ATV5- Develop textile concepts – Adventures in Cyanotype


Cyanatope is a photographic process that ivolves soaking paper or fabric in a chemical mix and drying in a dark place, placing objects on the surface and exposing to sunlight that. I have mentioned now and again my love of shadows and creating marks using the shadow of an object has been on my to do list for a while . My tutor suggested researching the work of Hannah Lamb . Hannah has used the technique really effectively so I just had to experiment.

I will research the chemicals used more fully , but for now ashamedly  I just dove in with the reassurance that they are not too bad. ( on my last post I promised to research more effectively – I’ve already forgotten where I read this- really must do better)


The dry chemicals arrive in two lightproof bottles that have to be topped up with water and then left 24 hours, apparently the shelf life is quite good.

Equal amounts of each chemical solution are mixed and immediately applied to my selection of paper and fabrics, then dried in a dark place.


Nettles were placed on the fabric under a perspex sheet – I really like the reflections in this photo – may come back to this kind of composition.


The fabric starts off a light green


Quickly turning slate grey – different fabrics at different rates.


When a bronze colour is achieved the plant is removed and the fabric rinsed in water immediately to stop the development of the chemicals.



Then you feel really pleased and excited – what a magical process!

Clearly variables need to be experimented with, fabric type, exposure time, sunlight levels all have an impact on the results. I washed my fabric before treating it , the surface of the fabrics are very varied, i’m guessing the chemicals were not applied evenly.



The process is very effective on paper

In the top right of this photo you can see where the  shadow of  the muslin sample lay over the cotton. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this technique and stitching into the results.




ATV4 – Tutor feedback

Formative feedback – Again a video feedback was invaluable, so much richer and focussed than interpreting a written feedback, and so much more human than a written communication, thank you for your time Rebecca.

Assignment 4 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.   


Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

For this assignment you have made a good number of yarn samples, but your organisation of them makes it tricky to look at them properly.  I suggest you pull out some of the ones you think are most interesting and display on a board with research imagery as reference.  Take care in the way you place the sample yarns, think about the spaces in between and how to use them to show off your work. A couple of the samples could do with further development – in particular the paper yarn with coloured windows.  I suggest that if you hit upon an interesting way of doing something you explore it further to develop the idea.  

I tried to keep my presentation simple in a fabric book format and realised that some pages were clearer than others , so I completely expected this response, It was really useful to talk through what worked and didn’t. My yarns were only secured at one end and arrived quite tangled – must remember this for the future! I hadn’t “elevated ” many of my samples , back to that shying away from claiming greatness about any work. Rebecca very helpfully reminded me that everyone looks at art in different ways. I must remember this course is not about making stuff that pleases people but exploring my ideas – and really clearly explaining the processes that I go through (practical and theoretical) continuing to study the critical thinking book will help here ( I am making progress with my understanding and application of the critical thinking process) I will take my more interesting samples and explore presenting them more clearly.


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

There is very little in the way of drawing in this assignment – I suggest you use drawing to examine the samples you have made.  Use techniques like continuous blind line drawing to help you really look at the work.  Keep your drawings loose and exploratory and as part of your reflective process.  

I did a few drawings to develop ideas, back of envelope type quick scribbles but didn’t think to submit them as part of the assessment. I am going to make the final assessment more sketch book based to see if I can be more reflective as I am going along. I feel that I will be more detailed and expressive in hand written form.



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

This assignment contains only a small amount of research material, looking at the work of others is an integral part of studying for a degree and essential if you are aiming for a good mark at assessment.  I suggest you are broadminded and look at a wide variety of research.  Using drawing, annotation and reflective thinking to learn from the work and influence your own creative practice.

This is a very fair comment, Rebecca wrote a very useful post on research on the OCA website, I have looked at the work of many artists but not recorded it in any useful way – so it’s not research, simple as that, I must do better.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

It is excellent you are now using the critical thinking skills book I recommended – it is evident that you have a developing insight into reflective thinking and how it can help you develop creatively.  Make sure you use this now to examine the work of others and your own creative output.  Label the images in your learning log, adding the name of the maker if it is not you and what you think of the work.  Try not to say something is “not interesting” – I would suggest all samples are interesting in some way and you can learn from them all.  Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.

This feedback is clearly a call for detail. I hope that working in a different way – sketchbook based – will enable me to record my processes more clearly.


Suggested reading/viewing


Slow stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio

Well done Linda, I look forward to your next assignment.

Tutor name Rebecca Fairley
Date 13th July 2016
Next assignment due 28th August 2016

ATV5 part 5 – Building a collection – Project 1 – Developing visual research

 Develop your reflective skills and evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches – I think that this is the main evaluation criteria for this assignment.

