ATV Part 5- Building a collection Tutor feedback and review

Apologies, Sami. I should have included the following box on your assignment 4 feedback:
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.
Summary of tutorial discussion 

Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity
– Colour continues to be a strength. The potentially murky seaweed colours are lifted by the coral orange and teal in your drawings.
– Your early visual research (drawings / collage / gelliprints) explore shape, line, colour and texture beautifully. You translated the textures and colour into your textile sampling, the clarity of the shape and line is less well explored.

The ideas I took from the collage’s and monoprints was the focus of the seaweed pod shape and the lines of the fishing net and rope, which I do feel I explored and translated well- I used fishing net and rope in my pieces, I mimicked the line of netting by looping strands of fishing rope in several of the pieces, or sewing net like stitches. The seaweed pod shape is present in all the pieces in various forms, whether that be coiled wool, tyvek beads or the actual finished shape of the sample.
– There’s a clean minimalism to your earlier visual research – in part due to the white background but also due to the crisp lines. The textile work is visually much heavier and at points could have included more clarity, through delineating shapes or using perhaps more negative space. We discussed what you felt what the role of that early work was, and how you could evaluate more carefully to identify developmental value.

As I discuss in my learning log, and discussed with Cari during tutorial, the early drawings with fineliner and watercolour in my sketchbook are observational drawings from life. I recreate what I see in a realistic way so I can really get a feel for the subject or pieces I am drawing. I then explore different ways of making marks and choosing lines and patterns to take forward- collage, mono prints, lino prints. Its these secondary pieces I work with to develop the textile concepts, not the original line drawings, as these are usually more abstract and lead me more into ideas for textile sampling. I include the line drawings in my sketchbook as they are an important part of my process of ‘seeing’ before I begin to narrow down on shape and form. So, in conclusion, I wouldn’t say there was a disconnect between the line drawings and the textile samples- they are all part of my process.
– The colour and texture palette within the samples is strong – diverse, enticing and rich.
– Evaluate your capsule collection as a set, as well as individually. Consider how well they work together, how the collection could have improved, and what you would do differently following feedback.

I intend to add to my work by taking photos of the collection together and giving more evaluation of the pieces as a collection.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
– Sketchbook full of lively drawing. You use drawing to study, to design and to propose- great!
– Your fine liner drawings are strong, with a graphic, stylised quality, and you adapt the fineliner to create a range of marks and line qualities. However, your use of the fine liner feels like a habit. Explore ways of defining the outline without the need for a black line (or choose a more appropriate colour).

I can see how my use of fineliner may be a habit as I use it to do my observation drawings as I feel it gives the drawing a clarity which helps me pick out pattern and shape to take forward. I will be more mindful in future to use different mediums.
– More thoughtful selection of a tool/media in early drawings would have varied the aesthetic and given you more varied visual information to take into the textile samples (e.g. a blunt coloured pencil for a fibrous edge, a sharp one for cracks on a shell). (We talked about this strengthening the link between your visual research and later sampling.)
– Sketchbook clearly presents your ideas but try to work directly onto the pages. You were consciously trying to present your ideas more thoughtfully (based on Carolyn Saxby) but maintain a balance between it being a working document – a place to think, test and explore- and a tool to communicate / present.

I wanted to be inspired by Saxby’s sketchbook style which is why I did my pages with lots of white space. I liked the cleaness of it and felt that having the images in the middle of the page gave a bit more focus. The reason I didn’t work directly into in on some pages is because I didn’t know which drawings I would want to mount separately in the final project. Drawing on pieces of paper allows me to look at the work in one go, evaluate which drawings I feel are strong/relevant and which deserve to be mounted or placed in my sketchbook.
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
– The research focuses heavily on the textile art context. Whilst this is relevant to your intentions and interests, look more widely and evaluate your work in relation to different contexts. E.g. your visual research relates well to fine art printmaking but also to more commercial surface pattern design. Looking at a broader range of disciplines would provide more varied inspiration and broaden your understanding of what textiles can be.

To be honest I didn’t really see any prints when I was doing research on sea themed art, it was mostly 3D pieces that I was inspired by. A valid point to look at next time.

– You referenced Carolyn Saxby often – in relation to your sketchbook presentation, style of image making and also your textiles – try to draw inspiration more widely. Whilst you looked at a range of artists, you referred to Saxby only. Synthesise a range of approaches rather than one person’s work.

The brief asked us to choose an artist to be inspired by, which is why I chose one artist-Saxby. I included other artists work that inspired me in my sketchbook and made a Pinterest board of 100’s of different works which inspired a sea theme to me. Link is on my blog to the board.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis
– One of your last posts includes a stream of photos of the sketchbook – don’t duplicate what the assessor will already have seen. Use images to illustrate points you make. The learning log is an academic document rather than a ‘blog’. The assessors refer to it to enhance their understanding of your work – primarily to look for evaluation and analysis of your own work and artist research.

I will remove the sketchbook page post. I put that on so that other people who may be interested or following my blog could see the sketchbook pages as they wont get to see it in person.
– The sketchbook drawing, collage and printmaking contains strengths less evident in the textile sampling (see above). More critical and objective evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and potential of this work might have identified strengths in pattern and line which could have been incorporated into the later sampling.
Evaluation of the role and value of that earlier drawing would also be beneficial – what were you exploring, what did you learn, what worked well in that work, how can you build on that in the final sampling?
Pointers for assessment
• Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
• Read back through all assignment feedback and then review your learning log and work with my feedback in mind. Are there things you could improve?
• Presentation: As discussed, ensure that assessors can quickly determine each of the 5 assignments and the development logic within each one. (Approaches discussed: numbering samples, presenting some on card, printing photos of close ups / selected compositions within samples (as evaluation / selection of best bits) / photos of samples against white or on beach.)

