Assignment 3 Reflective Commentary

In feedback on Assignment 1 my tutor Pat commented that this course has become a personal journey for me, very much part of my life. As I reflect on Assignment 3 I can see how true that is. I’m currently on a three week holiday, spent at home with some course work, some sketchbook work and some exercise every day, a couple of outings with friends to a gallery or exhibition each week, some family time – a totally satisfying and fulfilling way of life (and note course work came first).

At this stage of the course I feel I am seeing the world more keenly, more thoughtfully. I haven’t blogged about Biennale yet, but previously I might have looked at Nicholas Hlobo’s Tyaphaka and thought about preconceived notions of gender (which I’ve read is one of the artist’s interests) and would pretty certainly have looked closely at the stitching and weaving in ribbon on the paper. However I wouldn’t have been so conscious of the line, the mark-making, or specific use of colour. I wouldn’t have been putting markers in my memory about the use of positive and negative space. I probably wouldn’t have had a conversation about textile techniques used in fine art, nor gone to the exhibition a second time with a different friend and looked forward to seeing this work again.

I’m satisfied, moderately pleased, with my appliqué – no more than that. I was more fluid in my working method but the results are lacklustre. I was much more engaged by the fabric manipulation sampling and feel I explored reasonably widely and deeply. I had a point of view, a personal set of constraints (machine stitching, undyed fabrics, translucency…) which gave focus and purpose. I believe there was more spontaneity and responsiveness in my approach, but more a question of degree than a real breakthrough at this point.

My sketchbook work has had a few dry periods, but I’m slowly gaining confidence and (relative) skill – at least sufficient for my purposes. It’s certainly beginning to feel natural as part of development of textile work. (see more of the sketchbook here).

Project 7 is my theme book – ageing, and suicide among the elderly. I’ve been doing most of my work on this offline and focusing on an individual, but may rethink this following a  conversation last weekend with someone personally connected to two other stories. At the moment I’m basically collecting information, ideas, some images that may or may not fit in.

The next Assignment is on Structures – yarn and woven structures. I’m going to have to let go of everything I think I know, and make sure I approach everything with fresh eyes, an open mind, and a spirit of adventure.

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