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.
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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.

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. 



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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