I have gone through all previous assignments and ensured that everything is presented in a logical way, with numbering and photos as reference.
• Write a holistic review of the course as a whole. Consider what you’ve learnt, what your strengths are, areas for development and list intentions for the next course.

I had done a little statement about the course as a whole but I will expand on it.

I would like to say a big thank you to Cari Morton for being my tutor for this course. Your feedback is always honest and gives me lots to think about! I have enjoyed our tutorials and hearing your thoughts about my work and I thank you for your support.

ATV Part 5- Building a collection- Written reflection & Overall reflection of ATV 1

Written reflection for part 5

I enjoyed this assignment the most, maybe because it inspired me more than the others because I chose to explore a theme within the work, or maybe after 18 months of progressing through this unit I am beginning to find my feet and be more confident in the choices I am making.

I had so many ideas for experimentation and furthering my concepts in this assignment but I just ran out of time. I have spent way over the 80 hours as it is on part 5 (and all the other units), but I feel the standard of my work does reflect that. If I only stuck to the 80 hours I don’t feel I would complete even half the work I have and I don’t feel that it would be of a standard that I am happy with. So although again, time is a real issue for me, I have to realise that for me at least, more than 80 hrs are needed and I will have to find more time, or utilize my time better, so I can produce work I am happy with. I am also trying to break down the barriers of being a perfectionist which may help with the time issue!

I possibly spent too long on the observational drawings at the beginning but spending that time observing and drawing from real life helps to give me a real feel for the subject I am working with. I am glad I narrowed down my choices to pod and line shapes as this gives a better focus to the work. There are still many ideas in my sketchbook which I can go back to- the mussel shells and fan seaweed for instance, beautiful shapes and colours which I want to explore in more detail.

Researching an artist gave me lots of inspiration for trying new techniques and materials, not just with the textile aspect but in how I edit my photos and display work in my sketchbook. I looked at other artists as well and made a sea themed textile and art board here.

The theme of entanglement of the organic and non organic and plastic pollution showed up quite early on in my sketchbook and I knew I wanted to combine it with the brief given. I feel this pushed my work further than maybe just following the brief would. The fusing and entanglement theme can also be applied to my experimental samples and working methods- using heat to bond and fuse, using different mediums blended together to create, new and exciting textures and surfaces to work upon, tying, knotting, weaving and merging yarns and fibres together.

I feel my work in my sketchbook has been better presented this time around. Inspired by not only Carolyn Saxby’s textile work, but her presentation of her sketchbooks, photos and mounted works, I wanted to streamline my sketchbook to give it a cleaner, more ‘professional’ look. I kept my narrative to bullet points, material lists and methods where possible and used lots of white space around the images. I also made my photos, where possible, square so that my blog and sketchbook were visually similar.

So, what have I learnt?

  • That when the pieces have a specific meaning or context I get more satisfaction from the work- it means more that I am able to see a story there
  • Time is still an issue but at this point I am thinking it always will be
  • I have learnt a lot about how different fabrics and different mediums react with one another
  • I have experimented with lots of techniques and mediums I had not used before
  • I have learnt to experiment more and whilst doing so, not to expect perfect results or pieces. I learn just as much from things that go wrong.
  • A piece of art does not have to be pretty, perfect or beautiful to be art and to mean something. I have always wanted my pieces to look nice but I am finding I get more joy from pieces that tell me something.
  • Working in a more sculptural or 3D way really excites me- it seems to open up more possibilities to me and makes me think more about how something can be created.
  • The quickest and simplest pieces sometimes turn out to be the best- the ones with not much planning or forethought, the ones that just seem to organically make themselves, have a quality about them that at the moment I find difficult to explain. I work a lot with wood and clay and I always say that it becomes what it wants to become, it leads me to create it how it wants to be created if that makes sense?

Demonstration of technical and visual skills– varied techniques and materials used      ( weaving, soluble fabric and machine embroidery, hand stitch, mediums such as ceramic stucco, embossing powders, xpanaprint),  and some used in unconventional ways (burning, melting, bonding). Observational drawings, mono prints, collage used to express and expand on visual ideas and skills. Sketchbook used to visualise ideas for design.

Quality of outcome– I believe I have presented my work in a coherent manner that is visually pleasing and easy to follow. My sketchbook shows easily the progression of ideas and also ideas that could be expanded upon. I feel I have got better with communicating my ideas, both in my sketchbook and on my blog.

Demonstration of creativity– I believe I have been imaginative in both my ideas and experimentation, and in the final pieces of work. Working with more sculptural forms in textiles has taken me out of my comfort zone but has highlighted my interest in the 3D form and what can be achieved with fabrics and fibres in this form. I feel in this assignment that my personal voice has started to make an appearance. A personal voice can take years to develop, and while following briefs that ask you to experiment with everything and learn new techniques, it can be very difficult for your personal voice to show through- its hidden by all the new stuff you are trying to learn and briefs you are trying to fulfil.

Context– I enjoyed the research in this part, I have struggled with some of the research from earlier parts in as such that I haven’t been able to express well my thoughts and reflection on the research, or just that it really hasn’t inspired me. I find it easier to explain why I liked something, or why I did something the way I did when I am asked face to face by tutor on our skype tutorials, than by trying to express it in written words. I have done better in this assignment with my reflection and critical thinking I believe. I have expressed why I like pieces and why I don’t and what I could have done to rectify or expand upon them.

Overall reflection of ATV 1

The journey I have been on over the last 18 months of this unit has been inspirational. I have learnt so many new textile techniques and expanded my textile knowledge ten fold. I have learnt to look at things in a different way and interpret them, hopefully in a style that is becoming my own. I have really got back into drawing and painting and have found them invaluable tools to capture the essence of what I am looking at and to conceptualise textile ideas in my sketchbook. I am looking forward to developing further in unit 2.

