Reflective commentary – Assignment 3

Developing ideas to use for applied and raised techniques came quite easily this time, I seem to be settling in to drawing and painting a bit more now and ideas developed nicely. I am really pleased with some of the patterns and designs I came up with during this exercise. More importantly I had some strong designs to carry forward.

I was quite excited by the range of colours and the different textures and types of fabrics that I chose; they made for some interesting samples. They ranged from heavyweight hessian through to the lightest of sheers.

After quite a bit of playing with the fabrics I matched to my development pictures, I come up with a few small collages that worked well as a basis for ideas for fabric manipulation and applique. The most successful and appealing to me of these were the collage based on the pineapple skin drawings from my sketchbook and the diamond shaped design taken from the fairground art work.

I have always really enjoyed applique and applied fabric techniques. More than anything I like taking plain fabrics and giving them a new life by combining them with others to make new cloth on which to stitch. To me it is more interesting to the eye than printing or painting the fabric as it creates added texture and depth as well as pattern.

It was very nice during this section of the course to revisit some favourite techniques, such as reverse or cutback applique and try out some new ones like the trapped and layered sheers.

I chose to develop these techniques further in my final applique sample. This was based on my pineapple skin designs; I tried to replicate the smooth bottom layers of the pineapple skin beneath the rough, peeling outer skin. This sample worked really well, related closely to the original source and the developmental drawings. I am very pleased with it although, I would possibly like to try it again using less precise techniques.

Gathering, tucking, tearing, fraying, raising shapes and moulding fabric techniques were exciting as you can never be quite sure what the final outcome will be. I just had to let the fabric take me on a journey and see where I ended up.

I started by making small samples of some of the techniques suggested in the course guide, and then did a few experiments of my own. I kept to pretty neutral colours to allow the textures to show through rather than the eye becoming distracted by colours or patterns. These I feel were very successful and gave me some good ideas and techniques to take forward.

I was really pleased with my final raised and structured surface texture sample; it had a great textural surface that related well to the original source without being too obvious or contrived. It also had the added advantage that it could easily be adapted for wearable items due to it retaining a great deal of stretch. I could see it working really well as a cuff on a garment for example.

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About Julie Hooker

Having recently returned to my roots in Surrey, I am currently studying a BA Hons degree with the OCA. My work is often inspired by the local countryside in the beautiful Surrey Hills area and the wild rugged nature of the North Cornish coast. Steam engines and abandoned industrial history are also recent themes. A free machine embroiderer and felt maker; I like to explore the use of natural, found materials to create my art, whether that be as raw materials to stitch or weave with or as a material with which to produce dye or print with. Previously, I completed City and Guilds parts 1 & 2 Creative Embroidery at the East Berkshire College in Windsor in 2007. I was also awarded first place in the wearable art section of the National Quilt Championships 2008 and 2009 held annually at Sandown Park.
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