Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Develop textile concepts · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Building a Response – Develop Textile Concepts – pt2

Continuing to work with the sweeping shapes that I had previously manipulated and played around with.

The black bent shapes I cut by hand and I particularly like these shapes. I think it would work well in appliqué using Sheila Frampton-Cooper as an influence. Sheila works in far brighter colours, I’m wondering if I could work a slightly bigger composition with these shapes as a focal point as she has done with Kelp.


I’m a great lover of happy accidents and reusing stuff that has been cast off so the next 2 compositions are made with the carbon paper I had left over from making a couple of tracings of the original sketch.  

I’m very drawn to the first composition of thin lines on the black, although I do not particularly like the paper translation. I can see it worked on chiffon or organza. I looked through some of Maggie Grey’s work because I know she likes to work with these types of fabric but I think her work is too detailed for what I’d like to do. I am more drawn to garments and gowns, like these Art Deco dresses.


When I think of these textile concepts I think of drape and soft handling. I think of flowing lines and naturally folding material and I could well be getting towards a way to translate these ideas. 

Now the paper version of the 3rd composition is much nicer than the 2nd but I’m not sure if it can be translated to keep the qualities that I want of softness unless! I could use nuno felting, now that would work. Very light, gentle wool tops worked into light black chiffon. Now that I like the idea of that! 


I haven’t done any nuno felting for a long time and it would be lovely to do it again.

This white layered piece reminds me of the wonderful dress design I saw at Manchester Art Museum by Xenia Telunts. She had made a simple but very moving design called Restriction. Xenia took her inspiration from the women who during WW1 because of mental distress found themselves committed to asylums.


I don’t want to copy Xenia’s fabric choices but I would like to test recreating the layering with heated synthetic fabrics and black felt.  The base layer could be similar to Emily Sladen’s work.


I think the black shapes would be best made out of felt or boiled wool because that will ensure that it is very opaque like the black card. 

For the black dotted piece I can see tambour embroidery but can I do this? Can I stitch with beads like this? I really like the simple and elegant beautiful work of Narciso Rodriguez.


If I used this technique then I could continue using light chiffon type material that is starting to become a theme running through my designs. I like the way that Chanel stretch the base fabric on frames, I never studied tambour embroidery so I would only be doing an approximation but that would be interesting and exciting in itself.


The third composition I made with the concept of ‘near and far’ in my mind. I really like the layering and it reminds me of the work of Holly Fulton in the Fashion and Freedom exhibition at the Manchester Art Museum. I spent a lot of time looking at this beautifully structured garment. It’s so very different from anything that we would wear now.

 I love the layering and the attention to detail and I wonder if I could use elements of Holly’s construction techniques.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Be inspired by an artist or designer · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Building a response – being inspired by an artist/maker – pt2

When on the search for artists to focus on for this section of ATV5. I love this quilt and it’s very likely that some of the influences work it’s way into my work. Unfortunately their is very little information about the maker Jayne Larson.


After Jayne I looked at the work of Helen Parrott, I love her book on mark-making and I’ve always been in awe of her ability to use repetitive marks.


In my previous post on ‘inspiration from an artist maker’ I talked about Diane Firth. Her work is so simple and it’s going to be a challenge for me to work in a similar way.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Identify & present a colour palette · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Building a Response – colour palette – pt2

Once I’d decided on my colour palette I started to think about materials and proportions.

First I selected some paints that I felt matched the ones I had in my head.


A lovely friend had reminded me that my choices had a very Mondrian feeling to them. 

I found this particularly interesting quote from the man, Piet Mondrian, himself:

I construct lines and color combinations , in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things…

I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.


And, it looks like not only his colour choices appeal to me. I love his views on abstraction coming from truth and his ability to create simple beauty from complex forms like nature.

My colour palette comes from very simple sources; the black and white from the shadows on the smocks, then the blue and yellow from smocks made from denim, or serge. A fabric very similar to denim from France. In Belgium the walloons wear blue smocks as part of their national outfit.

After deciding on the colours, I looked at proportions and selected the bold, contrasting white and black as the main colours with blue and yellow as a smaller elements to add interest.


My time completing Part 4 of ATV and making yarn/linear concepts has left me with an interest in reusing old materials, especially in the form of thread. Either as recycled yarns or threads that I have pulled from fabric and weaves.

I chose some provisional materials and then ordered some beautiful recycled yarns from YarnYarn

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Be inspired by an artist or designer · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Identify & present a colour palette · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Building a Response – Colour Palette – pt1

This was a relatively easy decision. I already knew that I wanted to work with colours that make a striking contrast between light and dark. I didn’t want colours that had too much range and were likely to be miss read.  Think of all the different shades and tones of pink! At some point I think my hair has probably been most of those!


