So this is what the end of term feels like..

Its been a bit of a stressful week trying to get all my samples completed and mounted ready for the hand in and presentation on Monday. But after days in the studios from 10am-5pm everyday I am finally nearly finished! Here’s a sneak peak of a couple of my samples..

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Understanding Fabric Session

Today I attended a session called ‘Understanding Fabric’ by Maggie Cullinane. We began the session by discussing the two different types of fabrics; synthetic and natural. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both types. For example, an advantage of using natural fabrics is that they are renewable however they’re often more expensive than synthetics. We also spoke about the fact that fabrics are grouped into 3 different types of fibres; mineral (polyester), animal (wool) and vegetable (hemp). I attended sessions like this whilst studying textiles at GCSE and A Level and was impressed how much I remembered!

The second more ‘fun’ side of the session included burning small samples of fabrics we had collected and observing what happened. Natural fabrics like cotton tended to burn slowly and just glow on the edges of the fabrics, the smoke would be white and wouldn’t smell horrifc however if they were mixed with synthetics they would burn fast, have black smoke and smell terrible!! Burning fabrics can help you identify what the fabric is made up of.

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Week 9 : Constellation

This morning I had my last study skills session which was presented by Theo Humphries. The session was about ‘Handling history, -isms and texts.’ I found the study skills to be very helpful today, we were able to take everything Theo talked about and relate it to our own course. The session was divided into the three different sections. I found the most useful part of the session was when we looked at an artist statement by Prof Andre Stitt about his piece ‘The Little Summer of St.Michael’ 2011. We completed a few exercises to complete using this text, we had to circle parts we didn’t understand and then discussed with our partners, we had to paraphrase a sentence of our choice and circle the most important words in the text and finally we had to explain what Andre Stitt was saying in his text in our own words in one sentence. Though these exercises were challenging, they were helpful.. and certainly woke us up at 9am!

I attended a lecture by Prof. Clive Caseaux, the lecture was titled ‘Do I Have Ideas Or Do Ideas Have Me?’ To be honest, I did not fully understand this lecture and didn’t understand how it was relevant to me. I also did not appreciate being told that “Art is dead..” when I am on an art course…? I didn’t agree with Clive’s statement that “art is dead because anything can be art.” He used ‘Fountain’ by Marcel Duchamp as the date when art ‘died.’ To me, if anything can be art, that just opens up the world to possibilities! The fact that materials aren’t restricted is something that interests and intrigues me about art. In my opinion, art is anything which evokes a feeling or emotion; even if you look at a piece of art and dislike it, that piece has caused you to feel that way. I feel that perhaps I did not quite grasp the concept of this lecture and got more distracted about my idea of ‘What is art?’

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Print and Dye Session

Today I signed up for a session in the print and dye room, to finish off experimenting with the techniques I learnt in the 4 workshops at the start of term. This session was dedicated to producing 6 of the 12 final samples. I created a new screen design for this session, a basic line drawing of two lilies.

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I dyed a few fabric samples which I will combine with other experiments I have produced in my workshops to create my final samples. I will incorporate hand embroidery, applique and different dye and print techniques.

Here is a photograph of one of my final samples which I completed today. Which is a screen print of the drawing above on dyed silk fabric using the shibori method. I decided to use silk to portray the delicacy of the lily flower. I will not be adding any stitch onto this sample as I feel it shows a combination of different skills including drawing, dye and print.

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Unfortunately I was not able to complete all the print work I wanted this week so next week I will be in the print room again and will complete a sample using devore which I will combine with dye. I will then be in the stitch room for the rest of the day to complete other samples.


Keirene Canavan : “Constructed Textiles”

Today we had a lecture by Dr. Keirene Canavan about different types of constructed textiles. I will discuss each technique.

Barkcloth – Barkcloth is the oldest known type of textiles and began being created in Baganda Kingdom in Uganda. It is a prehistoric technique and seem to have the resemblance of leather. Barkcloth is created when bark from the Moraceae tree is harvested during the wet season, it is then beaten with wooden instruments which makes the bark more pliable. This fabric is worn during occasions such as births, deaths and weddings but is also used for interiors. For royalty, the fabric is dyed black or white and worn differently to show their importance.

