I was told that my presentation was poor, so tried to reassess this. However, having totally dismantled everything with a scalpel (as everything was stuck on with PVA, a lesson i have learnt not to do in future), one i hadn’t the time to complete, secondly it would serve as a reminder how not to do something and thirdly as i some of the work was remounted i spoilt some of it. I thought it was better to leave alone. However, i do feel now i have readdressed the problem, the work looks so much better. This I will carry forward.

The second pointer was that there was a lack of research undertaken, which has now been addressed and found a lot of useful information on why some artists create the work they do. This made me question, why i do something, the conclusion was it was to escape the real world. This gave me the idea that I may draw inspiration from the world of fantasy.


I chose John William Waterhouse to research and found The Magic Circle. His work leans towards magic and associated esoteric things. He portrays women as witches or sorceresses in most of his work.


In the Magic circle there is a woman in the foreground, and appears to be a witch with a wand and scythe. Her clothing suggests medieval period but has Grecian warriors on the dress. She appears to be of Hispanic origin, as the skin tone suggests.

She is stood in a circle of fire in front of a cauldron which is surrounded by crows, or possibly ravens and a skull. These appear to be symbols of evil, which is how witchcraft is perceived.  There appears to be a city of stone in the background. The colour palette on this is fairly simple.

There is no obvious meaning in the picture, apart from the beauty of the subject, surrounded by ‘evil’.

I was advised to look at the work of Renee Stout, as she is inspired by African culture and in particular Marie Laveau the voodoo queen. I myself have visited her grave in New Orleans, and the influence of voodoo is felt all over the place, from textiles to wooden statues. This led me to look at Haiitian voodoo pictures.


One by artist Jean-baptiste Joseph Jean called Avadra ( seemed very naiive in its composition.

It had a central figure which is an Afro-Carribean. So this then takes on a cultural feel. The voodoo stick is a big as the figure, showing the importance of the religious aspect.

witch flag

The significance of the bottle of blood, and white candles are ritualistic. The blood is used for protection against black magic and the white candle for good luck. There are other symbols on the piece are possibly a knife and other embroidery, but these are subtle as opposed to the main symbols. Extensive use of sequins and beads are used and can take many weeks to create. Overall I found this no longer just a textiles piece, but rather one of heritage and religion.

There are a number of notable voodoo artists, hector hypolitite was a practicing voodoo priest and used it extensively in his work. I don’t like his work as it reminds me of Gaugin, who I find his work a little strange. He uses extensive colour in his paintings, by doing this research has made me realise that too many colours can muddy a painting in my opinion.

I do feel drawn to esoteric paintings and culture as it feels like its escapism from the real world. This has only become obvious since researching on the interest.


Georges Seurat was accredited with the painting technique called chromoluminarism. This is where dots are placed on canvas, and interact with one another optically rather than paint being mixing first. And similar to Paul Klee he used science to create luminosity as high as possible. I have discovered that many of the great artists adopt scientific principles, which is quite an pleasing concept. I had hadnt that this would be the case, but it does in fact make a lot of sense.


Having experimented with colour, he came to the conclusion moods could be created with colours, eg. warm colours – happiness, cold colours – sadness etc. having come to this conclusion, by the use of contrasting and complementary colours he could produce brighter colours rather than mixing.


with acknowledgement to the museum of modern art new York.
Another artist Paul Signac worked closely with Seurat on developing the Pointillist style. I particularly love the image above. And appreciate the power the dot conveys. It portrays a Felix Feneon a French critic. He portrays him as a flamboyant character with Japanese and American overtones. There is a multitude of colours that seem to move, like a kaleidoscope. Having looked at Van Gogh butterfly, I said this would be hard to do in stitch, but by looking at the way the dots are positioned I now think this may be possible.

I had never didn’t really know about the background behind colour, and realise there is a lot to be learned which i discovered whilst researching. I found it to be a clever concept but don’t totally understand how light affects how we see it.


Colour psychology (
Depending on what colour you choose can be right or wrong. For example, one Halloween I made food for my children, and coloured mash with blue food colouring for mouldy mash. I hasten to add no-one wanted to eat it. This can be same for fashion or interior design, the wrong colour can be disastrous for an entire collection. As people look with their eyes, and can be the determining factor whether to buy or not. I have found this within my own work, where I have used a base material and embroidered, but found it clashed. Although a useful exercise in determining what is wrong. This is something to consider before stitching.

