Looking back at this Part of the course, a number of themes emerge beyond the specifics of the exercises.
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.
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.
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:
I’m looking forward to feedback from my tutor.
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion