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

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. 



ATV Assignment 4 -A yarn collection

My aim should be to –

•demonstrate your ability to value all stages of the design development process
•build on your ability to be selective and analytical of your design and presentation decisions

Presenting work from projects 1 and 2

I enjoyed the design process of developing a suitable way of presenting my yarns.

I deliberately didn’t wrap yarns as I was going along and on surveying my collection very quickly  rejected this idea as impractical, many of my yarns require space and winding them up would squash the structures do no favours to them. For the same reason a paper  or card based option could present flattening issues.

I made a specification to work to:


Not too time consuming

Able to add to at later stage

Communicate  themes

Visually accessible .


I quickly decided to use a lightweight nylon for the following reasons;

Fabric is more flexible than paper

Nylon can be heat cut with soldering iron(new toy) and won’t fray – I like frayed edges but a crisp approach seems more appropriate for this presentation.

I could have sketched all of my ideas, however my thoughts developed on the hoof at work and there simply isn’t a convenient moment during the day to stop and sketch. I first thought of a kite like structure to hold the pages rigid, this idea quickly seemed over engineered.

I cut some pages with my soldering iron – very pleasing process- I love the airiness and the crisp white is a great background to showcase my yarns. Some

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Using elastic I can thread my yarns and add or remove them easily.

I made a simple folded pocket to contain the ends without anchoring them too firmly.

For my 1m developed yarns I tried a transparent pocket using yacht window, I think it is PVC – very sticky and difficult to sew. I tried ink jet transfer paper to put copies of the inspiration drawings but it did not work well so I used iron on bonding fabric to attach the photocopied drawings.



Using a polythene bag was easier to sew, but it doesn’t have the visual clarity, it did give a pocket for the image and I could seperate the dangerous yarn that tangles with everything it touches.


I added velcro in this pocket and the yarn wraps now stay in place.



I have made a pillow of yarns, a cloud of ideas.

I had in mind an elaborate macrame method of holding the pages in place but the elastic works just fine, I can add more pages at a later date.

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Bauhaus archive visit June 2016

The Bauhaus Archiv was designed by Walter Gropius and it was a joy to behold!

Afairly small space and unfortunately photos not allowed but the audio guide was really informative and also raised some interesting questions for me.

I sketched some of the objects on show and made copious notes.

I particularly liked the  Wall hangings by Anne Albers  here and  Gertrud Arndt  -tones of red ( I cannot find a clear image but this is similar and I like it too)

Painting Horizontal Vertical by Itten ( this is way more Jewel like in real life)and African chair by Marcel Breuer and  Gunta Stulzl

There was a very interesting description of the teaching philosophies of Johannes Itten and and Joseph Albers that has given me food for thought and bought me back to this book – now heavily bookmarked with drawing techniques and approaches I’m interested in exploring.

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My sketches of this series of paintings were pants!! They were produced for the birthday of Gropius (which was a holiday at the Bauhuas school) they were all based on the same photo of a political broadcast from a gramaphone placed on a stage.The Kandinsky on bottom right is a visual representation of audio process whilst Paul Klee bottom left considered What is said? What is understood?

a little more information here








ATV 4 – Project 2 – creating linear forms 4.4 De-constructing colour as yarn

The aim of this exercise is to select and explore new and appropriate making and de-constructing techniques to translate lighter and more transparent qualities into my yarns.

The particular qualities I can observe in the watercolour stripe patterns are : translucence, blurring, tonal transitions, airiness.

Plastic bags stitched and snipped – don’t look very precious but the colours are good.


Organza is light and airy – I’m not sure that I like it at all. I like cutting with a soldering iron though as this gives a good fray proof edge that could be useful.

I have some amazing silk that deconstructs itself, fragile with washing and wear. The warp and weft pick up colours from my watercolour stripe patterns . Using my fingers and a needle I frayed and shaped the fabric. I like the way that once freed of the warp/weft grid the threads start to undulate, creating little windows. The frayed green edges visually bleed and blur like the watercolour paint.

I have a book called Contemporary Whitework by Tracy A Franklin & Nicola Jarvis, I can use it to explore other pulled thread techniques.

This thick yarn was bound with clear and green tape and then teased out to emulate the watercolour blur – it’s not very interesting so moving on swiftly…

Maybe this needs something added later??