Clothing can also have an impact in interviews for example, as red is seen as aggressive, where grey not too imaginative.  Also when companies create a brand careful consideration is implemented when choosing colours for logos as this can be the difference between success or failure.

Warmer colour seems to attract buyers spontaneously, whilst colder colours tend to put potential buyers off. Culture can also have an impact on how we perceive colours. In certain parts of the world (, for example, blue is considered to ward off evil, but is can also be accepted as a colour of tranquillity.

If you take a look at traffic lights, red amber green. Red is a danger sign that is generally recognised, amber denotes awareness, whilst green is considered safe. This is the world over. Red also can be energetic, if used correctly. I personally don’t like this as always associated with danger and as a redhead not a colour that is good to wear. In India it is extremely important, and is often used in wedding attire, symbolising good luck and happiness. So culturally we find many reasons why a colour works and why it doesn’t.

Green also seems calming as is in nature all around. And it also signifies fertility. Purple is a favorite of mine, and is associated with richness and wealth. However it is a mourning colour in Brazil. There are other colours around the world and they all have a different meaning, so when designing, consideration needs to be made for the market to be targeted.
Colour physics is something that i don’t really understand but an intriguing idea. Colour in itself does not have ‘colour’, which seemed a little odd to think about. It is all about light frequency and how it is received by the brain. All of the ‘colour’ we see is actually wavelengths of monochromatic light and are all at different frequencies. So my thoughts are that we are all individuals with our own perception of what colour is, although there is a basic for all colour. This is where mixing can change the colours from tints to tones, changing the light within the colour. It is a little too complicated to understand, but I have a deeper understanding than previous.

Jean-Paul Gaultier collaborated with the furniture house Roche Bobois to create interior design pieces. He has kept to his trademark sailor designs of blue and white check. So his choice of colour works well in the market. His diversity still has the same ‘sexy’ feel as the clothing he puts on his models. He revealed that he only knew how to dress people, but applied the same principles to the furniture he was creating. Other designers are also diversifying into the interior design world. Bruno Basso teamed up with Turning Leaf to create drinks cabinets and the like. All the designers have the same belief that there are other ways their work could be appreciated rather than just clothing.


I had never considered the possibilities of weaving before. The only notion I had was to make clothes, but never realized the complexity until I actually made a piece. The first one was a sense of awe that I had created this, the second was that it was very rigid, as done on a loom. So when researching artists I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I found an incredible artist Alexi Torres who uses intertwined threads to create portraits, totally changing my preconceived idea of woven fabric. acknowledgement to Alexi Torres for his inspiration


woven 1 woven 2
He draws inspiration from nature and spiritualism. Having contacted the artist about how wonderful his work was, he replied almost within the hour with a thank you for acknowledging his work. I was happy that I could appreciate something not considered before. I look at the pictures and try to imagine how these were made from the rudimentary woven sample I had made. My conclusion was I wouldn’t know where to begin.

Another artist is Ruth Corcuerea, who is an acclaimed artist who believes textiles come from a woman’s natural instinct to protect and give life. Believing that art created will tell its own story for generations to come. As a historian who researches culture studies, shows in her work as her thoughts are that the symbols would be read throughout history.  I like some of her work but it seems time intensive and I would likely get bored. I tend to like to produce results quickly. There is an obvious leaning towards Andean culture and this is something that I am beginning to understand with other artists. The reasoning behind the textile created. I hadn’t considered why I do something. Having considered this, my conclusion initially was I created because I did. On further analysis, I realised that I wanted to create something beautiful to escape the real world and to put my stresses and strains away for a short time. But also I feel that I wanted people to like and respect what I did. I still have to find my personal voice but feel I am starting to think more and more about why!

Weaving in history is associated with magic. Penelope the wife of Odysseus was a weaver, who made a shroud during the day, unraveling at night whilst her husband was away to deter suitors.


This painting by John William Waterhouse, shows Penelope weaving ardently ignoring the attentions of suitors. One is giving her flowers, another is holding a lute, so is probably trying to lure her by song. The others are bearing gifts. The position of the elbow suggests the artist is trying to convey a standoffish stance, as is the position of the central figure with her back to her would be suitors.

The light above suggests she is there day or night. And the woman companions to her plight. Their focus on her. The weaving loom also has a positioned lever than is directional to her face.  The pink palette suggests softness within the painting and is very feminine. There are a lot of textural features around the picture, from the walls, floor and even within the dress on the woman at the bottom of the picture.

