Art · ATV - Part 5 - Building a collection · ATV - Part 5 - PJ 1 - Developing Visual Research · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV 5 – Strengthing a Theme – alternative shape

Whilst I agree with Bert Dodson in his book Key to Drawing with Imagination when he says that creativity works best with constraints I still like to have a plan B. So far my drawings have focused on curved lines and I have a completed one that I want to work on further so Ive decided it might be a good idea to try something different with the last couple of drawings. 

I had already had a play with these dog tooths and I thought they might make a good motif to work with in the clean simple way that was my original intention.


I also thought it might be a good time to bring in a little bit of colour, so I cut out some shapes and worked them into a couple of designs that also include the curved lines and the strong contrasts that I liked from before.


It’s amazing how far you can go with a single motif, constant repetition would be interesting and could form a piece using the Japanese stitch technique of shashiko.


Nice, but it’d be boring if I didn’t work it into a more interesting composition, thought I still like the idea of repetition. I’ll keep that stored away!


Um, then I started to work more at keeping the triangles on the curved lines and finding different placements, to look for how this changed the feel and energy of the spacing and final composition. 

I like the bottom sketch most; is this because it looks like the triangles are defying gravity by remaining upright when they are only just holding on by their tips. Also, somehow despite the fact that the sketch is only simple lines it has a feeling of depth.


I had a little go at developing the idea further but the colour and solid blocks seemed to drain away the essences of the original drawing. Maybe it would be best just as it is? 

Could it work well as something similar to the work of Debbie Smyth? Not sure how I’d get the finished article into the poly bag to send it for assessing though!


In the past few parts of ATV I feel I have worked in the 2 extremes of either having loads of sketches – textile archive sketchbook or hardly any – Part 4 and I am hopeful that in this part I am striking a healthy balance. 

My intention, after Rebecca’s last dose of feedback is to not restrict my drawing to the preliminary stages and to keep drawing all the way to the end. 

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 - Assignment 5 - Your Capsule Collection · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

The Crazy Scientist 

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never ending so the exhibition is not a conclusion” Clive Ofili 

This is a statement that I can agree with wholeheartedly. I find finishing anything difficult and in the early days I always called my painting and doodling practising and playing. It allowed me to work without judgement and to let my own thoughts direct my hand not all of those beliefs and worries about what makes good art. I happily tried and tested ideas; what could I paint? How flat could I paint? Could I draw a perfect circle? Could I make a surface without any brush strokes? 

I’m still drawn to this kind of work and often love the work of others that is in the preliminary, preparatory design stage; like the unseen work of Louise Bourgeois, these beautiful drawings form part of her extensive sketchbook and drawing collection that would not usually have been seen as exhibition worthy but my goodness me they are!

It appeals to me this idea that my studio is a laboratory, not a lavatory as the spellchecker tried to make it! Though if you were to see it you might be forgiven for seeing that way too, it’s certainly not a factory I would have been shut down by the Health and Safety executive years ago if it was. My room is full of just about to tumble piles of papers and heaps of searched for and now abandoned fabric and fibres, the table is a mess of pens, pencils, jars of strange looking fluids and an ever decreasing spare for a sketchbook or sewing machine to be squeezed into! Even the floor space is covered in curling bits of tape and dogs and cats!! It’s a wonder I ever get anything done. Who wants to work in a factory anyway! 

I can see the advantage of a factory environment if you’ve got a commission to produce a certain number of similar items or you’ve decided to batch together a series of similar actions, Pam Carriker recommends this style of working in her book Art at the Speed of Life. And it can be very useful to paint a batch of sketchbook pages or canvases ready for use later. I used her advice when working on some book shop finds I was turning into altered/sketch books.