(Edited to add after tutor feedback)What I have learnt: It’s hard coming back into formal  education later in life. Although as a mature student you bring a whole different skill set to the table,  I have found it quite hard to know and understand whats being asked of me at some points of part one. (In places I have found the course to be very difficult to understand, due to the way things are worded, the same feeling has been noted through the FB group.) Getting back into the mindset of education for research, essays and critical analysis has been difficult- the creative side not so much, its the academic side that can be a struggle. I think what also adds to this issue is doing the course as distance learning. You can feel quite isolated in your studies and although there are facebook groups and the OCA forums I find im normally too intimidated to ask for support and just muddle through on my own. But, the course has opened my eyes to many new, conceptual textile artists and their work, given me a broader understanding of what textiles are and has taught me to experiment and play and make samples and to learn from them samples whether they were successful or not.

I feel my strengths are my drawing skills and a good sense of colour, as these are the points most raised in my feedback.

Areas for development would be the research projects and my critical analysis and evaluation skills. I have bought  Critical thinking skills by Stella Cottrell (published by Palgrave McMillan) to read and am on the waiting list for the next online critical thinking OCA course. As for the research, some I found interesting which resulted in me wanting to know more and others not so much. I need to give a more personal view of what I am researching.

My intentions for the next course are:

-To work better not harder. To try not to take so much time with each project, look at quicker ways to get the results I want.

-To experiment more and not be such a perfectionist.

-To up my game with the evaluation of my work- being better able to communicate why I have done things the way I have and what could be done differently.

-To try and get more involved with the OCA forums for more analysis and support of work.


ATV part 5 – building a collection, Assignment Five- your capsule collection

As I look back and evaluate the samples I have made I am very aware that my experiments have been leaning toward the idea of the entanglement of the organic and non organic- the fusing together of these materials, almost creating new species. Fishing net so entangled with seaweed that you cant see where one ends and the other begins. The cohabitation of these materials seems to be the norm on our coastlines these days that sadly, many do not even notice anymore. Although there has been a huge soar in public awareness over the last 18 months, mainly due to Sir David Attenborough, of the plastic pollution of our oceans, much more can be done. People are ditching straws and plastic bottles which is great, but a major cause of the pollution is discarded fishing equipment.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the world’s largest collection of floating trash—and the most famous. It lies between Hawaii and California…Microplastics make up 94 percent of an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch. But that only amounts to eight percent of the total tonnage. As it turns out, of the 79,000 metric tons of plastic in the patch, most of it is abandoned fishing gear—not plastic bottles or packaging drawing headlines today. A comprehensive new study by Slat’s team of scientists, published in Scientific Reports Thursday, concluded that the 79,000 tons was four to 16 times larger than has been previously estimated for the patch. The study also found that fishing nets account for 46 percent of the trash, with the majority of the rest composed of other fishing industry gear, including ropes, oyster spacers, eel traps, crates, and baskets. [1]

