“Well done Melissa it is evident you have worked hard at a consistently high level. You have produced some well-executed drawings and a number of engaging textile samples.”
Thank you Rebecca! All posative comments most welcome at this stage! Please don’t let me give up! I am enjoying this course so much but battling with the demands for time, guilt, work, self indulgence etc. I know it is worthwhile and am determined to commit to the degree. I do not consider myself as someone who ‘can’ draw, or who does draw, and approach this side of the course with trepidation. I must confess I did enjoy it and am pleased with the results, and you are right to suggest I leave my comfort zone. Going bigger produced some really useful pieces. I’d like to produce more floral/leaf drawings on a large scale to perhaps feed into some stitched work.
”There is evidence you have researched widely and used the material to influence your making”
Surface and Stitch Learning Log Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
”I am starting with your learning log because this is your weakest area, which is fine at this early stage in your studies. This mainly written section of your course is where you demonstrate your academic thinking and is therefore an essential part of the work. However most students start their degree without knowing what these skills are and find it tricky to develop them. In a nutshell this is the place where you evidence the reflective thinking, critical thinking and analysis of your own work. I can see you are already doing these things because there is evidence in your making that you are looking at your work, thinking about its value then making decisions on how to develop it. This is fab – some students arrive without already doing this. Your next step is to stand back a little from your creativity and look at the thinking that is going on. Recording this thinking will be evidence that you are using academic thinking skills to evaluate your work and make choices. Good choices show discernment – the ability to make valued judgments. Currently your learning log demonstrates that you are beginning to do this – for example the section on choosing which drawings to use to take onto the stitch stage. Here is would be good if you could dig a bit deeper and explain the reason why you thought some of your drawings ‘tell you what stitch to use.’ Conduct this kind of open discussion with yourself for all your creative processes; therefore include the other mark making you did on the range of surfaces and the stitched work. Include you motivation for doing these (links to research, a book read, YouTube tutorial, previous learning, etc.), how well the activity went and what you think of the results. These can be brief notes, lists, short annotations, etc. preferably with an image of the work you are discussing alongside. I suggest you take a look at some examples of student learning logs and investigate further reflective thinking, critical thinking and analysis. I recommend the book Critical Thinking Skills by Stella Cottrell, published by Palgrave Macmillan, in particular the final chapter on Critical Reflection.”
Thanks Rebecca, I will be writing a separate entry on this. Lots to think about.
Drawing Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
”In this section you have demonstrated a loose competent style of drawing. There is good use of scale, media and materials. I suggest you keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, as you have already found this will produce the most exciting work.”
Your tips from the introductory assignment to leave the comfort zone were really helplful, I will keep going with this. I love the abstact zip extended paper zip drawing i did and also my large dresses painted with ink on a brayer. I’d never done drawings likethis before. I’m usually poking lightly with a pencil in the centre of a very white tidy daunting page! Loving the big and messy work!
Engagement with textile techniques Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
”It is clear from the work you have sent me you have a good standard of skill in textile techniques. There is evidence you are willing to take risks but perhaps also have a tendency to over think. Your samples are exploratory and experimental, carefully organised to good effect. There is a nice use of materials where you are combining media to create engaging surfaces and textures.”
”The colour palette you have used contains variations in hue and tone to create pleasing compositions. Your strongest work is the Red Lace and the Drawing with Stitch collection.”
I was happy with both of these pieces and loved working on them. There was that feeling of rythmn and flow and I did not rush. Perhaps what helped them become stronger clear pieces of work could be that I did both of these projects whilst away on seperate breaks. There was little distraction (they were both completed on rainy evenings on holiday with not a lot else to do). There was space for them. I was concentating fully on the work and had planned ahead well, so only brought the materials for the work I had carefully thought through. Often I’m working in a crazy aladins cave of materials, distractions, books, the internet (had none on both trips). The drawing with stitch i enjoyed so much and i think this was in part due to the background all having to be white (less choices to make), and then the repettion, I did not have to decide or settle on just one drawing/stitch style. I could try lots and felt more freedom to experiment within these tight constraints.
