Unlike project 1, no specific review questions were included in the course notes. The questions below are based on other student blogs, in particular Claire at Tactual Textiles, because I felt they provide support for a broad review of the project work.
Do you feel happy with the work?
Overall I am happy with what I have achieved, taking into account my current level of development. I have dabbled in stitching in the past but it has not been a major focus.
Do you prefer working with stitch to drawing? Can you begin to see the relationship between the two?
There is no simple answer to this. I have not done much of either in the past. I can see that drawing is fundamental to a design development process, and given my desire to progress in my textile work drawing (in various guises) needs to become embedded in my methods. I enjoy practising each (or most!) days and am keen to extend what I do and to increase my fluency and skill.
I have an overall preference for various qualities of textiles over paper, so in that sense prefer stitch. However I don’t see stitching as necessarily a major part of my ongoing textile work. I found the process pleasant if sometimes frustrating and slow.
I can see the flexibility and ease of creating marks lines and texture in both drawing and stitch. I’d like to think I am open to change and everything is on the table, but at the moment my core interest is weaving. It will be interesting to see how the design process being taught will relate to future weaving projects.
Were you able to choose stitches which expressed the marks and lines of your drawings?
My results were mixed. I was pleased with Stage 3 and the effects provided by cretan stitch and some of the straight stitch. In Stage 5 the raised chain band was very successful in suggesting the plant texture. I have blogged extensively about my difficulties and disappointment with the sample in Stage 6.
Did you choose the right source material to work from?
I really like the photo I used in Stage 6 and I hope to do it better justice in a future work. I should have been more selective about the size and complexity of the area used.
Do you think your sample works well irrespective of the drawing? Or is your sample merely a good interpretation of your drawing?
I like the Stage 3 sample and think it works well as a piece on its own.
My Stage 6 piece is not a good interpretation of the source material and does not work on its own. However I have posted a number of ideas on what went wrong and where I could improve in future. I wanted to push out of my comfort zone, and despite not liking the result I’m glad I did. I want to learn from this course and take risks and extend myself. I have a tendency to caution and I want to go on challenging it.
Which did you prefer – working with stitch to create textures or working with yarns to make textures? Which worked best for you and why?
I think the samples creating texture with stitch were more successful and I enjoyed doing them.
I had too much going on in the final sample and overall it didn’t work. My created yarns were difficult to work with and I didn’t enjoy being so out of my depth. However I think some of the individual elements have promise.
Make some comments on individual techniques and sample pieces. Did you experiment enough? Did you feel inhibited in any way?
It’s never enough! Looking through the work I have definite preferences for less regimented, more freeform stitching and for layers of stitch. For example when using cretan stitch in Stage 5 I think the layered, multi-coloured area bottom right is the most interesting result. The callistemon area in Stage 5 is another favourite, with a lot of texture and interest.
I find it very difficult to work evenly and neatly. When I attempt it (for example the satin stitch at the top of the green Stage 5 sample) my hands and wrists tense and ache. I prefer both the process and the results in more spontaneous work.
There are aspects of the exercises I have found challenging and generally these are recorded in my blog entries. It is not precisely an inhibition, but the nature of doing work as part of a course is that one focuses on meeting requirements and must resist chasing after particular ideas. As in the first project I sometimes struggled to understand quite what I was meant to do. It’s an interesting balance, trying to be creative and adventurous but remaining within the constraint of producing finished assignment work. Still, we pretty much all always are working within constraints.
Do you prefer to work from a drawing or by playing with materials and yarns to create effects? Which method produced the most interesting work?
I think the two approaches work in tandem. A drawing helps to clarify intention. When I got lost in Stage 6 I turned to drawing to find a way forward. Playing with yarns extends what I have the skill and knowledge to do – plus it’s fun!
Are there other techniques you would like to try? Are there any samples you would like to do in a different way?
One sample I really wanted to do was raised chain band on some of my handwoven cloth. I had already chosen some to experiment on, but felt pressured by time and don’t want to hurry it. I’d also like to try stitching while at the loom – on the unwoven warp or on the cloth in process. It’s already there under tension as if in an embroidery frame and perhaps could lead to interesting effects with differential shrinkage in finishing.
Another area of interest is stitching on felt. I think there are a lot of possibilities for contrast and play with colour and texture.