When making colour choices I often look to the subject matter for inspiration, but with the smocks I had already done that in Part 2 and after looking at colour palettes in far more detail in part 3 I thought I might look further for inspiration. 

This I duly did until it just became evident to me that the best colours to create the perfect contrast were black and white.  Not the most exciting but it feels right. 

So I had a little look round Pinterest and found 3 that I think use black and white to great effect:

Firstly Dianne Firth, this master art quilter lives in Australia and makes beautiful quilts using very limited colour palettes and strong solid shapes.

I’m also very taken with Marina Kamenskaya and this beautiful quilt of horizontal lines, they make me think of Kandinsky and the mighty Joan Miro. Such wonderful artists that were able to make sense of their worlds by stripping back to the bare lines, highlights and shadows. 


Finally I’ve been drawn to the work of Elizabeth Barton and particularly this piece that uses black and white to great effect. I really like this but I do think it’s drawing me back into a more detailed approach and not the bold repetitive effect that I am looking for.


Red and yellow are often used as the contrasts for black and white and they work very well being good primary colours. So just to bring a little variety I have decided to use blue, the other primary colour with yellow.

I’m going to be working on my capsule collection during the winter months and black, white, blue and a flash of yellow feel like the perfect colours for dark nights and short days of frost, blue skies and sharp sun.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Develop textile concepts · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Building a Response – Develop Textile Concepts – pt1

Today I am well and truly sick of blogging, I’ve had a lovely week looking after my nieces up in the wilds of Scotland, well Glasgow actually – more sophisticated than wild! And I shall miss them dreadfully once I’m back home but I can’t wait to get back to exploring and experimenting, to the messing with paper and paint. I’m never going to divide the work and the blogging into too such big blocks again …. my nerves just can’t take it!

So this is one quick last blog in this batch, this should get me well in the mood for trying out some more ideas once I’ve touched base back with my kids, dogs and friends!

Working on from the influences of Diane Firth’s wonderful quilts and my project one drawing I have decided to have a play with this simple pastel sketch.


I made a very simple trace of the lines and cut out some nice bold black shapes.


Then I had a play with placement.


I decided I like the movement in this layout best.


And then made it up into a textile concept with some other shapes and some thread.


And me being me, this wasn’t enough so I had some fun manipulating the image with some of my iPhone apps.


Oh yummy yummy! Lots of inspiration here, I did have a little play with these images but I can’t blog those now, there is a hungry 4 year old to fetch and spoil with Haribos.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 2 - Building a Response · ATV - Pt5 - PJ2 - Be inspired by an artist or designer · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Building a Response – Be Inspired by an Artist or Designer – pt1

This is one of the times when blogging and the actual working starts to become quite difficult to match. Both the course materials and blogs are best written in a linear fashion but working, especially like a mad scientist just doesn’t work like that.

I am, at the moment trying to load these blogs in the order of the course work headings but I’m sure that throughout the completion of Project 2 – Building a Response I will be jumping back wards and forwards; maybe to Inspiration from Artists/Designers and to adjusting my colour palette, or maybe trying out need designs and concepts. 

In an attempt to make this easier for navigation I will tag posts (below the heading) if I feel that they refer back to earlier tasks to show that they include actions that demononstrate what (I hope) is required. I am also thinking that I should add in links back to my previous work when I openly refer to it. I hope this does not make my posts too confusing and clunky.

Throughout this part of ATV I have been drawn to the work of Dianne Firth and I’ve been happily filling up a Pinterest board with posts of her amazing art quilts. There is very little information about Diane online but I have a Masters: Art Quilters Vol2 book which has a small biography. 

I love the way that her work has a beautiful simple quality that still evokes imagines of deserts and fields, of landscapes seen up close and from far away.


The abstract forms imply so much but you are allowed to use your own memories to decide what the images remind you of.

Sometimes the lines are bold and smooth and sometimes there is a gentle wavy to the edge, but always there is a sense of repetition, of gentle change. And evidence of a controlled approach to placement of shapes.


Even when the lines are broken down there a sense of the mathematic, scientific, no spacing or sizing is left to chance they all flow in a beautiful and perfectly formed way.


The colours are bold and the contrast is strong and exciting. I am in awe of Diane’s ability to make the simple so compelling and full of energy.

There will more on Diane and a couple of other artists that have caught my eye when I get home and have access to my sketchbook again.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 1 - Developing Visual Research · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Strengthing a Theme – Light and Dark

Looking back through my textile archive sketchbook I was drawn to the shadows and the contrast in the shading. So I decided this was what I am going to focus on for the 8 to 10 drawing required for this first project. 


