentioning relevant work/practitioners in my write up for stages 2 (sample-making) and 3 (recording outcomes). 

When commenting on the merits of my sampling, I have been especially careful to explain exactly why I find a piece appealing (or otherwise). I have also taken on board my tutor’s comment about recording the emotional response to each piece as well as the technical merits.

 

Part 4, Stage 4 – Sorting

10 May 2017


Part 4, Stage 4 – Sorting

Project 1 – Mono printing

Project 1 consisted of four exercises: 

  1. Mark-making (reductive, removing ink selectively from the plate) 
  2. Drawing onto the plate (additive, painting or applying ink directly onto the plate)
  3. Back drawing (using pressure to transfer a mark from an inked plate onto a piece of paper laid on top of it)
  4. Working with stencils (using simple masks to create printed shapes)
In the initial two exercises, I found that I was concentrating on learning about the behaviour of the ink and paper/fabric, rather than focusing on the images which I was producing. As I progressed to exercises 3 and 4, I felt more confident and was also able to combine techniques effectively.
 
From exercise 1, the only image which I felt was successful as a stand alone print was sample 7a (below). This was a sample which I made after completing exercise 3. 
 
Seascape_reductive.jpg
 
Exercise 3 produced another successful image using reductive technique (exercise 3, sample 4d below). This was made by reworking an inked plate that I’d used for back drawing on exercise 3, sample 4c. I am very fond of this image because it is dramatic and suggests lighting and shadow around the character. I’m sure that with more practise, I would be able to refine my marks and make them more controlled and subtle.
 
Reductive.jpg
 
Exercise 2 produced lovely simple drawn outline prints, of which my favourite is sample 7b (below). Despite it’s simplicity, the lines in the print are characterful and have a spontaneous, playful feel.
 
Character_lines.jpg
 
Also, there was the very detailed still life (exercise 2, sample 5a, below) which I consider to be a technical success due to it’s boldness, vibrancy and the way which a variety of marks have been controlled. As an image I don’t have immediate plans for how it could be developed, although I can imagine using the techniques on other projects in conjunction with perhaps with backdrawing or stitching.
 
Monoprint1_fruit.jpg
 
I had to spend a lot of time experimenting before producing bold, readable prints for exercise 3 (back drawing), many of the prints were being too feint to give meaningful images. Although I consider sample 3a (below) a technical success, for me it felt as if the print still lacked interest and character. Perhaps it was because I’d traced the image, and my mark-making needs to be more fluid and spontaneous? This characteristic is one of the reasons why Tracey Emin’s mono prints are so successful (see for example her Royal Academy bird print) (Eastaugh, 2017a)
 
First_ok_print.jpg
 
I successfully re-worked a couple of my back drawing “failures” (exercise 3, samples 1 and 2b), which contributed background depth and texture to my stencil prints (see exercise 4, samples 1 below by way of example):
 
Finished_print.jpg
 
Exercise 4 (working with stencils), was the most exciting exercise for me. This was because of the success which I had experimenting with textile samples and the exciting images I produced by combining them with back drawing techniques (see exercise 4, samples 4a and 4c below):
 
Backdrawn_over.jpg Sample_4c.jpg
I can imagine that I could develop these samples further to produce a series, perhaps combining them with a joining method, using cutting to enhance negative space (for example around the crooked arm), or by using areas of translucent material in conjunction with the prints. I could also look at introducing a second colour into image 4a (for example gold or red, as developed in my sketchbook pages 47 and 49-50).
 
Although I also made some lovely prints with plant stencils, I feel that I would need work on my composition and colour to improve on the images which I produced – by comparison see the plant stencil collage by Mary Margaret Briggs, which is much more striking, modern and appealing, and which would make an excellent cushion cover or wallpaper design (Eastaugh, 2017b). Artists like Brenda Hartill use plant stencils within her collagraphs (Eastaugh, 2017c), so this is an alternative way in which I might consider using plant material/stencils in future.
 

Project 2 – Collatype printing

Although there were three exercises in project 2, the first 2 were concerned with producing sample boards from collage and textured polyfiller, to gain knowledge and experience. From the first two exercises, I particularly liked the beautiful prints which I achieved in sample 3 (extracts from which are shown below). I’m sure I could develop these into transitioned textured surfaces, perhaps incorporating stitch and/or textile manipulation.

