This is a very sound assignment in which you have demonstrated your commitment to mastering and then exploring the potential of several new techniques. The work you have sent me shows an appropriate choice and sensitive handling of a range of yarns and threads and a willingness to experiment with some more unconventional materials. Your choice of imagery for your weaves is imaginative and this has given you scope for a very personal interpretation of your ideas. You have also demonstrated your ability to choose a particular weave and range of yarns to suit your particular purpose.
Your learning log and research task shows a thoughtful approach to the way your learning is progressing and the extent to which you are able to make impartial judgments regarding the work of others. You are becoming increasingly aware of the valuable learning opportunities afforded when visiting a wider range of venues and observing different forms and approaches to artistic practice. Another good assignment Amanda, well done.
For your final assignment, you have a wealth of material to draw upon. Try to focus your ideas and aim to explore one idea in more depth rather than trying to be too ambitious in terms of scale.
Assessment potential (after Assignments 1 and 4)
I understand your aim is to go for the BA TextilesDegree 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 succeed 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.
Feedback on assignment
Project 8: Exploring Structures
Your earlpe Your experimentation yielded some very interesting results. I really liked the technique of random wrapping round a metal frame and then machine stitching over the string. I think that this is something you could return to and maybe think about inserting further woven or wrapped structures within the one you have created. You have also worked really hard at presenting your ideas here. There is a close correlation and coherence between your design sources, developmental drawing and experimentation. Well done. I think this shows how much progress you have made in working from an initial idea, through to a well-considered outcome.
Your weaves showed how a relatively simple idea can also give you other starting pionts. Maybe you could have based some of your tapestry weaves on sections of these? Could you also use a viewfinder to isolate small areas and use this as a basis for further drawing?
The experiments with ropes and braids were well executed but what I found interesting was the way in which you used the language of earlier mark making to describe the outcomes. The qualities were very similar. In exercise 3, you showed great sensitivity in exploiting the natural properties of your materials e.g. the bent twig. You let it dictate the final shape of the structure and this paid off. This can be a hard thing to do but you were careful with your selection of additional materials which complemented the qualities of the supporting frame.
I was particularly interested in the plastic rod grid. Do you know Michael Brennand Wood’s earlier work in which he used similar structures as a framework for further, finer materials. Have a look at Iridescent pink and blue 1979, or Charlemagne 1978(below):
It got me thinking as to whether you might take a similar approach by combing the more rigid framework with some of your looser, finer and more random zig zagged cords and maybe some of your experimentation with paper scrim and stitch? I thought that the latter were delicate and lace like. You could take this idea further and experiment with a wider range of papers at different scales. What about layering them so that you can see elements of each layer?
Your final examples which strayed into the realms of 3D bowls were also highly successful. You might like to look at some of the baskets made by the www.braided-rugcompany.co.uk ). There are also many examples of native African pots which use similar techniques. With your examples, I felt that there was a strong Japanese feel to them. Probably no coincidence! Was it the colour I wonder, or the very simple shape?
The only sample I had some reservations about was the hessian panel. I liked the idea of removing some of the warp threads and then working into the spaces and wrapping certain areas. You could go further with this deconstruction process I think. I was less convinced by the use of the zig zag cord. I think if you had used it to replace some of the vertical warps, this would have worked better. Ask yourself why you chose to use it as a soft wavy line, and why you added the sari fabric. Was this compatible with the robust nature of the hessian?
However, in total some great experimentation within this project. Your love of process really shines through, as demonstrated by your weathered tile sample. You have learned so much. Scope for much more experimentation here I think.
Project 9: Woven Structures
You made some great contextual links here between Michael Brennand Wood and Philip Sanderson and the workshop you attended at West Dene. This was a real bonus as it helped you to get to grips with basic techniques and to seek advice over issues as they arose. Although you felt that your first sample was limited in terms of colour, I thought it was a very sound first attempt. Your next two samples showed a good grasp of technical skills and an understanding of the importance of selecting an appropriate weaving technique to suit your purpose.
Experimenting with different materials
Your sample for stage three showed a discriminating if safe choice of materials. A strength here was a well-judged use of colour and contrasting but harmonizing materials. You were particularly successful in incorporating torn fabric strips. Sometimes, this can be clumsy but the overall effect in your weaves was very subtle in enhancing textural elements.
I think you should look at Tadek Beutlich’s work as I think there are certain similarities here. Sheila Hicks Weave as Metaphor work is also worth following up in terms of its small scale and use of similar materials.
Developing design ideas
You have played to your strengths here. The supporting work and mood boards were very evocative and gave you strong starting points for developing your ideas. It’s interesting to compare the two finished pieces, especially in the light of your learning log comments about a preference for working more intuitively with weave. The wabi sabi piece certainly reflected this and really created that aged and weathered feel. It was a much livelier piece than the sample based on the painting of Mt Fuji which seemed very flat by comparison. I think you could now apply what you have learned and if you have the time(!) look at ways of extending your knowledge and exploit your ability to create mood and feeling within a piece.
Learning Logs/Critical essays
Again, a thorough documentation of the progress of your thinking and ideas as well as an exploration of more practical issues. Please try to continue to document visits to galleries etc. as this will further enrich your thinking about your subject.
These were tackled very comprehensively and well-illustrated. You raised some pertinent questions which shows that you are now thinking much more objectively about key issues and are able to voice your opinions in a considered and objective way.
You have a wealth of source material and inspiration at your fingertips. Think through your ideas very carefully and don’t allow yourself to become overambitious at this stage either in quantity or scale. The final outcome does not need to be functional in any way. Think carefully about what you have learned in previous projects and try to apply what you have learned. Sometimes, a simple idea well executed can be the best option. Ensure that your work is well supported by commentary in your learning log and sketchbook and that you look at the work of other artists who have worked in similar genres.
Please ensure that you maintain sketchbook work as you will need to submit this as part of your formal assessment. In terms of the latter, I have no reservations in supporting you in applying for this. You have worked very hard and shown significant progress Amanda.