ATV5 part 5 – Project 2 -Be inspired by an artist/designer/designers

For this project you should seek to find at least one artist or designer/design company whose work, way of working, application of techniques, handling of materials or use of colour you find particularly inspiring. Carry out some research to learn more about the aspects of their work that you find interesting and use this to build a small research file, to include visual and written information and reflection. In your learning log, reflect on what you can learn from this designer to influence your approach to your own work or way of working. Can you use this research to inform an aspect of your project now?

The thing is that once I start looking  there is a snowball effect and I just can’t stop. ( there is that other saying – a rolling stone gathers no moss)

What I became very aware of is the links between artists.


So my “research” became a riotous journey though the following books and associated, Pinterest, Instagram, personal blogs , websites and various websites of the artist groups are members of.


Fox, A. (2015) Natural processes in textile art: From rust dyeing to found objects. London, United Kingdom: Batsford.

A useful source of processes that informed my eco printing and rust mark experiments, and playing with waxed layers like Hannah Lamb. I very much like her piece ‘The Healing Garden” a monoprinted , dyed and stitched piece . Layered to build up layers of botanical detail based in a specific location, forming a record of her relationship and experience of that space.

Hedley, G. (2010) Drawn to stitch: Stitching, drawing and mark-making in textile art. London: Batsford.

One of the first books I purchased, and a useful resource. I saw some of Gwen’s work in a gallery in Sweden and particularly like her eye for small detail. Gwen uses a wide variety of makes based on close observation , her stitch marks are then based on her drawn marks rather than the original object.

Holmes, C. (2010) The found object in textile art: Recycling and Repurposing natural, printed and vintage objects. London: Batsford.

Holmes, C. (2015) Stitch stories: Personal places, spaces and traces in textile art. London, United Kingdom: Batsford.


Wellesley-Smith, C. (2015) Slow stitch: Mindful and contemplative textile art. London, United Kingdom: Batsford.






ATV assignment 5 – review point – Context

Context –
In this project I swung  between not knowing which direction to go, and then having so many ideas I don’t know how to gather them in. Rather than finding the research into artists being a point of focus, I found myself unable to resist the temptation of following links to other artists, and other artists, and other artists where references may be found, unveiling a interconnectedness of ideas and processes that are obvious when i think about it.
However I forgot to record information in any detail. Referring to the assessment criteria, this is a big error of judgement. I chose artists that I have become familiar with . It seems that textile artists are more generous than most at sharing experience in a very accessible way, via publishing books, artist blogs and websites, Pinterest, facebook, instagram etc. More information is available on the websites of groups that artists belong to for example Cas Holmes , Hannah Lamb
The biggest impact from my readings is the idea of narrative, which Cas Holmes and Hannah Lamb bring to their work really strongly. I personally make connections more strongly with work that has something to tell me., would like to introduce some context into my work. This is not however an easy path, who is interested in what I have to say? will it be interpreted properly? Questions that I realise now perhaps, are not the entirely the point, a person will read according to their own experience, and perhaps see what they want to see to a certain extent and perhaps the artist is an enabler of experience. Some art digs deeper than others.
I was drawn to the idea of narrative because of what nettles represented to me.
Having settled on the idea of using nettles as my primary source materials I did a mind map of all the things I feel that nettles have to say.
I generally find it difficult  to voice my thoughts,  the EU referendum happened around that time of choosing a focus for my collection and I was deeply upset by the racist overtones, and the complete lack of regard for the terrible events that people experience. Some people just didn’t seem to care about the lives of other humans, lives didn’t seem to matter. This is nothing  new, in many way many people are overlooked and disrespected by sections of society, now and throughout history for  class, race ,language, disability, gender etc. nettles speak to me about these things as they are also overlooked and disliked despite their usefulness and beauty.



ATV5 part 5 – project 3 – Experimenting and taking risks gallery

I made an effort to work more in my sketchbook and annotated my experiments in some detail there, I found that I much prefer annotation by hand.


ATV5 part 5 – project 2 – Working sketchbook


I really enjoyed working more in a sketchbook for this project. Here is a video of the sketchbook , because I was very much more sketchbook focused I haven’t blogged as much , I feel that that was possibly a mistake,as blog posts may have enabled me to keep more linear track of my progress, I should definitely have reflected more on paper , rather than in my mind as i went along. I may go back and rectify this by adding more reflective comments to my blog.

In my mind I had done a lot of research on various artists finding lots of links between artist using similar materials and processes. However I haven’t recorded it properly. so it’s not research.

In my customary scatty fashion I started researching an artist, which seems like a great way of focusing my attention, and then went off on all kinds of tangents following clues that connect many artists together. I found that because I discovered lots of new techniques and ideas, I wanted to explore them all together all at once. I would really like to develop a more organised way of working, without compromising my need for exploring new track-ways, twitterns and barely trodden path’s.

