ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Research

Still Procrastinating

Yep, I’m still at it: being very, very busy but not doing a lot! 

I did finish a baby hat for a gift though. Well the knitting anyway, it still needs to be stitched up.

Another time bandit I’m favouring at the moment is this book. I’m hoping it will give me some answers!

The guy’s name never fails to make me smile. It’s a great book, there’s not a lot of technical science stuff, thank goodness but there are lots of insights into how the brain works. All very interesting.

I particularly like hearing about white matter which is where all the little nerve fibers that link the cerebral cortex and the thalamus, which are crucial to consciousness are housed. 

This got me thinking about what they look like and if they are linear. 

This Pinterest board holds the pictures I found looking for suitable images. The brain is an amazing thing. Even if it drives me crazy at times! 

I love this quote :

We’re convinced that events happen exactly as we remember them and will state as much under oath in court. In fact, our brains are just knitting neat stories out of the countless scraps of information they receive, leading to all kinds of consequences.

ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Pt4 - Pj1 - Exploring Lines

It’s been a slow start

Grey, grey March. Even after a trip to sunny, snowy still but very sunny Switzerland I’m finding it difficult to drag myself through my most hated month of the year. I’ve never been the quickest on this course but now I’m almost grinding to a halt.

But, I’ve still got some work done. Okay, so this part of ATV is all about lines and for some reason I can’t yet explain I’ve been drawn to this stitch sample as the one I’d like to base my initial explorations on. 

It’s not been easy to find some simple lines to recreate in thread and I think this has contributed to my slow progress. 

I’ve set up a sketchbook and started doing some preliminary sketches and designs for the linear explorations which are basically drawing with thread but not as stitches. More sculptural than that. 

The whole concept of these creations keeps escaping me, I’m finding it difficult to identify where the exercises are meant to be taking me. 

I’ve had a little play at making some linear thread forms with the tangled threads that gather along the edges of fabric and some other scraps I had lying about. I like then but I’m still struggling to see the point of them.

There are some ideas forming in the back of my mind about how I can make this part of ATV my own and how I can produce something that interests and excites me. 

This means I’m still really at the messing about stage; reading books, researching ideas and jotting down notes.

And ….. procrastinating! It’s just so easy on these grey days to lazy about on the sette and knit!!

I love my blanket squares.

In the end I turned to my fellow textile students and asked for a kick in the pants. As always they responded immediately with kind words of encouragement. Thank you all.

So to try and kick start my mojo I did some linear doodles to loosen me up and get me back focused on lines.


Just for a change I’m away next weekend but after that I’m almost exclusively at home until the 22nd April  which should give me plenty of time to crack on and get this part of ATV done and dusted. 

ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · Feedback from tutors · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Feedback

With the usual trepidation I opened my feedback for this assignment. Yet again I was impressed by Rebecca’s skill at critiquing and writing feedback. It’s clear, concise and has just the right amount of detail, but then I might be biased because it’s all good news!

Overall Comments

Sally there is evidence you have worked hard and been quite playful during this assignment. I am getting the sense that your personal design aesthetic is coming through the more you work at this course. I think you have got the balance right between concentrating to get things right and letting things happen. This has ensured your work is professional looking and well crafted yet you have expressed and developed you aesthetic sensibilities. Your Colour Recourse Sketchbook and your workbook are well organised and useful as well as being a pleasure to explore. Your online learning log is easy to navigate with evidence of developing critical thinking.

I was overwhelmed reading this, I did work hard but throughout I felt the ‘come on this is crap’ gremlin on my shoulder. I think, maybe not is the time to get over myself; stop wallowing in self doubt and just get into the experimenting and exploring. 

The danger is; will I start to sound big headed and immodest? Will I cut myself off from my friends with my superior ‘look at me attitude’? So I ask of everyone, please if I start to show any signs of being far too big for my boots, give me a slap!

Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

This colour studies section of the course is an investigation into how colour is used and the ways it behaves. You have carried out your investigation with care and attention to detail, using your research material and the world around you to support your learning. There is evidence you have used the tasks to develop your skill in looking, not just at colour but also at forms and composition. This is particularly so on the page in your workbook where you make links between your research material and your image of the corner of your workroom. This dissecting and reflecting on the different aspects of an image is a valuable tool when it comes to understanding how to create the work you want. I get the impression from your reflective writing that you are sometimes concerned that you have not worked carefully or accurately enough. It is good to want have well-crafted and neat work but there is a lot of value in letting things happen and taking risks. I love your collage were you say you got carried away with the doodles. This expressive and playful creativity is where the really exciting stuff will come from. I suggested you continue to work with care but also to feel you can let go and allow an idea to have its own legs.  

 I loved this bit of feedback, it gives me the permission I needed to let go and to follow my style. The emergence of hundreds of adult doodle colouring books has left me feeling that my doodle style will soon become severely passé and what began as therapy and a gateway back into art has become a stress and something that I’m almost ashamed of.  Go on say it: ‘get over yourself Harrison’!!


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

You have a nice drawing style and work competently in a range of media. This assignment demonstrates your technical skill in using paint and yarn to colour match and create colour palettes. You also use line creatively to form designs and patterns. I suggest you continue to develop your drawing skill by expanding the range of media you use, have a go at using more ‘messy’ mediums like inks, pastels and chalk. Use your fingers to smudge, blend and spread them across the picture plain. Let inks and paints dribble and splash to create chaotic marks and patterns. This will help you develop a more risky approach to your work and learn new ways of creating the line. Use observational drawing to study your research material and explore objects and forms in the world around you. This will assist in developing your looking skills and help you become more effective in your more creative drawing.  

Messy! Yikes, that could be interesting. I am naturally messy in everything but my art. I better get my workroom tidied up so I’ve got a big washable area to get down and dirty in!


Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

For this assignment you have gathered together a good range of research material that is dispersed throughout your work demonstrating that you understand that research is a continuous process. You have used imagery to indicate your thoughts and illustrate how colour and form influence design. Your research material also contains your critical analysis of artists and the written material that describes their work. You use the information to reflect upon your own outlook and creative output. This is a very important aspect of doing research as it helps you to learn what is important to you and develops ideas about your own creativity. I suggest you continue to research widely, thinking and writing about what you find and how this makes you think and make.

More research? No problem there, I’m a total magpie when it comes to arty information. The difficulty here is recording what I see and read about and finding a way to blog this. I’m comfortable using Pinterest and writing in a notebook but putting my views out there in a blog, especially if it’s negative is very difficult to do. 

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

Your learning log is nicely laid out with images of both your work and your research material. You describe you processes with care and reflect upon the outcomes. I suggest you continue to develop the language you use to describe and critically analyse your outcomes. Think about the scale of the work, its composition, how the forms relate to each other and how your work links with your research material. This will then help you think more clearly and understand in a deeper way how to develop your work.

Lots to think about and work on here. I’m reading an exhibition programme at the moment for X-10 Power in the Land that I saw at Oriel Davies. It was an excellent show and demonstrates perfectly how a group of artists from different genres can take on a difficult subject with lots of possibly different view points and produce a well presented and cohesive exhibition. The programme includes essays from three writers from within the visual arts field. These are providing me with lots of examples of critical writing and plenty of new words – my dictionaries getting a bashing!

Suggested reading/viewing


I think this book about how makers, artists and designers use drawing could be helpful to you. Making and Drawing by Kyra Cane published by Bloomsbury. There is also a lovely book about Henry Moore’s textiles that includes a good number of his sketches and drawings. Henry Moore Textiles by Anita Feldman published by Laurence King.