I like the movement in the painting, and something that I would like to be able to show within my work.  Overall it is a calming picture and shows that even with hard subject, it can be softened.

My preference in weaving leans towards traditional artists. I think maybe its because I don’t understand some of the things that are created today. Eva Salazar a Kumiai Indian uses traditional methods to create her textiles. I am unable to show any of her work as its all copyrighted.

One contemporary artist is Machiko Agana, uses paper and fishing wire. To create architectural creations. Her inspiration is overuse in the developing world and to reflect on the nature we are losing. I like the delicacy of the structure reminiscent of a spiders web.


Textural Space

ASSIGNMENT 5 research on artists and their aestetics

Van Gogh drawings primarily used pencil primarily for Preliminary sketch work and used this in conjunction with ink that was overlaid. He preferred coloured printing ink, but also like using lithographic crayon over pencil, which was erased to lighten the image.

However his work evolved later on when he discovered a reed pen. One example is of this the Provencal landscape.  When painting, he tended to use Gouache paint thick in application (impasto) thinned with oil, using the saturation of colours. He was interested in optical mixing as well. Which is where he used orange and blue extensively in his work pushing the thick paint around the canvas creating movement. He believed that to be able to paint, you should first master drawing.

Paul Klee was a master of colour and used lines and dots like most artists use brush strokes. He was also a musician, which is reflected in his work which is almost like a piece of music.

He quoted ‘an active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal’, which I like, as its how when I am creating machine embroidery this is how I feel.

As part of the Bauhaus movement, he adopted the principles of how mark making worked, along with 5 other rules.

His teaching handbook, Pedagogical sketchbook showed that he used sequential mathematics to draw. Which seems a little odd. But he believed that there needs logic to be applied. Nature was an all important thing to understand according to Klee, and drew inspiration from the tree, likening the canopy to the roots and the relationship to one another. I think when I have more time I will explore this further. Optical illusion or perspective was another of the rules he set out. Which I understand as when looking at a building it first appears vertical but when looking at the horizon or another object, it can actually be slightly off. So I think careful consideration needs when actually looking at an object.

He indicated balance was important and was constantly reworking his art to see if it was balanced. Which was extremely important to him.  ‘One thing Klee says is that man’s great tragedy is that he’s fixed to the earth. I mean, if we were stones we’d be happy with our lot, but as humans we have the imagination to believe we can fire an arrow completely into orbit, but we can’t. It’s a sort of a tragic condition really. Actually, I think the other tragic hero in the background here is Goethe

Tate 4/5/16

The critics at the time did not understand this spiritualistic way of thinking and was frowned upon. I am not sure if I understand truly, but will explore more. es-first-rule-bauhaus-you-dont-get-bauhaus

Picasso is most associated with Cubism which he developed with George Braques. The work is fragments or abstract. Collage was also attributed to him. Most people know him just as a painter but he was a sculptor. He was influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch. He had a blue period when he looked at depravity, by using prostitutes and beggars in his work.

However when his mood improved it became known as the Rose period. I can see why cubism and collage were inspiring for him, as they mimic each other and would be useful in his positioning in his paintings. I understand the idea of collage as its a useful tool, to arrange before attempting a painting.

Picasso discarded perspective and changed the way figures were traditionally drawn. A lot of the work was angular, using space whether around or within. Adaptations to the changing world around them. They use non-traditional materials such as newspaper, indicating that they were integrating the social issues such as war instead of trying to escape from it.

The third phase was to change the way scenes were interacted with the canvas.

His work overtly sexualised women, but made them almost grotesque. Which is my opinion, possibly made him a misogynist, but that is my opinion. I have found it difficult to find one that isn’t copyrighted.  It is interesting to see how collage could be useful in positioning art before painting.

Online exhibitions-visiting exhibitions is something I find difficult and there isn’t a lot local to my area, so I concentrated on online exhibitions

The Art of Pattern

the art of pattern by susan collier and Sarah Campbell for liberty 1961-77

The work of these artists was displayed until February this year. The fabric is highly decorative and reminds me of Paul Klee and his way of working.  It could also be a collage made out of paper. This vibrancy was translated from fashion to interior design. A lot of the work they produced, looked like brushstrokes rather than a precise printed pattern, and gave a softer feel to the designs.

