Process – developing, using and demonstrating use of a methodical design process – is an important part of the OCA course. In this post I’m showing progress to date on development of the container element of my design, plus reflecting on how well (or not) some parts of the process are working.
One element of the process which has really taken hold for me is using a pin board, as a mood board or to review progress. I don’t have a lot of wallspace in my workroom, but I now have three pinboards in almost constant use. I glance at them as I walk past, or sit in contemplation.
One pinboard currently has lots of textile samples produced during the course which I picked out as having potential for the container. I showed this earlier (28-Dec-2012).
The focus is on containing but revealing the tortured figure within. Fabric could be distorted, in tatters, layered, partially concealing… I like the idea of using text or imagery in the container, as long as it doesn’t distract too much from the figure.
A second pinboard is mostly inspiration images.
Clockwise from top left is:
* work from OCA student Jackie http://mytextileadventure.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/part-four-project-8-stage-2-ex-4.html
* A postcard of Study for self-portrait (1976) by Francis Bacon
* Sue Hotchkis, Ardwick (detail), (illustration in Mary Schoeser’s Textiles, page 316)
* Twined cotton covered bast fibre bag, (source http://threads.srithreads.com/2012/04/a-rustic-twined-bag-cotton-covered-bast-fiber/, accessed 26 April 2012).
* Pandora Vaughan, cross stitch from “All the Little Rooms of One’s Own” series based on prison architectural plans (source http://www.mrxstitch.com/2012/11/08/the-cutting-stitching-edge-pandora-vaughan/ accessed 8 November 2012)
* Elana Herzog, Plaid (detail), (illustration in Jessica Hemmings’s warp & weft, page 25)
* Shi Jindian, Beijing Jeep’s Shadow (detail), (at White Rabbit Gallery – see blog post 9-Nov-2012)
* Some project 2 stage 5 work (blogged 2-Oct-2011)
* Ron Mueck, Untitled (old woman in bed) at the NSW Art Gallery, included in my initial post about Ageing as a potential theme (4-Jun-2012).
* Liz Williamson, Loop series (detail) (see post 24-Nov-2012)
* Sue Lawty, Lead Weave (detail), (illustration in Jessica Hemmings’s warp & weft, page 22)
* Still image from performance at Ruark Lewis exhibition (see blog post 4-Nov-2012). The frames in the background are interesting, but it is the lines/trap being created by the performer (unfortunately I don’t know her name) which feels particularly important in the current context.
* and in the centre Dion Horstman, part of moonfire lm series (see posts 2-Nov-2012 and 4-Nov-2012).
Another important element of The Process is sketchbook work. Thinking about layering and about text, Monday morning this week before work I started writing down some of the words and phrases I’ve collected in my Themebook. These words make me so angry – written by people who claim to be so worried about protecting the vulnerable in our society, but are willing to deny them choice or personal control, willing to condemn them to months and years of pain and despair…
My working week is Monday to Wednesday, and each day this week I looked at my pinboards and my sketch and tried to figure out where to start experimenting and sampling on Thursday morning. I could write text on tyvek and try a variant of Jackie’s technique – but how readable would it be (it doesn’t have to be easy, but shouldn’t be impossible)? Could I use free-motion stitching on a light or dissolvable fabric (lots of practice needed)? How could I print legibly on fabric at a reasonable scale? Wednesday night I suddenly “saw” it. On Thursday I used a (rather laborious) feature of my sewing machine and stitched on tape.
In terms of The Process, the trouble is that I really, really like this. I like it so much I feel totally unmotivated about exploring further. I can trace its antecedents in the pinboards and sketch above, and in earlier work such as the photo on the right (project 8 stage 2 blogged 27-Sep-2012), but I can’t claim to have gone through the design development process we learnt in terms of developing ideas by framing areas of sketches or working within geometric shapes. I’ve focused on meaning or concept rather than formal design. This is what I want to make.
My current feeling is that I should ignore “the rules” and continue with what is speaking to me. If my overall purpose is learning and stretching myself, I can honestly say that I’ve done a lot of both during the course and while I could do more… well, there’s always the next module. I’ve always said that the mark didn’t matter as long as I passed and could continue to the next module. Hmm, or am I being a bit nice to myself, a bit safe, taking it a bit easy, being a bit too keen to get to that exciting fresh next module?
I have one idea that I believe is very strong, that has become stronger and better with the thought and development process so far. I don’t think I have it in me to ignore that and work with an open mind with other possibilities. However, if I weren’t working towards a particular assignment perhaps I would develop a series of works, exploring different aspects, developing imagery further. So the current plan, always subject to change, is to take a week, put the Plan A design to one side, and try just exploring my material, playing with shapes, seeing what happens. I haven’t been able to do that yet without immediately comparing results with Plan A – so instead I’ll accept A as THE plan, but just have a little time-out before getting stuck into the final stage of making it. Maybe I can follow the process better if I stop being protective and let go, try to be not so focused on making a Statement but allow the visual a bit more air.
Hemmings, J. (2012) Warp & weft: Woven textiles in fashion, art and interiors. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Shoeser, M. (2012) Textiles: The art of mankind. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd.