I have finished the textural sample and am quite pleased with it, although I had a few problems uniting the various elements. Blue and grey cottons were appliqued onto black cotton. I used various threads and yarns, including yarn made by twisting up cut strips of plastic vegetable net bags. I felt the blanket stitching on he tyre worked really well in conveying the frosted ice with its sharp delineation.
Do you feel happy with the work?
I am happy with the pieces that I produced, and quite enjoyed how they evolved as I was working on them. They all look roughly as I had intended from the start, but I was surprised how many choices there were to make along the way despite careful planning.
Do you prefer working with stitch to drawing? Can you begin to see the relationship between the two?
I can see the relationship between the two, and the initial mark making exercises in particular were invaluable in stitch selection for these projects. I tried to translate the same principles in the stitch samples as I had done in Project one, thinking of the words that I wished to illustrate as well as looking at the original images themselves.
Having worked through Stage 2, were you then able to choose stitches which expressed the marks & lines of your drawings?
I think I was successful in this, although I was not too adventurous in using lots of different stitches in each piece as I didn’t think it was appropriate for the images I was working from. I have done a lot of couching as I enjoy being able to use the properties of the couched thread to enhance the piece as well as the stitches you make with them. Working the sampler of my mark making exercises was very useful in this.
Do you feel that you chose the right source material to work from?
Looking back, it would have made more sense to use the image of the wheel arch for stage 2, and the bark as a textural sample. I don’t think this mattered too much in the end though as I paid attention to similar principles in both. My only concern is in the wheel arch sample, I had problems uniting the contrasting elements of the image to hold the sample together visually. I did use the same grey thread across the whole piece, although it was a good example of the same thread looking very different on different ground fabrics. I think the radiating curves across the image go some way to bringing the piece together.
Do you think that your sample works well irrespective of the drawing? Or do you think your sample is just a good interpretation of your drawing & nothing more?
I think the bark sample works well on its own, but I am not so sure about the wheel arch piece. Of course a piece can stand as an abstract work without it being obvious what the source image is, but it may be confusing to the viewer to understand why there is such a contrast between the tyre and the car without relating it back to the image.
Which of the activities did you prefer – working with stitch to create textures or working with yarns to make textures? Which worked best for you & why?
I enjoy both equally and felt that combining the two to achieve the desired effects worked very well. The properties of the yarn can be used to set the tone for the piece, and the stitches can further illustrate and enhance that feeling. It was fun finding novel materials to spin as yarn, and I will spend more time doing this in the future.
Make some comments on individual techniques & sample pieces. Did you experiment enough? Did you feel inhibited in any way?
I feel I spent adequate time exploring different combinations of threads and fabrics, and exploring how stitches can look vastly different depending on how they are worked. With any of these tasks the possibilities are endless and it’s difficult to know when you have done ‘enough’. I felt confident to move on to the sample stage once doing my initial experimentation. I could have done more work on exploring different ground fabrics, but wanted to concentrate on stitch techniques as the choices were a little overwhelming otherwise. On reflection I feel that the bark piece could have been improved by using a different ground piece. I limited my yarn and thread choices to things I had at home as I am lucky enough to have a large and varied stash and felt that by limiting myself to what I had in the house I would be more inventive than buying to suit the piece.
How do you prefer to work? From a drawing or by playing with materials & yarns to create effects? Which method produced the most interesting work?
In the mixed media and paper based exercises, I definitely preferred playing with the media and creating different effects rather than using images. With materials and yarns, I preferred working from an image, whether it be a photograph or abstract piece based on work done on paper. With paint and drawing it is easier to be spontaneous and move quickly through ideas. Hand embroidery is a slower process, and for me a time to refine ideas with choices along the way rather than starting out with no ideas. Machine embroidery is more like drawing, and I was happy experimenting with this, although I am not a natural, and consider myself to be at a very basic level in this medium.
Are there other techniques you would like to try? Are there any samples you would like to do in a different way?
I would like to spend more time spinning and making yarns from found materials to incorporate into work, and I have many photos that could be developed into really interesting textile samples. I have been reading about altering fabrics and experimenting with using painted bonding web and foils.
Is there anything you would like to change in your work?
I am happy overall with the work for this stage, but as I have said, I think I would spend more time on selection of fabric rather than change any of the stitching.