It’s been a slow start

Grey, grey March. Even after a trip to sunny, snowy still but very sunny Switzerland I’m finding it difficult to drag myself through my most hated month of the year. I’ve never been the quickest on this course but now I’m almost grinding to a halt.

But, I’ve still got some work done. Okay, so this part of ATV is all about lines and for some reason I can’t yet explain I’ve been drawn to this stitch sample as the one I’d like to base my initial explorations on. 

It’s not been easy to find some simple lines to recreate in thread and I think this has contributed to my slow progress. 

I’ve set up a sketchbook and started doing some preliminary sketches and designs for the linear explorations which are basically drawing with thread but not as stitches. More sculptural than that. 

The whole concept of these creations keeps escaping me, I’m finding it difficult to identify where the exercises are meant to be taking me. 

I’ve had a little play at making some linear thread forms with the tangled threads that gather along the edges of fabric and some other scraps I had lying about. I like then but I’m still struggling to see the point of them.

There are some ideas forming in the back of my mind about how I can make this part of ATV my own and how I can produce something that interests and excites me. 

This means I’m still really at the messing about stage; reading books, researching ideas and jotting down notes.

And ….. procrastinating! It’s just so easy on these grey days to lazy about on the sette and knit!!

I love my blanket squares.

In the end I turned to my fellow textile students and asked for a kick in the pants. As always they responded immediately with kind words of encouragement. Thank you all.

So to try and kick start my mojo I did some linear doodles to loosen me up and get me back focused on lines.


Just for a change I’m away next weekend but after that I’m almost exclusively at home until the 22nd April  which should give me plenty of time to crack on and get this part of ATV done and dusted. 

ATV – Colour Studies – Feedback

With the usual trepidation I opened my feedback for this assignment. Yet again I was impressed by Rebecca’s skill at critiquing and writing feedback. It’s clear, concise and has just the right amount of detail, but then I might be biased because it’s all good news!

Overall Comments

Sally there is evidence you have worked hard and been quite playful during this assignment. I am getting the sense that your personal design aesthetic is coming through the more you work at this course. I think you have got the balance right between concentrating to get things right and letting things happen. This has ensured your work is professional looking and well crafted yet you have expressed and developed you aesthetic sensibilities. Your Colour Recourse Sketchbook and your workbook are well organised and useful as well as being a pleasure to explore. Your online learning log is easy to navigate with evidence of developing critical thinking.

I was overwhelmed reading this, I did work hard but throughout I felt the ‘come on this is crap’ gremlin on my shoulder. I think, maybe not is the time to get over myself; stop wallowing in self doubt and just get into the experimenting and exploring. 

The danger is; will I start to sound big headed and immodest? Will I cut myself off from my friends with my superior ‘look at me attitude’? So I ask of everyone, please if I start to show any signs of being far too big for my boots, give me a slap!

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

This colour studies section of the course is an investigation into how colour is used and the ways it behaves. You have carried out your investigation with care and attention to detail, using your research material and the world around you to support your learning. There is evidence you have used the tasks to develop your skill in looking, not just at colour but also at forms and composition. This is particularly so on the page in your workbook where you make links between your research material and your image of the corner of your workroom. This dissecting and reflecting on the different aspects of an image is a valuable tool when it comes to understanding how to create the work you want. I get the impression from your reflective writing that you are sometimes concerned that you have not worked carefully or accurately enough. It is good to want have well-crafted and neat work but there is a lot of value in letting things happen and taking risks. I love your collage were you say you got carried away with the doodles. This expressive and playful creativity is where the really exciting stuff will come from. I suggested you continue to work with care but also to feel you can let go and allow an idea to have its own legs.  

 I loved this bit of feedback, it gives me the permission I needed to let go and to follow my style. The emergence of hundreds of adult doodle colouring books has left me feeling that my doodle style will soon become severely passé and what began as therapy and a gateway back into art has become a stress and something that I’m almost ashamed of.  Go on say it: ‘get over yourself Harrison’!!


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

You have a nice drawing style and work competently in a range of media. This assignment demonstrates your technical skill in using paint and yarn to colour match and create colour palettes. You also use line creatively to form designs and patterns. I suggest you continue to develop your drawing skill by expanding the range of media you use, have a go at using more ‘messy’ mediums like inks, pastels and chalk. Use your fingers to smudge, blend and spread them across the picture plain. Let inks and paints dribble and splash to create chaotic marks and patterns. This will help you develop a more risky approach to your work and learn new ways of creating the line. Use observational drawing to study your research material and explore objects and forms in the world around you. This will assist in developing your looking skills and help you become more effective in your more creative drawing.  

Messy! Yikes, that could be interesting. I am naturally messy in everything but my art. I better get my workroom tidied up so I’ve got a big washable area to get down and dirty in!


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

For this assignment you have gathered together a good range of research material that is dispersed throughout your work demonstrating that you understand that research is a continuous process. You have used imagery to indicate your thoughts and illustrate how colour and form influence design. Your research material also contains your critical analysis of artists and the written material that describes their work. You use the information to reflect upon your own outlook and creative output. This is a very important aspect of doing research as it helps you to learn what is important to you and develops ideas about your own creativity. I suggest you continue to research widely, thinking and writing about what you find and how this makes you think and make.

More research? No problem there, I’m a total magpie when it comes to arty information. The difficulty here is recording what I see and read about and finding a way to blog this. I’m comfortable using Pinterest and writing in a notebook but putting my views out there in a blog, especially if it’s negative is very difficult to do. 

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your learning log is nicely laid out with images of both your work and your research material. You describe you processes with care and reflect upon the outcomes. I suggest you continue to develop the language you use to describe and critically analyse your outcomes. Think about the scale of the work, its composition, how the forms relate to each other and how your work links with your research material. This will then help you think more clearly and understand in a deeper way how to develop your work.

Lots to think about and work on here. I’m reading an exhibition programme at the moment for X-10 Power in the Land that I saw at Oriel Davies. It was an excellent show and demonstrates perfectly how a group of artists from different genres can take on a difficult subject with lots of possibly different view points and produce a well presented and cohesive exhibition. The programme includes essays from three writers from within the visual arts field. These are providing me with lots of examples of critical writing and plenty of new words – my dictionaries getting a bashing!

Suggested reading/viewing


I think this book about how makers, artists and designers use drawing could be helpful to you. Making and Drawing by Kyra Cane published by Bloomsbury. There is also a lovely book about Henry Moore’s textiles that includes a good number of his sketches and drawings. Henry Moore Textiles by Anita Feldman published by Laurence King.

Pointers for the next assignment

• Reflect on this feedback in your learning log

• Make sure you balance your need to get things right and letting things happen

• Develop your drawing by using more messy media and doing some observational drawing

• Continue to research widely analysing what you find and relating it to your own work

• Develop the language you use to describe and think about your work

 No re-work which made my day and I like these pointers. I’m already working in this direction. I must remember to have some fun too and not just get caught up in all the words.