Further to my last assignment report I was advised to do some colour palette work, research artists etc. I was initially a little disappointed with my report, but on reflection I see where my mistakes are. I had never considered why artist created things that they did.

Having researched Van Gogh, Dali, Damien Hurst and Edvard Munch, I found that fundamentally they are very similar in their approach, especially Dali and Hirst. Both having troubled childhoods, turned to art as a media to vent their frustrations. Each artist was interested in the life and death process and incorporated science into work produced.

However Hirst’s work is more direct whilst, Dali used it subtlety in his work, giving an overtone rather than a direct link as is seen butterfly landscape. It is a strange picture, like all of his work.

dali butterflies

This painting depicts a desert scene and a cliff face. The background appears incidental with the focus being on the butterflies. There are 2 butterflies in the foreground to the right. With 3 shadows too of which are from the butterfly and one of the cliff face. But on closer inspection there is a third ‘butterfly’ with the cloud formation, possibly one on its side. The colour palette is fairly simple, with the shadows drawing the eye around the picture. I don’t like the picture personally, but appreciate the effect it has.

Damien Hirst work has caused controversy with his work when he used butterflies to cover a bicycle where hundreds died and was condemned by the RSPCA. My personal opinion is that this is not something I would do as I respect nature and it would be too upsetting to visit the exhibition. I don’t agree that allowing animals to die for nature is right. However in doing this his work has become notorious and in that fact valuable. But at what cost?


An East African artist, Didier Memikata uses dead butterflies to create mosaics, but he uses the rarer examples. His work depicts historical African figures. Whilst the idea is interesting personally I don’t like the destruction of beautiful creatures.

Whilst some artists use the butterfly as a symbol for life and death. American Indians believe they are good luck, but that is dependent on the colour. A black butterfly is bad, whilst a yellow is symbolic of dreams and good luck.

One artist, Mister Finch uses the natural world to create his sculptures. Like Dali, he uses fantasy, as his inspiration to create magical creatures. He also is extremely aware of the impact on the environment and recycles materials to use within his work, something that I have been doing for many years.  I like the idea of creating something different to our everyday lives, with a fantasy element. I experimented with Barbie doll and transforming them from the plastic image we know.

Another artist Duy huynh similar to the other artists researched again uses transition within his work. It indicates movement and emotion. This surreal work draws on folklore, which is fascinating for me and is quite magical in its application. His work takes you outside of the normal way of analysing a picture and look at the deeper meaning of it.

One of his paintings called ever evolving, is a simple picture, but effective in the composition. The skirt draws the eye to the centre of the picture. Where the arms are positioned into a butterflies. The emphasis is on the butterflies all the time. However when your eye looks at the middle, it is then drawn to the movement of the butterflies around the head. The horizon is almost gone, but shows depth within the image. The colour palette is fairly simple, and muted. Overall I think this works better than garish colours. The picture is quite tranquil, but gives thought for inner peace.

Having been told that I need to narrow my colour choice, this is a good example of why this should be done.

A similar artist to Duy Huynh is Christian schloe, is of a couple kissing ( unable to find the title.  However,  the picture shows a couple embracing and kissing, with butterflies drifting from their heads. The interesting part of this is the top of the head is missing, but looking at the picture allows our imagination to take over. My personal opinion on this is that this is how love feels, all floaty and warm. The background is fairly muted and the colours are similar. Tones have been used to create a more defined bottom of the figures, and gradiated up to create the effect given.

figures kissing

( acknowledgement to the artist and sibhan birch on pinterest

One interesting thing was the all seeing  eye was painted in the left bottom corner, but not sure of the significance of this, apart from the fact that it was a Egyptian symbol of protection


By doing this research has enabled me to start thinking why I produce what I do. Originally it is because I do. But this now questions my real motive and I think like Dali, it is escapism from the stresses and strains of the world. I am drawn to fantasy from Labyrinth to star wars. When I am creating something, I get great pleasure from people’s reactions, whereupon I have already been commissioned to do a bag and a waistcoat. I found that the butterfly was transformed from artist to artist from realism to surrealism. In my investigation of artists, I felt myself drawn to the surrealism as opposed to the mass printed butterflies for interior design. I feel that I have found the path I wish to follow.
I am now beginning to realise whilst researching that colour is an important part of the design work although considered did not reflect on my final image. There are many images on the internet, but I had thought I was to stick rigidly to the theme chosen and quite happy to be told that is not the case.