I wanted to carry on exploring this emerging theme in my collection. I felt I needed to create a few more images to help refine the theme so I went back to my mono prints and made a little fold up book, focusing on the seaweed pod shapes and fishing rope and net. I was conscious to also stick to the brief given, expanding on work already done and creating a unity with the pieces, but felt the entanglement theme was too exciting not to combine with the brief. Also, once an idea is stuck in my mind there’s only one way to get it out and that’s to create it!
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Piece 1
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I wanted to expand on the woven samples, this time including fishing rope and pieces of net, creating the effect of a coastline woven with pollution.
I used- Wool, hand core spun wool tops, sari silk waste, blue and orange fishing rope, strands of fishing rope, sari ribbon, wensleydale locks, hand dyed gauze/cheesecloth, tulle, various threads, tyvek beads and some of my wet felted seaweed pods from the samples. The piece was hung on driftwood found on the beach. All materials were from my stash, keeping with the reducing pollution idea. I experimented with different weaving techniques, like adding knotting, wrapping the warp threads at the top to look like seaweed pods and differing the number of warp threads I went over and under. I used the hanging knotted wool again as I found that most effective as seaweed in the sample piece. I also added stitching in places over the weaving. This was an intense piece of work that took 3 days to complete but I was very pleased with the result. I feel it captures the theme well, due to pieces being woven and knotted around each other. It keeps to the pod and net/fishing rope visuals and shapes and the colours of the seaweed and fishing rope/net. The texture varies throughout the piece from soft to sculptural, coarse to delicate, highlighting the  soft organic forms and the rougher ropes and nets.
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Piece 2
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For the second piece I wanted to combine the weaving with a pod shape. I made the shape out of driftwood and glued on some Shrimp fishing net instead of warping threads. I wanted to weave through the net itself. I used wool and hand core spun wool. I like the concept of this piece, I love the pod shape created with the wood, but overall I am disappointed with this piece. It doesn’t give a strong image of the entanglement theme and looks like an eye. Viewed with the other pieces in the collection it redeems itself slightly as you can see the connection through the materials used, but, it needs something else- maybe I could have woven the wool in a more haphazard way to create more of a ‘tangle’ or have other pieces threaded through the net, like fishing rope or seaweed pods. Definately more room for experimenting with this one.
Piece 3 
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This piece was expanded upon from the smaller applique pieces in the samples. This piece is larger and although it uses a lot of different textural pieces it does flow much better than the smaller, jumbled sample. The pieces were laid on calico and free motion machine stitched and hand stitched.
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In the center I have used a piece of hand dyed fishing net threaded through with fishing rope, hand spun wool and one of the wet felted seaweed pods from the samples. I feel the colours are more cohesive in this piece compared to the sample piece and the composition works a lot better as well. There is the feeling of line and continuity in this piece, each smaller section flows on nicely to the next. To me it is reminiscent of a stretch of coastline with seaweed and fishing net washed ashore.
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Below is a close up section which I particularly like as It has some beautiful textures and muted colours.
Piece 4
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Piece 4 continues with the applique  but this time I used smaller pieces of different samples, made into panels and joined between each piece with hand stitch with various threads and strands of fishing net. My intention was to make a vertical ‘tideline’. I know maybe a tideline should not be vertical but I tried the sample pieces horizontally and didn’t feel it was aesthetically pleasing. There are lots of different textures, materials and techniques on this piece, but again, there is a flow to it that wasn’t there with the sample pieces. The eye travels easily down the piece, from one panel to the next without any jarring. The joins between the panels are translation of the lines of fishing net and rope, the bubbled textures representing the seaweed pod shapes. I am very happy with this piece, it turned out a lot better than the vision in my head. Its tactile, the colours complement each other and I can see this working in a much bigger scale than I had time to complete.
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The photo below shows how it is attached to a small bit of driftwood with shrimp net and stitching and has a dried piece of seaweed on the top. It can be rolled up and unrolled to display it.
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I did an illustration of the piece documenting all the materials used and mounted that to a piece of driftwood so it rolls up in the same fashion as piece 4.
Piece 5 
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This piece was the quickest to make and one of the two that excite me the most. I had no real plans for this piece,  except I knew I wanted to create a pod, following on from the idea of the paper pieced pod and the wire and paper pod samples. I was playing with the orange wool wrapped wire, thinking how I could utilize it and it just sort of happened. I wrapped the wire into a spiral, hung a piece of dried seaweed inside it and covered it with hand dyed gauze bandage which I slip stitched  with strands of fishing rope up one side. It encapsulates the organic within the inorganic (I know its cotton gauze, so it is organic, but translated here to represent fishing net). It has tyvek pod beads and core spun wool hanging of the bottom, the trailing tail of pollution.
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Project27 (Small)
I love how you can see through the net to the seaweed trapped inside. The pod shape was based on the seaweed pods but also reminds me a bit of lobster pots. I feel there is a lot of scope for development of this piece. It would work well at a larger scale with several all hanging together, maybe with different things trapped inside each one. I like that this is 3D, a type of pod vessel, it has a more sculptural feel to it which really excites me, working with a 3D form.
Piece 6 
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This piece is a sort of culmination of the 3D pod shapes and the embroidery on water soluble fabric from the sample pieces. It is the second piece I am very excited about.
When I washed out the soluble fabric from the sample embroidery it was still quite sticky and stiff and I thought it could be dried around something to make it shaped. But as it had gaps between the seaweed pods I wasn’t sure it would look right as a 3D piece.
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Seaweed pod embroidery using soluble fabric
So, taking the idea of that and blending it with the vision of a 3D seaweed pod, is how I came up with this piece.
Project22 (Small)
I made the base with pieces of painted and heated baby wipes and poly satin, used fishing net and rope, orange and onion net bags, tulle net, dyed cheesecloth, wensleydale locks, wool, Tassahla silk bits, bubble wrap, painted and waxed kitchen towel and angelina fibres. All these materials were sandwiched between 2 pieces of soluble fabric. I then used free motion machine stitching to ‘draw’ seaweed pods and fill them in with stitches. I then stitched a fishing net design over the top. The soluble fabric was washed away and I shaped the piece over a bowl to dry, pulling out the ends to create the pod like shape. I liked it when it was dry but felt it needed more to express what it was and for the theme of entanglement. I added wire covered wool, tyvek beads and hand spun coiled wool to create protrusions of seaweed like pods. Although there was fishing net and rope in the fabric of the piece it was not that obvious so I used strands of fishing rope to stitch a net over the top, joining the 2 sides together.  I love the result! I wouldn’t say it was pretty in a traditional sense but to me it’s beautiful. A friend said it was nice before I put all the other stuff on but felt I had made it ugly! To me, I had given it the depth and elements it needed to express the theme of the work and to expand beyond the experimentation of the sample pieces, whilst still being able to see the transition and connection to the earlier works. I love the shape, texture and colours. The wire pods sticking out of it add interest and make it more sculptural and the fishing net effect over the top draws together the theme of entanglement and fusion.
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Evaluation as a collection 
(Edited after tutor feedback)
I feel the final 6 pieces are cohesive as a collection due to the use of a strong, but limited colour palette and the repetition of materials used in the pieces. This draws the collection together even though each piece is unique on its own.
There are 3 pod shaped pieces and 3 linear pieces which although coincidental, works well to express the elements I chose to concentrate on which were the linear forms of fishing rope/net andthe 3 dimensionality of the seaweed pods.
The theme of the entanglement of organic and in-organic, runs through every piece, due to the use of  natural materials and found materials,combined together, such as the strands of fishing rope used to join pieces together, or the wet felted seaweed pods woven into the fishing net and lines of weaving.
There is one piece that I feel lets the collection down and that is the pod shaped driftwood weave. I believe the concept is good, but the execution of the design could have been better thought out. Rather than the weaving on the shrimp net looking pod like as I intended, it looks more like a big eye. I like the shape of the driftwood frame and the use of the shrimp net but I would look again at how I did the weaving and maybe include some other elements, like the felted seaweed pods or found fishing rope to enhance the form and make it more cohesive with the rest of the collection.
I think the piece with greatest potential for development is piece 5; the orange wrapped wire and blue gauze pod vessel holding the seaweed inside. This could be made much larger, there could be more of them, each holding something trapped inside, such as a crab claw or a shell. This would further the theme of entanglement- something natural being held/trapped inside of something unnatural, a metaphor for the pollution that is swallowing up our seas and coastlines.
There are 3 pieces which really stand out to me and those are the vertical tideline applique- piece 4, the gauze wrapped pod- piece 5 and the pod vessel-piece 6. I think these stand out to me because they are very experimental and abstract and took me out of my comfort zone. Although not ‘pretty’ pieces by any means they are aesthetically pleasing and I feel that because I went with my gut and developed the theme of entanglement alongside the brief given, it gives more depth and story to the pieces, they mean something rather than just fulfilling the requirements . I feel that these really could be developed as textile art, a feeling that inspires me so much as I actually feel like I have created something that has a meaning.

