What a wonderful experience this first course with OCA has been. It’s had it’s ups and downs but in the end I can confidently say that I have learnt loads during the process and I am so glad that I persevered and got to the end, even though I had to skid across the finish line just before the deadline!
I made the decision 13 March to submit what I had completed up to the point for feedback from Rebecca my tutor. I did it with trepidation because I personally didn’t think the 6 capsule pieces were completed, luckily Rebecca didn’t agree but more about that in the next blog.
In the package to Rebecca I posted the cheesecloth shirt. I labelld the front of the garment up as 2 pieces. Further details are on my previous blog post.
On the back of the garment I made a piece with some of the manipulated paper that I still had after completing Part 2 of ATV and one of the design trials I had done during this part of the course that was a my translation of the lines made by the folds in fabric smocking. I also wanted to try another experiment with the rippled yarns that I’d been working on at various stages during the course.
It was the movement and the scrunched up textured nature of the layers of fabric that appealed to me here. There is a rough look to it that points towards the traditional use of layers (smocking, kantha, quilting) to make a piece of fabric stronger and more hard wearing then I have used delicate lines and fragile fabrics to soften the image.
I really wanted to do far more work on piece 5. The garment I used as the base is a treasure and it’s made with some delightful linen and white fabric. It’s simple lines are practical and clean. It made a perfect flat base for a fabric painting.
After reading an article in Embroidery magazine I was drawn to the story of the Kibbo Kift, a group of storytellers, nature loving types and illustrators. I don’t have much to say about their politics, that is also for another time but I loved their hand made symbology and garments. They used simple, almost pop art methods (before it’s time) to develop their designs.
For this part of ATV I had also wanted to use parred down images with strong tonal contrast. I had worked a number of different paper and fabric samples using the image of folds in smocking and the one I thought worked the best was this digitally manipulated design translated using fabric paints and machine stitch.
I didn’t think I needed to do much with this idea other than enlarge it and trace onto the front of the garment.
It took quite a while to get the paint mix right to paint in the black, white and greys. I trialled various mixes, from simple textile pens to screen printing paint (to maintain the straight lines) but finally I was able to get a fairly matt and densely opaque finish with acrylic mixed with extender and a fabric medium.
I could have spent forever trying to get the surface finish exactly as I wanted but time was of the essence so I started the extremely fiddly job of machine stitching the lines. In truth I would have liked to have added loads more stitch, I don’t think it needed more colour but just loads more stitch.
My first experiment involved using the Lino print block that I had made for my stitch samples. I can see me doing far more Lino printing, the blocks are very easy to make and give a nicely finished print on a variety of fabrics. The lines on the shoulder I did on a whim because I had enjoyed painting directly onto the fabric so much.
For the final piece I wanted to work more freely and organically with a mixed of materials, bringing together my photographed images of the original source documents, my Lino print, my colour palette dip dyed threads. I only managed one collection sample before I ran out of time. I’ve learnt that I need to speed up my approach to the design stages and devote more time to the actual making.