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.