This first project, leading to assignment one, has been a real emotional rollercoaster for me. At first I thought this work would be easy. What I found was that even though I felt confident at making textiles with a practical purpose, enabling myself the freedom to create art was more emotionally demanding than I had imagined. I suspect that’s because deep down I believed you could either draw, or you could not. Therefore my work was either excellent, or rubbish.
Clearly, this is a very negative and self defeating belief. I cannot honestly say that I have defeated it yet, but I am working on it. At times, this self doubt kept me away from my studies when I should have been pressing on. I found myself thinking “what is all this effort for? What am I actually making?” Now I have identified this issue, I shall endeavour to keep challenging it. My next challenge will be to improve my sketching as, until now, I have relied far more on cutting, pasting, collage and abstract drawings and patterns, because I have been a little afraid of actually having a go.
My original aims were: to allow me to work with new materials and experiment with new processes; and to teach me techniques that I have not yet explored. I believe I have explored new materials, especially when making marks. I loved working with bleach and ink and foil especially. When making marks with stitch I enjoyed experimenting with plastic bags and string, and shall continue this avant-garde approach. I also experimented with new processes – I loved dying the black fabric for my gothic horror piece and was surprised that satin didn’t change with bleach, presumably because of its made from man made fibres.
I have enjoyed researching new artists, and have been inspired by John Oppella and Jean Jauneau. I will continue to explore artists whose work inspires me.
I was delighted with my ‘estuary’ pieces and the final seaside piece; I can now see how contrasting different fabrics and stitches really helps create a sense of texture above and beyond that of each individual element. For me, working with a narrow palette really helped me to focus on texture; I shall look forward to experimenting with colour.
I enjoyed working in a messy way; previously I have taken great care that my embroidery is neat. I loved making big stitches, crossing threads randomly and using a variety of thicknesses of yarn and thread. Even thought it was a neat piece, I loved the embroidery inspired by driftwood that I stitched onto dark blue linen. The different characteristics and thicknesses of the threads stands out well and has created an interesting effect.
If I were to repeat the project I would use the sewing machine more. I wanted to see what I could achieve by hand, and found this a more organic and reactionary experience. I was a bit worried that my embroidery would be more limited on my sewing machine. Also, I have a nice sewing machine and was worried about messing up the tension; I will buy another bobbin to use for my experimental work and really start to explore the potential of my machine.
Despite a shaky start, I’ve loved working on assignment one. It has taken me right out of my comfort zone but, looking back, I am very proud of what I have achieved, even though I think some parts could be refined. I'm also pretty chuffed that I stuck at it, even when that felt impossible. I am very excited about starting part two.