Generally I like to work in an exploratory way, my higgledly piddly way of working means I can work in a more random way; I can start making a piece with a pile of materials that I have gathered but as the mood takes me and the piece is coming together I can pick up bits of detritus and left over elements and work them into the piece. Sometimes it’s the leftovers that form the best bits of my favourite pieces. This happened when I was working on my yarn concepts and just lying about were the abandoned in frustrate dye pots from my failed dip dyeing project, they are wax paper and are lovely colours and bam! They soon became one of my favourite yarn concepts. I would have missed this entirely if I’d cleaned up after my last unsatisfactory session.


My inability to ever finish anything and my view that most of my work is a bit weird and really not of any interest to anyone else has always made me shy away from exhibiting, that and the fact that’s it’s always looked like hard work! 

All that blasted stretching, framing, hanging … it sounds all very organised! How do I display my preparatory work? Matthew Harris has got this nailed; his beautiful paper designs and small sample quilts are art works in their own right and are probably far better suited to most homes, rather than his large quilts (as wonderful as the are).

I love this piece of Matthew’s work on Stitchlopp’s blog and her statement about its frame.

A piece by Matthew Harris that I’m pleased to have had on my studio wall for a few years. It is unmounted and unframed but I’ve pinned it to the wall and placed an old frame around it – so you see, I did frame it Matt!


I’m actually really starting to like the idea of being in an exhibition, a bit like writing these blog pages I’m sure it must be a good way to make a halt in what your doing; create a milestone. A time to reflect on what you have created. A time to see your work through the eyes of others and for you to see it in a new light too. Maybe I should order Austin Kleon’s book Show your work!  I love his books and the reviews give an indication that this’ll be as good as the rest!

Yep, so for me I agree with Clive, I love the idea that I am some mad crazy scientist brewing up new ideas and testing out mad theories and that at some point they will be displayed up on a wall or in a cabinet to make other’s tut or smile. 

Art · ATV - Assignment 4 · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Formative Feedback – ATV – Assignment 4

Lovely Rebecca, it’s taken me ages to get this assignment completed and sent off and then like a dream she has reviewed it and sent me some interesting and informative feedback. I am absolutely determined to meet the deadline she has set me for the next assignment. I am, I know this is me, but I am going to give it a damn good go. I’ve been looking at the next course in textiles level 1 and I’m itching to get started.

 So let’s have a look at what Rebecca had to say – 

Overall Comments

It is evident from the work you have sent me and your learning log that you have worked hard during this assignment, pushing your way through negative feelings to produce an innovative body of work. Well done. Your sample work is investigative and experimental with evidence of frequent risk taking. The work is well organised with evidence of reflective thinking in both your sketchbooks and learning log. You have produced a small amount of drawing for this assignment as an expressive exploration of yarns and to plan your practical work. There is a limited amount of research material in this assignment that I believe you could use more effectively. In this feedback document I will outline your strengths and areas of weakness with a number of suggestions to develop your work further. I encourage you to follow up these suggestions and evaluate them in your learning log throughout the next assignment.

It was a huge relief to read this, I had struggled with this part of ATV. I had fallen into the trap of over thinking and had found myself often hamstrung and unable to move forward. 

Assignment 4 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment. In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.​

Phew, more reassurance, lets polish off those edges!

Feedback on part four – Yarn and Linear Exploration

Research

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

I am starting with research in this feedback document because I don’t feel you are making full use of the research material you look at. I am aware from your activity on Pinterest you look at and collect a large amount of textiles research material, frequently sharing it with your fellow students and oca tutors. But your assignment contains a minimal amount of material. What is there is good; there are clear images along with your analytical commentary that is developing well. Your impressions of the 62 Group Exhibition are insightful and strongly personal to you. However to make fuller use of your research you could refer to it during your sample making stages. For example a piece of work from the exhibition could inspire a colour palette or a piece of your own work puts you in mind of ‘so and so’s’ work. This explicit linking of your own work and the work of contemporary practitioners demonstrates you are learning from the exercise of researching and it also assists in embedding your work in current contemporary practices.  

 I totally agree with what Rebecca is saying here, they is a disparity between the searching, looking and thinking that I do and the actual referencing that I do. The next part of ATV has a specific exercise on this and it will give me a good opportunity to work on my skills. I worry sometimes about how to find the line between copying and being influenced. I think this might well feature highly in Part 5.