Cotton_bud.jpgTwig.jpgBottle.jpg

Technically, I found project 2 much more challenging than project 1 and consequently, I do not feel that many of my outcomes from exercise 3 were generally as successful as stand alone pieces. The exception being sample 2a (see below):

Fabric1.jpg

Although I felt that the outcome could have been better balanced, I would also consider developing exercise sample 3c (below), because I feel that the combination of collagraph texture and back drawn line were starting to work. I can see that with a bit more experimentation, this sample has the potential to become very engaging.

Sample3c.jpg

 

Summary:

Thinking about which techniques I would develop further from project 1, it would have to be mark-making (reductive process) and stencilling in conjunction with back drawing and extending and exploring the use of fabric stencils. In particular, I can see a lot of scope within both these processes to develop my figure prints. I would use the samples below as a starting point for refinement and development.

Reductive.jpgBackdrawn_over.jpgSample_4c.jpg

From Project 2, I would like to specifically extend my knowledge of printing with collage materials (including plants) and polyfiller textures. The beautiful outcome from exercise 2, sample 3 suggests that there is much more unexplored potential. This knowledge would help me to develop sample 3c from exercise 3 (below left) and to improve landscape prints such as sample 2a (below right).

Sample3c.jpgFabric1.jpg

  

References:

Eastaugh, N. (2017a) Tracey Emin RA Bird print. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/GefagN3 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Eastaugh, N. (2017b) Monotype collage, Mary Margaret Briggs. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/UVvtj95 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Eastaugh, N. (2017c) Brenda Hartill. [Pinterest pin] At:http://pin.it/KK89Dh_  (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Links suggested by tutor in part 3 feedback

10 May 2017


Links suggested by my tutor in part 3 feedback

In this post, I want to show that I have examined the suggested reading/viewing recommended by my tutor Cari Morton, and to make comment on the work which I feel was especially relevant or appealing.

I started by looking at my tutor’s Pintrest board made in response to the OCA MMT course handbook (Morton, 2017). Although I have a Pinterest account, I hadn’t considered making use of it at a learning resource up until now. I could see, through Cari’s collection of images that it could be a useful tool for discovering relevant practitioners and, by setting up different boards, could become a focus collections of particularly inspirational works or those related to a particular topic, style or discipline. As a result, I decided to make my own board “Printmaking for textiles” in response to Part 4 of the course (Eastaugh, 2017). Collecting all the images in one place allowed me to appreciate the breadth of styles and techniques and it also acted as a resource pool which I was able to return to throughout my contextual studies and sampling. I shall certainly use Pinterest as a springboard for my Part 5 contextual studies.

Next, Cari suggested that I have a look at the use of silicone and latex within the graduate collections at New Designers and Graduate fashion week; in particular she suggested the work of Lucy Simpson and Xiao Li as being relevant to my use of silicone within part 3, project 1, exercise 1, samples 50-54.

Lucy Simpson describes herself as a “print and materials-led textile designer”, whose practice arose from a desire to seek out the tactile qualities lost within digital printing (Simpson, 2012-2016a). Especially relevant to my sampling was the way in which she combines a partial covering of silicone onto fabrics to make new tactile surfaces in which both elements are visible. I thought, particularly about sample 51 of part 3, project 1, exercise 1 (shown below), the broken surface, and how this could be contrasted with a textile places underneath.

Membrane.jpgBehind_lit.jpg

One of the strong elements which appeals to me about sample 51 is the geometry of the surface relief. Although many of Simpson’s silicone textile fabrics are irregular in pattern, I found an example of a regular “dogtooth” check (Eastaugh, 2017b). I like the striations in the silicone as it has been laid down onto the fabric, which gives additional surface texture. Also appealing is that the application of silicone is not completely consistent, so there are interesting variations on the fabric surface. I was interested to read that Simpson’s work had been included in various trend magazines, such as Elle decoration, Mix magazine and WGSN. Searching for the dogtooth fabric, I found an article in which it had been featured as a dress (Cover Magazine, 2014).

Xiao Li coats whole blocks of knitted fabrics with silicone and creates contrast within her garments by leaving other areas untreated. Examples can be seen on the Style Bubble website (Style Bubble, 2012). I also found a write up about Li in the London fashion week profile page (London fashion week, 2017). It described how she sought to use her techniques to show that knitwear doesn’t have to be shapeless, instead designing voluminous structured clothing. I was also interested to read that Li lists modern architecture as one of her influences. I also love the simple clean lines and shapes of modern buildings, and particularly have been influenced by the buildings of Oscar Niemeyer.

The final practitioner suggested by my tutor was Laura Splan and her “viral doilies” series (Splan, 2004). These works comprise of computerised embroidered lace based on virus structures, each of which displays a different radial symmetry. The work re-examines the lace doily as an innocuous domestic artefact by placing in the context of microbial imagery which has associations with cultural anxieties such as bioterrorism and health epidemics (e.g. Bird flu, Ebola). As a biology/mathematics graduate, I am interested in both the concept and the geometry of this work (I have purchased a copy of Ernst Haeckel’s “Artforms in nature” (Haeckel, 2015)). Consequently, I was surprised to find myself underwhelmed by the visual aesthetics of the Splan’s work. On reflection, I think this is because of the lack of depth and texture in her pieces, accompanied by the fact that they were presented as monochrome (white doilies on a black background). They seem rather clinical (which perhaps is the intention seeing as they reflect functional domestic objects?) In contrast, the Haeckel structures have colour, texture, three-dimensionality and in some cases semi-transparency, which is the direction in which I would be inclined to take the development of radical symmetrical structures.

 

References:

Cover magazine (2014), ‘Editor’s picks: 20 designs from London’. In: Cover magazine: Textiles and carpets for modern interiors. 30 October, 2014. [online]. At:http://cover-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/409a3fd27d749f3a-siliconedogtoothprint2.jpg (Accessed 10 May 2017).

Eastaugh, N. (2017a) Printmaking for textiles. [Pinterest board, May 2017] Available at:http://pin.it/ckRIxiD (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Eastaugh, N. (2017b) Silicone texture Lucy Simpson. Available at: http://pin.it/unPVwaN (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Haeckel, E. (2015) Art forms in nature. London. Prestel.

London fashion week (2017) Designer profile: Xiao Li. At: http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/designers_profile.aspx?designerID=2859 (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Morton, C. (2017) Textiles mixed media. [Pinterest board, May 2017] Available at: http://pin.it/xvUm7Ms (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Simpson, L. (2012-2016a) Lucy Simpson: About. At:http://lucy-simpson.com/about (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Simpson, L. (2012-2016b) Lucy Simpson:silicone At: http://lucy-simpson.com/silicone (Accessed 10 May 2017)

Splan, L. (2004) Doilies. Projects: viral artefacts At:http://www.laurasplan.com/viral-doilies/ (Accessed 10 May 2014)

Style Bubble (2012) Neon slick knits. At: http://stylebubble.co.uk/style_bubble/2012/07/neon-slick-knits.html (Accessed 10 May 2017)

A review of the use of colour in my Assignment 3 sketchbook

20 April 2017

 

My tutor made specific comments in the feedback for assignment 3, remarking that at times there was a dissonance between the use of colour and the work. She suggested that I consider using a palette from within the image or working with a more neutral/monochrome palette to start with, and that I review and reflect upon my use of colour in the course.

In response, when I looked at my sketchbook again in context, it became obvious to me which colour sketches worked well and which did not, and I thought the best way of presenting this information would be to go through each in a blog post and explain why, with lessons learnt for the future.

 

Which colour sketches didn’t work:


Page 53: The punched cushion

I used colour because I wanted to emphasise the negative space more prominently and I wanted to emphasise the “window-like” properties of the sample. In the event the lemon yellow and bright turquoise seem like an affront to the eyes – the contrast in hue is large and it seems out of place in this context.

 

Page 54. Observational drawings of Part 3, project 2, sample 6

A thumbnail of the sample is shown below:

Casty2.jpg

The next image is an extract from my sketchbook:

In the top drawing, I have used a muted shade of charcoal to make a mostly tonal drawing to reflect the shapes and shadows of the sculpture. This is soothing to the eye.

