MM Part Five – Stage Seven – Reflection

Stage Seven – Reflection

Part Five

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.


Whole Module

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.


Assessment Criteria

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.


MM Part Five – Stage One

It was only when I got all the work I’d made for this module that I realised how much I’ve produced. There seemed to be little bits everywhere. I reviewed my work in chronological order, this seemed the best way to approach this, looking at every item produced and consider its potential for future work.

The course notes suggest that we should be looking for “any ideas you had or techniques you found particularly stimulating.” There is also a mention of a final piece or group of items. I can’t even begin to think about that so have focused on the samples I felt worked well, techniques I enjoyed or any surprises that popped up along the way.

I have listed below the samples that meet that criteria, I have not included any notes on samples I felt did not work or why, this exercise is to pick out the most successful samples and ideas and take those forward.

All work was compiled in a book which can be viewed here.

Part One, Project Two, Exercise Five – Creating flaps

I enjoyed cutting the shapes out of these sheets of paper and pushing them in different directions. It was possible to make a sheet of almost identical shaped incisions and have them face forward or backward to cast shadow or let light through.

Layering these samples also resulted in shadows being cast between the sheets of paper used.

I only used paper to form these sheets of cut-out shapes so there would be a possibility to use other materials to repeat this exercise. Also I only used white paper and some small areas of text. Again this would be an area that could be expanded to include colour via transparent materials or coloured papers.

There is much potential to layer sheets with holes, possibly as glass or a fabric hanging.

Part One, Project Four, Exercise Five – Scratching and embossing

Scratching the surface of thick lining or watercolour paper yielded some interesting results. Working out how much force to use to tear, but not destroy, the papers surface was an interesting exercise. The surface beneath the paper was also as important, a hard surface gave shallow results whereas a soft surface under the paper gave slightly deeper, more untidy scores in the surface.

Further surfaces, materials and tools could be explored here. Perhaps moving to harder surfaces such as plastic or stone.

Part Two, Project One, Exercise Five – Extra samples

After cutting out sections of paper in Part One, I then revisited those samples as part of the work for Part Two, creating further samples as part of Exercise Five.

Suspending a contrasting paper in to each aperture gave a solid overall look to these samples. The conscious use of the same number of stitches to attach each piece of paper gave an interesting motif that could be picked out and repeated through various other media.

Again, I completed the sample in this exercise using only paper. There would be scope here to move to other materials such as wood or plastic but also to include colour in the spaces created in the initial surface.

Part Two, Project Two – Wrapping

I found the act of wrapping items with small pieces of fabric or yarn very meditative. These are the few samples I produced in this module that contain colour. Each item took its own direction, despite my best efforts to lead it in some sort of way. These were really the only samples to date that I felt I didn’t have complete control over. I like the idea that only I really know what is underneath all that wrapping.

There would be a possibility of wrapping lots of small items and then attaching them together, or displaying them individually as a large group.

Also the linear patterns made on the surface of each item could also be used to form patterns for prints, or printing from the item itself.

Part Three, Project Three, Exercise Two – Casting the internal space of a vessel

This exercise did not inspire me when I read it and got progressively less exciting as I was completing it. However the unexpected success of pouring plaster in to ice cube bags really did surprise me.

Once the plaster had set it was quite hard but the ‘ice’ cubes produced looked very soft. Repeating this with Plaster of Paris gave a set of white cubes that had the appearance of little pillows. Piling up the cubes I had produced gave, what looked like, a little pile of insects.

These cubes are not completely square, some have a rounded surface, some areas of linear pattern and are all similar but not exactly identical. I think that there is more to come from these little cubes.

Part Three, Project One, Exercise three – Moulding from a surface

For the whole of part three my impatience to allow things to set and dry out was being highlighted. I needed some samples where the result was far more immediately visible. Air-drying clay gave me that.