ATV Part 5 building a collection-project 3 Experimenting and taking risks

Project18 (Small)Sample 1-Inspired by Carolyn Saxbys work. A piece using lots of the samples produced in project 2, hand stitched onto calico.

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There are lots of different technique samples on this piece- and a variety of hand stitch- french knots for pod shapes, straight stitch to represent netting and fishing rope, embroidery to represent seaweed. I have used DMC embroidery threads, size 8 perle thread and strands of fishing rope for stitching. There is a lot of texture and detail in this piece and my objective was to try layering up different samples and making one piece like Carolyn does in her work. Unfortunately, my sample does not seem to be cohesive, the eye is not gently led across the piece but rather jumps from one area to the next. I have not managed to achieve that flow that Carolyn does so successfully. There is too much going on, too many different samples.

Sample 2– Needle Felted base, silk cocoon, wensleydale locks, sari silk waste, lutrador, dyed gauze and hand stitch.

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The base of this sample was needle felted with various shades of wool tops, sari silk waste, sari ribbon and hand dyed gauze. I felt needle felting the base together would help to make it look like entire piece rather than a patchwork of pieces like above. I needle felted a seaweed pod on the top, added a piece of painted and heated lutrador, a silk cocoon, wensleydale locks, fishing rope and added hand stitch to represent netting. I feel this piece is more aesthetically pleasing than the previous sample and has a more organic feel to it. Using less samples and techniques has enabled me to concentrate better on the finished look of the piece, and to me, this piece is more easily recognisable for what it represents.

Sample 3– Seaweed embroidery on soluble fabric

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Another technique I tried was embroidery on soluble fabric, something I had not done before. I sketched out the seaweed pod shapes on the soluble fabric and used various madeira variegated threads and polyester threads to machine embroider the shape, making sure that each segment was fully embroidered so no part would be seperated when the soluble fabric was washed away. I added bits of fluffy wool and wensleydale locks trapped under the stitching to make it a little more 3D. It took a long time to complete this relatively small piece but I was pleased with the results once the fabric was washed away. The texture was great although it stayed a little stiff after washing away the fabric, but that has helped it keep its shape and given me an idea to use it at the next stage. The wensleydale locks and wool have worked well as depicting the fronds and strands of the seaweed. Looking at the piece now I wish I had also incorporated some lines of rope for the fishing net. Expansion ideas- a more 3D piece with this technique, the stickiness of the glue when dry might hold a 3D shape?? Add in some fishing net design.

Sample 4– Small weaving

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I wanted to use some of the yarn concepts so I decided my next sample piece would be a weaving. I used the same knotted wool techniques from the yarn samples and added some fun fluffy wool, sari ribbon and a tiny piece of silk slub thread I had lying around. I used knotting of the olive wool as it was being weaved which gave another pod like texture. The dark green knotted wool at the bottom I feel is very effective as a seaweed type fringe. I wanted to add some of the knotted olive wool at the side of the piece also as I felt these combined well. I hung the finished piece on a piece of driftwood from the beach and added a shell to pull together the theme of the piece. Expansion ideas: I want to try a bigger piece with all the colours from my colour palette and try weaving some of the found and used fishing rope into it.

Project17 (Small)

Sample 5– wet felted seaweed pods

I was beginning to have ideas to make some more pod like shapes in 3D. I liked the shape of the needle felted pod on sample 2 but thought wet felting rather than needle felting would produce better results. I chose my colour palette of wool tops and locks and made around 6 pieces in various sizes. I added the wool locks and a few glass beads on one of them. Overall I am pleased with how these turned out but to be effective as stand alone pieces they would have to be on a much bigger scale. These smaller pieces may be good to add into some of the other pieces of work. Expansion ideas- Much bigger, more like pod vessels, hollow inside, maybe wire protrusions as the smaller pods. Hanging or mounted???

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Sample 6– Paper and wire pod

Wasn’t sure how this would work so only made a small sample. I used wire and deli paper covered in mod podge to adhere it together and finished the ends with florist tape.  (image in above photo grid). Very fiddly and time consuming to make the wire pod although covering it with the deli paper was simple enough. I used ink sprays to colour it after it was made and then a coating of spray varnish to harden it a little as it was very delicate. I like the shape of the pod and could see a whole load of these together as a sculptural piece with stitch and beads added for more texture. Expansion ideas- using different types of paper or fabric. Thicker wire for larger pieces.

Sample 7– Paper pieced pod sewn with fishing net strands

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Still on the 3D pod shape idea I used the left over gelli prints to cut out oval shapes and joined them together with stitching strands of fishing rope. I like the concept of this piece, the pod woven together with fishing rope, but the pod shape is not quite right. I added too many ovals at first and had to remove some but the shape could do with a better design I feel , its a bit gappy. Again, I could see this on a larger scale, time allowing, maybe mixed with the paper and wire pods. Expansion ideas- research how to design the separate oval shapes so they tessellate together better. Coat each piece with mod podge or varnish to make it more stable and durable.

Sample 8– Lino cut printed onto calico

I wanted to re use the lino cuts I made for the earlier samplings. I printed onto calico with acrylic paint. My idea was to quilt around each printed pod to create squishy pod shapes. I layered up with wadding and cotton backing but I only stitched up one side of one pod before realising that it wasn’t going going to achieve the look I wanted and that it was a bit far removed from the other experiments and samples I had worked on. Although the quilling would have made the pods stand out the piece just wasn’t going to be up to the standard of the other pieces, in looks or experimentation. As time was running out I didn’t finish this sample, instead I chose to concentrate on ideas for the next part of the assignment. Expansion ideas: Print onto a different fabric or add more texture to the print. Quilting around the pods and maybe adding kantha stitching would maybe give the piece the extra texture it needed.

