Assignment Two (Option 2): Exercise 2.2: Introduction and Conclusion for this section


Embellishment…what can I make it mean?

I feel that I now have to really turn my ideas on their head.  After putting my work so far together in sketchbook form, I need to mix it up, try new, experiment and even fail. (See section under tutors phone call notes)

How can I achieve this?

I want to make a list of possibilities, things to try, ideas with my prints.  The idea will not be to produce a mass of work, but rather one or two of each style.

I do have a wide range of techniques which I have sampled over the years, yet not fully developed as such.  Using them as a trial with a few of my prints, will widen my visibility as to possibilities.

Artist and designer research which relates more to the fabric itself rather than digitised or printing…i.e. Manipulation, decoration and embellishment, as well as maybe other things I can do with print making.

I want to make sure that I record a little about each technique as I go.  Thus I will make a separate folder containing technique information. This will not only inform others about the ideas I have trialled, but also serve as a point of reference for myself to look back to in future.

Are there any artists who may help widen my thoughts?

When typing into Google ‘Embellished Textiles, much rifling has to be done from the ones which have been using an embellishing machine with felt; to those actually talking about textile technique’s.

Here are a few I am thinking of though, some of which I have mentioned earlier, some I like, some I don’t, yet all I can learn from.

–          Mandy Pattulio – Her work crosses a few practices, incorporating using patchwork, printmaking, pen and water drawings and found fabrics.

–          Louise Gardiner – Eventually her pieces come to fruition in print form, on scarves etc.  But looking at the original pieces she then photographs is an education in material choice. I have seen her use neon pens and PVC, to traditional cottons, all on one piece.

–          Karen Nicol – Her book Embellished is an invaluable resource.  Features a wide range of samples, all in sections, thus easy to understand.


–           Becky Adams – A little twee at times, yet her sketchbooks have to be admired and her use of text within her work.

–          Anne Kelly – To be honest I don’t like her work, but that’s not the point!  She is great with collage and mixing media, also heavily stitched over the top adds something like texture.

–          Sue Dove – Portraits in textiles, well embroidered with hints of cubism and Matisse style.  I have personal experience of her work, having met her at The Knitting and Stitching show in 2015.

–          Alice Kettle – Looking at her work from a different angle this time; from the point of view of the processes she uses, the idea of painting with the needle.

–          Matisse – I have looked at his cut out work in the past, but never specified.  I would like t concentrate on his facial work.

–          Picasso – I don’t want my work to become too realistic.  Thus I want to research a few artists who look at the more surrealistic approach.  This can be interpreted in a textile way.

–          Stewart Kelly – Mixed media, human form stitching.

–          Audrey Walker – Heavily stitched painterly pieces.

–          Louise Baldwin – Colourful patched together backgrounds with beautiful faces drawn in black.

–          Rhiannon Williams – Collaged people in paper form

–          Alison Stewart – Emotions conveyed through some work – links with pattern and applique.

–          Karen Suzuki – Saw her work as part of Anne Kelly exhibition at the knitting and stitching show.  3D forms which are tailored to vintage fabrics and heat bonded surfaces.

–          Sketchbook research (Contemporary Applique book very helpful in this regard, to remind me of who I am.

I want to weave the above artists, along with others I find within my work and maybe each at a time to show connection to my work at that point.  Other resources I have to hand are in book form.  Here are a few that I have shortlisted to revisit from my own library.

–          Contemporary Applique (Julia Triston)

–          Contemporary Textiles (Julia Triston, Rachel Lombard)

–          Embroidery, New Approaches.  (Jan Beaney)

–          The Art of manipulating fabric (Colette Wolf)

–          Digital Textile Design (Melenie Bowles)

–          Embellished (Karen Nicol)

–          Art Cloth (Jane Dunnewold)

–          Complex Cloth (Jane Dunnewold)

–          Hot Textiles – Kim thiatchi

In line with the above, I also have a wealth of past and present exhibition visits, notes and imagery which I can feed off.

I may not have to use all of the above, but this expansion of techniques ideas will give me focus.

Concluding thoughts for this exercise:

As I feel that I have explored a lot during this exercise, I feel that rather than pursuing this any further at this stage, it would be best to accumulate my ideas and see which ones to take forward, which will be discussed in the next exercise.

