ATV Part 5 -Building a collection Project 1 Developing visual research


I looked back at my visual research from the introductory project and I am going to revisit Natures larder. It is the wrong time of year to collect the items I used last time for this project so this time I am going with a sea theme.  I feel my strengths from that first project were my detailed drawings and my attention to detail. My weaknesses I feel, were in the way it was presented and in my evaluation of my own work. I will collect new items from my local beaches, seaweeds, shells, fishing net and create a range of visual research to base my work upon.

ATV Part 5 Building a collection

Consider Chris Ofili’s statement below

“The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.”

For me, a factory is a place that is a production line, churning out the same item on masse. The product has already been designed and tested and found fit for purpose so now comes manufacturing the item on a large scale. It’s impersonal, methodical, the process the same each time to produce the same product over and over again. There is no imagination for the worker on the production line, no new ideas, no creativity, it’s the same routine and rhythm every day. A laboratory on the other hand is full of potential. It’s a place for ideas and thinking, creating and designing, for pushing boundaries through experimentation, making new discoveries and finding out what is possible. I would agree with Ofili’s reasoning on that point.

I do think that an exhibition can be a conclusion to a particular area of work or, left open ended for more to develop. There is no rule that says you can’t go back to previous work and expand or maybe take it in a different direction. Creativity is fluid, and one subject can often lead you onto another related subject, relevant to your previous work or take you off in a totally different direction. You may feel that a certain body of work says all you want it to say on a subject and that’s that. You may come back to it years later with more wisdom or knowledge, or a point of view which has changed and re work it or expand on it to reflect that.

I don’t think experimentation as a process ever ends. We all seek out new and exciting ways to do things, quicker ways, easier ways, and more effective ways. As artists and makers it is our duty to seek out new ways or areas to be creative, by experimentation and pushing boundaries, by trying out the newest products and innovations or by going back to more traditional crafts and looking at them with 21st century eyes. Experimentation takes us forward, gives our work new direction and meaning, not just in new technologies and techniques but in our creative selves too.

I have learnt so much in the first year of this course. I have experimented with techniques and materials I have never used, I have read and researched on various textile designers, innovations, technologies, techniques, fabrics and yarns. I have found my love of drawing and painting again and incorporated that into my work. It has been a year of total experimentation and trying new processes. Although part 5 will be the conclusion of the first years’ work, what I have achieved will still be a work in progress. I know I will go back to techniques and fabrics I have used and try to push them further. I believe my sketchbooks have many ideas that can still be expanded on when I have gained more knowledge perhaps? My learning will be an ongoing process so I don’t see this first year as an area of work that has concluded at all. I will be taking all these ideas and processes forward to help inform my next body of work. I can conclude that I have learnt much over this first year, developing not just in creative ways but in ways that have taken me right out of my comfort zone, and that have enlightened me on issues like sustainable fashion and the impact clothing has on the planet. So some conclusions of the past year, but definitely not concluded.

ATV Part 4 Yarn and linear exploration Tutor Feedback and reflection.

Summary of tutorial discussion
Great use of drawing to explore your ideas and document your samples. You’ve carefully selected media to capture the qualities of your yarn materials.
You liked the neutral yarn collection best as the colour is more cohesive, but it’s not as exciting in the use of materials or structure. More traditional and well crafted. Try to critically evaluate the outcomes more in this way. Which do you like and why? How could they be improved?
“I feel I have pushed a lot farther in this assignment and have been more experimental, allowing the ideas to form from one piece to another, keeping an open mind about the developments and the interpretation of yarn.” – This comes across. The development feels fluid and logical, playful and experimental.

– Logical exploration. Sketchbook ideas easy to navigate.
– Some great pages of idea exploration through drawing! Drawing is a real strength. You’ve drawn to propose ideas and drawn from your sampling. Continue to use drawing to capture ideas, especially those you might not have time to make (like the organza translucency ideas).
– Good use of short notes to document evaluations.
– To push your drawing to the fore, the sketchbook could have less “narrative” in writing – e.g. “I have never done weaving before…” Reduce to bullet points. Don’t write draft reflections in the sketchbook.

