Stage Seven – Reflection
I am very pleased with the final outcome from the stage six prototype fabric cubes. These are not a finished item as they could easily be added to by producing more cubes and from more collagraph printed fabrics. There were many combinations of plates I could have used to print the fabric samples and when adding in different colour combinations that number increased again, rapidly. In previous work I think I have tried to try every combination of some things ‘just in case’ I miss a good one but for this work I was conscious of that and so tried to limit myself by just producing twelve fabric pieces. Some would work and others not so well but by placing these limitations on my work I could focus on the technique being used and not try to pre-empt the finished items.
I am very glad that I managed to produce a reliable and not greatly complex method for printing fabric collagraph plates on to fabric surfaces. There was very little information easily available regarding this sort of method so I began by printing on to paper and then transferring the results of those print tests to fabric. This gave some poor results at first but after some seemingly small adjustments the print quality improved and I produced some very detailed prints.
Much of my drawing work to date had been produced only on to white background and in no more than A4 in size. The printed fabrics produced in part six were a minimum of A3 in size and were, in half the samples, on to coloured surfaces. This is quite a departure from my usual work and I am very glad that I tried to introduce some of the colours from the colour palettes produced in Adobe CC in this way rather than relying on the acrylic paint used only.
I produced a good amount of research for Part Five and in some ways I think it was a bit too much. I really enjoyed the items I found but I feel that there were too many to include all of them in this work. I had done some work with screen-printing but felt that this did not fit in to the final pieces made as the collagraphs had worked well enough by that point.
One of the best things to come out of my research was to review any prints made the day after they had been produced. This was especially true of the part three test prints. These had not been as crisp or detailed as I had hoped while I was making them. I wouldn’t ever have thrown them away but by stepping away from these prints overnight, they really weren’t as bad as I had remembered when I returned to them the next day. These then formed the basis of my review of my prints in part three and the improvement of my method to finally print well on to fabric.
The hardest part of part five was not knowing what was really required for this work. I had little clue about whether making an actual item was required or if just the idea for a finished item would be sufficient. There were a few blog posts on the OCA site that came at just the right time. I then chose to focus on the printing method to lead my work. By trial and error I produced some reasonable samples and took these forward to make my final printed fabrics and the fabric cubes.
The cubes were a good way of displaying the fabric made and they did fit with the idea of the plaster cubes previously produced. These are by no means finished. I had hoped to make twenty but only made 14, more fabric could be produced and more cubes assembled, but this number gives a good indication of what I was trying to achieve.
I am however pleased with my use of fabric in these cubes. By under-stuffing each cube the fabric has folded itself to replicate the peaks and valleys seen in the plaster cubes.
While my printing method has been successful I am not sure that it is particularly useful outside of an experimental setting. The plate will breakdown over time and changes in the print achieved can be seen every time it is used. These changes come from how they are inked due, the amount of paint applied, pressure applied to the plate to print it or the fabric surface it is printed on.
This module, Mixed Media (MM) has been quite different to the Textile Vocabulary (ATV) module I first studied. There were many times in MM when I was unsure where the work was leading. I found myself second guessing what the outcome of exercises was supposed to be or what might be the possible reason for doing some of the exercises even was.
The trick here was to stop second guessing and just take pleasure in the completion of each exercise and the making of the items to complete each assignment. I didn’t enjoy working like that. It seemed that I was ticking boxes in order to move on to the next exercise. There was some detail in the course notes as to why these exercises had been chosen but a little more explanation as to what we should be getting out of each part of the course would have been useful.
I enjoyed the printing in part four most and then the collagraph printing on to fabric in part five. I really got to understand these methods and have produced some good items in these sections of work, extending my understanding greatly in part five alone.
The work I have produced in this module is very varied. I’m not sure where it fits in my future work but I have come across some techniques such as wrapping items and casting that I might never have come across by myself.
As for my own working practices, I think that I have begun to extend my drawing skills and my use of colour but still need to look at working larger than A4. The amount of research I have produced for each section of work has also increased from that produced in ATV, too much in some cases in that I can’t fit it all in to the resulting work to be produced. I have enjoyed finding out about new techniques and artists that I would otherwise maybe not have come across.
Overall this module wasn’t what I was expecting from the title and strayed about as far away from textiles as I could imagine, however I managed to work some fabric and stitching back in there at the end and have gained some new techniques that should come in for future work.
Demonstration of technical and visual skills
I focused, perhaps a bit too much, on my printing technique in part four. Possibly to the cost of the items produced. But this in-depth investigation of the techniques proved very valuable in part five where I was able to apply that knowledge to produce a reliable method to print collagraph plates on to fabric.
I feel that my drawing skills are improving, especially using smaller thumbnail sketches to illustrate how items could be put together rather than having to produce each item and my work is beginning to become a little bis larger.
Quality of outcome
I have tried to present my work in such a way that it combines everything I have produced for a section of work together but also that it is a reference that I can return to later. Many of the techniques in this module were unknown to me so the samples produced are my first attempts in most cases. These will be the basis for building on these techniques if they are used in future so it is in my interest to keep these samples in a clear and coherent fashion so that I can review them easily in the future.
My blog includes many more photographs this time around, although at a lower resolution, and I have tried to approach adding entries in a logical manner, following the course notes where possible.
Demonstration of creativity
I have enjoyed producing the samples for this module, especially as many of them have been quite experimental for me. I had not used many of these techniques before so some of my samples began in a very simplistic way but I feel that I have expanded on those techniques well especially the wrapping samples and the print samples.
During the ATV module it was noted that I did not provide enough research for each part of the course. I think that I have made good strides here in researching more than only the suggested topics in the course notes and have tried to look outside of textile artists only in order to find other avenues to inform my work. Clearer links can be seen through my research to my finished items and these have been highlighted in my blog posts where necessary.