This will allow me to meet my own brief of working towards a series of more parred down simple designs.

I started with some nice broad lines and added some detail in white.
I really can’t help myself, the lines on their own were just not enough and before I knew it I had  added the little dots!

This was almost physically painful, but I did it. 

Clean lines, I know I know, there is some texture from the paper but I can work with that!

I can see lots of potential to work with these lines.

Flump! I just couldn’t help myself, I tried to draw some of the dog tooth shapes made by the stitching on the smocks and I soon found myself adding more detail.

But if I give myself a break I quite like this, it’s not one I’m going to take forward in this form. The shapes deserve some more attention but I’m not mad about their placement in this design.

Back to the sweeping lines. I used a softer paper here.

I’m working on a variety of different papers for these drawings and then putting them into the sketchbook rather than working directly onto the pages.

This design could be very easily translated into stitch but will it be interesting enough, would it give you a ‘wow’ moment? 

And then I went slightly off track!

I’d used a circle in one of my collages of the smock coat so I had a circle moment. 

These are very, very me but I want to try something new and challenge myself, so this will stay where it is!

The folding was interesting because I was trying to copy the folds in the clothes, this is okay but still very reminiscent of the work I’ve already done.

Okay, I’ve put this in but I’m not sure about it at all.
It’s just plain weird. It does have a bit of photo negative about it which I like but overall I’m calling it a dud. 

So that’s the first block of 8 drawings. I decided to take a break at this point and to come back the next day to work on the next couple of drawings with a fresh eye.

Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 1 - Developing Visual Research · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Strengthing a Theme – alternative shape

Whilst I agree with Bert Dodson in his book Key to Drawing with Imagination when he says that creativity works best with constraints I still like to have a plan B. So far my drawings have focused on curved lines and I have a completed one that I want to work on further so Ive decided it might be a good idea to try something different with the last couple of drawings. 

I had already had a play with these dog tooths and I thought they might make a good motif to work with in the clean simple way that was my original intention.


I also thought it might be a good time to bring in a little bit of colour, so I cut out some shapes and worked them into a couple of designs that also include the curved lines and the strong contrasts that I liked from before.


It’s amazing how far you can go with a single motif, constant repetition would be interesting and could form a piece using the Japanese stitch technique of shashiko.


Nice, but it’d be boring if I didn’t work it into a more interesting composition, thought I still like the idea of repetition. I’ll keep that stored away!


Um, then I started to work more at keeping the triangles on the curved lines and finding different placements, to look for how this changed the feel and energy of the spacing and final composition. 

I like the bottom sketch most; is this because it looks like the triangles are defying gravity by remaining upright when they are only just holding on by their tips. Also, somehow despite the fact that the sketch is only simple lines it has a feeling of depth.


I had a little go at developing the idea further but the colour and solid blocks seemed to drain away the essences of the original drawing. Maybe it would be best just as it is? 

Could it work well as something similar to the work of Debbie Smyth? Not sure how I’d get the finished article into the poly bag to send it for assessing though!


In the past few parts of ATV I feel I have worked in the 2 extremes of either having loads of sketches – textile archive sketchbook or hardly any – Part 4 and I am hopeful that in this part I am striking a healthy balance. 

My intention, after Rebecca’s last dose of feedback is to not restrict my drawing to the preliminary stages and to keep drawing all the way to the end. 

Art · ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 1 - Developing Visual Research · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Project 1 – Developing Visual Research

I had already decided that I would be returning to my textile archive work for this project during the time towards the end of part 4. This is where the most interesting inspiration and raw material is. 

I had thought about going back to the vegetables, I’d had lots of fun working with the cabbage and seeds and I could see lots of potential there too. 

But the textile archive had been thrilling, I’d loved being with these beautiful pieces of history, I’d created a sketchbook that I view with pride and that I enjoy going back to again and again. My only reservation was that I would like to work through this part of ATV at a good pace and the breath of potential ideas bought on by revisiting the textile archive might well hamper my intentions. So the onus is on me to keep to my original intend of not overthinking and using decisive decision making whilst I work towards the capsule collection.

I’m really quite excited about this part of ATV, it’s laid out well and I like the way it’s a consolidation of what I have learnt so far. It’s given me a framework to follow when developing a small body of work and I’m interested to see where the guidance will lead me this time.

So I’m not putting in place too rigid a plan; I’m going to build on what I have by reviewing and focusing on a specific aspect of my previous marking records, as the course states:


I’m very taken with this idea of light and dark, sitting side by side. It’s fits nicely with the smocks and the driving coat that I chose from the archive, I have lots of romantic, sun lit imaginaings when I think of them but I’m sure the reality was very different, especially the smocks. Life on a farm was hard work, back breaking, stomach growling, life shortening hard work and the dust coat was probably worn during the dark days of the 2 great wars. There could just as easily have been a dark side to life these garments have had and my use of light and dark would reflect this well.