– Research highlighted as not enjoyable or inspirational.
– The writing is a little descriptive and mainly summarises what you’ve read, rather than what you’ve learned.
Rather than reviewing each link, you could have written in a more essay-like format to discuss overall themes, ideas, new innovations emerging from the reading over all.

Learning log:
– Don’t duplicate content from the sketchbook. Try to think of the sketchbook as the ‘in-project’ document –where you explore your ideas and samples as you’re working – and the learning log as a place to reflect on and evaluate your work and approach to it.

– End of project reflection evaluated your approach and your process well. Be more specific about what work you think is the strongest or most interesting, and why. Use photographs to visually communicate these too us.

Drawing: Great use of drawing to explore ideas and document samples. You’ve thoughtfully selected media to draw the different yarn materials.

Sketchbook: You’ve drawn samples you didn’t have time to make, which makes the sketchbook a great resource for future work.

Sampling: Good range of materials and approaches explored.

Areas for development

Sketchbook: Reduce the written narrative to allow your drawings to do the talking.

Research: Focus on what you’re being asked to study, and what you hope to understand from the research. Write answers based on this.

Evaluation: Highlight pieces / collections you think are most successful. Use photograph to zoom into your samples – to select areas you like most.

Pointers for the next assignment
• Reflect on this feedback in your learning log and write actions based on strengths and weaknesses discussed.

Reflection on tutor feedback:

I am very happy with my tutor feedback for this assignment. I find the video tutorials invaluable for discussing and explaining why I did certain things. I seem to find it easier to evaluate my work when I am asked direct questions about it in the tutorial, rather than when I am trying to do a written evaluation of my work. Discussion through talking seems to better highlight how I feel about my work so I think I need to go back and edit maybe or add to what I have written after my feedback.

I need to keep a separate narrative of my work in either another notebook or on post it notes that can be removed from my sketchbook. I write everything down as I go along so I can remember everything when it comes to writing it up on my blog, but I totally understand the need not to duplicate as assessors may assume they have already read it in my sketchbook when in fact I may have added more detail in the blog write up. Also, I think the sketchbook will look nicer without lots of my messy writing.

I need to write in a more essay style way with my research. I need to write more about what I have learnt from the research rather than a summary of what I have read. I shall aim to research all the links, make notes and then write up what I have learnt or what has inspired me.

Remember to use zoomed in photos to show detail of more subtle pieces of work and to use photos in my evaluation to show which pieces I feel are strongest and why.

ATV 1 Part 4 Yarn and linear exploration- written reflection

Part 4 has taken me a while to complete due to some health issues and just getting totally unmotivated half way through- then the longer I left it the more difficult it was to come back to (my anxiety builds things up to be much bigger than they are). I feel the real big block for me in part 4 was the written research at the beginning. I tried to start it so many times, then started with the actual work, then went back to it again and again. I maybe didn’t understand what was wanted from the research as I didn’t really find it inspiring in any way. I found I couldn’t really personalise the research, something which my tutor discussed me, because I had not been to any of the yarn shows I was researching. The new innovations in yarns was more interesting but I didn’t feel it led me to any ideas for making my own yarns for this assignment as they were mostly innovations in ways fibres or textiles are constructed at a molecular level or chemically enhanced processes.

I have used a large range of mixed media fibres and textiles in part 4, from dental floss to sea glass! I also have researched and used a lot of different techniques. My Pinterest board for yarn is here

I feel that I translated well from the original source to the creation of the yarns. Not all the yarns are practical, or maybe you wouldn’t even call them yarns in a traditional sense, but my experimentation of different techniques and materials has led to more unusual results than I had anticipated. I feel I have pushed a lot farther in this assignment and have been more experimental, allowing the ideas to form from one piece to another, keeping an open mind about the developments and the interpretation of yarn.

