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 - Choices & Planning · ATV - Ex 4.3 - Re-interpret, re-invent · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Let’s Play!!

I’ve decided that I’m not satisfied with the samples I’ve made for Ex4.3 so I’m going to have a play. 

This is my colour scheme source.

So I’ve collected a load of yarns in the similar colours, I’ve used most of the specific yarns up with the unsatisfactory samples.

My plan is to go back to some line making techniques that I am comfortable with; crochet and knitting and I’m going to have some fun seeing how far I can take the yarns using as many silly stitches as I can. 

I really want to get back into my working territory so that my mind can run more wild. At least if these samples don’t work I will have had a good time making them!

Happy weekend everyone. 

Art · ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Ex 4.3 - Re-interpret, re-invent · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn & it's Manufacture · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Re-interpret, re-invent. Design and Planning

Although this exercise called for the use of the colour wraps from Part 3 I wasn’t quite sure how to start this exercise so I decided to gather some ideas together about the colour wraps and do a review of what I had done so far in my sketchbook.

As I reached the end of this review I decided that I wanted to look to my flower paintings from Part 2, they have a luxurious feeling and I wanted to use them as the source for the shaping of the linear samples. 

Again I worked in my sketchbook and looked for some suitable shapes and referring this back to my book of knotting techniques to match the designs with a suitable technique. It’s only now as I look back I realise I’d forgotten I was meant to use the techniques I had previously tried. Doh!

ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Linear Forms – WTF

I’m really struggling with this part of ATV (A Textile Vocabulary). I just don’t understand what I am being asked to do. What am I being asked to create?

I can’t decide if its the vocabulary that I don’t understand or if I’m just being plain stupid. I’ve tried notes and I’ve tried mind mapping and now I’m going to try and explain it here on my blog.

Sumarising and explaining would be how I would usually fathom things out, I will talk it through and try and explain it to someone else. The only problem with distance/online learning is that you don’t really have that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong OCA work very hard at providing us with networking and discussion opportunities but it’s very difficult when we are all at different stages and working at different rates.

So Part 4 Yarn and Linear Explorations. The title got me straight away, but let’s put that behind us. So ‘Yarn’? This took me a while to accept. I use yarn, I’m surrounded by yarn, I’ve got every concievable type of yarn somewhere in my house. Why in God’s name would I want to make more? I’m making yarn with yarn and other found ‘stuff,

I’ve never wanted to spin yarn and most methods of making yarn create an unusuable mess. That’s why so much is either spun or mercurisized. The Harrison logic machine had gone into overdrive!!

After a while I did manage to drag myself through the first project and I have created some samples. I would not really call them yarn, I couldn’t knit with them, I might be able to couch them maybe? They are not yarns to me but embellished ribbons and braids.  And there is my problem, it’s like I have gone and lost my open minded joyful approach to my work, I’ve gone and got hung up on a word! I really quite like my embellished ribbons, braids, twists and cords. And if in the world of OCA these are yarns then I’m happy.

Everyone else seemed to be seeing inspriration and references to their other work when doing these exercises and I just felt kind of numb. It was quite a scary feeling, usually I’m having to hold myself back. I even contemplated leaving the course all together. But that’s only a small step away from being pathetic and that’s not gonna happen!!

Just confessing all of this is helping, I’m feeling lighter and almost excited about project 2. That is of course if I can actually work out what I should be doing. So what have I learnt so far? Don’t be closed minded – check. Don’t get hung up on the words – check. Don’t over think – check? Me – overthink? Quick, I better get started before I get hung up on the minute details again. Wish me luck x


ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Ex 3.3 - Watercolour Studies · ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj2 - Materials & Composition · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Watercolour Studies

This task has been quite a bit of fun; this next part started with choosing 4 to 6 glass vessels and placing them into a nice still life.

I set up a ‘table’ using a box of pebbles, a white box lid, a big sheet of paper and a light box. It was a beautiful, rare sunny morning so the light was just right. Once the arrangement was ‘just right’ then I would need to paint the colours in watercolour paints.

Although I enjoy using paint and the task didn’t ask for the vessels to be painted; only the colours, I didn’t feel confident to go straight into the painting. Instead I decided to have a play with some photographs and my iPhone apps.


I just played with the colours, brightening them up and strengthening the lines and depth of the colour. I love the way the light box light makes the glasses look like they are floating in the air.


This image has the colours inverted, one day I really must find out what that means. This version lookes more like a batik. I love the palette of bright sunny blues, purples and orangey yellows.


I used the Fragment app to create a digitally made stripe pattern of the colours in the composition, there is still so much detail. Colour just loves to be as complicated as possible.


I then added a small crystal glass and a pair of clear safety glasses and took a close up photograph. This gives the composition more compartments and lines.


Then finally I used the Brushstroke app to electronically paint the composition. I love the stripes, the colours and the way the crystal glass looks like stained glass windows in a church. Gorgeous.



ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Colour Studies – Preparation and Planning

I have had a quick read through the brief for Part 3 – Colour Studies, I know I’m going to love this one. I’m a colour freak and I can’t wait to find out and to learn more about interpretating and making colour.

