A Textile Vocabulary – Assignment 1 – Review & Access

The drawing and mark making is now complete for my first assignment. I was very excited when I started the work, I decided that my watchword would be ‘simple’. I really didn’t want to get into the habit of overthinking my every move. So I made a quick decision and decided on ‘Nature’s Larder’ as my theme. My first thoughts were, get some veg and have a go. So that’s just what I did. I bought some cabbage and found some other interesting edible items and got to work. 

I selected a number of papers and painting tools and thought about the texture of the different items as I chose which ones to use. It was particularly nice using the actual vegtables as stencils but I was also pleased with the line drawings. It was interesting researching other artist’s as directed by the course materials and I’ve find Pinterest very useful for investigating and recording specific photographs and articles.

 Many of the pieces developed as a result of the fallout from the original piece, soak throughs and prints were particularly effective and I would like to persue this ‘accidental’ method of producing marks and reditions of items.


In my sketchbook I also made some notes and did some brain storming so I could have a sense of what I was looking at, not just food but the traditions and culture around food. This is an area I really want to work on through out the course, I find it comfortable making marks and recording the features of an item but going deeper and finding and expressing meaning and thought is something I do not yet find easy. 


Experimenting with different mediums is something I love doing and I did this with the vegtable selection, limiting my pallette to black, white and grey. Something I found very difficult at first because I love colour and am drawn straight to playing with colour and shapes. Often working in an abstract style.

An idea did start to develop as I worked on the drawings, I started to see egg shapes and it made me start to think about parental conditioning and the issues we have at the moment with child obesity, but that was as far as my thoughts went. In the future I would like to work towards developing these types of ideas and to start working these in a more defined way into my work.

Whilst working on the drawings I also kept a blog as my learning log, I have dabbled before with blogs but this time I was more organised and strict with myself about making regular posts. It was quite scary being so open and public about my work and my thoughts. This is a learning process and I will be continuing with my blog throughout this course. 


A Textile Vocabulary – Assignment 1 – Nature’s Larder

It’s been a busy few weeks and yesterday I finaly found a couple of hours to make a few more observational drawings of my items I gathered for my Nature’s Larder.

The veggies and seeds have been sat in a box in my workroom, they are slowly rotting, except the leaves covered with paint that have gone all crispy.


The cabbages just get more interesting all of the time. The textures are getting deeper and accentuated as the water dries out of the cells. The solid green cabbage has started to get some very interesting swirls and veins.



In my first sketch I used ink on a brush on a textured card, I varied the tone of the ink, applying it quickly. Aiming for a sense of shape and detail rather than an accurate representation of the green cabbage.



In this section sketch I applied the ink slowly letting it flow out into the texture of the card so it almost looks as if the lines are made up of lot of little crosses.

In additon to the 2 larger piecces I played around with the ink and made 3 little close up sketches of the leaf details.


I moved on to a more defined drawing using a fineliner and adding tone and texture with grey, white and black ink. The heavily textured paper is to represent the dimples on the drying cabbage leaves.



Working even smaller I recorded a few of the small shapes, repeating them, playing with them and doing a little bit of stylising.


One of the previously painted leaves is now very crisp and the paint has clung to and dried on the veins of the leaf.  Considering this I selected some synthetic yupo paper and made a fine line drawing of the leaf. At the time it looked very detailed but now I feel an urge to add more lines with an even thinner pen.


  Again using the yupo paper I drew the white cabbage which is breaking apart as it dries.

I really couldn’t finish this exercise without one little doodle. It’s not one of my best but I’ve got to be true to my roots!



A Textile Vocabulary – Nature’s Larder – Observing & Recording 2


Previously I had decided to do some impression style pieces next, I was going to use the white cabbage but in the end it just felt like an unidentified Moroccan tea seed day. I made a simple cut out and had some fun with an acrylic paint spray bottle making a circle shape like the seed in its pod and then laid the seeds in the pod to define first the seed and then the actual pod.