Pointers for the next assignment

• Reflect on this feedback in your learning log

• Make sure you balance your need to get things right and letting things happen

• Develop your drawing by using more messy media and doing some observational drawing

• Continue to research widely analysing what you find and relating it to your own work

• Develop the language you use to describe and think about your work

 No re-work which made my day and I like these pointers. I’m already working in this direction. I must remember to have some fun too and not just get caught up in all the words.

ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Outcomes

Throughout this part of ATV I worked in 2 sketchbooks; trying out ideas and working on drafts in one and them replicating them in the second. This second sketchbook became my Colour Resource Book.

When doing the Gouache studies I completed the initial colour matching in a more playful and random way. Jotting down my ideas and views.


Once I was happy with the colours I would paint them onto labels and then complete the page in the display sketchbook. I was then able to add any extra experiments or playing with the colours palettes.


Overall I’m pleased with the final book. The gouache pages are bright and accurate and I demonstrated alternative options and an understanding of tone.

I expanded each of these textile pieces to enhance the page and if nothing else use up the mixed paint!

I then sought out unusual textile pieces for the exercise on expanding and replicating the colour palettes and patterns on fabric. This was more tricky, the colours weren’t as opaque as on the first three pieces and presented more challenges. I am pleased with the final outcomes and didn’t feel the need to rework them when reviewing the Colour Resource book before submitting for assessment.

Then onto the thread exercise. This one drove me mad, I really had to look at the colours and make proper decisions about quantity and accuracy. I had to concentrate, not something that comes naturally to me so I was surprised at how well the yarn wraps came out. It took me a while to find the right method to attach the wraps (Velcro in the end) but now I really like this page.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the Watercolour Studies, I often get frustrated mixing paints and end up making silly mistakes because I don’t clean my brushes properly and mix with dirty water. So I had to be strict with myself and take my time.

I think I might have gone slightly into over kill with the collages! I just couldn’t resist the temptation to progress each collage. I felt like I was seeking an image or a look that was just out of reach. The subject matter didn’t really inspire me and I found it difficult to find a point to focus on, an idea I wanted to project.

I made a quick magazine picture collage which I decided was too fussy and too like other collages that I’d done in the past so I decided to complete a very simple collage in draft in my working sketchbook, I liked it so decided to use the shapes I highlighted as a theme to carry through to the other collages.

Then I did quite a few more, lots more in fact. This is where I have a dilemma about the outcomes. I think I sacrificed quality for quantity, I wanted to demonstrate my understanding of colour and pattern and in doing so I didn’t give myself the time to concentrate on cutting accurate shapes and getting the placements quite right. Also in places the paint is not as smooth or as opaque as I would like.


Even with the later collages that I took more time over I am not satisfied with the final outcomes, They are vibrant and I’m happy with the colour palettes and I think I’ve met the brief but I would like to have reworked them, to have tried to make them neater and more accurate.

So whilst I was getting my head tied up with being a perfectionist I came across 2 collages that caught my eye and I had to reluctantly note that neither of them had beautifully cut out pieces. But they both still worked, they were both simple and relaxed but had lots of energy. I have aimed for this feeling with the last 3 collages and although it has killed me to leave them simple, I did go a little crazy with the tissue paper one but I am satisfied that I have tested my abilities and learnt lots of lessons from this part of ATV.

Once I had looked through the Colour Resource book and filled in a few gaps I had some fun with the front cover.



ATV - Ex 3.4 - Collage Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj2 - Materials & Composition · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Collage Studies – Part 2

Last week I decided that it was about time I set myself a deadline for this assignment (3) and got it finished and sent off to Rebecca. I had to shuffle a few things around in my diary and cancel a few plans but I have actually got it done. All there is now to do is the writing up. Not my favourite part but it is good to spend some time looking back over what you have done and reviewing what you have, or have not achieved.

But, first the last three collages. The 2 collages that I have been drawn to most over the last few weeks have been the cover of Uppercase magazine which featured a collage by Andrea D’Aquino and the huge collage by Matisse that is in the Liverpool Tate at the moment. Matisse’s collage is his interpretation of a snail’s shell in its most simplest form and demonstrated with coloured squares.

My previous collages have been quite busy, which matched well with the original source material of a chaotic, messy corner in my workroom. This last exercise asked for 3 collages based on elements from the earlier collages not the original source material so I chose one very simple shape; the lamp. I have found a calm pleasure in cutting out this shape, there is something very satisfying about finding the corner of a piece of paper and then cutting from one side of the paper to the other in an ark. I suppose age means we have to find our pleasures where we can!

The first collage in this series has a black and white monochromatic colour palette. I kept the shapes very simple and repeated them across the page, using the detail in the papers to keep up the energy. My first instinct was to draw in the lines of the lamp; the base and the stand but I resisted, I had set out with the intention of keeping these collages simple and I wanted to carry that through.


For the next collage which has a tonal colour palette I used some paint colour cards from B&Q in yellow and laid them out in a shell shape, I have used a shape more like that of a sea shell.

Then, finally I used the kitchen towel that is in the original chaotic/messy photograph to make a multicoloured collage. It’s been hanging around since I painted in the flowers in Picking and Portraying, they’d be used to mop up spilt dye and coffee and I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away.

I wanted to keep the shape simple but then have some fun with the colours and the textures. I made 4 collages in the end, working with the organic shapes, lines and tones created as the randomly soaked up dye and coffee dried.

In the first collage a cut the pieces and worked to layer the pieces to show the difference in tone and colour. Keeping with the small arc in a larger arc process.


The further 3 collages were worked together; in the first (left) I used the sharp corner to develop a pattern, in the second (right) I used the lines in the colour to create a line through the lamp shape and in the last (middle) collage I just built up the layers and the colours until I felt comfortable with the balance of tone and colour.


There is an organic, plant fibre feel to these collages which I really like, the textures have become more robust as they have dried and the colours are bright and dramatic.

That is the Colour Resource Book complete.


ATV - Ex 3.4 - Collage Studies · ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj2 - Materials & Composition · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Collage Studies – Part 1

This is the last of the 3 collage studies for Part of 1 of this project. This one is my exploration into unusual colour combinations. I found it difficult to think of an original combination, I had already used 2 of my strangest combinations to expand on my first 2 collages. As usual I had backed myself into a corner by doing more than was required.

I’m not sorry that I took the collages 2 steps further and investigated each one more but it did leave me in a pickle. To find some colours that made me feel enthusiastic about this collage I looked on Pinterest for some unusual colour combinations. I picked out these as my favourites.


I then worked through some ideas in my sketchbook and noticed how some of the colour combinations fitted neatly with some specific areas in my original photograph. I referred back to my studies on colour theory and selected the unusual Goldfinch, I love his subtle summer colours.

This gave me a good opportunity to paint some papers for myself so I mixed up some paint and prepared some papers and used up the left over paint in one of my altered books (I hate paint waste!).

It was so nice to mix paint and actually find it quite easy; before I started this part of ATV and with little experience of paint mixing I would have felt very daunted by this task but now it’s just a part of what I do. I’m keen to carry on and practice this skill more and more in my own sketch and day books.

Early on in this exercise I decided to use the key shapes and motifs as the element that would link the collages together. I wanted them to work together as a series. I could have gone more abstract; focused more on the colours but I felt I could not do that if I was worrying about the question of how well I was interpreting the original source photograph.

So using my own coloured papers I began to build the collage. I particularly like the way that Frida Kahlo mixed monochrome with colour and I also like the way that collage lets you can play with scale and reality.  I like the concept and what I wanted to achieve with this collage but I am not at all satisfied with the result.

It’s my fault because I rushed the outlining and the sketching. I wish I had concentrated harder when I had drawn in the jug and the reels of thread. If I had the time I would revisit this piece and rework it until I got the proportions and links as I want them.


As with the other 2 collages I continued my explorations to interpret this specific collage with the previous set themes of ‘Simple’ and ‘Complex’. This allowed me to smarten up the outlining and to add more focal points and areas of interest.


