Assignment 5 – Personal Project review and my thoughts on the course in general

  • Can you see a clear line of progression from source material through to finished piece? Was there enough information in your source material to stimulate your imagination and sustain your enthusiasm?

I can definitely see a clear progression. I managed to keep the elements I liked from the original source i.e. the strong motifs, lines and the colour change where the lines intersected the shapes yet managed to make the design my own through the change of colour and re-arrangement and abstraction of the motifs.

  • Do you feel you made the right choices and decisions when selecting at each stage of the project? If not what would you change and how would it alter the outcome?

The main design decisions I made during this project were:

  1. The change in colour scheme; swapping the bright red for a cooler bright pink made the colours come alive. It changed the scheme from a nice but slightly insipid one to a bright, vibrant scheme that really ‘popped’.
  2. The selection of the ‘needlefelted’ technique on a calico background; this was a bit of a gamble as it is a little unusual. I could have purely used felt to make the fabric but this would have reduced stability and the contrast in texture between the smoother background with the raised felted pattern which I feel really makes this design unique.
  3. The choice of bag shape; I choses a very simple construction for the bag that removed the need for too many seams or panels which would have spoilt the simplicity of the design. It also had the round base that I wanted from the start.
  • Are there more ideas you would like to pursue that have come out of this project? Are they similar in feeling to the direction you took or different? Note them down for future use.

I would like to use this design for a wall hanging or panel. It would be very similar but the motifs would need to be re-arranged slightly. I can also see it working as a design on softfurnishings or coming full circle as a design for fabric printing.

  • Which stage did you find most exciting? Which stage was most arduous and difficult to get through?

The most exciting stage was the final making up of the piece. This was because it was so difficult to know exactly how it would look in the ’round’. I had obviously trialled the design but I was not 100% sure how it would fold or sit when the handles were tied. I was really relieved that it all worked as I had hoped! The most arduous part was the stitching. I had made a mistake in choosing cheaper threads for their colour rather than their quality, I should have invested in better quality threads at the start rather than having to try to source some after really struggling. This is a mistake I will not make again; they have all gone in the bin.

  • Do you like your finished textile? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

I love the colours and the design also the highly stitched background. It is really ‘my style’. My favourite pieces are always very strong in colour and pattern – they are also quite often slightly reminiscent of art deco designs, this is not intentional but naturally seems to happen time and time again. I suppose it is my personal voice beginning to come through which is really exciting. The amount of time it took to create it could be simplified by having less stitching but I feel it would lesser the overall effect.

I never use flowers in my designs so this is a bit of a departure for me. I realise it is a bit of a gamble as they are such a common motif but I hope that I have managed to put enough of a spin on things to make it individual.

My final thoughts on the course:

I have really enjoyed exploring ideas, it has been a good introduction to some interesting techniques. My least favourite part was the screen printing and I think that showed. I could not get to grips with it and I don’t think it is a process I will use again.

I really enjoyed the reveal and conceal section, this was really exciting and enabled me to really explore some new techniques and re-visit some old favorites. I found the artist research very informative and useful moving forward and I found the last part very enjoyable and I am very pleased with my final piece.



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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