I started to look at images of butterflies carefully, whether illustrated, to actuality. I found that the simpler design was better and a lot of them only had a colour palette of about 5 colours. Many modern paintings were almost muddied by too many colours.

Having painted Van Gogh’s butterfly, I discovered that it had tonal values of a small palette and much easier to draw that the painting by Hirst.

van gogh moththis is my interpretation of his work and by putting the 2 pictures together, i realise my tonal values are very different, having said that i am happy with it.

DSC_0752the other artist that i chose was damien hirs spin painting.

butterfly damien hurst

and my interpretation, which i am happy with, even if its not exact.


I chose this picture thinking it would be easy to draw, whilst it was in fact extremely difficult to do and much preferred painting van goghs work and in some ways, it taught me more than hirst work.
The old adage was less is more and I am beginning to realise this.

I think that will be useful in my future assignments as whilst doing this course I have experimented on too many colours to be able to see the whole picture clearly. I have enjoyed painting the pictures chosen, and has enabled my painting to improve immensely from the very start of this course.

I was unsure how to mount the work, as there is not a lot of guidance on the OCA website apart from the obvious, with labelling, sizing and how to present.

In summing up, the initial advice was to explore other artists and their way of thinking and how I can improve my work by this. I had originally thought that butterflies as a whole were a little twee to develop, however that has changed and was quite enthralled by the diversity on the web, from illustration to textiles. Mister Finch was one such artist that showed that textiles need not be flat, but similarly a painting can appear flat if shades are not added.

After experimenting with colour, I find that I no longer see an image in the way I had approached before, but look at the shading, tonal values and the actual colour, not what I perceive to be. In my next assignment I will consider that this is the most important part of the process. Because if its wrong from the start, the end product will not be successful!


i was advised to do a few more samples

DSC_0790   DSC_0792DSC_0789DSC_0787

i was extremely pleased with the butterflies as i felt i have improved immensely.

One of the things that was pointed out is the connection with my work, is something that I have now realised is an important process to explain the work that I do. Having done supplementary work, I have tried to make new connections previously not done.

Another important process, possibly the most critical part of the design work is sketching. Firstly this allows quick ideas to be put onto paper and by doing this can show any potential problems that can alleviate design problems further down the line. Computers can be used to design, but this is not as spontaneous as drawing on the spot, which can generate numerous ideas.

This process can be useful to identify whether an idea is workable. Mastery of drawing is not essential. However sketch work can be the fundamental basic of any design work. These sketches can be useful in showing a potential client the work to be undertaken. It is at this stage where any problems can be addressed. Sketch work also separates the initial idea from too much information, where clarity is lost.

Whilst I have been sketching I have found that other ideas have been formed. These then have to be refined. I found an interesting article called the back of the napkin, which explains the process of sketching. I constantly draw in the pub, just simply ideas that can be refined later. I find pictures better than lots of words, so this is ideal for the purpose I need. People identify with simple crude drawings, as opposed to technical drawings.


The process is called visual thinking. It uses the 4 simple steps

Look   simply look around at everything and collect interesting items
carefully select and discard items that are not relevant.

I have learnt a lot during this course. My designs are improving and that shows in my drawings and especially my paintings. Composition, whilst I have experimented with this I feel that more work is needed on this. I have got the hang of many of the techniques needed, but have discovered new ones on the internet, especially Utube. I have practised with computer generated images, with some pleasing results. Overall after years of making textiles, the choice to do this course had been the right one. I enjoy the diversity which has given me the chance to do the thing I love.





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My last assignment was encouraging, with a lot of useful advice. When I started this course, the focus was witchcraft, but felt source material was limited. So I thought of an associated theme which was mushrooms and spores. This led to the discovery of the microscopic world. Having studied Biochemistry and my interest in viruses, this seemed the right path to choose. Previous studies gave some interesting ideas and allowed them to be translated to fabric. I was told not to follow the coursework to the letter, so in this section, I adapted my way of thinking.

One of my earliest influences for textiles comes from my grandmother, who modified clothing and readdressed them. One example is taking a fur coat and edging the cuffs and collar with the fabric. She taught me to use the sewing machine and over the years have made lots of childrens costumes, which is where my interest lies in theatre costume. There is a wealth of information from historical to contemporary on the internet.

