Assignment Two (Option 2): Research Essay proposal

Assignment three – Critical review proposal

I initially sent this proposal at the end of assignment one:

Proposal for research essay

Title:  Developing a sustainable practice in Textiles…by hand or digital device? Two way showcase:  Louise Gardiner and Elisabeth Loveday

Basic Information:

I would like to create a research essay, surrounding the idea of how to make a living out of textiles.  I propose to contrast the careers and choices of two artists in particular, one who has gradually developed her practice from fine art and textiles, into luxury scarves and home items, the other who has strayed towards a more traditional approach, working mainly in hand embroidery, yet still selling her work.  What ways are open to both and each individually?  I will investigate their individual practice in order to see how they have succeeded.

I know that I can find plenty of subject matter on the two artists mentioned, thus I will have enough to build an essay on.  I have chosen to hone down my topic to one quite specific for two reasons, one; I want to saturate and extensively research my topic, rather than covering a vast amount without quality and evidence to back up my findings.  Two, this is a practical topic for myself, as I hope that digitally printing textiles will be the future for my own work pattern. Thus this research will be highly educational for my future.  No, a career path decision cannot be made on the basis of just two artists opinions and choices, yet it will give me two realities, which I can build and reflect on.  The two artists have both had experience exhibiting at events and trade shows, which is something I am keen to do myself in the future, thus I can research these to see if they will be viable for my own practice.  Their experiences and outcomes can help me see what works, as I see my work as similar to theirs.

Added thoughts since then:

I worried on reflection, which the above notes focused too much on my future career in printing digital textiles, rather than looking at this as a research essay.  The word research gives the impression of learning; I need to remember in this that I am the student.

I am interested still, to investigate the art v textiles theme; seeing how artists in textiles have used their fine art skills too and how this is represented in various settings, like art galleries or printed media.

I needed to use artists within my work, who I could find a good lot of information on.  Other ideas of artists to investigate were Alice Kettle and Karen Nicol.  Alice Kettle is famous for her painterly work, while Karen Nicol spans a variety of Textile practices, focusing on fashion and manipulation ideas.

Commercial v love?

Stories conveyed?

What do we remember about each artist, the works they sell or the background designs?

I also had feedback from my tutor from my proposal at Assignment one, which noted the need to set definite questions to answer.  Compare.  Contrast.  Conclusions drawn personally.

Having has the time through assignment two to dwell on this more, I would like to include Alice Kettle within my work, as she stands out as an example of Textiles beating the structure of a Fine Art setting.  I will not include Karen Nicol, as I feel that this would change the reason for my essay, as it would then have to incorporate fashion; something that I will not be discussing in large within this assignment.  I feel happy about this decision.  I have decided to take out Elisabeth Loveday.  When really being honest with myself about my reasons for using her, I realised they were more to do with my own liking of her work.  There is not enough information on her as an artist; she herself is too new to the field and thus not experienced, so how could I use her in such an important essay?

I don’t want to incorporate more than two artists to use as the main skeleton of my essay, as I think it would lose quality and be too much about quantity.  Thus my artists will be:  Louise Gardiner and Alice Kettle.  They are very different style wise, thus will make for a good contrast.  Both have experience in both hand and machine based textiles, but only Gardiner has ventured into digitally printing her work as far as I know).  So this will make for an interesting contrast.

Reflecting back on my previous proposal, some ideas have changed, as I no longer want the focus to be on what I can gain “commercially” from my research.  I want to look more at the artist’s pathways, designs behind outcomes etc.  I will structure my essay with definite questions, such as:

Art V Textiles:  Can they be combined?  What settings have these two artists exhibited / worked in which has led to their current practice?

Can a living be made from this type of career path (two artists contrasted)

New approaches in textile design which has linked “art” into textiles, have these artists embraced these?  If so what has it led to?  In what ways?

What do I hope to achieve through this essay?

The above are still thoughts which will be refined.  I want to investigate how through two artists, textiles has been recognised in the art world.  For example Alice Kettle has had work in many art galleries which usually house Fine Art.  From Louise Gardiner’s side, she has been successful in getting the consumer to buy “wearable art”.  She is a very vocal artist and has previously written columns and articles for publication. Thus proves a voice on the matter.  Kettle is quieter, yet expresses herself within her work and books which she has been party to.  Thus I feel that through these two examples, I will better understand what it takes to create a sustainable textile practice and if this means dipping into the fine art world.

The essay I plan to develop, will still be practical for my own personal learning, yet I worried that my previous proposal looked too much at “what the artists did to make money and how I can do it too”.  I propose to look deeper into the artists rather than a showcase of their achievements as such

Previously planned essay title:

Developing a sustainable practice in Textiles…by hand or digital device? Two way showcase:  Louise Gardiner and Elisabeth Loveday

New essay title:

Is it possible to develop a sustainable practice in Textiles? Where do love of vocation and the word “art” infiltrate?

– Two way showcase:  Louise Gardiner and Alice Kettle

(I may change the above title again, if I find a way to make it more succinct.  Yet I do know exactly what I will be researching)



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