Archive for May 24th, 2015

T1-MMT-P1 Review

Looking back at this Part of the course, a number of themes emerge beyond the specifics of the exercises.

Working practice:
I set up a basic process at the start (21-March). Since then it’s been modified and fine-tuned. It is working well for me. I continue to like taking notes as I work, followed by a slight polish and review after each session. Quite a bit of time is spent fiddling with photos, but even this feels like looking again, thinking again – thoughtful, attentive making.

Time management also seems to be going well – this Assignment will be submitted on the deadline. By setting and keeping time-frames for each section I can fully focus on what I’m doing, then move on when time is up. There is always more I want to do, but that’s the nature of the course. This approach stops the coursework becoming overwhelming.

Taking risks
I tried from the first to take what appear to me as risks by choosing “obvious” simple accordion pleats. They are so familiar, could I really bring fresh eyes and an open-minded approach?

I’ve noticed an increasing frequency of thinking “I wonder”, then going on to try. The exercises seem designed to encourage a brain-storming approach – no idea is too wild, no on-the-spot editing.

I thought I had tried to do this throughout, considering work as I did it. When reviewing work for the final Sort (23-May) it wasn’t so apparent. Perhaps this is because of the “I wonder” – “I’ll try” link. If something seemed to have potential, I wanted to try it straight away.

I have included some thoughts for future exploration, some lists of questions, so certainly there is a wealth of material to return to if time and need arise.

I was surprised when reviewing this Part to find as much sketchbook work as I did. There was some combined with research work early on, plus a couple of distinct posts included.

One complication has been categorisation of work with the 3D pen. Initially I treated that as sketching, although such sessions usually became just as experimental as the course exercises.

Overall I think this area needs improvement.

Areas of interest
Often when working on an exercise I have a separate inner dialogue, thinking about possible future paths of development.

There is the recurring question of the sort of work I want to do. Research posted 20-March lead to the conclusion I want concept, meaning and purpose beyond (not excluding) utility. Balancing this, my previous rather strident rejection of the functional is weakening. Functional and domestic associations used to be negatives in presenting textiles as art. Such boundaries and divisions now seem – not weakening, more irrelevant.

Light and shadows are an ongoing interest. Back-lighting a piece is sometimes revelatory. Shadows give complexity and depth. At some stage I’m sure I’ll want to include and to some extent control lighting in a work.

Space and volume attract me. I want to learn to work effectively in three dimensions.

Fragility, damage, boundaries are of interest. They can be found in many of the processes used, such as folding. Even something as simple as sample p1-1a, my first linear accordion pleat in copy paper, had a tab – unfinished business; a future connection point. I don’t want to be too neat and precise, to tidy up loose ends.

A little out of scope for this course, but capturing the thought: Overlapping and combining elements can give exciting results, but I need to learn to balance complexity, to set up tensions and conversations. Resolved but open. I’m not sure what that means, if anything.

How well has my work met the formal assessment criteria of the course from my perspective?

Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I have used a wide range of materials, many new to me. I have tried to learn, respect, push their properties. My close observation of results has enabled me to identify further paths for exploration. My visual awareness has increased, and I frequently observe surface distortions in the environment around me which relate to course work. I think my tactile awareness has also improved during the exercises, becoming more sensitive to the different materials.

Design and compositional skills have been less relevant in this Part, with the focus on individual samples rather than resolved works.

Quality of outcome
I have been able to adapt existing skills and knowledge in the exploration of new materials. I haven’t necessarily added to my skills and techniques, except in the extension work on 3D design and printing.

All of my work for this Part is being presented via this blog, in part due to cost and time considerations. This constrains my presentation, but does have the advantage of being able to link dynamically within my own work and to external resources. By its nature a blog tends to informality in presentation. My writing style is conversational, sometimes grammatically questionable, and not academic. I think this is not inappropriate in the context.

Not all my ideas during this Part have been realised successfully. In this blog I have presented all samples attempted, and discussed the lessons and possibilities in all including the failures.

Demonstration of creativity
The focus on this Part of the course has been on experimentation and innovation. I have taken risks, perhaps the greatest being to allocate a considerable amount of time to a personal extension. The results of that diversion are exciting, with enormous potential. For me the risk was worthwhile – it’s certainly a creative interpretation of requirements!

I believe I am articulate and self-aware. I have enjoyed researching a number of relevant artists while doing coursework. In particular, work by artists such as Megan Bostic showed me that similar manipulation of materials has a place in deeply thought and felt work. The Tamworth Triennial exhibition and related symposium was well-timed, allowing me to view contemporary textile work that deliberately challenged the boundaries of what textile can be.

I set out my own goals at the beginning of the course.

  • Make the course my own.
  • Take risks and challenge myself.
  • Surprise myself.
  • Enjoy myself.
  • I think I’ve achieved all of those. I’m very happy with the work I’ve done and with the way in which I’ve done it – for all the reasons already discussed above.