I suggest you do two things, firstly include some of your Pinterest research in your learning log. Add good quality images with a few sentences of analysis. Include what it is that appeals to you about the work – this could be the methods or materials used, it could be something to do with the scale of the work, the surface texture, the colour combination or a feeling the work expresses. It could be one thing that engages you about the work or many. This careful looking and writing down of your thoughts will help you see and understand better what it is you find appealing. It will also assist you in learning from the work and this in turn will help you develop your own creative practice. The second thing I suggest you do it make frequent links to your research material. Do this by referring to the work of others when making your own work. This might be through emulating a process another practitioner has used or when a piece of your sampling happens to turn out in a way that reminds you of someone else’s work. Write these links down in your learning log, along with an image of your work and the research, connecting your practice with a contemporary practitioner.  

 Okay, plenty of good advice there. 

Engagement with textile techniques

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

For this assignment you have produced a lovely body of experimental samples exploring yarns and the linear form. There is an innovative use of materials and a broad-minded approach to the structure and form of yarns. I particularly like your use of photographs and deconstructed camera parts. Despite this exploratory approach your work remains well crafted with attention to detail. Well done. Throughout the work there is a considered and well-judged approach to colour combinations and textures resulting in engaging and meaningful work.  

 

I’m so pleased that Rebecca liked my work and particularly the camera, photograph work. These were a bit of a risk and I wasn’t sure that they would work out as well as the ideas and plans that had formed in my head! This leads us quite nicely to her next comments – 

My only criticism would be that you are frequently very hard on the results you come up with. There is no need to be searching so ardently for the ‘right’ outcomes. All outcomes if you purposefully reflect on them are right. I suggest you aim to have a more accepting and playful attitude to your sample making, enjoying your results more.

 I think I have been particularly hard on my results from this part of ATV. I am hyper aware that this blog is public and very worried about sounding all puffed up and too full of myself. I personally love some of my yarns and linear explorations, I’ve done work that I could only have dreamt of doing a few years ago. I find it difficult to assess my work in a practical and depersonalised way. Maybe I need to find a set of words/language that allows me to do that without me feeling like I am over promoting myself?

Drawing

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

For this assignment you have included a minimal amount of drawing, sketching or mark making. What is there, in particular at the beginning of your Deconstruction Sketchbook is good quality. I suggest you draw more frequently using it as an analysis technique by loosely sketching the samples you make. This will help you see the sample more clearly and assist you in learning what has worked well. There is no need to aim for observational accuracy but use drawing as a method of observing and recording.  

 
Ooh, I like that idea. I did find it difficult to fit any drawing into Part 4, it wasn’t clear that it was expected and when I did draw I felt like I wasn’t actually keeping to the brief. So this can be easily remedied. 

Learning Log

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

There is evidence on your learning log that you are using reflective thinking and writing to make judgments about your work and planning how to take your work forward. I suggest you continue to reflect on your progress regularly, expanding the language you use to describe your work in terms of colour, forms, texture, composition, scale, etc.  

Yep, I’m happy with that. My descriptive vocabulary is restricted and it will be nice to look around for new words.

Pointers for the next assignment

● Reflect on this feedback in your learning log – done!

● Develop the way you use your research material 

● Continue to be experimental in your sample making

● Adapt a more playful attitude to your creativity

● Use drawing as a method of analysing your samples

● Continue to use reflective thinking to assess and understand your progress

Well done Sally, I look forward to your next assignment.

Next assignment due

9th January 2017 

 

Better get working!!! 

Art · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Reflections · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Assignment 4 – Written Reflection

What a huge relief, it’s been posted. The assignment has gone, its long overdue and I had to sprint to the end but it’s done.

Now for a little bit of reflection, what have I learnt? I’ve learnt that great ideas don’t always bring great results and focusing and narrowing down my choices helps to create interesting results.