This is a yarn I made at the beginning of the project by deconstructing a packaging binding tape, I really liked the airiness of the structure and want to develop it further.

I’ve made a tool to turn plastic bottles into string, I’m  gathering other people’s rubbish now to turn into something beautiful!

I experimented with knotting to make little string of sparkling diamonds, twisting the strand beyond the plastic limit, and using heat to help retain the twist. Finally for now I used  little bits from a fluorescent plastic straw that I found discarded in the park. I’m really pleased with this, it is translucent, has tonal transitions where the plastic is stretched and compressed, and an airiness from the structure.




I added the fluorescent straw to this yarn , replacing some of the tape and making a more interesting and physically stronger yarn

De-constructing and reconstructing nettles is my favourite  finding of this project. When fresh, the green is vivid but this dulls in a very short time so perhaps not the most successful for this exercise. I was proud of the way that I joined the shapes while constructing and there are many possibilities for taking this technique further. I have been looking at a book called ‘The Art Fabric:Mainstream’ by Constantine Larsen. A collection of structural textile arts from the 1970’s. I can see how  contemporary textiles has built on these early textile pioneers and I’m really excited about exploring 3D structural textiles soon.


This is a simple knotted plastic bottle strand, combined with knotted shredded parcel binding strip. The binding strip looks very organic and makes me wonder about combining natural and manufactured materials. Particularly plastics with nettle as both are considered fairly worthless. A used bottle is rubbish and nettle considered a weed, I would like to turn them into something profound.




ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration- creating linear forms – 4.3 Reinterpret, reinvent

Re-interpret, re-invent. Yarn designs and simple textile constructions based on the colour studies of the Old Masters painting. the post is here


Whilst completing the former exercises I had an over whelming urge to mix colours using a drop spindle. While researching I came across the idea of art yarns and felt that this colour exercise was an ideal palate to experiment with.




If you look at the painting you will hopefully see how I have tried to replicate the order and proportion of colours as they appear from top to bottom.img_4721.jpg img_4723.jpg img_4722.jpg

I laid out the fibres in a mirror image, spun them onto a drop spindle then found the midway point and plyed them together. I’m really intrigued by the result, It was a very pleasing process.
Likewise yarn wraps seemed an obvious technique to explore, as they are ideal to mix colours. I wanted to see if I could create the two identities. The elegant figure at the easel and the more rugged mentor.


I then started to think about macramé so created some sample knots,

This sample uses more strings so I could try to incorporate colours from the image.

The diagonal string is called the carrier, in the neutral version I knotted the other strings around it as per macramé instructions. I dyed some strings to match the painting that combine the design and colour charge tears. I wanted the yellow and white  to respond to the silken wrap so I devised a way to use the carrier string as the knots. I like this.



ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration – review point.

Demonstration of creativity – The criteria about Demonstration of creativity in the course notes  talk of  risk taking and developing a personal voice, creativity, invention  and experimentation.

I have no idea of my personal voice as yet, I am a small child overwhelmed in a pick and mix sweet shop, wanting to try everything and at risk of being overwhelmed in a huge sugar rush. I am however inquisitive and happy to experiment, not having any specialist skills I do not know what rules to break , so can happily furrow a path in any direction (I hope though, onwards and upwards!). For example – learning to spin, what a joy! I have no need at this point to create evenly spun, yarns and I am sure I would horrify some spinners with my results, however my gnarled, uneven results are perfect for the yarns I have developed.

I think that I am starting to show experimentation and creativity, I’m sure that I am covering some old ground, I would like to spend more time investigating artists work , although I am currently not finding time to do this, I know that an important part of the course and my creative develpoment , although I do regularly flick through books and websites I must find time to investigate the work of others properly, in more detail and more importantly record my findings and how they can inform my work.

This section of ATV excites me, I’m really enjoying working in a more 3D manner and I hope that my playfulness with fibres and structures is showing through. During project one I have worked in many ways some simple ,some refined. In part two I will continue to be fed by a natural progression. I think that although I have not found my voice ,I am developing the confidence to stray from the course-note path now and then, to investigate responses to the brief that feel relevant and appropriate to me at this time. I certainly don’t feel that I’ve exhausted any possibilities with my approach so far, I have deliberately not started to present my work until the yarn investigations are complete – though some ideas are brewing…


From the woods…


I have just spent the most amazing day on a natural cordage course, beautifully delivered by the very talented Ruby Taylor . Ruby makes vessels amongst other things and the baskets and pots that she displayed for us to have a look at were so inspiring in the way that they had such a powerful presence. I wrote a word steam to try to express the emotive quality of her work. Seeing them in nature, surrounded by their ingredients was an important part of their aura, I wrote ; integrity, alive, connection, delicate, powerful honest.