”Here I can see you are working loosely in a relaxed and investigative way. You have therefore created interesting and varied work. The weaker work I believe is the more ‘finished’ pieces of the skirt and Chamomile. I am guessing that because you decided these would be more finished you lost some of that relaxed investigation. This is fine, at this stage of your studies you are not expected to make final work and I would advise against it if you are feeling tempted.”
I have been feeling tempted! My head has been a never stopping wheel of ideas/possiblities and panicy feelings regarding all the possible finished pieces which could be produced around this inspiring topic. Thank goodness, I will really try to experiement more and finish less. I hope this will take the pressure off and look forward to adopting more of a laboratory approach rather than a factory!
”Please do not ‘redo’ the Chamomile piece for assessment. Instead reflect and analyse so that you can learn from it. Ask yourself questions like, what did work, what doesn’t work, why is this, what needs developing and how could I do this? I suggest you spend a little less time making and use this time to purposefully reflect on the work you have made.”
I was trying to run here before I could walk. I had a finished piece in mind, after looking at all the wabi sabi research pieces, I wanted to do something similar, with no practise or experimentation. I didn’t have the time to produce this kind of work and no real plan, I just though I’d get stuck in and that the work would reveal itself as I went along. Bad idea. It just becme a mess. Initially I was inspired by faded chamomile on a beach which I had painted. I found the weathered old frayed fabric pieces on another beach which I took home and weathered a bit more with some bleach and hanging in the sun/rain and a bit of rough handling. I then made the mistake of quickly attempting to copy my watercolour painting of chamomile onto the green fabric with a pencil.
It lost all the asspects I liked about the painting and looked ridiculous. I hated it, but carried on. I had no idea how to transfer the qualities i liked about the drawings onto the fabric. I should have stoppped and re thought. After stitching this drawing I disliked it even more so decided to cover it up by tearing a bit out of the larger grey fabric and patching over the flower so it was slightly hidden. Then it looked out of place so I did more similar nieve flowers. I have no idea why I thought adding more of the same would improve it. It looked out of plave because it was. Really I wanted to use the weathered fabric and was trying to tie it in with the floral theme and it wasn’t working, mainly I think because the drawings on the fabric were nothiing like my paintings. They were rushed and not observations of the real flower.
I had no plan whatsoever now and began randomly doing little running stitches over it. It looked …welll… like a really grating stitched picture of a flower covered up with a hurridly sticthed patch. There was none of the mindful medititive slow sticthed beauty I had seen and wished to emulate from Claire Wellesley-Smiths book.
The piece did not work at all because I had not planned or experimented with any of the techniques I wanted to use. It was hurried and very unloved, which clearly showed. It had none of the emotion or simplicity I had initially wanted to achieve. I had wanted to make a piece which breathed and evoked the same feeling as the chamomile in the stark sun and sea bleached pebbles but I failed to plan, experiement, take my time and learn when to stop. Point taken! On a posative note, I am happy with the colours, the distressing and on reflection I actually quite like the reverse side because it is much looser,simplier and the colours blend well. This has been a really useful excercise.
Research Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
”For this assignment you have gathered together a large quantity of interesting and relevant research material. You have used it effectively to develop your textile ideas. However I would suggest you have rather too much research material, consider cutting down on the amount of collecting you do, using this time instead on analysing the imagery you have gathered. Spend some time really looking at the work (you will need larger images for this) then write some brief notes on what you see (colour, texture, materials, scale, techniques, placement, composition, etc.) add to this what you wish to take from the work and how you can develop this in your own practice. This will help you to be more focused about the work you collect and help you make the most of it. I suggest you read the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon published by Workman; this straightforward little book uses examples from art, music and literature to demonstrate how ideas come about.
Pointers for the next assignment
● Reflect on this feedback in your learning log
● Develop your reflective thinking, critical thinking and analysis
● Keep your textile work loose and exploratory
● Continue to develop your drawing skills by drawing regularly
● Cut down on the amount of research you collect and spend more time examining the value of what you find
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