A favourite film of my is the butterfly effect, based on the chaos theory , where there is cause and effect. Basically if your life took one path and didn’t change anything then it would stay the same. This is similar to the work that I am doing. Although I had certain criteria to follow, such as colour, technique or materials the majority of my work appears to have evolved, through mistakes made.

Generally when doodling, most images involve swirls or circles, which resonates with the spiral design of the butterfly tongue. However trying to replicate this accurately wasn’t as easy as first thought as it lost its uniformity. It was then decided to do it freehand and use the ‘mistakes’ to design. One mistake wasn’t the design, rather it was missing the backing off the fabric, causing it to pucker.this was a useful exercise as it showed a construction method.

Having laid out work done so far, I had to narrow my colour choice. I chose what appealed to me most. The colours chosen for the final project were turquoise, gold blue and purple and variations of tones and textures. I undertook research on the internet for variations on the theme, but wanted to show iridescence of the wings. This research has expanded my knowledge of colour combinations.

Having looked through various materials decided on a faux velvet and embroidered net which complimented the overall design. My colour perception has increased immensely from the first, somewhat naïve project. By using these materials, the initial idea of a butterfly is encapsulated and is representative of the butterfly. As do the various textures which add contrast and depth. It also creates space within the design. It has a vibrant front panel, which initially was to be left bare. However on further analysis, decided it needed embroidery to balance the design.

I used different mediums (such as crayon, chalk etc.) which gave variety in tones, and colours. Threads chosen for the design had to be changed and adapted after running out of a particular colour. This diverse technique allows this as can be over sewn or integrated.

Having tried numerous techniques, I had to decide which one would suit the project. The strongest sample that emerged was machine embroidery. Hand embroidery was looked at, but felt it was too time consuming. Machine embroidery comes very easy to me, as it’s a freer way of working. The work produced is unique as no two stitches are the same, which would put in the bespoke category. As it couldn’t be replicated easily. The final design used various areas of the picture to create a whole new image.

Another deliberation was whether to use surface design or to be part of the fabric itself. I attempted to make a piece of fabric, by using scraps, sewn together with machine stitch, which was effective.

I was originally going to do a soluble fabric bowl, but this was discounted as the soluble material was too flimsy for the purpose. Also it was the easiest option and wanted to push myself.

Whatever I would choose to make would involve machine embroidery as a preferred method. This I found easy to do, but extremely effective, but time consuming. I had previously looked at the work of annemieke mein and still feel drawn back to look at the stitch work. Another acclaimed artist is Souyu Iv who bucked the trend of uniformity by using random embroidery and is famously known for her picture of chairman Mao. This is a traditional method and uses silk threads.

Another artist that has inspired me is Meredith Woolnough. Her work on the natural world is exquisite. The technique used is densely stitched but still so very delicate and ‘lifelike’. This is ‘drawn’ on soluble fabric which is washed after stitching leaving a skeleton of the work, which is preserved in resin.

The piece I wanted to make could be something I could wear and show what I can do. However that didn’t go to plan, as the first design was based on a waistcoat pattern. Having cut everything out, discovered a part of the pattern was missing, so abandoned. However there was a second pattern that drew my attention generating new ideas to work from.

I had an idea of contrasting panel, totally reinventing the waistcoat design and turned out the better choice. I used a dress previously made for the material and deconstructed to use it. But I hadn’t taken into account there wasn’t enough material, which was frustrating. I have found that through this process I have had to problem solve. This has proved invaluable in the design work. I had thought to use a two tone opposing pattern, but decided against this, as the embroidery would not have the effect desired. Machine embroidery had a number of possibilities for development, by trying different stitches, tensions and designs. By altering the images changed the way I wanted to approach the final design and gives me the enthusiasm to master machine embroidery.

Researching waistcoat design, revealed that generally the basic shape hasn’t altered drastically since the 1600’s, however the length of the waistcoat did become shorted. In the 17th and 18th century they were highly decorated (spangles, silk and silverwork) and very bright, worn mainly by women. Waistcoats worn by the peasants were simpler, practical and less coarse than the ones worn by the upper classes.



So I decided on a waistcoat.

There were a number of things to take into account.

  • Would it be used for day or nightwear?
  • Would it be delicate or hardwearing?
  • Would it be practical or decorative?