Sample 9– Turning the singular 3D printed seaweed pod into a mat

I kept swinging backward and forwards on the 3D printed samples- I love the idea of them, the relatively new concepts of 3D printed textiles, but still unsure how to incorporate them. I decided to see if I could join the pieces together to make a ‘mat’ of ‘fabric’. As I said earlier, the bed of our printer is quite small which inhibits what we can print. I played around with the singular pieces I had printed trying to work out how I could join them. Interestingly, when I started joining them they made a net like shape- so again this idea of fusion and entanglement popped up- the seaweed pods joined together to make fishing net. I had to use the Tinkercad program again to join the shapes together and then had to print on a much smaller scale than the original singular seaweed print so I could print enough to see the effect.

The above larger photo is 2 ‘mats’ side by side. Scaling down meant that the actual pods on the seaweed are not as squishy as before, a fact I liked as real seaweed pods are squishy when fresh! The seaweed has also lost a bit of the definition. What I am pleased with though is the fishing net shape. More and more as I progress through this project is the idea of this merging and entanglement of organic and inorganic materials- creating new species if you like. I have to be honest and say I have no idea really how to use these ‘mats’. Possibilities might be adding weaving to them or stitching them onto something else.


-Dont throw everything at one piece (sample 1) Learning a range of techniques for creating creating texture is great but you don’t have to use all those techniques in one piece. That’s what made sample 1 more of a jumble than a flowing piece of work. Chose what works best together , even if its only a couple of techniques.

Time is a real issue- I wanted to make bigger samples like the wire and paper pod but the small one took so long I just couldn’t spend hours on making more to see how I could create a sculpture with them. I could have drawn out a sketch in my sketchbook of what I hoped it would look like but I didn’t think about it.

More research on 3D printed textiles needed at some point to be able to take my ideas and concepts further.


ATV Part 5 Building a collection- project 2 building a response- develop yarn and linear concepts

Most of my yarn designs come from the shape of the seaweed pods and the line of the strands of fishing rope. These are the shapes that are standing out to me the most.

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  1. Glue from glue gun painted with acrylic paint- strong, rubbery, can create in any shape, flexible, can be added to stitch work, weaving20190325_162451 (Small)
  2. 2 ply dark green wool, knotted with strands tied on and knotted- easy, versatile, time consuming tying all the knots but effectively achieves the look of seaweed.
  3. Free form crochet with 2 ply dark green wool- cant crochet very well and have never tried freeform but very pleased with how this yarn turned out. I managed to create the (sort of) 3-D pod shapes with the crochet which is what I wanted and as it is free form there can be no mistakes!20190325_162504 (Small)4. Chunky 2 ply olive green wool, knotted with strands threaded through the ply, frayed and knotted. This one turned out well and represents the look of the seaweed pods. It has a softer look than the knotted dark green wool which makes me think of the fronds of kelp swaying in the sea.20190325_162456 (Small)5. French knitted dark green wool, knotted at intervals to create pods and wooden green beads inserted into some of those pods. Not overly keen on this, the idea of it in my head looked good but in reality I don’t feel I captured quite what I wanted. It does have the pods but it just doesn’t stand out for me. (Image above in grid photo)

6 and 7. Hand carded wool tops, sari silk waste and wensleydale locks, hand spun core with coils. Very time consuming but worth the effort. I core spun the batts and made coils- 2 techniques I have never done before so I am very pleased with the results. The coils make excellent pods and the randomness of them adds to the natural, organic effect I was going for. The green obviously is for the seaweed but the orange and blue represent the colours of the fishing net and ropes.20190325_110422 (Small)

8. Tyvek beads strung on strands of fishing rope. Combining the pod shape of the seaweed and using washed up fishing rope to join them together, the organic and inorganic entangled.20190325_162444 (Small)

9. 3D printed seaweed. A totally new concept for me. I recently went in with my son on buying a 3D printer, with the intention of helping him out but also I am seeing more and more 3D printed textile concepts about and it has peaked my interest – here is my Pinterest board for 3D textiles   

I am not very tech savvy so I still know very little about how it all works, but I had some crash lessons from my son over Easter and I managed to design and print 3 different types of seaweed (with help!) How they will fit in with this project, I’m not sure, but it was a very interesting, if irrelevant (for now) diversion. (More details in my sketchbook). I also printed some fish scales onto tulle- Not my design, it can be found here

by BeAMaker on thingyverse. I look forward to researching more about 3D textiles and their use and maybe incorporating some ideas into my own work.

10. Dyed gauze bandage knotted- simple but effective, tangled fishing nets.

11. Dyed gauze bandage with handspun, hand dyed wool threaded through- again, simple but effective translation of fishing net and entanglement.


I feel I came up with some good results with the yarn concepts and tried lots of different ideas. The core spun coiled wool has been brilliant for adding into lots of the pieces I have made, especially the weavings, as each bit I cut off is different from the rest. The knotted wool concepts are very simple but that should not detract from the effectiveness when it has been used in later pieces. I love the glue gun yarn, so different and versatile as a material and in this case a linear concept which can be used in different pieces. It was the glue gun yarn that made me think of 3D printing some seaweed shapes, which turned out much better than I was expecting. The heat bed on our printer is not that big so I was unable to create a long, continuous piece but the concept for it is there. When I made the piece smaller and joined them together to form a sort of mat you can get a better idea of what a yarn or a piece of material could look like. Definately fuels ideas for the future!



ATV Part 5 Building a collection- project 2 building a response- develop textile concepts

I took this part of the project to experiment with some of the techniques used by Carolyn Saxby to create texture and colour. I wanted to create circles and ovals to represent the pods of the seaweed and lines to represent netting and fishing rope.