In the drawing on the bottom right, I wanted to get away from the focus on contoured surfaces and the reason for the colour was to focus on the outline of the holes made by the balloons and to clearly differentiate from he positive and negative spaces. Looking at the image, I can appreciate that this bears no reference to the sample, and appears somewhat misplaced. My intention had been to abstract the image from a 3D sculpture and project it onto a 2D surface. In hindsight this would have been better achieved with a monochrome or harmonious palette which did not distract from the imagery.


Pages 55-59. Observational drawings Part 3, project 2, samples 2a) and 2b)

A thumbnail of one of the samples is shown below:

Sav3.jpg

The first sketches I have included are in charcoal, so that I can contrast their success with the later coloured analogies. I am pleased with these sketches because they provide detailed and expressive representations of the surface of the sample, and areas of depth and shadow.

In contrast, the sketches made in water-soluble crayon above are also tonal, but lack the range of the charcoal analogies. The purpose of changing the colour was to abstract them away from the original sample, but the three colours neither relate to each other, nor to the sample, so once again there is a feeling of displacement or disjointedness. 

In this final analogy I made a collage but cutting out the outline shapes from magazine pages. After sticking them into my sketchbook, I decided that they did not show up well against the white background, and for this reason I decided to outline them using orange water-soluble crayon. The aim was to create a shadow effect, but they are orange, it does not have the desired effect. In hindsight,  I should have made a note to explain this is my sketchbook.

 

Back inside cover – Part 3, project 1, sample 72

In this colour sketch, I was trying to give myself an ideas of what the natural cork background and red coloured latex sample would look like. If I am honest, I don’t like these two colours together, but I did not have time to rework the sample in a new colour scheme. This was sample 72 (recommended number for this exercise was 9)! I had just made too many and had I concentrated more on fewer samples, I would have had sufficient time to think careful and rework my results, if needed.

 


Undecided:


Page 26. Lattice

This is a bold colour combination with a strong contrast of saturation. It is both vibrant and an affront on the senses and is emphasised by the pattern. I am undecided as to whether it is pleasant or not and I have concluded that this would depend upon the situation in which it is used (i.e the size of the piece and the overall colour scheme in which it is placed).

 

Which colour sketches worked:


Front inside cover: based on Part 1, project 1, sample 48

Although this outline drawing has been abstracted and bears little resemblance to the sample, the shapes are interesting and the colour scheme (which draws on the paintings of KAWS) is bold helps to differentiate the shapes. It suggests a kaleidoscope, maybe graffiti or street art. 

Compared with the pencil outline (see above – sketchbook page 50), the contrast helps to draw me into the image and invites me to decipher the shapes.

 

Page 6-7. Doodles

These shapes were inspired by linocut marks, packaging and the paintings of Van Gogh. The colours add to the textural quality of the image, suggesting that some shapes are more prominent, and suggesting depth and perspective.

 

Page 10. Relief texture rubbing

This colour scheme works because it focuses on the complementary colours of violet and yellow. Together with blue-violet it from a harmonious triad, as described by Itten (Itten, 1961, 72-73).

 

Page 26. Lattice

This is the same analogy as that on page 25, but using a harmonious colour scheme with a soft transition of hue across the background and an increasing construct of saturation from bottom left to top right. I feel that this scheme is restful and I am more convinced of it’s success than the colour scheme on page 25.

 

Page 46. The squashed object

In the bottom right I have adapted Barbara Cotterell’s “Flourpots” piece by using a different shaped “container”, and by emphasising the outside instead of the inside by applying her colour scheme o the exterior surfaces. This colour scheme has a bold contrast in hue and gives the impression of being taken from a paintbox. I think that the contrast works well in this instance and helps define and differentiate each of the elements.

 

Page 51-52. Development from a drawing based on Part 1, project 1, sample 48.

 

This is an harmonious colour scheme of autumnal colours ranging from yellow, to green to brown, to russet to pink. It works because the colours form a transition from similar hues and overlapping the stencils helps the eye to blend them together,

 

Conclusion:

In the sketchbook for Part 3, I made a conscious effort to try and abstract away from the samples by using colour. It is obvious that this was often not successful.

The colour schemes which didn’t work tended which I chose without consideration of the context nor the feelings that I wanted to engender. They were more often bold and strongly contrasting. 

Harmonious, complementary or related colours tended to work well and enhanced rather than retracted from my visual message. 

 

References:

Itten, J (1961) Itten: The elements of colour. New York. John Wiley and Sons.