My favourite material across all of the exercise was the photographs, both the Instax pics and the ones printed on sticky back paper. It was less fiddly than working yarns with my hands. This leads to how I preferred knitting, crocheting and weaving to the knitting and macrame.

I really had never thought of making my own yarn, it wasn’t something I had considered before but now I would definitely like to work with the ideas that I have had along the way. I like the small layered pieces but still feel they aren’t really yarn but they could be pieced together to make larger collages.

The twisted yarns and the yarns made with the sewing machine would also be good for crouching and would add big patches of colour and texture.

Working on yarn is quite a different beast from working with fabric, there is no real handle or drape in the same way. The qualities that you are looking to create are different and I’m not sure that I always hit the mark.

 Many of my samples have only one side, they would have to be attached to a piece of fabric they could never be stitched or knotted.

I shall be waiting for my feedback to see if I have understood and done what I was expected to, I really have no idea on this one. It’s been very different and very new but I’m so glad I’ve done it even if it’s not right.

Art · ATV - Ex 4.5 - Collage inspired yarn · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Pt4 - Pj2 - Creating Linear Forms · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Collage Inspired Yarn – Ex4.5 – the yarns

If every excercise in Part 4 had been as much fun and as quick to do as this I would have been finished a lot earlier, but that could just be because of my change in attitude.

I started by going back to the beginning, I wanted to try out the dip dye technique again, it didn’t work so well before but I still had the tubs of dye and thought maybe I should try it again.

On each of the photos I tied a ribbon strip of sari silk and after clipping all of the photos together with small bull dog clips, I then balanced them onto a little jar of dye. 

Once the dye had soaked into the ribbon I hung them over a jar stuffed with more ribbon letting the dye drip down onto the pale fabric.

I then moved onto dyeing some threads and ribbons. I soaked my materials threads in water and lay them across the chenille sample with the ends dipped into the jars of dye.

The dye ran quickly because of the water and the thread was soon damp with colour so I put the threads in the jar stuffed with ribbon.



All the threads and ribbons then had a nice sprinkling of pale blues and greens. Very delicate and similar to the retro colours in the Instax photos.

I started by using up the remaining pieces of the camera bellows, I laid them onto a piece of dyed sari ribbon and sewed them down with dyed thread. I’m always looking for little extras that are lying around so I also caught up some bit of thread etc in the stitches. This gave me a fairly long yarn suitable for crouching. I am a little worried that they look a bit like Xmas trees, it’s really to early to be thinking of Christmas.


Alongside this blog I am also keeping a handwritten technical log which records how each of the yarns was made. To do this I print photographs of the yarns onto sticky backed photo papers. I had a small pile of outcasts from the last print run which I had ripped up ready to through away but then I thought I should use them in the designs. 

I cut the photos into circles and stuck them onto holed hand made paper back to back so I was able to make a reversible yarn.


Now it was time for me to make some yarn with the photographs, I bought all of the materials together, using the sticky backed photos to hold the yarn and elements together. This made a nice long, energetic yarn with lots of detail and texture.


I still had lots of materials left including some of the camera negative and I decided to use them as the base for a layered thread. I love the bright orange sari ribbon, it’s so bright and eye catching.

For the final piece I put together the last of the burn metal with the last few bits of the camera bellows and made a quick layered thread, well it really isn’t a thread but I like it anyway.

Art · ATV - Ex 4.5 - Collage inspired yarn · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Pt4 - Pj2 - Creating Linear Forms · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Collage Inspired Yarn – Ex 4.5 – Planning

I’ve been looking forward to this exercise right from the beginning and it’s been fun. I usually start most exercises with a bit of a brain dump and this one hasn’t be any different.

I looked back at the collage work that I had done during Colour Studies and picked out some of the main elements and points that appealed to me and then put some of the ideas together with the instructions in the course materials and some of the more interesting elements from Ex 4.4. 