    My assessment above seems very self-satisfied, even self-congratulatory. I’m happy with the growth I’ve achieved, but it’s always relative to where I started. It feels good to pause for a moment and look back – before I look forward to how much further I would like to go.

    Some outstanding questions include:

  • Have I interpreted the course materials correctly and produced appropriate work?
  • What opportunities have I missed that could be explored?
  • Have I placed unconscious limits on myself?
  • How can I improve, how can I push harder and further in the future?
  • I’m looking forward to feedback from my tutor.

    T1-MMT-P1 Review
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion

    T1-MMT-P1-p6 Personal extension project overview

    Some background: there was a period at the beginning of the year when I was between OCA courses, waiting for the new Mixed Media for Textiles (MMT) to be finalised. I had a high level outline and draft reading list, so I started reading and experimenting. In early March I took an evening class in 3D printing, with the idea it was bound to be useful in MMT at some point. I’ve continued experimentation based on that class, often closely entwined with the MMT exercises. Eventually I decided there was sufficient mass and relevance to present it as an extension project.

    Referring back to the course Introduction to this Part:

  • I’ve used a range of ways to manipulate materials new to me to discover their creative potential.
  • I’ve expanded my knowledge and understanding of them, and have further ideas.
  • I’ve used the same working practices as with the formal exercises.
  • It’s not precisely surface distortion, where a previously flat surface is distorted. Instead with 3D printing I can directly create a distorted surface. As it happens this fits rather well with my textile interests, where I focus on creating fabrics with weaving and felting.

    I’ve even been able to extend (!) sketchbook work, drawing with a 3D pen.

    To see all blog posts which relate to this extension click here.

    Some samples with particular interest or potential:

    Sample p1-38

    Sample p1-38

    fuse_plastic_47Sample p1-38 (10-April) was in a sense a sketch exploring the contours of a crumpled paper exercise by tracing with a 3D pen.
    The resulting network of lines could be regarded as a new distorted surface, although a discontinuous one. sketch20150514-03In later sketchbook work I made a tracing of a different sample, then attempted to create a skin using rice paper. (16-May) The result for the plastic wasn’t exciting, but the paper cast had potential.

    Sidetrack p1-1 Result

    Sidetrack p1-1 Result

    My sample numbering system has fallen apart with the late addition of this extension. Not wanting to go back and renumber everything, “sidetrack p1-1” shows the control gained using kinetic sand as a mould. Again it could be argued that the bowl that results is not strictly a surface, however I think the human eye and mind will read it as such. There is a lot of potential here for both creating and embellishing distorted surfaces, although attachment to other materials remains a challenge.

    Sidetrack p1-3 Sideview

    Sidetrack p1-3 Sideview

    Sidetrack p1-3 (16-April) is more solid and introduces colour variety. There is definite potential here, although a thinner sample when tested proved quite brittle and broke up under only mild pressure.

    Polymorph plastic is a very exciting material. It worked well with embossing (one of the formal exercises I didn’t attempt), although printing from the result didn’t go entirely smoothly.

    Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs

    Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs

    Sidetrack p1-13 (21-April) shows a version of linear accordion pleats (project 1, exercise 1) created from plastic pellets. This sample also shows the strong colour than can be achieved using disperse dyes on the plastic.

    In a different sample adding glittery inclusions to the polymorph plastic also worked well. I ended that day’s work session with a list of more experiments I would like to make.

    Sample p1-130c

    Sample p1-130c

    3D software provides another way to create distorted surfaces. In sample p1-130 (9-May) the surface is virtual, but there is the potential to develop it and print it out as an object for its own sake, or as a mould to create further shapes in other materials.

    Sample p1-131dSample p1-131eNot all the virtual samples could be printed into physical form. Sample p131 views d and e would be challenging to produce. They do suggest possibilities in concealing and revealing meaning. Could one create a “forest” that reveals a text as you walk around it?

    Sample p1-132e

    Sample p1-132e

    Sample p1-132e (9-May) is pure fantasy – I don’t believe it could be printed and hold together as an object. It was created by a series of distortions of a plain virtual cube, to me a clear extension of the surface distortions of the course exercises.

    "Sketch" Photo 6

    “Sketch” Photo 6

    A final example of the potential available. This sample was included in a post on sketchbook work (16-May) and combines both polymorph plastic and drawing with the 3D pen. The base shape was formed from a flattened piece of melted plastic, and in terms of basic process is close to the crumpled paper exercises in project 1. There was very good adherence of the two forms of plastic. I wasn’t able to separate them in later manipulations.

    3dplastic_15There is a gap in what I am able to show here – a sample actually produced on a 3D printer. The one experiment I have, combining a lithophane drawing with felting (6-April), is an example of what not to do. The combination of materials and processes I chose whas not successful and there are no direct potential next steps from this. I remain convinced of the basic potential of combining 3D printing with textiles – but this particular attempt is a dead end.

    T1-MMT-P1-p6 Personal extension project overview
    Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
    Part 1: Surface Distortion
    Project 6: Personal extension


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