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.
Sketchbooks
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.
Research
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
Project25 (Small)
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.
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Piece 4
Project29 (Small)
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 
Project28 (Small)
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 
Project19 (Small)
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.
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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)
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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.
Conclusions
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.