Assignment Four (Option 1): Exercise 4.5: What ideas to take forward to the next project?

It is just as important to make strong decisions as it is to have provided a variety of ideas and concepts.  Thus I must look at my books critically to ascertain what parts are strong enough to take forward.

Sentiment should not pervade my thinking here, as although this work should be an off-beat personal take, I need to go with strong concepts which have artistic potential.

One consideration is the wealth of information drawn on the subject matter or what can be drawn.  I would not continue an idea which had little depth.

The main ideas I seem to have focused on are:

  • Tartan / Liberty Print connections
  • The lost scarf and personal travel
  • The narrative of my grandmother and I

The first, I feel is not strong enough.  Yes there are family links, but as said in other blog posts, the idea of floral and tartan merging is not a new one; thus I don’t feel I could get excited or connected enough with it at this stage.

The last two can actually be merged and parts taken from both, as they do both connect.

Why?  Background story, as explained in brief within my archive material….

My grandmother (I call her Narg) told me stories of Red Riding Hood when I was small.  I myself was classically dressed as a child, wearing black shiny boots and a red wool coat or mac.  She retold me the story of Red, many times over, while I always asked for a new part to it to keep by brain fed with new material.  She never read to me from a book, it was always a vocal rendition.  I never questioned why, yet not I look back and realise that it was due to her gradual loss of sight, with Macular Degeneration.

We are close and this is how the two ideas above interconnect……………

On a loan trip to Paris, I walked past a shop with Red Riding Hood earrings set in the window.  They sparked such a clear memory and subsequent emotion, that I bought them.  This trip I was at the time wearing the “lost scarf” too.  Thus the marriage.  It was only on this trip that I began to reflect back and value my times with her, when she was telling me the narrative which she could only craft through mouth.

The imagery of myself on this trip, has great meaning to myself and thus ties in.  The concept of travelling and being alone, yet taking people with you in symbolic ways….i.e. the earrings which are to me such a clear take on my grandmother.

It interested me too, how objects can have such a sudden reaction on ourselves and memories – I guess like the foundation of “Cloth and Memory” which is often discussed.

Through the above I have gone on many thought offshoots and I had to be careful only to run along with some of them, as I could so easily muddy the initial point of interest.  It actually has helped on reflection, to keep writing it out and discussing it, even if it is just with myself or a family member.  It can round out our thoughts and actually highlight those most important.

I have so far made a number of initial samples in response, which I will develop through project three in the next assignment.

Which do I feel are standing out to develop?

  • Ways of depicting sight loss, such as cut away applique, partial view materials such as voile.
  • Interconnecting cloth and slight reminders of the “lost scarf”.   

I found the designer and artist Karen Nicol to be one of the most influential and I feel that she could continue to be so.  Many ideas are discussed in my White Square sketchbook, which has been clearly labelled for the course.

Another thought which is highlighted from the narrative I have told above, is how objects can have such influence on our memories, both visual and emotional.  I could question how this could be captured.

I find it fascinating, to peruse the notion of how things in our past can make us drawn to them in our present.  I.E. My mothers wearing of Liberty Print fabric makes me drawn to it in my present.  Or another

I had a few initial thoughts as to outcomes which were more finished than my samples, here are a few:

  • Fabric book, depicting the narrative of my grandmother and I.  It could be a two way book, one way showing my continuous growth, the other way showcasing her gradual lack of being able to see it happen.


  • Cape, with hints to the narrative and lost scarf?  The cape of course would have connotations deepening from Red Riding Hood to my own narrative.


  • New version of the lost scarf, using the shapes of the peacocks and butterflies to create a new piece with the techniques I have sampled or intend to sample…i.e. cut away applique, in the form of my own hand drawn peacock or butterfly shape, cut away to reveal a memory of the scarves travel, a map of where it has been as it were, like Karen Nicol’s “map work” which I blogged about previously.  Another idea could be incorporating small hints towards my grandmother too, thus it becomes an all encompassing piece.  These new inspiration points, “replace” the old scarf pattern and the idea of a lost item.

With this idea above, I must be especially careful as to the amount of detail I put in; I would rather produce samples and outcomes which have a clear idea, rather than an over muddied, over worked and detailed one.  This would show lack of decision making on my part and thus a subsequent lack of artistic strength and critical thinking and evaluation.

In order to have a wealth of choice in my technique type usage, I plan through Project 3 to extend my practice further.  Here are a few examples I could try:

  • Screen Printing
  • Mono Printing
  • Decolourant Paste (a good way of conveying sight loss and fading sight or in fact memories, which could be depicted in contrast to bold memories which suddenly come to light again, as in the case of the earrings and my grandmother the kick in my stomach as it were when I had the memories surrounding my childhood).
  • Own self written prose, i.e. poems about my Narg and I.  Also the wording from the story of Red Riding Hood have great underlying meaning for my grandmother and I; the words ‘what big eyes you have, all the better to see you’….when my grandmother herself cannot see.  This is a kick in the teeth to her symbolically. as it were.
  • Geli printing plate
  • Embroidery techniques derived from my own learning so far and artists whom I have researched.

I intend to again soak up as much inspiration from sources as possible.  Books such as Karen Nicol’s Embellished, which I have managed to get an inter library loan on, may help to bolster my collection of ideas.

My white square sketchbook which I have filled through this assignments projects will serve as a reminder for myself too, as I have logged in there artists and also my own ideas as I have progressed along.








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