The assignment at the end of this part is to make a colour resource book, I’m very excited about this and full of ideas. I do already have a small colour theory book I put together on my City and Guilds course so this is a perfect opportunity to consolidate what I already know whilst learning more about what colour is and how to use it.  So what is there to say about colour?

Today I found this wonderful quote in Victoria Finlay’s book Colour – Travels Through the Paintbox (Folio Society 2009) –

“The first challenge in writing about colour is that colours don’t really exist. Or rather they do exist, but only because our minds create them as an interpretation of vibrations that are happening around us”

After you’ve got your head around that concept, she then talks about what ‘seeing’ colours in nature is –

“The colour of many natural objects derives from transformational shifts happening within their atomic structures”

It made me think that colour is a static, snap shot of a scene full of vibration, movement and change. So how does that translate to a scene of paint or a photograph, they aren’t moving, so how do we see the colour? More reading to do then.

I could easily fill a blog with quotes from Victoria’s book but I’m not sure how that works for copy write so I will simply recommend that anyone who wants to know more about colour and the stories behind colour should get a copy of this book from the library.

ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Reflections

Blithering blogging part two

Tonight I’m trying something very new. This blog is being written using the dictation button on the keyboard on my iPhone. It’s quite strange sitting talking almost to myself.

But it is so much quicker than writing it all down. I’m wondering if I can keep a written journal or a daybook and then transcribe what I’ve written into a blog using the dictation method.

I quite like this leather bound book and it would be nice to write down my thoughts as I go along. I still find writing easier than typing directly onto my phone or iPad. Sometimes the technology distracts me from really thinking about what I’m going to write. 

I have to say using the dictationbutton is very much quicker, and if I was reading out what I had written it would be even quicker. 


ATV - Assignment 2 · ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

A Little Preparation 

Before I threw myself into the stitch sampling I decided to review what is needed for Assignment 2.

I like to have at least a little inkling of where I’m going next and for me reading the course materials is just not enough!

Usually I would write them out, almost, word for word but there are a lot of instructions this time. 

So I had to come up with a way to review and digest the guidance that could also make it easy for me to re-read, review, take notes, jot down ideas, research, keep pictures etc etc.

I had loads of paper left over from the previous exercise and I’ve used some of it to make a workbook. 

I’ve printed the instructions off on sticky backed acetate, cut them up into paragraphs so I could read them in small bites and fixed them onto different pages. 

And this will give me lots of space for mind maps, ideas, photos and photocopies etc.

The issue now is, do I want to mess up all this uncharacteristic organisation by actually doing something??


ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

It’s Audition Time.

After putting together my manipulated paper surfaces for stitch, the next stage is to sift through all of the source material and start to decide what I am going to stitch.

Tonight I have the lounge to myself (almost, if you don’t include the pets!) so I started off by printing off pictures of my surfaces and the drawings I have selected to use as direct sources for the stitching. 

Then using my view finders I selected areas of the drawings that I felt had some link or similarly to the different surfaces.

I photographed and printed off these little duos, then I worked through the actual surfaces and put them together with the print offs.

At some point it had got to the stage where I had stuff everywhere so I decided to set up some admin style folders to organise the samples and ideas.

I’m not sure if it’s really very arty or creative to be this organised but it helps me! Not so sure Gem was that impressed though!!


There is still far too many examples to stitch so there is still more auditioning to do. 

Thank you to Anne Armes for sharing this concept of ‘auditioning’ items when selecting ideas to take forward. 

It’s been a busy evening and as you can see it’s all worn Leo the cat out!!


ATV - Choices & Planning · ATV - Pt2 - PJ1 - Creating Surfaces · ATV - Pt2 - PJ2 - Drawing with Stitch · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Selecting what to work on next.

Focus! Keep it simple. That has been my brief all through this course so far. No over thinking but informed rational decision making. This isn’t always easy when working in an atmosphere of assessment and judgement (peers and tutors). 

I try very hard to ignore this and to work as an artist would: using their own eye and judgement to decide which direction to go in next. But then at least I don’t have the haunting consideration of ‘will this sell’.

So my choices? What governs them? 

1. Putting something right – taking something I don’t really like and seeking out ways to make it a pleasure to view. 

2. Making something bigger – this is tricky, pretty lines and shapes are just that so how does extending and stitching something take it to a new level? 

The answer must be in the selection process. I am going to experiment with taking an area of a drawing that now transmutes the original source into something very different.

3. Turning flatness into texture – taking a mark making exercise that hints at depth and tone and experimenting with creating that texture with stitch.

4. Building and developing a feeling or idea – another tricky challenge, I like the dreamy quality of these seed heads and can I improve on this or will stitch just overwork the image and alter its original qualities?

5. Fixing an issue with colour – when the basic composition is sound but the colour is not pleasing I can remedy with different colour choices.


6. Working across several pieces to identify unusual and interesting compositions – where there are several sketches on one page and sometimes lines and textures created by the base paper(s) then I like to block a small area that covers different elements.

That should be enough to get me started. I’ve got my view finders and once I’ve started moving them round my actual picture selections may change but I shall endeavour to keep to the 6 guidelines above.