T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback

Last Sunday evening I submitted Assignment 1 via email to my tutor, Rebecca Fairley. Early Thursday morning I received her feedback – overall very positive and encouraging, with a few words of caution and pointers for the next assignment. It’s enormously helpful to have that encouragement and guidance so quickly.

“Draw more regularly in a range of media” was one pointer, combined with the comment “a range of quick loose sketches to engage your looking skills is all that is needed.” This fits with my own review assessment of an area needing improvement, and “quick loose” is very freeing. Can I, as a general but not firm rule, start and end each college session with a quick loose something? (Work days are impossible.)

Joins - watercolour

Joins – watercolour. In progress


This was inspired by Ria Verhaeghe’s drawing ZT (2011) (link). My initial research has me wondering what “joins” are, and Rebecca’s feedback had me wondering how quick I could be.

My notes, with 25 minutes to be out the door to an appointment:
Raced around, got out watercolours. Worked quickly – very wet areas, drops of sprinkles. Could I join them all? Wanted to draw colour across with Tpin. Didn’t work. Tried tipping paper around, encouraging runs. Better, but still a lot of small areas disconnected. Tried a series of nibs on my pen, dipping into water but generally just moving the existing colour around.

Still quite wet, but early thoughts – isn’t not joining just as interesting as joining? (Sistine chapel) How far do joins go before they become merges into a single identity (joins of wool fibres into felt?) Network of joins vs single/linear. Does there have to be a separate joining element? A little thought says no to that.

Joins - watercolour

Joins – watercolour

Another piece of feedback from Rebecca: “My suggestion is not to push yourself too hard. Explore your ideas as they appear to you at a pace that does not wear you out. Don’t expect everything to be successful, learn and move on.” It makes sense – after all that is the sort of artist I want to be. Thoughtful, attentive, exploratory, open, creative, inspired… – not driven and anxious.

Sketch on the bus

Sketch on the bus

This week was intended to be all Research. I have veered from the plan. Thinking of book binding (joining pages), then corrugated cardboard book, then caterpillar stitching – which would be tricky to do on single sheets. To caterpillar stitch as a joining of flush pages… then I didn’t care if I haven’t written about research first, I wanted to try this. Crazy dig around for some paper. Settle on 185gsm watercolour paper. Russet brown waxed linen thread because I like it.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar in progress


This stitching is from Keith Smith’s Exposed Spine Sewings: Non-adhesive binding volume III, purchased after a journal making class with Adele Outteridge (25-July-2014). It’s intended to go across the board cover and around the binding. I attempted to follow the instructions, but with my Stations on separate pieces of paper rather than a single board.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar completed


Not sure the finer details are as in the book, but I’m pleased with the result. It’s a sturdy join of two straight flush edges (exercise 1). It’s decorative and quite rigid – you can’t fold along the join. Hard to see in the photo, but there are some shadow under the legs and the caterpillar rises a few millimetres above the surface.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar head


This sample has wrapping as well as joining. As I research the wider the terms “joining” and “wrapping” become, and the more they overlap.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar tail


When you run out of holes you just stop. Although it’s not unattractive, I think this area shows where my method isn’t according to the book. The look is reminiscent of weaving – braiding actually – and another time I might try to adapt the stitch to play that up.

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side

Sample p2-1 Caterpillar reverse side


The reverse side is a total contrast. Very simple, with just those diagonal elements where I started new threads. It might be possible to hide such joins on the decorative side if one wanted a neater look on a two-sided piece.

You might also be able to see some areas where maintaining appropriate tension was challenging. Also the holes spread as the caterpillar progresses. Both of these could be exploited, for example varying hole position and tension so one page buckles up.

Kraft paper and conte pencils

Kraft paper and conte pencils


I finished the (very interrupted) day with a sketch. There are some livelier caterpillars, a series of attempts to simplify shapes, and a distraction of links (joins!) from a watchband my son wanted adjusted.

Not the technique, but the colours were inspired by a slide of a drawing by Watteau, using red, black and white chalk. (Studies of a man and woman, Watteau, at the Goethe Museum, Weimar. Link). Fellow OCA student Claire (her blog) and I are attending weekly art appreciation lectures at the NSW Art Gallery, focused on works in an upcoming exhibition.

A final sketch.

Sketch Part1 sorting

Sketch Part1 sorting


This is leftover, unblogged, from Part 1. I had an idea about layers of sketches overlapping. This has broken balsa wood sketched in crayon, followed by heat gunned fabric in charcoal. There were meant to be lots more such pages followed by cutting, tearing and collage. It didn’t happen, but it’s not a bad idea for another day.

T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Project 1: Joining

4 Responses to “T1-MMT-P2-p1 Joining – a start, plus some tutor feedback”


  1. 1 Lottie May 30, 2015 at 4:24 am

    Sounds like you received some timely and useful feedback. Well done for actioning so fast. I love the caterpillar. I’ve never seen it before and it’s very effective.

    • 2 fibresofbeing May 30, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      I feel like a thirsty plant, putting out new shoots after the rain. Long distance study is hard, and it’s wonderful to have input.

  2. 3 Claire B June 1, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Love the caterpillar Judy. We need to get our ‘fast random sketching / mark-making’ day organised soon. I will certainly benefit from it.


  1. 1 T1-MMT-P2-p1-e1 Joining straight flush edges – session 2 | Fibres of Being Trackback on June 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

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