(Edited to add-) My personal approach to part 4 was to search out more unusual yarns and methods from the start. I actually started drawing out ideas for the water colour study yarns first as this is the area that jumped out at me. I went back to more traditional methods for the neutral fabric yarns, using plaiting, braiding, macrame and although I feel this is the most cohesive collection because of the neutral colour tones, I actually enjoyed the watercolour study yarns more as I was excited to work with plastics and different methods, and experiment with no set idea of outcome. The possibilities with the plastics had me leaping from one idea to the next as it really sparked my imagination.project10 (small)Project18

I have kept a detailed sketchbook with samples of materials used, technical notes on techniques, drawings of yarns produced and ideas for yarns and a reflection on each section. I have included sketches of things I wanted to try but didn’t get around to.


ATV 1 Part 4 Yarn and Linear exploration Ex.4.5 Collage inspired yarn

Ex 4.5 Collage-inspired yarn

Brief: “You will work in ways that echo the collage techniques you employed in part 3, but now with a focus on yarn.”

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Original source collage from Ex 3.4

I looked at ribbon and flat bias binding tape for this exercise after creating a list of words I associated with my collage- overlapping, odd shapes, layered, mounted, flat, matt, slight sheen on some of the papers. Again, it was very hard to match the colours so I decided to also look at the patterns on the paper-dots, spots, graphs, square, text and gingham, to give an overall impression of the collaged piece. I started by sketching out some ideas before moving on to the construction.Project23

The first sample was lengths of ribbon joined with different coloured brads. I selected a mix of woven and satin ribbons for texture. This is quite a simple piece but I think it works well to convey the joining and layering of pieces. (top line in photo above). Next I tried joining the ribbon together with eyelets. (sample in sketchbook). This proved very difficult as the ribbon kept fraying anytime i got a large enough hole for the eyelet. The look was interesting in form but did not give the flat matt look I was going for. I liked the black outlines on the collage so wanted to incorporate that into the yarn design as well. I cut up pieces of ribbon into different sizes and then sewed them together on my sewing machine using black thread as the drawn lines. It was difficult joining small pieces together and on some of the ribbon the black stitching didn’t show up well. (2nd line in photo above). I found some Bias binding tape in a beige colour similar to several shades on the collage and decided to stitch the shapes of ribbon onto that with black thread. I overlapped the ribbons and used straight lines randomly to stitch them on. This worked much better as the bias binding gave a really flat, wide base on which to layer the ribbon and the stitch lines showed up much better. (3rd line down in photo above). For the next piece I turned the bias binding tape over and placed the pieces of ribbon under the fold each side and stitched all the way around with black thread. (Top image on photo below). I prefered the first sample on the tape as it looked more layered like the collage. I then used washi tape cut up and stuck onto the bias binding tape. Because my range of washi was bigger than my range of ribbons, I was able to match the shapes and colours a bit better so I was pleased with this sample. The washi tape lays flatter as its thinner, I was able to cut different shapes better (the ribbons kept fraying if I got too small) and the black stitching really stands out well. (Bottom line of photo above).  I had some pieces of ribbon left over so I used brads to attach them to bias binding tape. I tried making this sample a bit more 3D by looping and folding the ribbon in places. I like how the brads work well to match the spotty papers on the collage but I don’t feel the folding or looping of the ribbonworks to convey the texture of the collage. (2 images on photo below). I used the last pieces of ribbon and wove them together, then stitched them in place so they held.Project24

Reflection: Overall I am happy with these samples as I feel they convey the ‘flatness’ of the collage and the machine stitch adds that extra outline which I think makes the collaged piece. I like the washi tape sample as it seems ‘extra flat’ and the tape gives it a matt finish. (Edited to add-) Areas for expansion could be to print patterns onto plain ribbon or to use patterned material cut into different shapes to mimic the collage.

ATV Part 4 Yarn and Linear exploration Exercise 4.4 Deconstructing colour as yarn

Ex 4.4 Deconstructing colour as yarn

Brief: “You will develop ideas from your stripe designs towards material selection and then apply methods of deconstruction and reduction to capture the lightness, colour, energy and particular qualities of your watercolor painted stripes in a small series of yarn designs and concepts.”