The idea that appealed to me most was the Polaroid photographs and at first I thought I would take photos of the workroom to replicate the original collages but time got the better of me and I ended up taking the Instax camera out with me on a dog walk. My plan was to look for fairly interesting shapes, flowers maybe but I soon became drawn to the fences that are all along my usual dog walk and I took 9 photos of the various fences. I was particularly drawn to the ones around the children’s play area and those around the wildlife areas and pools.


They were really interesting, I enjoyed taking them and they started me thinking about the feelings that they gave me.


It’s quite a well worn path, this one looking at the loss of our green spaces and the way that us humans are slowly spreading out across the world. Inch by inch covering more and more of the land with structures and concrete and tarmac. 

I need more time to think about this to stop it just becoming another cliche, therefore I decided to keep this idea on the periphery, let it develop on its own.

Before I started the last yarn concepts I put together some ideas and materials, it’s lovely layering up colours and fabrics.


And I had a go at a couple quick little yarns.

Art · ATV - Ex 4.4 - Deconstructing Colour as Yarn · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Pt4 - Pj2 - Creating Linear Forms · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Deconstructing Colour as Yarn – Ex4.4 – Focus?

Before I show you what I have done to finish this exercise I’m going to quickly mention ‘focus’. This is another of my weak points, I find it very difficult to focus and to work within self made constraints. Today I received another reminder for the submission of Assignment 4. I really am so far behind on my deadlines but once I get started on something I enjoy I find it very difficult to restrict myself. Is it the case that these ATV exercises should be done in a day? If I was attending classes is that how I would work? If I give myself deadlines I become a quivering mass of tension and anxiety, just how am I to find a balance between working swiftly and not sapping all of the fun out of what I am doing? Everyday I think about the exercise I’m working on, I reflect on it and research but I just don’t accomplish anything. Is there a habit I should cultivate to kick start me and get me going. 

It has been very difficult for me to prioritise my collage work, there are 3 of us studying in my household and I’m the one studying at the highest level but I am always the first to drop what I am doing to help and support the others. They are my offspring and I naturally put them first. But, the big but is they are growing up; 22 & 16. In truth they are more independent now and it’s up to me to change my attitude and acknowledge that I am undertaking a serious piece of education and that I should give it the time and respect that it’s due. Well, after a quick cuppa and a look at the latest edition of Uppercase!

So back to business. Despite giving myself a nail infection from the grub and dust on the camera bellows I’ve really enjoyed making these linear explorations. I haven’t stuck religious to the brief and I’m really not sure that all of the pieces could be categorised as yarn, in fact I know they aren’t. I have made some in longer lengths that I believe would function well as couched yarns, I would not be able to knit or stitch with them and after reflecting on focus and deadlines I’m going to have to accept at this point that I can’t explore that avenue at the moment. 

For these pieces I cut the camera bellows into strips and then used sandpaper and a file to roughen up the edges and surfaces. To emphasise these frayed edges I added gesso and some liquid watercolour. My intention was to lighten the very dark colour of the bellows. 

I had a little play with the first two strips, adding some sniped mulberry cocoon and beads from a deconstructed bracelet.


I wasn’t particularly pleased with these samples and they have been relegated to my ideas book, not the yarn collection. I felt they were just a bit too fussy and twee. 

This next piece brings together all of the various elements (materials) that I have gathered. There’s a piece of the burnt out car, some of the beautiful holed paper, thread from the ladies Thai blouse and a cog and some of the bellows from the camera. Yep, I know it’s not yarn but I love it anyway. 


After making this piece I decided I should at least try to make a yarn like sample and I went onto attach some of the thinner strips of bellow together.


These pieces have more of the gesso and paint and are lighter. The pieces had some interesting holes which lent themselves nicely to having threads worked through them and then I added a little yellow bead from another old bracelet to add a focal point. 

For the final piece I tried to keep with the idea of length and more subtle embellishment. I’m really happy with how these 3 samples and how they look together.