Here are my observations and results of my textile concepts.Project1hdndn (Small)

  1. Tyvek paper, acrylic paint, heated with a heat gun.
  • Colour of paint stays true.
  • Not absorbent so easy to keep adding layers or print on top.
  • Stiff when heated and bubbled. Sewing machine needle will struggle to go through it.
  • No real control over how the tyvek bubbles or twists with the heat gun. Heating small bits at a time give a little bit more control but not much. A soldering iron would give good control over melting but wont work to bubble up the surface.

2. Lutrador 100, acrylic paint, heat gun

  • Really absorbent so paint soaks in- need quite a bit of paint to get good coverage.
  • Paint keeps its true colour.
  • Stiff but more pliable than the tyvek when heated and bubbled.
  • Shouldn’t be difficult to stitch through with machine or by hand.
  • Again, not much control over how it bubbles or melts with the heat gun. It melts through quicker than the tyvek. A soldering iron would give good control over melting but wont work to bubble up the surface.

3. Baby wipes, acrylic paint, acrylic inks, heat gun

  • Absorbent (I used the wipes that I had been using for wiping up excess paint and ink)
  • Keeps true colour
  • Stiff and crinkly in places but overall remains soft and pliable.
  • Easy to sew.
  • Some control over melting holes as it takes a lot longer than the tyvek or lutrador. It doesn’t bubble up, just melts holes through it.

4. Bubble wrap, acrylic paints and inks, embossing powders

  • Embossing powder on top of wet paint and heated worked very well, the powders formed a hard shell.
  • Embossing powders on top of multi media gloss gel didn’t work as well as the plastic bubbles started melting before the powders.
  • Paint and embossing powders flaky when dry

5. Poly satin, embossing powders, multi media gloss gel, fabric paint, lino cut

  • Embossing powders adhered well to the lino print printed with fabric paint, but once the powders heated I lost the definition of the print.
  • Thicker embossing powders adhered with the multi media gloss gel creates a thick texture with forms a barrier that stops the poly satin underneath it bubbling up with the heat. The fabric bubbles around it creating an interesting relief texture.

6. Poly satin, acrylic paints and inks, ceramic stucco, fine embossing powders, gilding wax

  • Ceramic stucco applied to the fabric through a stencil and heat gunned dry, then painted with acrylic paint and inks then embossed.
  • Fabric bubbles up around the stucco, the stucco creates a resist. Gives a bit more control as you know where the fabric is going to bubble, and it creates smaller bubbles because the gap between the stucco circles is smaller.
  • Gilding wax rubbed over the top of the stucco then heated until it melts. Defines the texture and gives a shine to it.

7. Muslin, ceramic stucco, stencil, acrylic paints and inks, multi media gloss gel, clear and copper embossing powders, gilding wax on top and heated, piece of bubble wrap adhered with multi media gloss gel and heated.

  • Muslin remains soft, circles are stiff.
  • Clear embossing powder made the circles shiny.
  • Some powders escaped from the circles onto the fabric where there was no gel, which created a beading effect which gave good texture.

8. Poly satin, fabric paint, ink sprays, multi media gloss gel, embossing powders. Printed with lino cut.

  • Lino cut print definition was lost when heating the fabric. Tried without the embossing powders as before definition was lost with the use of the powders.
  • Fabric remains soft and pliable even after heating and bubbling.
  • Has a bit of a waxy feel, not sure if thats the paints as the other piece of poly satin doesnt feel waxy.
  • Fabric paint became brighter once heat set.
  • Embossing powder worked well on the poly satin, a good texture can be achieved.



9. Chiffon type fabric, ink sprays, ceramic stucco, gilding wax, bubble wrap.

  • Ceramic stucco applied through stencil and then heated until dry. Creates a good firm circle.
  • Sprayed with ink sprays as I felt that the paints would go straight through the fine fabric and be too thick.
  • Gilding wax applied over the stucco and heated until melted, adds to the texture and gives a nice glossy finish. Be careful with heat gun, the fabric started to singe when heat was applied for too long in one area- danger of burning.
  • Piece of bubble wrap, pre treated with paints and powders, adhered with multi media gloss gel and melted onto fabric.

10. Calico, acrylic paints and inks, ceramic stucco imprinted with bubble wrap, embossing powders.

  • Ceramic stucco applied with a palette knife to the calico. Pressed bubble wrap into it to create circle texture. Heated to dry. The imprint remained but is quite faint. Maybe need to apply the stucco a bit thicker??
  • Painted with acrylics and inks. Calico is very absorbent so sucked the colour in leaving it not as bright.
  • Multi media gloss gel applied over the stucco, embossing powders added and heated. Good firm texture, feels rubbery.

11. White cotton sheeting, xpandaprint, fabric paint, luster rub ons.

  • Xpandaprint applied easily with a paint brush but when heated the brush strokes were quite apparent.
  • Applied xpandaprint through netting to create texture but when the netting was removed and the xpandaprint heated the texture was not visible.
  • Applied xpandaprint through netting, left netting in place and heated. This worked well, you could see the netting in places but the netting did start to singe a bit.
  • Used Lumiere fabric paint and luster rub ons on top of the heated xpandaprint but have to be very careful as the xpandaprint starts to come off.

12. Bubble wrap, xpandaprint, ink sprays, acrylic wax

  • Gives a great crusty, bubbly effect, very tactile.
  • Again, the xpandaprint is really delicate and trying to add paint over the top kept knocking bits off so I used ink sprays. Maybe mix the colour in with the xpandaprint before applying and heating?
  • I added acrylic wax over the top which makes the xpandaprint a bit more stable.