It is really important that I improve the recording of my critical thinking skills. So I am going to take a different approach and work mainly in my sketchbook , I feel that I can reflect more naturally off screen. I can then upload sketch and notebook pages and annotate, discuss and reflect upon my noted reflections.

Developing visual research -Floral compositions

Nettles, unwanted and under appreciated. Cheery start to a post? I am saddened by the current political and social events. Is it inevitable that this permeates my creative mood? It feels so. ( I will elaborate on this later,  for now I just note that visual connections and emotional response to political events are interlinked. I will work on expressing what I mean more clearly. Maybe this project will be  about  untangling and expressing this)

I’m trying to be decisive as I’m really working to a tight deadline. Looking back at my drawings from assignment two I didn’t feel very inspired with my earlier mark making. I am very inspired by nature, just not impressed with my earlier drawings based on plants,  so I have chosen to develop Floral compositions as a theme and hopefully do a better job of it!! It will be interesting to see how I have progressed.

In my reflection of part 5 an observation that I made was that the drawings I made were without the benefit of hindsight that working through some textile processes has given me. I intend to bear this in mind when drawing – without influencing experimentation and the creative process too much.



I have fallen a little in love with nettles since the natural cordage course where I first noticed their simple grace. The stems and flowers are amazing , and they suit my mood.

I’ve gathered some nettles and made a start on some drawings, I’ve really enjoyed this stage, its been really therapeutic to be immersed in colour and mark making . I need to be careful not to spend too much time drawing but there are still some techniques I want to use, collage for one and some bigger scale drawings.

I feel that what I need to do now is to look more at details rather than try to draw the whole plant as I’m really interested in the structure of the plant, particularly the stem and flowers.


ATV Yarns and linear explorations- Assignment 4 -Review

I struggled at the beginning of this project to translate lines and marks into yarns. This was in part because my drawings were not drawn with this in mind, I do feel that having progressed through the exercises  my drawing style will change, I read somewhere the advice to look at the world with textile eyes ( will try to track source and author) Looking with a thought on translating  marks seems helpful, when I have a clearer idea of where my work is going my focus will become more honed, currently I have opened my eyes wide and they are slightly overwhelmed by how much there is to see – not just visually, but also the connections and inherent meanings and stories that objects tell.
Ex 4.2 The yarns in this collection that were looking at translating colour were on the whole more successful, particularly the translations using the colour palate and forms from the green floral fabric.
I could have delved more deeply and explored more prolifically but I have created a good range of yarns and touched on many different techniques.Learning to spin was a great achievement and will be really useful to create textures and linear forms to couch onto background fabric.
I am pleased with the idea of using nylon for the pages. The source material is very clear , however I have not clearly elevated chosen pieces of work to demonstrate my evaluation of what I think are the strongest pieces against those that are less successful. I considered using tie on labels for my best pieces. I think that I evaluated individual yarns reasonably well in my blog.
For my final project I am going to  work more in my sketchbook and use it as a place to note down reflections on progress and process in hand written form, despite my best intentions I have not recorded things in my blog as I go along in same amount of detail as I think in- there are big gaps in explaining my progress. I have started to use one note as a quicker way of electronic note taking so need to work out how to link this to my blog.


I need to make notes and sketches that form a written and visual record of the decision-making and reflections I’ve made as I’ve progressed from project to project and even from sample to sample. This I have definitely not done enough ( again I have been swept on a wave of the feeling time slipping away.)
This stood out a mile in the Palgrave Critical Thinking Skill book by Stella Cottrell. I am finding it realy useful to slowly absorb the ideas in the Critical reflection chapter. It is astonishing how much unlearning I need to do, of  layers of protection I have built up. Its a great journey though.

Looking at the assessment criteria I think that I am not doing too badly at Demonstrating technical and visual skills – however I would like to be more prolific with my sampling.

Quality of outcome – my fabric book has worked well but I have not fully addressed elevating particular samples or communicated my work fully.

Demonstration of creativity – I have used a wide range of techniques and stretched and experimented with some of them with inventive results which shows some personel voice, but perhaps little sense of direction.
Context – I have made small progress towards this. I realise that Context is the area I probably need to address most.
This is from my last assessment ;
Context,reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis I suggest you spend some time during the next assignment developing your learning log.  Think about adding more information in the form of images and annotation much in the same way as your workbook.  Write freely and with expression, commenting on your experiences and thoughts.  Remember this is the academic side of your studies, where you can demonstrate your thinking skills – such as analysis and synthesis.Clearly I have a long way to go here. However I am understanding the process of reflection more and can hopefully move steadily towards developing my intellectual understanding.