Tutor report Assignment 5

Overall Comments

This final assignment demonstrates a pleasing development in your technical and visual skills over the five assignments. You are now much more able to make considered design choices in terms of the selection of materials, techniques and processes and your visual awareness and compositional abilities have become more acute. You have recognized the need to focus your thinking more clearly on the task in hand and this has resulted in significant progress in relation to a more creative development of ideas from starting point to final outcome

Your logbook and reflections on your progress and assignment outcomes show me that you have become increasingly able to make pertinent observations about your own work and that of others and to make relevant links between the two. This is something that you could usefully build upon in the future.

You have made good progress throughout the course and a key development is your willingness to take a more open minded and enquiring approach to your work. Congratulations on the successful completion of the course, Julie.

Feedback on assignment

Stage 2: Focusing on a theme: Gears

Your strategy of laying out all your previous work as a starting point was a very useful tool in terms helping you to identify your strengths as well as areas of personal interest and enthusiasm. Your chosen theme was sufficiently well defined but still left you room for a more selective approach and your spider diagram helped enormously. To what extent do you feel that the words themselves inspired you? I notice that you included a list of favorite words. Is this something you could maybe incorporate into future pieces? I also thought that your sourcing of different interpretations of the term cog, or gear and the ways in which authors have used this as metaphor could have some mileage if you wished to move away from the highly decorative interpretation which you subsequently explored.

Stage 3: Developing design

What began to emerge at a very early stage was a strong pattern dimension. You also made this link by stressing the floral qualities of some of the images and by using rubbings of the metal surface. Did this lead you to make the connections between this quality and Michael Brennand wood’s images? There are parallels here between the delicate appearances which belies the dark message underneath.

At this point, I think that your preliminary designs could have been developed very successfully into surface pattern. The engineering drawings as well as the locomotive drawing would have lent themselves very well to this interpretation. I also liked the overlaid image on p 11. The layers of pattern worked well with each other.

There was some great experimentation with rust printing. When you have a little more time, you could try returning to some of the techniques you tried. I am also a great fan of Alice Fox’s work and I think further experimentation here would lead you to a more unstructured and looser interpretation of your theme.

Trial and error stood you in good stead when trying to re-create the rusty surfaces and proved the point that something you imagine will work very well in fact does not turn out as you expected. Your second sample on p27 was much more successful in toning down the rather over bright and ‘pretty’ feel of your first textile sample. The melted sheers were also not quite right in that they softened and blurred the edges of your shapes and you lost some of the crispness. What I did like here though were the tiny spots of green. They reminded me of verdigris and gave good colour contrast you your rusty shades. I was pleased to see you picked up on this with your sample board.

Stage 4: Making a textile piece

Having sorted out possible techniques, further research into collars and fashion (with a nod to steam punk!) gave you a simple but effective shape to work with. Your final experimentation on p 27/28 showed a much more confident handling of your design ideas. This work showed a freer and looser interpretation than the final chosen design. Do you think that your choice of technique and wearable item reined you in at this point? It would be interesting to take either of these samples further and to work them as nonfunctional pieces.

Your sample board was effective in pulling all elements together and to illustrate just how your ideas had progressed from starting point to final outcome.

Your collar was beautifully executed and conveyed the rusty feel very well indeed. The textural elements and colour bending contributed to the overall success of the piece and the small beads lifted the surface by reflecting the light.

If you are considering submitting your work for assessment, think carefully about how you might present your work. Take a look at OCA’s online guidelines for mounting work and make more use of cross referencing between sketchbook, theme book and sampling to give the viewer a clear idea of how your thinking has evolved.

Learning Logs/Critical essays

Your reflective commentary gave a good overview of your progression through this assignment. You might like to extend your commentary a little to identify areas of strength developed through the course as a whole as well as setting yourself an agenda for future courses. I think that from seeing your work develop, you should now be more confident in taking a much more experimental approach to your work. You have a good grasp of the design process and are technically sound. Now take a few more risks!

Very best wishes for the future Julie. I have very much enjoyed tutoring you on this course.


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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