Archive for the 'MMT 2 – Sketchbook' Category

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes

Generally I record outcomes as I work through the exercises, however I have a few responses to exercise 3 as yet unposted, plus the course notes pose some specific questions.

When writing about exercise 3 Uneven wrapping (28-July-2015) I was a little distracted by the fact that the wrapping I produced didn’t fit the mold of dense wrapping in yarns seen in artists researched. I don’t feel I examined my samples on their own terms. There were snatches “I see the volume and the lines, and not so much the mess.” and “Lots of colour, texture and volume. There are odd aspects, true, but it’s got character!”.

I’ve now spent some more time with the samples, looking more at them and less at my expectations.

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Watercolours, sample p2-74

Sample p2-72 has complex if sparse wrapping. Space is captured and shaped. The viewer can look down through the bars of woven cable to a swollen volume that reaches forward. Light as well as space is filtered, captured, created.

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

Felt-tip pens, sample p2-74

A fist-full of felt tip pens records some of the unruly exuberance of the wrapping. Fluorescent colours glow stridently against the dark gray of the central column. Syncopated rhythms of curves coil up and around, at times reflecting, at times denying the underlying structure of the found objects.

A range of black markers, sample 92-74

A range of black markers, sample p2-74

Another fist-full, this time a range of black markers with different tips, finds the lines and textures of the black wrapping – sliced cable one side, fringed insect mesh the other – and the upright central core. There is variation in scale and texture, proportions altering as the viewer experiences the work in three dimensions.

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

Ink and bamboo pen, sample p2-74

An ink sketch flattens the space, emphasizing the variety and energy and structure of line in the work.

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

Felt tip pens, sample p2-76

In the earlier presentation priority was given to the paper-wrapped element in sample p2-76. In this sketch the energy and complexity of the wrapped fan are examined with a fist of coloured pens. The squat, stable box has strong vertical lines on some faces, providing a foundation and upward push to the object. The shape of the fan on the top surface, inferred from the dark shadows around the blades, provides movement in what could be a static, solid block. From this base an irreverent spray of sharp, spiked lines thrusts upwards on the cheeky wings of a scrap of organza.

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

Pastel crayons, sample p2-78

The colours and lines of sample p2-78 combined in a dynamic abstact design. In this sketch similar lines and colours have been layered. Some of the vibrancy of the original is lost as the chalky dust smears colours, but the energy and sense of purpose remains. It reminds me of the cable-stayed Anzac bridge, reaching towards the city.

The sample felt like a new approach to the yarn wrapping done when planning weaving designs – but more exciting, dynamic and with some of the interaction that is a core part of warp and weft. Could such sketches and wrapping become a part of my design process?
Sketch_20150731gA new version based on purples, red and blue was attempted. The result was leaden, until a few lines of yellow were added. Suddenly there was some life. Proportions need to be managed, but this feels like a quick and refreshing way to begin a colour investigation.

Next responses to specific questions raised in the course notes.

• Did you feel comfortable with the exercises?
I didn’t always feel comfortable – for example getting started with uneven wrapping (28-July-2015), when research and preliminary sketching felt at odds with the materials I was using.

I have become comfortable with the exploratory, questioning approach encouraged by the exercises. It provides a structure where I can feel comfortable pushing beyond my comfort zone.

Sample p2-18

Sample p2-18

• Were there particular materials and techniques you enjoyed working with?
I have developed some favourites among the less conventional materials. Insect mesh and corrugated cardboard have become staples. Crumpling paper keeps reappearing. The 3D pen only appeared in a few samples in this Part, but it was very effective when used.

Sample p2-57 detail

Sample p2-57 detail

Variants of weaving and braiding were used in samples p2-22, p2-27, p2-57, p2-74 and p2-75, and possible others. Wonderful techniques that I enjoy using.

• How did your various materials respond to the two techniques?

