Art · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Part 5 – Quick Catch Up

Towards the end of ATV I have fallen out of love with blogging, we never had the smoothest of relationships and I’ve always found it the most demanding of my friends in the digital world. 

Me and Instagram aren’t as close as we once were since she got into bed with the Facebook team of dictators who seem to think they know me and my likes and dislikes better than I know myself but we still meet on a daily basis and I use her simple platform to post pictures of my work. It’s still my digital full stop; my moment to pause and reflect and I’m grateful to her for that. 

But this blog? Well, I’m lucky if I bother to meet up fortnightly let alone daily! I’ve tried, lets face it, it’s hard work, and strangely  lonely. All my other digital meeting places are quick, the post is quick (unless I’m having a huge rant) and the response it often just as quick too. I don’t have to use many words and I can select and edit what I want seen and heard, to hopefully, make it as inoffensive and interesting as I can. I know I’m there with lots of other people wasting time, sharing, promoting their talent (keep it clean!) and that is comforting and reassuring. 

Blogging is a whole different kettle of sprouts, it’s time consuming, its unrewarding and its sometimes far too personal. Over the last 2 years, yep I’ve been at this for 2 years, I’ve had some lovely comments from people and I’m unbelievably flattered by and grateful for them, without them I’m sure I’d have given up this method of keeping a learning log long ago.

So back to this relationship, it’s gone into the ‘silent’ zone. I’ve not been here for a while and now it feels like too long, am I welcome back here?  It’s like that unanswered text, should I start with a jokey apology? Say I’d lost my phone, forgotten my password? Gosh doesn’t time fly, ha ha, gulp! 

Well I’m back, hopefully without another huge break after this, but I’ve decided I’m not going to add 1 post after another in a traditional studying kind of way, in that long winded and tedious catch up way of filling in paperwork at the end rather than as you go along.  This is going to be where I’m at and how I got here, all a bit back to front but I’ve got to make it interesting to prepare or I’ll die of boredom writing it.

Despite being away from the blog my work is progressing, not as quickly as it should but I can see the end of ATV, the finish line is in sight!

My capsule collection is coming together. I have 2 pieces almost complete, 1 in progress and the final 3 planned but not started.

The nearest reaching completion is being worked on an old cheesecloth top of mine.

I thought long and hard about what types of surfaces I wanted to work these final pieces on and in the end I was drawn back to the original garments that I’d viewed at the textile archive. They had been practical linen items with smocking, embroidery and signs of wear and tear and over the time my working designs had been parred down to various simple lines and motifs. I wanted to remember and acknowledge those original garments and therefore decided I would source 3 similar garments to use as the canvas/fabric base for my textile pieces.


For reasonable sums, less than the cost of a metre of good linen I was able to buy 2 vintage linen garments off eBay (one of my best digital friends) and then after a rummage through my own wardrobe I settled on this top which I’d never liked wearing anyway.

I had a think about what I could do and how I could use all of the interesting ideas that I’d gathered.


This bought on that little spark of excitement you get when you’ve got something new and exciting to work on. I actually felt like I was transforming my research, my mark-making, my sampling into something; into a real thing! I still wasn’t sure how I could make the piece speak, how I could make it tell a story or generate a feeling/reaction in the viewer but this was a good place to start.

As I worked I used my sketchbook ideas as a basic instruction and then thinking about Rebecca’s wise words about development and exploring I added elements that presented themselves as I worked into the material. Rubbing to create tears and pulling threads to make ruffles of texture.


I moved to the left side and couched down some yarn that I’d made, by then I’d found the lost yarns and remembered how much I’d liked the ruffled explorations.


I experimented with 2 ways of attaching the yarns, the top is stitched into a slit in the fabric and lower one is simply couched down.


At this point I did a quick review of where I was and decided, as my sketchbook shows that I needed an element to create interest.


It’s so easy to fall into the trap of adding embellishments that do not relate to the design because you have them and I was keenly aware of this at this point. Then there was the old adage of ‘less is more’ but I really wanted to add more. In the end I decided to use the photo and I’m hoping to use more of them as a visual marker to link the pieces together. 

The photos are of my workspace and add a personal element; this whole module, all of ATV, has taken me on a hugely significant and important journey. It’s not just the source material playing a part in these final pieces it’s also me and how I am developing as an artist, it’s about how I am becoming true to my own voice and my desire to be creative. It’s about how I am learning, with help from my hugely supportive friends to give myself permission to be an artist. My workspace is now becoming true to me, it’s a symbol of these changes and the changes to come. 


This is the first piece as it stands now. I might yet add to it but for now I’m actually quite happy with it as it is. 

8 thoughts on “ATV – Part 5 – Quick Catch Up

  1. Good to see you back on your blog, Sally. I empathise with your disillusionment – I enjoy writing my posts but despair at the idea of sending my thoughts out into the digital ether with little or no response. I guess the only way to solve this is for us all to get more active in responding to each other. I love your thought process here and the way you gather ideas then move forward. There is a small article in the current Selvedge on work smocks which made me think of you, thinking back to your original explorations of this topic – then you posted this! Must be a sign. I like the idea of merging your research with more directly personal elements. Looking forward to how this collection develops.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh – Finally you are back – I am thinking to be quite honest. You have so much good ‘stuff’ to share so it is very hard for me to believe you are not great friends with this medium. Naturally I have seen progress as posted on your other mediums, but I think the words you are able to add here give so much more context. For you I am assuming, but certainly for me as a reader, and probably also for the assessors. Your work has such integrity and has really stood out for me ever since I started ATV as a model way of making the course your own. As Julie mentions, your initial work with smocking is now part of my visual history with OCA together with the work of Nicola. Between the two of you, you changed my way of thinking about and looking at smocking forever (in a good way). Without blogging I would never have known. I feel this blog is a very good window to share your workspace and thus monitor it’s growth and expansion. But of course I am not objective, as I just want to see more from you. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so welcome, Sally, as should be apparent I really come to your blog for guidance on such aspects as unique mark making and self-expression, so I am really happy that you consider coming back to blogging. I know how hard work it is, but it certainly has changed me. You can’t imagine how my vocabulary has shifted after starting at the OCA…:-) Good luck with part five. So far you work look so exiting and so true to your visual vocabulary. Strong work! looking forward to see the rest.

        Liked by 1 person

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