ATV5 part 5 – project 2 – Develop Yarn and linear concepts

img_5992.jpg Nettle stem, nettle flowers

For some of my yarn concepts I took the slow approach by making my yarns from raw materials like nettles and wool fibres. For some I reused materials, newspaper, fabric, buttons, ribbon.
img_5493.jpg img_5494.jpg img_5495.jpg

I suspect that its because i’m new to the process that I love this spun yarn so much, it’s so lively and the variations in colour achieved by combing the wool fibres is exactly what i was trying to achieve. I needed both hands and my chin to control the plying process so it was a lengthy process.


Close up the nettle stem looks gently fluffy, even closer up sharp barbs are revealed.

I experimented with knotting techniques on a shop bought paper yarn before developing in my made materials.



I enjoyed working with yarn concepts, especially, the process of turning nettles into the material to work with is very satisfying, and smells amazing. I have found that, when I am generating ideas, I tend to hold on to the idea of an object rather than focussing on translating marks made having observed that object, that the piece that I developed using yarns and observations is quite literal. In this task I have managed to move a little beyond that, I was intent on capturing the playful bubbliness of the flowers and am pleased with the results and the process of getting there.



ATV5 part 5 – project 3 – Experimenting and taking risks 2 – stories

One of my avenues for exploration started by looking at the work of Cas homes, but also exploring the work of many other textile artists who work with in that same sphere of looking for a story in their work. It’s evident that one can’t just look at a single artists as the work of textile artists is very much intertwined. Stitch stories by Cas Holmes has been incredibly useful as a resource, Cas Holmes has very generously shared her ideas in two books, Stitch Stories and also The Found Object in Textile Art.
Using nettles as the focus for this project has given me a story of many strands as this starting point of my mind map demonstrates.


Very much in the back of my mind has been the stories that arose just as I started the exercise post Brexit when terrible and disgraceful wave of racist views about immigrants seem to be upon every media space. What a depressing time. One of the things that cropped up on my mind map was the unwantedness of nettles and other weeds, that are viewed as useless, ugly, invasive, when actually nettles have an incredible range of benefits from herbal medicine, to textile applications, to agriculture. In my mind I’ve drawn parallels with not just migrant people fleeing from war but all of the oppressed people, unwanted in different ways, race, class , disability, gender etc etc. I don’t feel anywhere near eloquent enough to so sucinctly express my thoughts, they are churning relentlessly and tumultuously in the back of my mind. I really don’t have to look far to be reminded of the ugliness of society so look to counter this with finding beauty in the unwanted.



To develop a final piece for my collection I will develop a story cloth. As child I didn’t have a comfort blanket . I did have a fascination for muslin squares that we used as nappy liner, I used to like a squirt of toothpaste in the corner to chew as I went to sleep! I came across a stash in the charity shop not long ago , and was again drawn by the soft suppleness of the fabric, how comforting it is. I have decided to use one of the squares as the base and hence size of my stitch story piece.




ATV5 project 2 – Develop textile concepts

The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.
(Chris Ofili)
Consider Ofili’s statement above. As you develop your ideas and making, do you think of
your working process as a factory or a laboratory?
I worked in a factory for a while, the process is very linear things have to happen in a particular order, if something goes wrong in an early stage ,later stage cannot be completed. I most definitely do not work in such a linear fashion.
Depending upon the work going on in the laboratory, experiments for instance could be very linear ,the outcome though would be unknown, variables can be changed to affect the outcome. This is more the way my brain works, trying things out, learning from experience, changing the variables to achieve different outcomes. However a laboratory is a fairly organised environment, experiments are planned rules are, followed. My laboratory most certainly doesn’t work this way! A sort of chaos reigns, at this stage in my studies ideas flow quicker and faster than I am able to keep up with, each small investigation triggers a cascade of ideas, each bit of research uncovers more threads to follow, and my filtering process of good and bad ideas is very undeveloped.
Ofili also makes the point that an exhibition shows the results of experimentation: it is not a
conclusion. How do you feel about this? Is an exhibition just a point in time that captures your
experiments to date? Or does work in an exhibition need to form some kind of conclusion?
Or can it do both?
I suppose that I have considered an exhibition to be an end result. In reading Chris Ofili’s philosophy on this I am very heartened. On giving the concept some thoughts, clearly the creative process is a journey that is continuous, but perhaps the exhibitions are rest points, breathing space along the way, points of reflection.
At this point and for the foreseeable future my work is very much in progress I like to feel that I will become more focused along my journey at this point anything is possible. I have not yet found my voice, I’m unsure of what I want to say most. I think that I have always been a flitter from one thing to another, and do feel that I can ” turn my hand” to many things, I tire a little of being a Jill of all trades and would like to work towards mastering something well. Indecision is mine enemy.

I love these points of reflection, in hindsight I really do value my experimental work I realise that I have a long way to go,  in my mind my experimental work is more important than the final outcome however I still have childish need to feel completion in my work. Even voicing this takes me towards letting this feeling flow behind me, we shall see.