It was quite apt that the results had a passing resemblance to eggs with the day being Easter Saturday. 


I particularly like this shot of the whole page before the actual seeds were shaken off. Working in black and white is a real challenge and I just can’t help sneaking in a little bit of colour.

The left over paint splattered seeds I make into a collage with gel medium reminiscent of playschool pictures made with pasta shapes.  I’ve been thinking a lot about childhood today and the beliefs instilled in us at a young age about food as a treat and  a gift and how this impacts on the lives of adults, me included as they battle through an Easter weekend of excessive offerings of food whilst knowing that for their health and well being they need to resist.  The collage was amaturist and not very satisfactory so I took a few shots of it with my iphone to make it more dynamic.

The cabbages are starting to wilt now, not too smelly yet and displaying some nice dewy wetness. The green cabbage is soft but still holding together well so perfect for making prints. I used white emulsion paint brushed onto the veined side of the leaf to make some prints and then because the layers of the white cabbage are breaking apart, I took advantage of this by using them as a stencil of a cabbage shape outlined with the spray acrylic paint. 



The little cabbage tops are still stable so I brushed them with a specialist cupboard paint, testers from DIY stores are perfect for trying different paint formulars. When dried this paint acts as a resist and I experimented with different strengths of black drawing ink painted over the top of the prints to generate images with the impression of texture.

The actual piece is a bit of a hotpotch and I was very impatient when it came to letting the paint dry but I can definitely see me using this technique again, using more control in future. 

The painted leaves gave me a nice opportunity for some arty photographs too.  I have some with colour too, but they are for another day.






Textile 1 – assignment 1. Thinking out loud in my sketchbook.



The first assignment in a Textile Vocabulary asks you to make a series of observational drawings of the objects you found to illustrate the theme you had chosen, in my case this was Nature’s Larder. To help me with the decision making process of what and how this should be done I’ve been thinking out loud in my sketchbook. 

This page was very random with quick scribble sketches and the thoughts that came in to my head.


I filled another page with words and sketches, thnking about how the paper and medium used could be tied to the object I was drawing. This is way too organised for me, I work far more by just grabbing what’s close and experimenting. Sometimes this works and my technique improves as I go but other times it leaves me with a pretty piece that doesn’t have any soul.  Or worst a misjudged mess. This process was testing but, like anything once I got in to it I was able to come up with lots of ideas. There is no guarantee I will follow my plans but at least I can use them as a starting point.

I’m an avid user of Pinterest for gathering ideas and images. And, almost straight away I set up some pinboards to record pins relevant to my OCA work. The include items I have used for research and pins of my own work. These are my boards.


At best this gives me lots of inspiration and at worst, at least my procrasination is textile degree related.
Pinterest is full of sketchbooks and images of other artist’s work. I chose 8 pins as my inspiration for the next few sets of drawings and made notes about what I was going to do. 
Then I looked at how different artists had made use of the space on the page and reviewed this and selected some styles that I particularly liked.


These pictures have been gathered from on Pinterest, the sharing of art and ideas has become almost the norm now, personally I love this culture of creative sharing. I share my work without limit, this blog is public and so is my Instagram, Flickr and Art facebook page. I do keep my personal page private though. Friend’s warn me this may change when my idea’s are plagarised but I do not fear that, this is the world we live in now. The internet has changed all that, homework questions can be answered directly with the right google search but word-for-word transcripting is soon found out. Plagiarism is so easy now, too easy in fact, we spot it more easily and we now naturally look for the individual’s style and signatures that identify the work as their own. Copying is passé, stealing is frowned upon, I’ve seen individual’s rally round and cut off people who claim other’s work as their own. I may not always list the specifics of the images that I use, Pinterest doesn’t always make this very simple to do but all of the images can be traced back to my pinboards and from there back to the originator.

A Textile Vocabulary – Nature’s Larder. Observing and Recording.

