ATV – Building a Response – Develop Yarn and Linear Concepts – Pt1

This is going to be difficult to write, somehow during a quick tidy up of my art room I lost all but 3 of these yarn concepts. I’m sure they are there somewhere, probably in that safe place that I put them but then why did I find 3 just lying on the floor? It’s distressing but I’m not going to rip the place apart looking for them yet, I’m going to wait patiently and if they haven’t come back before I need to send everything off for assignment then I’ll have a good search. 

So let’s get back to it. As is my usual habit I threw together a quick mind map to get some ideas for the yarns and what I could do.

I then started to sketch out some ideas for how I could make some yarn that would twist and turn so it could be couched onto fabric in undulating lines. I kept seeing those wooden snakes that you can buy in zoo gift shops. 

I decided to use cocoons to create a tube that could be bent. Very creepily theses cocoons still had their little silkworm inside. More little mites. The resulting thread is cute, albeit a little fiddly but still pliable. I’ve also just found a bag of even more cocoons so I can make more later if I need to.

After this I went onto have a go at making the concertina  yarns.

They really are quite nice and I particularly like the one made with the lash sari silk. They make lovely shadows.

ATV – Building A Response – Develop Textile Concepts – Pt4

I really can’t believe how behind I am with these blog posts. It might be quite difficult for me to remember exactly what I was doing but it might be nice to go back for consolidation before I start the capsule collection.

After making the textile concepts with the Lino prints I wanted to have a go at making some collages using some of the papers I had left lying around including the photocopies of the photographs of the vintage smocks. This feel right, as if I’m closing the circle between the original source and where my experiments and explorations have led to.

I started by layering up some papers.


Then I added some colour with liquid watercolour and a nice circular focal point.

 I’m not sure if I was in a dark mood when I was building these collages, or maybe it’s these John Connolly books about Charlie Parker that I keep listening to on Audible whilst I work but I really felt a need to add lots of black using pastels and oil sticks to this collage.


I particularly like the way the pastel highlights the edges of the circle.

This next sample has gone off in a slightly different direction, it’s still abstract but there are grasses or leaves. It makes me think of underwater forests of seaweed.

And there just wasn’t enough black, I wanted lots more black! I like this composition and I like the way the photocopy works but I’m not going to make it into a sample. I’m just going to carry forward the idea of using the original images.

This final sample was a total conglomeration of all the remaining stuff, all layered with some more black. 

Ooh I do love layering up papers and I thought I should stop having so much fun and add some thread so that at least I vaguely look like I’m doing my OCA work and making textile concepts!

ATV – Building a Response – Develop Textile Concepts – Pt3

It’s been a while since I made these pieces but I’ve been out of sync with the blogs for this part of ATV so I’m sorry if this blog sounds a little stilted. I decided today that if I didn’t get this blog up to date then I wouldn’t be sleeping tonight.

For this batch of ideas I decided to work with a lino print, I’ve never made one before, even though I’ve had the equipment for years (typical!). I found the cutting surprisingly easy and I’ll definitely be making more.

I’m really pleased with the print that I get from the stamp, it works well on flat/smooth paper and more textured paper and I especially like it when used to make blocks of print. I’m hoping it will also work well on fabric.

Sticking with the idea of repeated prints and keeping to my black, white and yellow colour palette I started to put together some ideas. They aren’t as simple as I had originally planned but I’m not going to force myself to keep to my original guidelines if my instincts start to take me in another direction. 

I used the base print and a print of one of the original textile archive photographs and added an almost transparent organza and some simple stitches.

I wanted to keep the black blocked shapes from before even if I wanted to go with more detail so I used a couple of paper cutouts to frame the composition.

I’m really loving these black solid shapes, they are perfect for framing and every one I cut is slightly different. This happens because although I set out with a sense of curving I’m not always sure what I’m cutting, my hand eye coordination isn’t brilliant and often I just have to run with it, letting instinct take over. I’m never going to be able to cut like Matisse!

This next piece is a much simpler composition and although the circle is an often used focal point I just felt I wanted to have a go and add one.

Eszter Bornemisza often uses a circle in her beautifully delicate and expressive pieces. It works to draw the eye into the piece exactly where she wants your journey as you view her work.

In the first 2 concepts I used screen printing paint to make the print so with the next one I chose a different medium and used Indian ink to print onto white and white acrylic paint to print onto black. These I added together and drew in some detail to test out where I might add some stitches if I was working with fabric.

As I often do with my last piece of work of the day I had a little bit of fun with the bits of paper left over on my desk and randomly I threw in a bit of green.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.