Sprang – Sprang is an ancient method which gives an appearance like knitted fabric, however it is more elasticated, it is created solely from warp threads. It dates back to the 14th century. Keirene told us about a book by Peter Collingswood which goes into more detail about this technique.

Knitting – This is a technique which I found interesting to learn about as I have previously learnt how to knit and how started experimenting with it again. The first ever piece of knitting was found in Egypt in the 1st millennium. Keirene explained that the fleece from sheep is especially good for knitting wool as it is a combination of loads of hairs (staples) which cup together. We also looked at fair isle knitting, which is the technique of creating a pattern using different coloured yarns in the same row. We were shown images of contemporary knit artists including Susie Freeman and Freddie Robbins.

Intarsia – Intarsia is a type of knitting where any number of colours can be combined on the same row however it is different to fair isle as the colours are not carried across and therefore the fabric is not thick and chunky. Kaffe Fassett is an artist who uses this technique, designers such as Missoni and Alexander McQueen also use this in their designs. This technique seemed very tricky however when we watched a video on YouTube it began to make more sense and is something I would deffinetly like to experiment with.

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Crochet – Crochet like knitting consists of pulling loops through other loops. It is a technique I have not tried before but something I have always wanted to. Keirene showed us an artist called Marsha Richards who creates pieces of crochet using recycled materials such as plastic bags and film from cassette tapes.

Weaving – We looked at the difference between traditional and modern techniques of weaving. Modern weaving techniques is all mechanised now however the more traditional ways are done by hand using a back and breast beam. Weaving looms have been used for over 4000 years and during the industrial revolution hundreds of mechanised jacquard looms were burnt as a revolt because they were replacing hand weavers. Woven fabrics are the most commonly used fabrics for fashion and interiors.

Ikat – Ikat is a type of dyed patterned weave which is very complex. It is not known where Ikat originated but it was known to be produced in pre-Columbian central and south American countries. They are very hard to come by as the textiles pieces are made one per life, the piece is with the individual throughout their life from birth, during marriage, a first haircut etc and burnt with the person when they die. I love the idea of something that is so cherished and solely for one person to have throughout their life.

Bedouin Al Sadu Weaving:Muteira – This is a technique I have touched on previously after a lecture from Keirene, it combines a simple loom and patterns which creates beautiful designs and colours in a textile piece.

Though the textile course does not include constructed textiles, all of these techniques are extremely interesting to me and I may incorporate them at some point in my course.


Week 8 : Independent Drawing

Following our studies at the National Museum of Wales we were set a task to complete three botanical drawings of plants, flowers and leaves. They could be close up or generalised drawings.

The drawing of the lilies is my favourite one from this task, it is a simple line drawing yet detailed at the same time. I would love to turn this into a print and may create a sample from it.

I decided to create a close up drawing of a daisy, I used a biro to draw this image.

Finally I created a shaded drawing using a biro of a plant. I think the drawing is very successful and I would like to use it in my textiles work, however I believe it would be too thin for a print, I may try to recreate it with free hand machine embroidery.

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Week 8 : Constellation

This week in our study skills session we focused on visual literacy. The session was held by Jenny Godfrey. Visual literacy is all about how we interpret, evaluate and use images. We discussed that images can be used for different reasons including to tell a story, as evidence, to persuade, to make a point or a statement, to convey complex information or explain things and to entertain. We were shown different images as evidence of each technique, for example the Zapruder film of the assassination of John.F.Kennedy which was used as vital evidence.
In small groups we had to find an image of our choice using a variety of sources and describe, evaluate and interpret it. We chose to interpret two images from a collection of slides which we presented using a projector. The two images we chose were ‘Sunset Rouen by J.M.W Turner C.1829’ and ‘Old Sarum by Constable. J C.1829’ We discussed how colour can convey feeling and emotion we therefore went on to talk about pathetic fallacy – where human emotions are attributed to nature or inanimate objects.