Review Point: Demonstration of Creativity


This has been another interesting and inventive assignment from the OCA. I’ve ventured into area’s of textile art that I’ve never been into before. The idea of making my own yarn or thread has never occured to me, so I’ve had my eye’s well and truely opened.

Looking back at the full collection of yarn concepts I can see variety but also a similar style. I’m not sure I can describe my style yet. I seem to be drawn to natural materials, no plastic here and more natural colours, no bright florescents, well maybe just a little bright orange! Can I honestly call this variety? I’m not so sure.  I do have some ideas for materials for the next project but I’m still going to find it difficult to experiement with more synthetic materials.

My original plan to drip dye my yarn concepts was, I felt was more inventive than my final pieces but I fell at the first hurdle because the concept didn’t work very well. I know to make this work I have to apply more time to the preparation and mechanics of what I want to do. At the time I didn’t feel I had that time and I wasn’t sure if it would remain relevant throughout the project so I decided to place it aside.  So I don’t feel that I can say that I went above or beyond the brief for these exercises, but I did show the potential to do that and I’m sure I will in the future.

It’s not been easy to present the yarns but I am happy with how they look in my sketchbook, I particularly like the ones that I’ve wrapped around card with a tail hanging down. I’m not so sure the sellotape was a perfect choice so I might go back later and find a more attractive way to attach the yarns to the page.

I’m happy with how I source my materials, I’m a total magpie and I never leave anything behind. Those cupcake cases covered in dye from the drip dyeing experiement are still my favourite elements. I’ve got some nice melted glass from an abandoned and burnt out car that I’d like to use in the next project.


Tones & Textures

This is the last part of exercise 4.2 Experimental Yarns & Concepts, it involves looking back at the neutral fabric explorations done in previous colour studies.

I decided to use these 3 studies that I did with a very pale piece of devore fabric with different coloured backgrounds. I really like the subtle colours and had been hoping for an opportunity to explore with them further.


I’ve used the winding method again; it’s become my favourite way to make these yarn concepts and I can see that they will make excellent bases for adding more detail if I decide to explore with them further.


I’ve still tried to use a variety of threads and played with putting some of the colours together in different amounts and combinations. I also tried to make sure there were interesting changes in the tonal values of the colours.

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I’m finding it very difficult to photograph these yarns. I’ve tried some close ups but it’s still hard to show the full pieces.

After completing these tonal concepts it was time to try and translate the textural qualities of the fabric sample. The devore doesn’t immediately say texture; I sat for a while and rubbed the flurry bits of velvet and the rougher rivers of lace inbetween. I noted that there was a clear contrast between the 2 areas and that the edges were cut quite sharp, but the piece had frayed edges.

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For the first sample I found some rough ribbon and some frayed ribbon to this I tied some softer and smoother wool and then ran the whole thing through the sewing machine. I see this as a direct translation of the ‘words’ I used to describe the textures of the fabric but I didn’t feel that it did that visually.


So I sought out a base surface that was similar to the devore and found some mozaic felt that I had previously made.  So for this sample I cut the felt into strips and backed with the frayed ribbon, I attached these together with a running stitch on the sewing machine, adding little blocks of felt to create more raised areas. To excentuate the inlayed orange felt I hand stitched the lines and then stitched on the orange beads that have a devore/velvet surface. I felt I was getting closer to what I could see in my mind but that I was trying to cram too much detail into one piece.

As a translation I’m much happier with this concept. I highlighed the edges of the orange and brown felt with machine stitch and also caught the edges of some lacy scrim into the brown areas to replicate the ‘burnt out’ lace areas of the devore. I then cut the felt into thin strips and sewed them together.

The colours look more interesting in real life and I caught see myself actually using this concept as a yarn. I’m not completely happy with it visually but I think it’s a good first sample.


Finally I found some metal edged ribbon poking out of a draw and decided to use this as a base for some scrim, cut in a thin strip and some chenile knitting yarn held down with some zigzag machine stitch. I was able to crumple up the construction and fold and overlap it. It was just a bit of fun but I quite like the result.


This is them altogether with my simple notes. That’s all of the yarn concept experiements done now so after a more indepth review, have I been creative enough? it’s onto creating linear forms. I’m slightly worried about this, I’m sure my C&G pals will smile when they remember my attempts to rip tower shapes/linear forms from paper. I’d soon created a number of shapes that would have made my Mom blush and my teenage son’s giggle, or a should that be the other way round!!


Constraints of Colour

The next part of ATV and development of yarn concepts has taken me into the world of colour. I am far more used to letting colour develop, its rarely my starting point unless of course I’ve picked some beautiful threads or fabric and I’ve linked their choice by colour.

I had to select one of my colour textile studies completed in the previous project; I chose this study because I have always been fascinated by the colour palette and intrigued by how the selection worked together in a slightly unsettling way.

It didn’t take me long to gather together a huge pile of thread, yarns and more unusual elements to use to make the yarn concepts.


Let me just say that making yarns is fiddly, one of the most fiddly things I’ve ever done. The visions in my head of the yarns I would like to make soon prove to be too difficult or complicated to work through so I decided to keep the colour explorations very simple.

It was lovely winding the different threads around a centre made out of stiffened mulberry twine. I could see plenty of uses for these ‘threads’ to make 3D pieces and to use on stitched pieces; couched down to fill large areas in a more interesting way than simply using close stitches.

I was very surprised that the individual colours from the colour palette worked together well in different combinations, I always thought it was the full combination that made it work.

These 2 concept yarns I actually made before I did the simple colour combinations but I soon felt that these fitted more into the ‘unusual materials’ category.

The little leaf piece was worked using a dark brown synthetic fabric, I cut it roughly but wasn’t satisfied with the result; the fabric was too floppy and looked unfinished. To remedy this I mixed some Pavapol (a textile hardening agent) with some Stewart Gill textile paint and painted and modeled and leaves in to more pleasing shapes.

I used the orange fabric beads to replicate the circles in the original textile piece and worked at including all of the colours in the colour palette. I like the thin outlines in this extension painting that I did so used slender pieces of white and yellow to replicate those links.


After a detour back to make the four colour combination yarn concepts I went back to translating the colour palette using unusual materials. I’d been looking for ways to include feathers into my work without them becoming twee or passe, I’m not completely sure I have accomplished my mission but I have used some feathers and I like the result.

The final piece is worked using beads, metal wire and some thin threads sewed in and out of the twisted base.

Once I get started I find that I can run easily with these challenges, it’s taken me a long time to see the potential of making my own yarns and threads. I would never have thought of doing this; I might have bought new threads, or even dyed some threads but I would never have gone down this route. This is why even when I feel like throwing in the hat and admitting that I’ve bitten off far more than I can chew I keep going. I fight down this urge to bow out because I am learning so much and when I do concentrate I love every minute of this course.