My interest in natural cordage stems from a need to tread lightly, my magpie eyes are constantly alert for materials with a small footptint, I definetly came to the right place in this magical forest clearing.

Ruby has created an incredible space in the woodland of Sussex and respectfully requested keeping phone turned off and photos to a minimum.

After a beautiful welcoming meditation I was more than happy to immerse myself in nature and leave technology behind. So not many photos, this is what I wrote when I floated back and gives quite a good snapshot of the day…


By the end of the day I felt so strongly connected to our ancestors, the first cord discovered by archaeologists is 90000 years old and we have being using it varying ways ever since. It felt so natural to be working in nature,  I couldn’t help but reflect that our 21st century discoveries in technology – polluting and political aren’t perhaps advances at all.
During the workshop I focused on preparing materials so that I can make more, low impact natural cordage at a later date and perhaps experiment with it in different ways.

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Thank you Ruby for such an inspiring day.


ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.2- part 3 Texture and tonal qualities

I found this task really difficult as my neutral textile is knitted wool and translating yarn as yarns is difficult to get my head around..

I tried finger knitting with  knitted scrim – a sort of macro/micro idea, I was amused by using  a knitted fabric to represent a strand of wool, the idea has something interesting about it. It didn’t excite me massively though. img_4737.jpg

Knotting sisal and jute was about looking at a fibre under a microscope… hmmm

Placed next to my original study I’m very unsure about hitting consideration of colour or proportion of colour without a bit of extra explanation about where this madness came from.

img_4736-1.jpg The unravelled sock kept its kinked structure and was fun to work with, this exercise is feeling very forced though.

Thinking of words used to describe wool; wiry, steely, copper tones etc made me think about including some metal into my yarns. I came across some metal swarf so I dipped a string in PVA glue and coated it in the swarf – this made a brilliantly dangerous yarn – like an angry sheep! it is surprisingly sharp to touch and sticks to everything like cleevers, I thought that it would have a steely glint but the glue made it look quite dull. To make it safer i dragged across merino tops of colours i observed in the original study, they have attached like snags of wool on brambles and I was pleased. img_4739.jpg

I really wanted a steely glint so I spun some yarn and during the plying stage introduced some spirals of swarf.img_4741.jpg img_4742.jpg

These final two sample yarns a much more successful than the earlier ones, exaggerating what I could see in my colour study , using creative words and thinking about how to stretch myself  gave me  more to engage my creative mind with. It really does feel time to move on though.



ATV 4 – Yarn and linear exploration 4.1 developments

I have had one of those moments when I realise why recording processes in detail is important! One of my 30cm yarns is perfect for development into a meter length and it just took ages to realise how made it in the first place!

The materials I used were an unravelled piece of machine constructed metallic fabric. The thread is incredibly fluffy when unravelled and I had stitched it on the machine to make an interesting repeat of tight and then fluffy areas along the length – totally forgot about the machine stitching part and wondered why it was not unravelling in the same way!!


I was interested in the shadows on the sleeve seam of my Akha jacket , where the fabric pulled against the stitches. Represented here on the right hand side of the drawing.


My first attempt was to stitch and stretch a strip of jersey to give an even repeat (slightly bigger than 1cm but hey, who’s measuring?) this gave a good shape but was too solid. The fluffy unravelled thread is better but it was when I realised that I could stitch onto the thread that it really worked as a yarn that really hits the brief.









From my drawings of the heavily embroidered back panel of the Akha jacket  and investigations into spinning newspaper ( I had used some as a drawing ground) I have developed this yarn. I used some PVA coloured with translucent Seta colour to create the coloured windows that represent the tiny applique shapes in the original embroidered panel.


Akah - Ink - mixed tools


This was from the drawing using a wing feather brush, It captures the marks really well. Simple but effective. I need to remember not to overcomplicate all the time, sometimes outcomes are better kept simple .