Whilst doing my thinking I was immediately drawn to the work of Meredith Woolnough and her use of a single colour displayed on a single colour background in her beautiful nature based creations. I would like to do something larger and bolder.

I would also like to revisit some of the photographs that I took during the textile archive visit in Ludlow. There are some great shots of the reverse of the smocking that have some lovely movement in their wavy lines.


I would like to use my slightly haphazard approach to develop a series of pieces of work that are more striped back than I usually work. Dianne Firth’s work has caught me eye and she’s going to be the starting point for my journey looking for inspiration from another artist.

My plan is to have a working sketchbook and when required I will use display boards if I feel the sketchbook is too limiting. My sketchbook book started with a brief map of what I need to do.

Art · ATV - Assignment 5 - Your Capsule Collection · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

The Crazy Scientist 

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never ending so the exhibition is not a conclusion” Clive Ofili 

This is a statement that I can agree with wholeheartedly. I find finishing anything difficult and in the early days I always called my painting and doodling practising and playing. It allowed me to work without judgement and to let my own thoughts direct my hand not all of those beliefs and worries about what makes good art. I happily tried and tested ideas; what could I paint? How flat could I paint? Could I draw a perfect circle? Could I make a surface without any brush strokes? 

I’m still drawn to this kind of work and often love the work of others that is in the preliminary, preparatory design stage; like the unseen work of Louise Bourgeois, these beautiful drawings form part of her extensive sketchbook and drawing collection that would not usually have been seen as exhibition worthy but my goodness me they are!

It appeals to me this idea that my studio is a laboratory, not a lavatory as the spellchecker tried to make it! Though if you were to see it you might be forgiven for seeing that way too, it’s certainly not a factory I would have been shut down by the Health and Safety executive years ago if it was. My room is full of just about to tumble piles of papers and heaps of searched for and now abandoned fabric and fibres, the table is a mess of pens, pencils, jars of strange looking fluids and an ever decreasing spare for a sketchbook or sewing machine to be squeezed into! Even the floor space is covered in curling bits of tape and dogs and cats!! It’s a wonder I ever get anything done. Who wants to work in a factory anyway! 

I can see the advantage of a factory environment if you’ve got a commission to produce a certain number of similar items or you’ve decided to batch together a series of similar actions, Pam Carriker recommends this style of working in her book Art at the Speed of Life. And it can be very useful to paint a batch of sketchbook pages or canvases ready for use later. I used her advice when working on some book shop finds I was turning into altered/sketch books.


Generally I like to work in an exploratory way, my higgledly piddly way of working means I can work in a more random way; I can start making a piece with a pile of materials that I have gathered but as the mood takes me and the piece is coming together I can pick up bits of detritus and left over elements and work them into the piece. Sometimes it’s the leftovers that form the best bits of my favourite pieces. This happened when I was working on my yarn concepts and just lying about were the abandoned in frustrate dye pots from my failed dip dyeing project, they are wax paper and are lovely colours and bam! They soon became one of my favourite yarn concepts. I would have missed this entirely if I’d cleaned up after my last unsatisfactory session.


My inability to ever finish anything and my view that most of my work is a bit weird and really not of any interest to anyone else has always made me shy away from exhibiting, that and the fact that’s it’s always looked like hard work! 

All that blasted stretching, framing, hanging … it sounds all very organised! How do I display my preparatory work? Matthew Harris has got this nailed; his beautiful paper designs and small sample quilts are art works in their own right and are probably far better suited to most homes, rather than his large quilts (as wonderful as the are).

I love this piece of Matthew’s work on Stitchlopp’s blog and her statement about its frame.

A piece by Matthew Harris that I’m pleased to have had on my studio wall for a few years. It is unmounted and unframed but I’ve pinned it to the wall and placed an old frame around it – so you see, I did frame it Matt!


I’m actually really starting to like the idea of being in an exhibition, a bit like writing these blog pages I’m sure it must be a good way to make a halt in what your doing; create a milestone. A time to reflect on what you have created. A time to see your work through the eyes of others and for you to see it in a new light too. Maybe I should order Austin Kleon’s book Show your work!  I love his books and the reviews give an indication that this’ll be as good as the rest!

Yep, so for me I agree with Clive, I love the idea that I am some mad crazy scientist brewing up new ideas and testing out mad theories and that at some point they will be displayed up on a wall or in a cabinet to make other’s tut or smile.