Assignment 3 Review

This assignment has been the most difficult so far for me to complete in a sensible time and it is interesting to understand why that is. It is not because of outside distractions and life getting in the way. I think it is that I found it very difficult to keep focused on a simple task, a simple piece. Each activity became very big, and I felt compelled to expand and explore to a greater depth than really there was time for.   This was the same in the earlier assignments too, but here I found it more difficult to restrict myself.

I guess that I could not leave the earlier projects work from outside of the project 6. I could not just pick up a piece of fabric and do a little applique activity (for example) to show the skill. I had to consider colour, I had to print or paint on fabric, dye it, before I could try the manipulation. For example, a simple applique of the sunflower, based on earlier sketches involved printing on cotton, layering, painting on silk, embroidery, using different yarns for stitching etc. Less time consuming would have been to cut out a shape and bondawebbed it down, a bit of machining round the edges.   But I could not do that. My final piece for the applique stage involved making all of the fabrics except the base cotton and organza, and adding beads and embroidery. I felt I wanted to then do another drawing, and re-work the fabrics. Never finished in my mind!

So for timing, I have done badly. However, for learning and enjoyment I have really progressed. I have realized that any work I do in the future will be so much more layered in intensity and design. I will want to sketch, draw, collage, print/paint, create fabric, embroider and embellish, before I will feel it is a complete piece of work. As a result, I have learnt to be more discriminating when looking at fabric and textile artists’ works to determine complexity and skills, and to identify where there is vision.

I found I wanted to explore some skills more in depth, for example in my fish stitching, which is now at a stage I can leave for the future to be embellished, layers of organza placed etc. I am aware of the range of products available to enhance textile arts, such as the Angelina fibre, soluble fabrics etc. It has been difficult to source some of these so I have to be sparing in my explorations.

I am more aware of my own interests and I know that I have a great satisfaction in hand sewing (and manipulation) and that the colour and texture of base fabrics are essential factors for me. I am happy for machine stitching as a tool, but find handwork more satisfying that machine embroidery which feels less creative to me.

I struggled to find a topic for the introductory research. That is because I feel quite isolated from mainstream high street fabric and fashion. I could have taken a topic which would be completely internet based but I could find little motivation for this. However, I decided to work on a fashion item that was pertinent to this location in a Muslim country, the abaya. That felt very vivid, and has a lot more potential for work. If I had more time, I should look at Islamic art and its influence on furnishing materials, but I was not sure I would be able to resource it.

I have also realized that although where I am currently living has an active arts scene, I have become much more discriminating in what I find as quality. Some work has been inspiring , but even where there has been interesting work, it is tiring to go to a exhibition where the curatorship is poor, no labeling , or items badly hung etc. I haven’t wanted to write critical reviews as I know they are picked up on the internet searches As a result, it looks as though I have not been very active in seeking exhibitions, but this is a geographic problem!

A mixed bag of reflection. I have obviously increased my skills, I have learnt so much on fabric manipulation and embellishment, which has been inspirational, and I have become more discriminating. I feel my own voice is developing. On the other hand, I am anxious to see more quality artwork, particularly fibre arts, in person and not from the Internet. Frustration on that side!