Art · ATV - Ex 4.4 - Deconstructing Colour as Yarn · ATV - Part 4 - Yarn and Linear Exploration · ATV - Pt4 - Pj2 - Creating Linear Forms · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Deconstructing Colour as Yarn – Ex 4.4 – Dismantling & Rebuilding

Reading back over my last blog I have noticed that it is simply a description of what I am doing.  I think it is time that I thought a little more about what I am doing and why I am drawn to the idea of reusing materials and in particular things that you would not usually associate with textiles. 

In the book Hand Stitch Perspectives I’ve found a small paragraph about Betty Pepper it says that she uses found objects and discarded memories. It goes on to say that ‘the stitch she uses is an agent for mending, darning and reworking the echoes of a tradition of oral storytelling where words are passed on and retold over and over again Betty’s work recycles the savings and leftovers of fabric and the decayed and cast off ephemera which she pieces back into new composite forms using tiny pictorial stitched drawings’.  

I find this fascinating, I’m a collector and hoarder by nature and my home is full of junk shop finds and pieces of ephemera that I pick up from the ground just about everywhere I go. I have jars of feathers, trays of shells,  boxes of stones and pieces of metal and pottery cluttering up my home. I even keep leaves until they have turned to nothing but dust. 

During my childhood I was surrounded by my mother’s and my grandmother’s stitching projects and my father’s modelmaking and engineering. This project; where I am using the camera has given me the opportunity to bring together these two elements and I have even involved my father by borrowing some of his small delicate screwdrivers.

This return to playing and the use of objects that bring back childhood memories has allowed me to overcome my original reluctance to complete the exercises in this part of ATV. 

I am still finding it very difficult to express in words what it is that I like about the process of dismantling with loving care objects that has most probably been used before with loving care but with a different purpose. I have chosen my camera carefully because I did not wish to destroy an object which still had a life/longevity in its original purpose. I cannot say that I saved the camera it could easily have been rescued by someone skilled at repairing cameras or who wished to use it simply as an ornament. It is difficult to deny that I bought it with the sole purpose of ripping it apart and completely changing what it was originally designed to do and this does feel almost brutal.

The only way I can justify my actions of tearing at the soul of the camera by compounding it’s demise, which began by being abandoned to a dusty corner of a junk store, is to use the parts that I salvage to make something new with integrity and its own soul. No pressure there then!

In writing this blog I have also recognised that the selection of the ladies Thai blouse also has an echo back to my childhood. My father was in the Merchant Navy and travelled widely in the Far East. I was lucky enough to visit Japan when I was as young as five and then later at 12. My parent’s home is full of Oriental treasures and for a while they even lived in Singapore. So I can see why I was drawn to this simple piece of Far Eastern fabric.

That’s the introduction now let’s see if I have been able to meet my own brief of creating some samples that at the very least show the potential for integrity and a respect for their original makers and owners.

Once I had borrowed the slim screwdrivers from my Dad I set to removing all of the interesting elements from the camera as delicately as I could, there was some heaving and wrenching but I tried to keep that to a minimum. There is something about these little pieces all set out like displays in a museum that makes me happy. 

They demonstrate the craftsmanship that went into the making of this affordable item. Even though these cameras were mass produced to sell at a reasonable cost to allow Kodak to bring the magic of photography to a wider audience they were still given beautiful Art Deco design elements and finely milled screws and levers.


Using my sketchbook and some paper I worked a simple sample of an idea I had brewing about cutting the bellows into strips and using some stitch and knotting techniques to add both light and heavy elements to them.

I attached a bead using the ‘overhand knot’ technique. It was fiddly and the bead still twisted and turned in the way that it wanted with no regard to my design.

The small washer is far more effective and I was pleased with the overall effect.

Whilst I was hard at it, like all women I was multitasking, chatting to a fellow maker, in the room and her daughter in Australia via Viber, it’s like a kind of text message but cheaper! And Tori, sitting down with a G&T (we assumed this was because it was evening down there) suggested I include some old film in my samples. Now we didn’t have any old film but we did have some blank negatives (thank you Jenny Compton, I hope you don’t need them back).

