I have now finished part one – Building a visual vocabulary. I have learned a great deal. Before I started this course, I always struggled to work in series. There are too many things that I like to do. There are too many materials that I like to work with and I never gave myself the time to stick with just one idea and explore that further. This course forces me to work structured rather than going from one idea to the next. At first, I had some trouble starting with the first project, but once I started, I found that I wanted to try all the materials that I had to make marks with. I especially liked exercise 4 of stage 2 – Making marks in an expressive way. I liked trying out different materials and finding out all the different ways to make marks. Other exercises that I liked are exercises 1 and 2 of stage 3 – Using marks to create surface textures. Browsing through magazines to find images that are rich in surface textures and after that trying to find surface textures in my apartment. I am now more aware of all the interesting textures that are around me and all the inspiration that I can find in everyday life.
After that came the stitching exercises. I always used stitching as a way of embellishing quilts or hide the seams of a quilt. So this was a whole new experience for me. I really liked using stitches to create texture. I had never used my drawings as inspiration for stitching and at first I felt a little restricted. I was not used to working in this way. But I quickly started to get really into it. I tried out all the stitches in stage 1- Preparation and I learned that the fabric that I use is not just the background. It is important to use a fabric that goes with the yarn or thread that you use and that it helps creating the effect that you want to achieve.
I had some trouble with the composition in the samples that I made in Stage 2 – Exploring marks and lines through stitch techniques. I did not just want to try out different threads and shapes. I wanted to have cohesion rather than just random shapes on a piece of fabric. I feel like I succeeded in this pretty well.
Although I do not like all the samples that I made, I do not think that I want to change anything. I have learned as much from the mistakes that I made as from the samples that worked out well. I am definitely going to explore using stitching to create textures further. I really like the effects that can be achieved. I do want to explore using drawings as inspiration for stitching further, as well as using unusual materials to create textures.
At first, I had some trouble translating drawings to stitches, but it became easier once I practised the stitches mentioned in Stage 1 – Preparation. I had never tried using stitches to make marks and textures like this. I always used stitching to embellish fabric or hide the seams of a quilt. I found the running stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch and French knots the easiest stitches to use to translate drawings to stitches. Choosing my source material was easier. I didn’t have trouble choosing drawings which had a lot of texture and were suitable to express in stitching.
Some of the samples that I made were more successful than others. I think the sample that I made using French knots in Stage 1 was quite successful. It has a lot of texture and the greens work well on the black background. I also like the sample that I made in Stage 6 – Using thread and yarns to create textures. I had never tried twisting together fabrics and other materials, but I liked trying out different materials to find out which effects I could achieve. I also felt less inhibited during this stage. I could basically use every material that I had and felt that I could be really creative in my materials and the stitching. The samples that I made in stage 5 – Stitches which create texture, where I made stitches in different directions, were less successful in my opinion. I made 2 samples using this technique, one with just one thread and another using a matt and a shiny thread. I do not really like the effect. There is texture but it looks random and I feel like there is not enough cohesion between the stitches. I experimented quite a bit with different stitches, but I can definitely take it further. Especially since there were some stitches that I was not familiar with.
I prefer playing with materials and yarns to create effects. I feel like I can be more spontaneous and be more creative. Using my drawings felt a little more restrictive and it was difficult to not just merely make an interpretation of the drawing rather than make a sample that is strong on its own. But I feel like I have made progression through the different stages and became more confident in choosing stitches that are suitable to express the marks in my drawings.
Even though I am not a hundred percent satisfied with all my work, I do not think that I would like to change anything. I do want to take my work further and experiment more. Making more samples using the same drawing as reference, but trying out different stitches to find out what works best.
I had a lot of fun making this sample. I used strips of stockings, bin liners, plastic bags and lace and twisted them together to create this piece.
This was my inspiration
I choose this drawing because I like the colours and the texture and because I thought I could develop it further. Even though I couldn’t find the right shade of green, I really like the result.
I choose one of my drawings that I made to express the word sad to make this sample. It became a very personal piece for me, because I made it right after my grandfather had past away. I used the chain stitch to represent the sadness that I felt. Apart from this stitch, I used the running stitch and blanket stitch on hand dyed fabric and viscose fabric.
I really started thinking about the composition while making these samples. I didn’t just want to make elements using different shapes and threads. I wanted to have cohesion between the different elements. I feel like I succeeded pretty well in this. For the samples, I only used the running stitch.
For stage 1, I started with selecting choosing drawings that I’d like to try using stitches. I wasn’t familiar with all the stitches, so I tried them all.
For this sample, I used the running stitch and couching. I like this sample, because there is a lot of texture in it.
I used the stem stitch, which I had never tried before, on hand dyed fabric.
I had never tried the herringbone stitch and the open cretan stitch before. The first stitches are very irregular, but it got better after a while. I had fun trying out these stitches, and I especially like effect of the open cretan stitch.
The blanket stitch is one of the first stitches that my mother has taught me when I was younger. It is one of my favourite stitches.
I used the chain stitch for this sample.
This is my favourite sample. I made french knots using three different green yarns. I love the texture and the contrast of the colours.
I have tried some of these techniques for making marks in the past, such as collage, rubbings and crayon scratch. But I had used a different way of doing a crayon scratch in the past. I once did a crayon scratch by putting a thick coat of black paint on top of the crayon layers. During project 1, I tried the crayon scratch with the black paint and by only using crayons.
In the beginning, I had some problems starting making marks because I thought about it too much instead of expressing the emotions that I felt looking at the words. Some words were easier to express in markings than others. Words as bumpy and sharp were easier the express than smooth and soft. Putting my work in my sketchbook, I noticed that some marks were somewhat alike, but I think that I was inventive. I tried using all sorts of different media, e.g. crayons, pastels, graphite pencils, coloured pencils, acrylic paint and embroidery floss and different papers. Having said this, I’m still insecure about my drawing. I think that the drawings that I made are sufficient to use as inspiration for working in textiles but I’m by no means a great drawer.
Overall, I am happy with the work I produced. Once I started making the marks rather than thinking about it too much, I started enjoying it and it became easier. I did notice that I often came back to the overlapping circles. The exercises that I enjoyed the most are exercise 4 of stage 2 and exercise 1 of stage 3. What I liked about exercise 4 of stage 2 is the experimenting. I liked trying out al the different ways of making marks and I did not feel confined. I could use all the mediums that I have and just play with it. During this exercise I found that I am drawn to coloured pencils, especially the Derwent Inktense pencils. I love the vibrant colours that appear once you wet your drawing. Making collages is something that I want to explore further. It is a great way of making marks and you can use all sorts of bits and pieces that you have lying around to create textures. Another form of mark making that I want to try is making my own stamps, e.g. carving designs in erasers. This is something that I have not tried before, but I think it is a great way to make marks.
I had a great time browsing through magazines, looking for images with a lot of surface texture and trying out media to mimic these textures. I am more aware now of all the textures that are around me; in the magazines that I read, in my own home and in nature. All though I have not yet used nature as an inspiration yet, but I certainly will in the future.