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Original watercolour stripe paintings

I really tried to think outside the box on this part. I knew I wanted to use plastic as the base material to create yarns due to its transparent nature. I used heat as my deconstruction method on a range of plastics.Project20

I started with Shrinky-Dink plastic. I have not used this since I was a kid. I couldn’t get the colour as exact as I would have liked as I had to use sharpie pens as normal felt tips wouldn’t stay on the plastic. I did have pastel sharpies but the colour was still darker than I would have liked. I rubbed some of the colour off with a bit of kitchen towel on some of the pieces, before heating, to see if that would make it paler but it didn’t. After heating the ones I had not rubbed had a stripey lines from the pen nib which I liked as it fits well with the stripey theme. I cut the coloured pieces into rectangles and hole punched each end so I could thread them together. I heated them with a heat gun. This is where you have to trust the process as to start with the plastic will curl up on itself and you think you have ruined it! You need to keep going and it will straighten back out. I joined some with stretch elastic so they overlapped and you got the colours blending together but then you could pull apart and see the colours separately. Others I joined with silver jump rings to create a chain and a third sample i joined with thinly cut green plastic from a water bottle.  I really like how these samples turned out. They are thick and the pen has gone translucent when heated. The nib marks are visible on some pieces adding to the stripey theme. I would have liked it if I was able to match the colour better. I think alcohol inks may work but I don’t have any to try. (photos below) I photographed these on a light box to capture the translucency of them.

Expansion ideas-

Different widths of shrinky-dink, alcohol inks, invisible thread for joining


I asked my Dad to make me a bottle stripper (Instructions on pinterest) so I could make long lengths of plastic yarn. It worked ok for my Dad but I didn’t seem to have the strength to pull the bottle through so mine came out quite uneven- still totally useable though! Plastic bottles worked fine but the blue and purple plastic cups I had bought were too flimsy to go through it so I had to cut those by hand. The deconstruction was in the cutting apart and some of the pieces were heated. Project17

I used the heat gun to twist strips of plastic, they looked like icicles which although pretty, the shape was not really relevant to the watercolour stripes. I plaited green, blue and purple strips together. I like the layering of this as each piece subtly  changes colour when viewed through another piece, just like the glass bottles. I punched holes through a wider piece of green plastic and threaded purple and blue plastic through the holes. Again the colours seem to merge and wavy lines were created, like the refraction on the glass bottles when I painted them. I then added clear plastic straws into the mix. I liked how the colours change/muted/blended together when layered up so I cut some straws into smaller pieces and threaded green plastic strips through, knotting between each straw so it stayed in place. I also added a twisted piece of clear plastic. If you view through the pieces of straw you get a sort of muted distorted look. Expansion ideas could include sourcing colours truer to the original watercolours, melting more or creating thinner strips to adjust the colour. (Photos below)Project16

I really liked the curve of the plastic as even though these pieces are based on the watercolour stripes, the bottles I used for those stripes had some nice curves. The curves of the bottle add a different tone to the colour so I wanted to experiment a bit more. I threaded blue, purple and green plastic strips through 3 opaque wide plastic straws. The plastic yarn curves in the straw, distorting, and layers the colours together. The opaqueness of the straw mutes the colour. This was my favorite sample of the plastics. It looks different from different angles and the subtle curves and waves are reminiscent of the bottles. The colour is not spot on again but it’s very difficult to find different coloured plastic bottles- especially if you are asking friends and family to keep them for you as you want to recycle whats available rather than contribute to more plastic waste. (Photos below).Project18

Finally I wanted to try organza ribbon and plastic straws together. I don’t think these samples turned out very well but I wanted to put them on my blog. I threaded ribbon through the straws and knotted it and then I threaded it through and tried heating and twisting with the heat gun. I think a lot more experimentation could be done on this idea such as wrapping and knotting the ribbon around the straw or melting more to fuse the materials together better.Project19

I then had a play with fantasy film. The colours again were not right, although a lot of them looked ok until heated, when they changed colour! Heating the fantasy film creates bubbles which wasn’t a texture or look I was aiming for. I did like the iridescent quality of the colours though.