At this point it became clear that I was now juggling quite a few elements and I decided that I needed to work through some thoughts and ideas in my sketchbook. 

After building up some confidence with a paper samples and off loading some of my brain into the sketchbook I had a go with one of the corners of the bellows. I’m really quite pleased with the result and I can see lots of potential for more of these small pieces. They really are not yarn but they would make a nice series, especially if I could include an element of progression. Maybe in to or out of ageing and decaying?


I had a little bit of a wobble at this point, the yarn sample is very dark and the exercise brief asked for a demonstration of the use of lighter more delicate qualities. Consideration of this point led to this more subtle colour palette and yarn sample using a bracelet that I had deconstructed (cut the cord) and some of the beautiful holed paper and the threads removed from the ladies Thai blouse. 

I’m very happy with this sample and I promise I will start practising ways to better express the qualities of my pieces and the feeling they provoke in me. 


It was now quite late in the day and I was nicely full of caffeinated tea and feeling quite satisfied with what I’d achieved, it’s not a lot but I did say that I worked very slowly! So this last sample is just a bit of fun, it’s full of jarring lines with bits of crochet. It’s like a big tongue of camera film full of all the stuff I had been talking about and considering throughout the day.

It includes some of the sari silk that is supplied by YarnYarn which I am unashamedly becoming addicted to.


To finish off the day I attached the samples to the pages of the original sketchbook that has now become so unmanageable that I have had to remove the pages from the metal ring binding with a view to attaching a more suitable and practical binding for the submission of the assignment at the end of Part 4.

Art · ATV - Ex 4.4 - Deconstructing Colour as Yarn · ATV - Pt4 - Pj2 - Creating Linear Forms · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

Deconstructing Colour as Yarn. Ex 4.4 – Materials & Ideas.

Oh and here we go again! More making yarn. Now this has been a fun one, I’ve strayed from the brief and I’ve done some weird stuff but it’s been very enjoyable.

This exercise looked at translating colours and qualities of work done in a previous exercise using watercolours. To me this felt a little repetitive, especially when I looked at the colours and the first few materials that I gathered together. In fact so much so I actually decided to include the few samples that I made with those materials in the previous exercise 4.3.


So the challenge for me was to find something interesting: an approach or a material that would get me enthused. I decided to focus on the word ‘deconstruct’ and around the same time I was being inspired by a couple of friends who had been on a Matthew Harris workshop that involved taking an item with fabric elements, but not a garment, to pieces and using the pieces in various ways as source material and mark making tools. 

After reading through the course materials (again) I did a mind map and then set out to find interesting items to deconstruct that would work with yarn making processes.


I scoured the local antiques market in Shrewsbury, a wonderful place full of hidden treasures and in the end spent a whopping £9.50 on an old Kodak Bellows camera. I just loved all the little screws and dials, there was fabric in the bellows and lots of interesting Art Deco features. It was pretty battered and only usable with knowledge and care so it came home with me to begin a new life as yarn. Yarn? Turn a camera into yarn? The guys at the antiques centre thought I’d gone barmy!


Then I had to think about the other materials that I wanted to use and I still had to give due consideration to the original colour palette. I gathered together some ‘stuff’ and packed it up to take away on a sewing retreat. Whilst I was there I also found a ladies Thai style blouse that I decided to include in the yarns.

The sketchbook that I was working in for this part of ATV had become quite unmanageable so I’d set up another smaller one ( that’s the luxury of having taken advantage of the Pink Pigs clearance sale).  I used this sketchbook to first make some preliminary sketches of the camera and then to record my initial explorations as I started to dismantle the camera. This proved to be quite difficult because I need very small but strong screw drivers.


I couldn’t draw anymore I just wanted to start taking the camera to bits, that’s just my destructive nature coming through!


This was great fun and I could see plenty of potential but I was hamstrung by not having the right tools, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! So I was forced to go to Slimbridge to look at birds!