You will notice in order to keep myself on track, I created a list of ideas to try.  All part of the risk taking, as many I had not tried before and had no idea if they would work.

Due to time constraints, I was unable to finish my list; but I hope to remedy this as I develop the course; or maybe I will be working on fresh ideas, I will not decide at this stage.

I have endeavoured to make this assignment as accessible as possible, as I realise that there are many elements and they could all get mixed in and become muddied, if left in one Log Book file.  Thus in order for my tutor and those reading my work to understand each section, I have segregated parts to be titled under different themes, for example Bonded Surface work and Hard Edges.  This will also make things easier for myself, as instead of scrolling through millions of documents I can see by the titles in the list which one I want to open.  Previously I feel that I have used too big files, making it hard for assessors and tutors to open my work; so I see this as a positive development on my part.

I will not go into how I feel about every technique I have tried, as you will see that within the end of each individual file, I have questioned myself already on how the technique or idea went.

As mentioned in the outset, my work was deemed by myself, to need bulking out, more ideas developing before I could really move forward.  On the downside, this meant that I did lose time within this section, as I made new pieces rather than developing the ones I had.  Yet looking back on this body of work I feel it has depth and character, which the florals on their own did not.

I also used a lot of time on researching how to use digital means to create patterns and alter my work; this was done in order to produce a high standard of outcome, thus was not a wasted time.  However I could have left some of this research time to Project 4; yet I wanted to start learning ahead of time.

I find that my work develops slowly, thus more experimentation will be seen as I move forward in the course.  I imagine that my work will become more impressionist and less real, as I gain confidence and familiarise myself with my themes.

I am also aware of context.  Some of my work simply does not or would not adhere to certain working methods.  For example, my images of my mum on cloth, would not be enhanced by smocking or lumpy forms of manipulation.  Yet stitching the surface, applique and even distressing the surfaces I used, such as paper, really does work.  Thus a lot has to be taken into consideration, rather than just trying out ideas on pieces which simply would not work.  This takes experience to know and a sense of modesty, as it can be hard to define how far to go, how far to experiment.  In saying this, I must remember that it is about taking risks and you will see that I have achieved this through the different types of experiments.  Some in my mind, were doomed from the beginning, yet as I began to form them, they became something that I was not expecting and actually worked in their own way.  I feel that I have managed to build a foundation of work, which I can now sift through and take the best ideas out of, the ones I think are strongest and not too “samey” into the next project.

I have looked at many artists and exhibitions through this time period.  Not all to my taste, yet I find that the ones I dislike are the ones I am thinking about the longest.  They make me question, rather than simply appreciate.  This questioning is invaluable when it comes to creating fresh work.

My tutor mentioned that my work can become rather well presented and too clean, as it were.  I have actually taken time to educate myself to make my work presentable and I actually think I have made it too much like a non-art course.  Thus this has helped me to realise that I can allow more personality to show and this will give my work more character and substance.  You will see that I have worked on this in comparison with Assignment ones work.

Where do I want to head with the next project?

–          I want to use this project 4 to enhance my research of other artists who have designed and made printed textiles.  I will use this extra knowledge, along with my work samples from the previous projects, to design and make my own pieces, ready to print.

–          As I want to make this a success and a sustainable practice for myself, I intend to include product research within this section, for example costs for printing my designs onto fabrics and even scarves…in other words I am not only looking to the present, but the future.  This investigation, should show where we products, if made, would fit into the market of artisan goods.  However this must never be my main concern, as far as this course is concerned I am a student and not a practitioner who is simply looking to sell and be commercial.  This is a good thing, as it allows me to play with less worry.

–          Looking at others who are doing a similar thing, should help me understand pricing and successful ways of doing things, but I must counter this with opposite artists, as these are the ones who will inform me the most.

–          As I move into the next project, I will pause and write some notes/plans/ideas.  Please bear in mind that I have been thinking about printing my own textiles onto fabric for a long time, thus this will have been given a lot of consideration and thought. You will see through my previous course of Textiles 2, I did a lot of dry point and play with using cloth as a medium to draw and print upon.  Thus my work for this course is also an extension of this idea.


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