I moved onto organza ribbon. Instead of twisting it or knotting it I decided to keep with the plastic type theme. I cut the ribbon up into pieces and distressed the edges to fray them. I then opened a laminator pouch and sprinkled the ribbon pieces all over. I then closed the pouch and put it through the laminator. This created a sheet of organza ribbon. I decided to cut it into strips, deconstructing it more and then I wove the pieces back together. The effect looks quite organic, the light shines through it and it has created a nice pattern of layering.Project22

The last thing I wanted to try was really just for fun. When I was looking at the colours in my watercolour stripe patterns they reminded me of sea glass. I thought, sea glass has already been deconstructed by the sea, giving it that smooth opaque look. I live on a Island so I have a large collection of sea glass. I found some pieces that best matched my colours and joined them together with invisible thread. I like the little sample even though it was just a fun, fleeting thought. The colours are perfect and the texture is glass! (Photo below).

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Expansion ideas- I drew some ideas in my sketchbook that I didn’t get time to make. Organza and or cheesecloth fabric, sprayed with inks, cut into strips and frayed, knotted, sewn.

Reflection: I enjoyed this exercise the most because I had lots of ideas for using different plastics and striping them down and heating them to deconstruct them. I had drawn out some ideas in my sketchbook about using fraying and distressing to deconstruct but after consideration I wanted to go a different way and concentrate on plastics. I hope I have still incorporated the brief, even though it may not be in an obvious way- cutting, twisting, melting, re-constructing and layering.  I aimed to create an translucence in the samples but still taking on board form. The stripes were fine but I wanted to try and incorporate the curve of the glass bottles, the way the colours changed when viewing one bottle in front of another and the refraction of light creating darker or lighter or muted tones on the lines of the bottles.


ATV Assignment 4 yarn and linear exploration Ex 4.3 Re-Interpret, re-invent

Ex 4.3 re-interpret, re-invent

Brief: “Develop a series of yarn designs and simple textile constructions in response to the colour work you carried out in Ex 3.2.”

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Original source, colour work from Ex 3.2

Research and inspiration

Knot knitting- 

Contrasting techniques such as macrame and knot making with unconventional materials, exploring architectural forms and optical illusions, by Jennifer Barrett, Glasgow school of art.

Really liked these concepts, some look like they have plastic knotted in. Some great shapes are formed with this technique giving the work a modern look. Combines, weaving, knotting, plaiting, knitting and wrapping.

Dana Barnes

I really liked Dana’s work as although using seemingly easy techniques like knotting and braiding she manages to convey a range of colours and tones and organic forms that really relate to her inspiration images. The large scale of her work is impressive too.

Florence Spurling

Florence is a contemporary textile artist who specializes in handcrafted fabrics . I looked at her Renegade and Twisted collection for inspiration. The renegade collection is mostly weaves with lots of different techniques. I especially liked the fact that it looked like she had used ‘scoobie’ (plastic laces used by kids to make bracelets)  bracelets in the weaving as it gave a pop of whimsy to the piece. In her twisted collection there was a yellow and blue piece I particularly liked as it looks like she had used over spun wool to create the twists and they really appeal to me due to their shape and texture. I have used them in several pieces of work in this assignment.

I have included images of the above works that I mention in my sketchbook.

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Knots upon knots- Inspired by Dana Barnes work.

I started off with knotting 2 pieces of embroidery thread together in different ways but to be honest the thread was just too fine to get any sort of structure, it just looked like tangled thread. I moved onto chunkier wool I had used for the yarn wraps in 3.2. I cut two lengths of each colour and just knotted and twisted randomly, trying to create an organic type structure. I tied knots on top of knots on top of knots to build structure and depth. I liked the chunky wool but it was only representing 2 colours. I didn’t have chunky wool in the other colours from 3.2 so I went back to what I did have- the DMC embroidery threads, wool, silky cord and jute string from ex 3.2. I made smaller knotted pieces in matching colourways to the yarn wraps, to attach to a bigger chunky wool piece. I like the freeform nature of the piece, the knots are random, some bigger than others, representing the dabs of colour from the Impressionist painting I chose. (Top middle and bottom row photos above).