Similar to Fimo or Sculpy, the polymer clay could be rolled out, pressed in to an item and on peeling it back the texture of the item it had been smoothed on to was retained in its surface. This had to be left over 72 hours to dry out but I could at least see the results of my efforts straight away.

It had become apparent that I found texture appealing in the samples I had produced. However I was struggling to make casts of the texture of some items due to the limitations of liquid materials such as plaster. Using clay meant that interesting surfaces that were vertical could be easily sampled, also that good resolution was retained in the air-drying clays surface.

After producing these squares I wondered if it would be possible to print from them. They have textured surfaces but would the clay be too delicate, once dry, to print from.

Part Four – Mono and collatype printing.

I enjoyed all of Part Four of this module. I have produced a large volume of work looking at many aspects of both types of printing. By far I was most impressed with the collagraph plates made from fabric or fabric and stitch.

I worked mainly in black ink, letting the items chosen for the collagraph plates do the work. This has given me some interesting reference plates, what types of prints different fabrics can give, and also some scope to build on this work by using further samples, stitched marks and more colour.



When looking at all the samples produced I keep returning to the plaster of Paris ‘ice’ cubes. They were produced in a section of work where I wasn’t expecting anything, and these small items really lifted me. I would happily make hundreds more, leading me to look at installations of many small items in my research in part five.

I also think that I got a good feel for the collagraph plates in part four. I think that I could explore that technique further though, possibly incorporating stitch into the plates and adding a little colour.

I would also like to return to the ‘ice’ cubes and look at little more closely at their surface. I think that they could be used to generate pattern from their surface, both by drawing the cubes and printing directly from them.

I still have no clear goal for a finished piece but my initial thoughts for research in Part Five are as follows.


Installations where large numbers of small items have been used – items used, approximate numbers, sites of installations.

Printing from non-standard surfaces such as air drying clay, ceramic, plaster, fabric etc. – Has anyone tried this, are there any obvious drawbacks.

Stitched collagraph examples, if any – Is this a recognised technique, if so who uses it.

Combining materials on collagraph plates – Almost anything can be printed from, can it be combined with other surfaces though. Look at found objects, a wider range of possible surfaces.

Examples of contemporary drawing – I do not have a go-to style for drawing, investigate recent styles and techniques and attempt them.

Printing on to fabric, technical details but also different methods – I didn’t print too much on to fabric but it would be interesting to find out some more about different techniques.

Current colour trends – Little colour used in this work so few samples to choose a palette of colours to work from. Review current colour trends or find another source of colour reference.


Knitting and stitching show

I have finally go around to finishing the samples I set out to make after visiting the knitting and stitching show.

I find that creating my own samples after looking at other peoples work helps me to apply the techniques that I know and also introduces me to new techniques and materials.

This work took a little while as I produced two books of samples.

They can be viewed here, and here.


Drawing Exercise

As one of my recent feedback comments highlighted that I tend to abstract a single detail of an item rather than drawing it whole I thought I might try to do just that.

I’d taken my drawing materials on holiday and on a particularly cold day spent my time drawing a cone from a spruce tree.

I have fallen down on the colour element and taken to using mostly black and white for these sketches but I have tried out some new materials, conte crayons and white line marker pen, so feel that this cancels that out. It’s my drawing after all. Practice, practice, practice.

Below are the drawings I made over that day. I enjoyed trying to come up with different ways of drawing the same thing and particularly like the drawings made with soluble media that have run and the final wax resist picture.

Click here to see them.




I’ve got some oil pastels. I’ve not tried these before so I spent an afternoon sketching some daffodils. I also came across some conte crayons and inktense blocks so had a go with those as well.

I really enjoyed the conte crayons and inktense blocks. I think that the square shape of these felt good in my hand while I was drawing and helped give my work more expressive lines.

The oil pastels worked well too. I like the permanency of them, in that the lines can’t be erased once they have been made, but I didn’t like how messy they were.

The work I produced can be viewed here.