13. Cheesecloth type fabric, xpandaprint applied with a round sponge, acrylic paints and inks, acrylic wax.

  • I coloured some of the xpandaprint before applying and this worked well. It didn’t have any adverse effect when heated. Xpandaprint went on really well with the sponge (so no brush marks visible when heated).
  • Acrylic wax over the top to make xpandaprint more stable. Has given it a rubbery feel on the cheesecloth, which it hasn’t on the bubble wrap.
  • Looks a bit like salt crustaceans left by the sea.

14. Craft hessian, acrylic paint, xpandaprint

  • The hessian sucked up the paint so need a lot.
  • I applied the xpandaprint in lines to represent the white lines on the mussel shells
  • Worked really well, the xpandaprint didn’t seem to bubble up as much so the effect was subtle.
  • Edges of hessian started fraying as soon it was cut out.

15. Calico printed with acrylic painted bubble wrap and lino printed with fabric paint.

  • Calico dulls the paint colour quite a lot. Even the fabric paint didn’t get much brighter.
  • Easy to print onto.

16. Poly satin, lino cut, fabric paint

  • Printed really smoothly
  • Fabric paint got a lot brighter after heating

17. Tyvek, lutrador, polysatin, fantasy film, chocolate orange wrapper, fruit nets, strands of fishing rope

  • Rolled strips of the above materials, around a knitting needle in layers and heated with heat gun until melted and fused.
  • Good results- no control over how they turn out but that’s half the fun.

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Playing with all these different techniques has opened me up to a whole new range of possibilities. I had never used xpandaprint or acrylic wax before, and only ever used embossing powders on some xmas cards I once made. I have learnt how different fabrics handle heating and or melting; how they handle different mediums and how different fabrics handle the same medium- the acrylic paint for example went on beautifully on some materials but on others it absorbed too quickly soaking up and dulling the colour. The xpandaprint with acrylic wax over the top felt rubbery on some fabrics but not on others. The fabric paints mostly got brighter once heat set but on the calico there was not much difference. When the gilding wax is heated it becomes a lot glossier and has a silky feel to it.

I especially liked the effects achieved with the xpandaprint, easy to use, great bubbly texture. The thicker you apply it the more it expands. It colours well with spray inks and although delicate once heated a coating of acrylic wax seems to make it more sturdy. Colouring the xpandaprint with acrylic paint before applying it didn’t alter how it worked when heated. The ceramic stucco gives a nice firm surface when set, a nice contrast to the softness of the fabric. I used texture paste on some later samples as I ran out of the stucco but the effect was not quite as firm, it was more rubbery and bendable.

I ended up with more circles and pods than lines but I can expand upon that theme further on.

My favorite results were the bubble wrap with xpandaprint and acrylic wax because of its crustiness and tactile feel and the tyvek beads as they really merge the pod shape of the seaweed with the plastic/fishing net waste found on the beach.


ATV part 5 building a collection project 2 building a response: Artist Inspiration Carolyn Saxby

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Image 1: Images from Carolyn Saxby’s blog. All images are copyright to Carolyn Saxby

Carolyn Saxby is a mixed media artist from St. Ives. She uses a mix of collage, photography and textiles in her work and her main inspirations are the coastline, beaches, shells and the sea where she lives.

What really draws me into her work is her strong colour palette. A lot of her work is blue/turquoise/aqua and oranges and yellows which reminded me of the crab shells and fishing ropes I collected. The blue and orange work so well together and are representative of so many beach scenes: the sea and the sand; rusty, peeling paint of fishing boats; crab shells and fishing rope; seaweed and shells. Of course, I also live by the sea and it has always been a huge inspiration to me, so researching her work has given me a lot of varied ideas of what can be achieved with a coastal theme.

Carolyn employs a lot of different textures in her work using various fabrics, knitting techniques, paints, texture pastes, stitches, printing, weaving, and the heating and melting of fabrics and plastics. This gives her work a lot of depth and structure and a lot to explore when looking at it.Although a lot of techniques are employed, sometimes in the same piece, the work never looks too busy or crowded, it all blends together well to create the scene. I really like the fact that she incorporates real shells, netting and other pieces she finds on the beach into her work, as this, to me, brings the real inspiration and the artist’s recreation of the scene together.

I like the artist’s use of mono printing and collage to convey her coastline in a more abstract way, giving her lots more ideas and patterns to play with. I also like the way her sketchbooks are laid out and how she displays her work- lots of white space on each page, square sketchbooks, lots of collage, experiments and samples included. On her blog most of her images have been made square, like in her sketchbooks, and this brings a uniformity to her work. It looks professional, clean and well thought out. I find her work is easily recognizable on different forums such as pinterest because of her style, which I believe is a good thing; it stands out as hers.

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Image 2: Images from Carolyn Saxby’s blog. All images are copyright to Carolyn Saxby

Carolyn Saxby’s blog can be found here

Her Flicker account here

My Pinterest board of her work here

ATV part 5 building a collection project 2 building a response

Choosing a colour palette

There are lots of colours to choose from in my work so I need to narrow it down. The way I did this was to paint colour chips and see what went together and then I did some yarn wraps in the colours I had chosen.

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Seaweed greens
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Fishing net turquoise
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Fishing net rope turquoise, orange, black


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mussel shells, indigo, blue, grey


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 crab shell Orange
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette
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Yarn Wraps for colour palette

The colours really popping for me are the seaweed greens, the turquoise/blue/green of the fishing net ropes, the orange of the crab shell, the orange and indigo of the crab shell and leg and the blues, indigos, purples of the mussel shells.

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Seaweed greens, mussel shell blues, fishing net turquoise, crab orange and indigo


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seaweed greens
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fishing net rope turquoise
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Mussel shell blues and purples
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crab shell orange
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colour palette

I’m undecided on the mussel shell colours at the moment but will definitely move forward with the green, turquoise and orange. I think the four colours go well together but is 4 colours too many??