With the last one I decided to go a little bit wild with a small pile of magazine photographs and add to additional elements to further develop the theme of ‘Complex’.

IMG_0997 (1)




ATV - Ex 3.4 - Collage Studies · ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj2 - Materials & Composition · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Collage Studies – part 1

Collage, lovely lovely collage, brain mashing, fiddly, frustrating, faffy collage. Just look at my poor glued up fingers! That’s a dog hair by the way!!

Trying to make some order out of my messy, chaotic corner photograph hasn’t been easy and as you’ll notice later I’ve made a conscious effort to ignore scale, that’s one of the great things about collage; you can play with scale to your hearts content.

I started off with a very simple collage used a restricted palette of colours, dictated by the number of colours in a small pack of card that I had.

I had a play with some magazine pages, but I really wasn’t so sure about this, it was messy and I was aiming to create calm and order out of the chaos not make it worse.

Then decided I liked the layout of the simple collage best so did another one with patterned paper.

I felt quite comfortable with this, sort of, they still are not speaking to me and I think they are a bit dull but I decided to continue with the original concept and layout and experimented with the first collage in my display sketchbook.

Firstly replicating the original collage on a painted background. Keeping it simple but adding a few bits of colour to create a little bit of drama and interest.

Then, adding decoupage paper to a photocopy to create a complex colour collage based on the simple one.

Then I used paint to create another collage with an unusual colour palette.

Finally I used some of the key shapes and made a more abstract piece and couldn’t resist a bit of doddling.

ATV - Ex 3.4 - Collage Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj2 - Materials & Composition · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Collage Studies – part 1

Colour studies – humph! I love colour, in fact I’d go so far as to say I bloody love colour, I surround myself with it and usually get frustrated when I have to restrict it. But these exercises have driven me bananas; I think it’s the need to be neat and the need to be specific. I so often work with coloured fabrics and coloured paint that I have a huge collection, I rarely need to mix anything, I just need to match it.

Doing these studies has meant I have had to really look closely as colours, not just give then a cursory glance. I have mixed paint before to identify colours in photographs but I just saw that as a means to an end. I never thought of the action of creating a palette of colours.

I’ve used themes to develop a series of work but never looked to a specific colour palette as a connecting factor before. I’ve never had to gauge the amount of colour in a subject before either and this has been frustrating because I don’t really have anyway to check that I am right; no flicking to the back for answers!

It’s been brain boggling but I’m getting there! I’m not sure I’ll ever get my workroom tidy again after all the paint splashing and snipping and glueing but hey hoo!

Mess! This leads me on to my next mini crisis, the mess was useful when I had to photograph a chaotic corner for the collage exercises but now it’s driving me crazy and to make matters worse I’m having to revisit that messy corner day after day as I do the collages.

It’s torture! I so want to tidy up but, do I really need to? Making collages is messy, it’s better off left as it for now, well, until, of course I see that bloody photograph again – grrhh!!

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

Once I had had a play with the photographs of the vessels I moved the glasses around and added a vase until I got an arrangement that I liked.


There was a good mixture of colours, shapes and overlaps. The blue comes through the crystal glass catching the different shapes in the glass. The green is just visable through the orangey brown jar. There is a small reflection from the window in the jar and this light ensures a good range of tone.


I started off by splashing some watercolour paints in stripes in my working sketchbook. I prefered the more defined shapes and whilst the very wet strip was pretty it didn’t make me think of the still life arrangement.


I played for a little while; testing what it would look like if I left a white strip between the stripes and then just for the hell of it I used up the left over paint and practised my stripe painting skills.


In the display sketchbook I made the painted stripes more defined. I painted one of the whole composition and then 3 that are of the Middle, Left and Right of the gathering of vessels.

This colours make me very happy, I love the earthy colours and the way they make me feel warm. I could work with these colours every day for years and years.


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.