I had a day off yesterday, except for tiding up my workroom and setting out my pens, paints and papers ready for drawing. Over the years I’ve built up a hoard of art materials and its nice to see them going to good use at last!



There is some organisation in there I promise!! I’ve got lots of black and whites to play with, so with trusty fizzy drink by my side and a story on Audible I got started. 

I started by concentrating on the close up photographs that I had taken and made a tracing of the solid white cabbages layers.

Lots of lines and shapes, there are curves and twists. Thin shapes and bigger shapes. In general the small shapes were dark in tone and the larger ones light.

Placing the tracing under a sheet of abaca tissue, which is thin but very tough I started to work on filling in the areas with a mixture of black and white ink. Adding pro-marker to capture the mid tones. It was all very haphazard and at times it was indanger of becoming a big mush, so I placed it aside for a while. Let it dry then added more detail later.  

The abaca tissue is tough but some of the ink went through onto the tracing paper, making interesting blobs and dabs of colour.  I decided to take advantage of this paint and added some pro-marker to the mix and moving the tracing paper often and randomly I transfered the paint, using the cabbage lines onto another piece of abaca tissue paper. Over the top I painted flow enhancer, just to see if it had an effect, it blurred some of the lines but the results were minimal.

What the extended did do though was to push some of the paint and the ink through to the piece of cartridge paper below, leaving a ghostly image behind.

The tracing paper ended up covered in ink, paint and marker but I still felt I liked the effect. I’d done one more acccurate drawing (with the help of tracing paper), a delicate transfer to express the delicate veins and lines between and bigger tough stems and I now liked the way that the boldness of the tracing paper made me think of the dense nature of the white cabbage. After taking the photographs I scrunched up the tracing paper, to experiment and see if any of the paint would shift, but no it all stayed there but the texture is quite pleasing.


Whilst I’d been playing with the tracing paper I had laid the abaca tissue with the cabbage painting on a sheet of cartridge paper and it had left this stamp. I resisted the temptation to alter it in any way and tucked it away to put with the others.

Satisfied with the white cabbage drawing I concentrated on another close up photograph of a leaf of the green cabbage and some of the seeds, with the oyster shell by its side. The shell has tinges of colour on it from when I had dunked it in procion dye. Only very faint but still there.

The leaves of the cabbage were very crinkly and textured with bold stems and a very dark V shape, using neocolour pastels I drew the shapes of the leaves, using black pastels to create the dark area. Using opaque marker pens I added little specks and dots to highlight the light branches of the stems in white and the darker grey a few of the shades, linking back to the black focal point. All of this is on a sheet of old handmade japanese paper, a little creased and textured.


My drawing of the shell was my happy accident of the afternoon, I was drawing the shell, as best I could with opaque markers on black paper and adding white and black ink. It all went horribly wrong and ended up just being a black and grey sluggy mess. So I wiped off the paint with a wet sponge, still frustrated I grabbed a piece of tissue and slapped  in on top of the drawing. The opaque markers showed through and using watered down gel medium I stuck the tissue down flat, leaving in the creases for interest. 

After the tissue had dried I drew the detail back in with the markers and added shade and tone with some soft pastels. Finishing it all off with some fixative. I have to say I was pleased, my drawing skills have been picked up along the way and I’m not confident at realism at all, I’m more an abstract girl but here for once was a drawing almost being the real thing. I had procrasinated for a whole day and a morning because I couldnt face picking up my pencil. Now I was very pleased that I had ….. but then!


I produced this monstrosity, there are elements that are okay, but overall I hate it.  The gel medium gave it a nice texture and there is plenty of tone. I like the little motif in the centre of the apple but the rest just doesn’t make me happy. Which is fine, overall it was a very successful. 

And, to finish off the day I went back to the white cabbage and painted a very simple record of the layers of the leaves, tightly packaged with the dark gaps between the pieces.