Assignment 5 Written reflection

My journey through A Textile Vocabulary has taken longer than I hoped. A year and three months since I started and like everyone studying part-time and distance learning there has been occasions when life has taken over and the studies have had to take a back seat. However they are never far from my mind and I enjoy working on my ideas whether it is theoretically or practically. I started out as a total beginner not even having much practical skills as far as sewing or other hand crafts are concerned and as well as doing the coursework I am constantly studying and researching techniques.

During this final assignment I have enjoyed the freedom of being able to produce developmental work with a more open, less restrictive approach to the themes. I have also enjoyed researching designers work that I find interesting and I am starting to see work I find inspiring and engaging in haute couture when it was not something I had considered before.

One of the hardest things about this collection was not trying too many different techniques. My head was full of ideas I would have liked to create but I didn’t necessarily have the skills to produce them and if I had taken the time to teach myself all of them I would never have finished. I liked the idea of creating a Nuno felted piece and a freeform crocheted and knitted piece but I have neither of these skills.

For my collection I experimented with a few ideas using heat manipulation. I tried techniques using a heat gun and steam. Using different items and wrapping them or using them to sculpt the fabric. Some of these were more successful than others. The light chiffon fabrics respond very quickly to the heat and make some great shapes which also produce interesting shadows when light is reflected through them. I would like to spend more time on this and would love to try techniques like Iris van Herpen used creating her ‘Water Dress’ where she melted a clear plastic and sculpted it.

Ideas

Finished sample

Now we are at the end of ATV I think my strengths lie in my enthusiasm to try new things and this has probably pushed me to experiment and research. I need to spend more time learning and practicing techniques including learning basic skills. As far as where I see myself heading in my own Textile practice, I’m not sure yet. If I was young and carefree I would apply to Iris van Herpen for an internship but I’m not… 😉

Demonstration of technical and visual skills

Reflecting on the work I have completed for this assignment I am content I have improved since starting ATV. I am becoming more comfortable experimenting with materials and techniques and I feel my ability to design and use composition has developed significantly because of it. My observation skills and visual awareness has always been a strength but I feel this is developing with every exercise and the constant research.

Quality of outcome

I think I have effectively applied my skills and knowledge to present my work in a coherent manner. This collection was rather bulky and adding my other project work and sketch book resulted in me having to send two parcels to my tutor. I hope my sketchbook effectively communicates my ideas. I feel I am still guilty of making leaps in my imagination and not demonstrating these ideas on paper. However I hope it is still possible to see my thought process with the work I have submitted.

Demonstration of creativity

I feel this is probably one of my strengths. My imagination is always thinking up ideas and I enjoy experimenting. However my basic skill set can’t always keep up but I am continually looking to learn new techniques and I am interested in all the new technology and what that could possibly mean for Textiles in the future. My personal voice is probably not that well established yet. I think I joined the course thinking I would like to create art quilts but with the continuing research I have looked at so many exciting ways of working I feel a bit like the proverbial child in a sweetie shop wanting to try everything. However I need to remind myself of time constraints otherwise nothing would ever get handed in.

Context

I feel through the development of my work I have continually reflected on it, following up with more research and reworking. I am always critical of my own work but I feel I am able to use this in a constructive way now. My confidence is improving and rather than being plagued by self doubt if something isn’t working I move on or make changes till I am more satisfied.

Assignment 5

The capsule collection

In this final assignment we are asked to reflect on the samples we have produced and consider the supporting work from the first two projects.

My capsule collection is based on the Nature’s Larder theme first explored in the Introductory project at the very start of ATV, however I have focussed on the marine environment this time. Looking at seaweeds and mussels.

During my research I was very drawn to textiles produced using unusual materials or those that were manipulated into unusual shapes. These fitted my initial ideas for producing a collection with texture and colour. I wanted the pieces that reflected seaweeds to also reflect movement as if you were viewing them underwater. During my sampling experiments I was excited by the shapes that could be produced by manipulating the fabrics with heat either through use of a heat gun or steam. I also wanted to see if I could produce a piece of seaweed inspired lace through free-embroidery which is another new skill I’m experimenting with.

The collection

‘Mussels’ fabric.

I wrapped mussel shells into the fabric and steamed it. I then hand painted to produce the detailing. I was quite pleased with this piece.

(Insert photo here)

Seaweed embroidered piece with scrap threads and free machine embroidery

Seaweed free embroidered piece.

I linoprinted a design and then drew it on soluble stabiliser which I then free embroidered. I didn’t dry this totally flat as I did with the test piece, this allowed it to dry in a curly and crinkly way.

Before the stabiliser was rinsed away.

And after

I was pleased with the way this turned out, but if I was doing this again I would maybe make the design larger as it shrinks when you wash out the stabiliser especially if you don’t dry it flat. I would also consider doing this again on chiffon or a similar fabric.

Seaweeds

Heat manipulated fabrics with a heat gun and sewn together. I wanted to give the impression of seaweeds under the water. I’m not as happy with this piece. I was most excited with the grey chiffon as I loved the shapes and shadows created by the heat manipulation. I feel I may have tried to do too much by adding several types of fabric.

Seaweed – Sugar kelp

This was made by manipulating clear PVC with a heat gun. I folded and sculpted the fabric as I used the gun. I coloured it with spray PVC dye after a failed attempt at painting with acrylics. I sewed the strips together to create the impression of fronds hanging together.

Seaweeds – Bladderwrack

A mixture of fabric that was wrapped around beads and steamed and crocheted chains which were stitched to a stretchy mesh that made me think of fishing net. This worked well, I think the mixture of fabrics worked together. The interesting textures complemented one another.