I then looked at Macrame to create a more structured piece. I looked on Pinterest and Youtube for tutorials and found one for reversed half hitches. I used the two chunky wools again and this created a very defined, even form that twists down around the strand. (top row first 3 photos on image below).

I wanted to try a macrame piece with more colours so I found instructions for a macrame braid knot on Youtube. This was more difficult as it used 6 colours in 12 strands. The resulting pattern was a criss cross weave type pattern, showing little dashes of different colours, reminiscent of the brush marks on the painting. I used different thicknesses of yarns which has given it a very textured look. The colours of the chunky wool dominate so If I did it again I would add more reds and purples so they stand out a bit more even though they are thinner- maybe double or triple strand them? (top right and all bottom row on photo below).

I liked the fact that the second macrame piece looked a bit like weaving, I thought it gave more interest and texture to it, so I decided to try some weaving for the final piece. The only weaving I had done was on the cardboard loom I made earlier in this assignment so I found a cheap frame loom on line so I could make slightly larger samples. I decided to combine the purples and the reds and burgundies for the first piece. I found instructions on Pinterest for basic weaving techniques. I wove a base of the different colours but it looked quite flat so I added some embroidery detail based on one of the mini wraps from 3.2 with embroidery thread. This changed the look up a bit but I felt it still looked a bit flat. If I were to do this piece again I would try and add the texture into the weaving rather than embroidering on it afterwards. (Top right photo on image above).

I decided to expand on the weaving, using a different colourway from 3.2 so I could incorporate chunkier yarns for more texture. I started with just the basic over and under weave technique- this gave a very even, consistent pattern but again, very flat. I then tried wrapping the wool around each warp thread to add texture, which it did, but not very consistently- my newbie weaving skills I fear. I moved onto using sari ribbon as I thought the frayed edges would add texture along with the subtle colour change of the ribbon. This worked well and I liked the contrast of the silky ribbon, frayed edges next to the chunky wool. I did a few more lines with the brown chunky wool then a few lines with an orange boucle thread. That gave a really nice texture and looked a bit like the twisty yellow wool from the Florence Spurling piece I liked. I added more sari ribbon bit without the frayed edges and finished off with a thinner wool which gave a tighther look and texture. (Top right photo on image above).

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How did you build from your successes?

I started with the freeform knotting which gave an organic, unpredictable form, onto the more structured knotting of macrame, creating more defined forms with marks that mimicked the dabs and dashes of colour from the impressionist painting from 3.2. I chose to take this further into woven pieces as I felt the texture of the weave would better represent these marks.

What did you learn from any failures?

I tried the freeform knotting with embroidery thread first and it soon became apparent that the thread was too fine to create anything structural so I needed to explore thicker/chunkier yarns in conjunction with the finer yarns to achieve the look and feel I wanted, which was reminiscent of the impressionist marks of the painting. I need to be more explority.

The aim was to push the techniques towards your own interpretation and reinvention of them. How did you tackle this?

I started from the knotting, just going my own way with random knots and letting the piece emerge with no pre desired design. I kept referring back to the yarn wraps and image adding in different colours in response to the percentage of colour in the pieces. I moved onto more structured pieces to try to better capture the texture, the brush marks and dabs of colour from the painting. The macrame gave a good result but to push that farther I thought weaving would better define the marks and colours. I feel there is quite a logical progression from the knotting to the weaving. If I had had more time I would have liked to have learn some more weaving techniques to better get across the texture of the painting, but I am happy overall with the finished samples.

How did you re-invent and re-interpret the imagery, colour and yarns from exercise 3.2?

I feel the weaving samples worked well to re-interpret sections from the yarn wraps and the paint marks from the impressionist painting. Although not obvious marks the lines and dashes formed by the weaving translate well to the dabs made by the paintbrush. Frayed edges, chunky yarn and boucle thread give shadow and texture to the weaving which translate well from the original image and yarn wraps.

Expansion ideas

Learn more weaving techniques for texture

Experiment more with knotting techniques and different types of knot, maybe using knotwork in with the weaving.

Look ‘outside the box’ for materials to weave with