Review of work so far

I know that I have come a long way since staring at the blank page wondering how to draw ‘smooth’! I have been challenged to look at paper differently and to see its potential for change, experiment and inspiration. I found I used the internet a lot to look at drawing tutorials, ideas for manipulating media. I have found books such as Gwen Hedley’s Drawn to Stitch inspirational, also Kay Greenless’s Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists: Exploring the Embroiderers’ Sketchbook. I am looking at fabric artists with a more evaluative(and appreciative) view and have linked into a variety of textile webpages to follow artists’ work.

Have you ever thought about drawing in this way before?

No, not at all. I thought drawing as a form of art that was out of my reach, that I would not be able to re-create images. But now I see that I can start with a little detail, and explore its pattern and shape, its tactile aspect and I am fascinated.

Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?

I had a slow start but then found I could not stop! I still have a list of textures I want to develop more and hope to keep going in my spare time.

Did you explore a wide range of media?

Here again, I feel I have just opened the lid on a wealth of ideas. I will still continue with this, as I find I am looking at materials now with a thought to how I could use them to make marks, particularly how to recreate textures. I have used media I was unfamiliar with. Even watercolours and watercolour pencils were relatively new tools for me to re-create texture.

Are you pleased with what you’ve done? Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?

I think I have realized that there is enjoyment and excitement in drawing, rather than it being a means to an end. I taught primary school art and it was very functional. Now I see that the purpose is to explore and develop. That gives me much more confidence. I do think that my output is not particularly high level, but I do know that I have made a lot of progress in thinking and also in my skills. I am surprised at how I have become more creative.

Which exercise did you most enjoy? Why?

Firstly I enjoyed the photographing the world around me and using tools to expand the details. That helped me dig deeper into the tiniest parts that make up the world and was a good starter to the course, which is also ongoing. Then I enjoyed Exercise 4 of creative markmaking. That was just pure fun and it again is one that I am continuing all along! I am learning so much from it.

Which media did you most enjoy working with? Why?

I spent a week of refusing to use colour before I found courage to use paints in any form. I think that was a big step for me into creativity, rather than task. Gwen Hedley’s book was really helpful here. Now I love trying different paints, oil pastels etc in all sorts of combinations, just to see if I can capture the texture. I have a compulsion to change paper from white to something completely different. However I still come back to the pencil for a detailed exploration of texture. I find it a good start for close examination, and then paints (watercolour, gouache and oil pastels) for creative development afterwards.

What other forms of mark-making could you try?

I haven’t explored inks and roller printing. I want to work on paper textures that can be used as a base for exercises. I have just got a soldering iron and want to do comparisons with that and bleach on ink, or wherever the inspiration takes me!

How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future?

I know that my eye has been trained much more to look at texture and form, in the world around me. I look at photos to see if the line and textures are developed. If I am looking at art in a gallery I am looking to see how texture has been tackled, and if it is effective or not. I look at the environment with regard to its layers, its tactile nature and I wonder how to image that. Previously I had been looking at colour and formulaic design, so now when I work with textiles I will be looking at how creative I can be to capture the texture and movement of shapes, and how to move them to images