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

ExtendedJoinSample p2-35

Sample p2-53

Sample p2-53

A material could look and behave very differently in different circumstances. Rows of paper clips formed interesting lines and shadows joining curves in sample p2-16f and were both functional and decorative in the extended joining sample. However wrapping a spoon in p2-53 paper clips were awkward and drab. A recycled notebook spiral was out of scale and awkward in p2-28, but fell beautifully across the shoulder and neck as part of a side cape in the extended join sample.

Sample p2-29

Sample p2-29

A range of hard and soft materials were used, sometimes in combination. Hard materials could pose difficulties when asked to be pliable. Stitching through metal and wood in p2-29 took a few attempts to develop a usable method.

• Were you able to achieve interesting textures and colours in your samples?

Sample p2-19

Sample p2-19

I found myself making more and more aesthetic decisions as the focus moved to techniques rather than materials. I particularly like the combination of indigo-dyed paper, orange corrugated cardboard and copper wire in p2-19. There is variety in texture and colour that comes together harmoniously.

Sample p2-24

Sample p2-24

I deliberately chose materials with clashing properties in p2-24, and the combination failed both functionally and aesthetically.

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

ExtendedJoinSample p2-33

The same technique and some of the same materials were used in p2-33 – this time resulting in an interesting and successful combination of colour and texture.

• Which outcomes were successful? Which were less so – and why?

Sample p2-65

Sample p2-65

I think p2-65 was the single most successful sample in terms of a resolved final outcome. I could see that mounted on a wall as an artwork. There is movement and balance, structure, interest, line and form. There is a tension between the known and partially visible contents and the anonymous wrapping, with the twist of using a temporary packaging material as the element that transforms a beer jug into an artwork.

Sample p2-72 cSample p2-69The series of work around samples p2-69 and p2-72 are very successful in suggesting future areas of exploration. They trigger a very strong emotional response in me – I’m not sure why (yet?), but that makes them all the more intriguing.

There was a long sequence of experimental wrapping of a wooden spoon, the bulk of which was not very interesting. There was no spark, no revelation, no conversation or even argument between the materials used. I think that’s just part of the process – play and explore, a lot won’t work, just note it and move on.

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 Abandoned

Sample p2-77 was not successful, and was abandoned early in development. It was too big, too much. I started it because I was uncomfortable that my exploration had led me away from my linked research and I felt I was missing something. This sample was a too ambitious over-compensation.

• What are your thoughts on the artists, designers and makers you’ve researched in Part Two?
I have written specific posts about Christo and Jeanne-Claude (18-July-2015), Judith Scott (17-July-2015), Erin Manning (29-June-2015) and Eva Hesse (7-June-2015). I would have liked to write more about Sheila Hicks, but it would have covered much of the same territory as previous posts (8-January-2015 and 24-June-2012). All of these artists are so different and offer so much, I can’t give a meaningful summary. Follow the links given to see more.

More research has been documented on a pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/fibresofbeing/joining-and-wrapping/, in various sketchbook pages and within posts on specific exercises.

• How did the research you carried out inform your own work?
At times research informed my work very directly. For example my wrapping space sample (31-July-2015) was more a research exercise than anything, although I feel I put my own spin on the actual work done. A quick check shows I referenced eight artists, some working together, in that post. All were relevant from my point of view, and in each case I took one or two little nuggets in building up my narrative.

Generally I found the research very helpful. I used research on Christo and Jeanne-Claude to suggest possible work and in recording and evaluating my samples (22-July-2015). On occasion the research caused me difficulty, when it turned out not to be a good fit with the work I was doing (see 28-July-2015, when I had to “brain dump” the research before I could focus on the very different materials I had chosen).

Early in my OCA experience I was hesitant about the use and perceived potential dangers of research and “copying”, but now I feel it provides a wonderful non-limiting framework which enriches me and my own work.

T1-MMT-P2 Joining and Wrapping – Recording outcomes
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 2: Joining and wrapping
Recording outcomes

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


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