For this last assignment for Textiles 1, A Creative Approach we are asked to carry forward some of the techniques and processes that we have been introduced to to design and make a textile that could form part of a larger piece such as a bag, collar, waistcoat or wall panel. We do not have to make a completed piece but are asked to think about the final product during the design process.
We are not to use considerations about function as a starting point, but to bear them in mind throughout. ‘So, although you know that a named object is to be the focus of this brief, your journey towards it should be an unfolding process of invention.’
Stage 1 – Reviewing your work so far
I began by getting all my work out and laying it out on the floor. Wow! no wonder it all took so long, I hadn’t realised how much there was! It was particularly interesting to see the development progressing throughout the course and remind myself how far I have come.
I selected a few samples and techniques that I had particularly enjoyed doing. These were: Appliqué, printing, weaving and the machine stitched colour mixing samples from the beginning of the course. I quickly decided that although I had enjoyed the weaving, I was not comfortable enough with the processes as yet to use it to make a final item.
Bearing in mind the advice from my tutor that I “Don’t allow yourself to become overambitious at this stage either in quantity or scale. Sometimes, a simple idea well executed can be the best option.” I want to keep it simple and not use every tool in the box as it were!
Stage 2 – Focusing on your theme book
Right at the beginning of the theme book I did a mind map as I always do to draw out my feelings on a subject. The words that are most appealing to me are: Weathered, Old, Rusty, Intricate, Victorian, Interconnected, lace like.
I have spent some time looking at rusty textures and colours even trying some rust printing, inspired by Alice Fox’s rust marks. I really like this idea but am not quite sure how to use it in this context so have put it aside for now.
Looking through my theme book there is a strong pattern and colour theme running throughout. One source in particular grabs my attention more than the others as well as one particular page in my theme book. So I have chosen to take inspiration from aspects found in both of these and combine the ideas together.
This source has a lovely soft black background and the iridescence of the blues and greens, overlaid with the crisp metallic gears. It needs simplifying but it it was a great starting point. I also want to adjust the colours slightly to incorporate some of the words from the mind map. In particular rusty, old, weathered, and lace like.
I love the simplicity of these drawings, the clean lines and negative spaces are striking and combined with the soft background inspired by the first source could create an interesting and pleasing textile piece.
I used the idea of the soft background and crisp gears to create some textile samples on a felted background using different methods to create the gears. Basing the colours on some well rusted washers borrowed from my Father. Eventually I settled on painted Bondaweb as it created a lovely rusty texture and a clean edge on which to work. I enjoyed using the fabrics as a starting point in Part 3 of the course. I find I am more comfortable doing starting off this way rather than being totally reliant on drawings. The fabrics themselves throw up their own possibilities and restrictions which can lead you in a new and unexpected direction. Using painted Bondaweb on a felted background for example means that the resulting fabric is quite stiff and folds rather than flows. It lends itself more to a more structured item rather than an unstructured flowing shawl for example.
At this stage I was more concerned with creating the right texture, colour and line for my textile design rather than its end use.