These are by no means the only decisions to make. The drawings of the waistcoat showed some interesting patterns which could be adapted for the design of the embroidery. One idea generated could be used on a large scale project that could hang from the ceiling and by using wire embedded into fabric could create spirals cascading down. This could be manipulated into various shapes to get the desired effect. Scale was a consideration when drawing, and explored various sizes. But feel I need to do more work on this. One thing that emerged, when looking through my work, the doodles done are too complicated and need simplifying. Some elements were chosen from various drawings, and overall feel the end design fits in with the theme.


However when attempting the machine embroidery using these, I found it difficult to adhere to the design. As felt it hindered the creative flow. By adapting the way i was working, allowed freedom to create straight from my head.


I tried draping material on a tailors dummy to see what the effect was. The material was manipulated into spirals and showed variations on a theme. This was a useful exercise in deciding where the pattern would be.

I made a blouse, which did not go to plan as I rushed the whole process and was not happy with the design. It was useful in highlighting that the design process should not be rushed. So I had to decide what I wanted to achieve.

Referring back to the Butterfly tongue, I carefully thought about the general shape, which was coiled. My partner Mark told me a butterfly in Dutch was a Flinder, which sounded magical. This made me think about the whole of the butterfly and how delicate it was. With this in mind, an initial choice was made used heavily embroidered voile. But this was felt that it did not fit in with the waistcoat theme.

Using the chosen subject, the drawing was relatively easy to do. This translated well when transferred to the samples. Many of them were time consuming, but this assisted my final decision.

The shape within a shape was inspiring and by using this method showed areas that as a whole were lost.

Consideration firstly was given to the base structure (faux velvet)this would show the luminescence of the wings, which would add richness to the overall design. The embroidery threads chosen also needed to compliment rather than contrast. As the source material was limited, was going to alter the theme, but decided to stick with it.

Drawing on the samples made in previous exercises I used various techniques (such as felting, hand or machine embroidery to name but a few) to decide whether I would like to integrate them into the final piece. Some samples produced some interesting ideas, either by design or in some cases I came upon by accident. For example, One of them was missing the backing and it ruched the fabric. Whilst this was an interesting discovery, it was irritating to have done the sample wrong. Other techniques revealed that some textures were flawed in design, and were discounted from the final piece. These would serve as a reference in future projects, of what not to do. These experiments were done on a small scale, which allowed numerous ideas to evolve. Some were time consuming, but not all. Which allowed a decision to be made on the final composition.

I experimented with circles, adapted from the original pattern. These needed edging to improve the appearance. Cotton was the best example of this. The voile did not turn out the way expected and ruffled the material, showing movement because of the fluidity of the fabric. Which is something resonated with the gentleness of the butterfly. I did try burning the edges, but found it too volatile proving it to be dangerous. This needs consideration when making a garment.

This was I played around with scraps of fabric, machine stitching randomly with contrasting colours. Using this approach produced a fabric panel, but I think I made myself more work, by using scattered scraps rather than a whole piece. The way in which it was made shows diversity in building up layers, but would not convey delicacy. The only problem with this is the placement of the scraps would be thicker in place than others. Despite this the fabric takes on a different texture. Once stitched with a sewing machine the material stiffens up.


I am environmentally aware and feel strongly about waste that goes to landfill, so don’t waste any of the scraps or threads from projects. Also this would be more cost effective.

I was happy with the design process. However, if I were to change anything, I would experiment more with stitches on the machine (which is fairly basic). Having researched extensively on the internet, I discovered Su embroidery. A traditional technique that is unique in the way the picture can be seen both sides and is something that could be explored. I am drawn to stitch work as opposed to some of the other techniques previously tried.

This was the best part of the course so far, and the tutor said I was relying on the course book too much. However this section had fewer notes than previously so I had to think for myself, which was good as I had free rein to do what inspired me but still keeping to the brief. This is something that I wish to pursue in future design work.

The waistcoat produced fulfilled all the criteria of design, materials and pattern, and overall was extremely pleased. Doing the process, I had asked for advice, but made me doubt my abilities and took as criticism. My daughter had said to think outside the box, I did take as criticism however I thought what a client would say if not happy.

I got carried away with designing so made an embroidered box in addition to the waistcoat. Looking back at the work as a whole made me realise how much I have improved and become more aware of colours, texture, composition and a number of other factors. And this is reflective in clothing choices and in adapting clothing for my personal tastes. My first project was basic and disappointed with my initial choice.

With the box that I have made, similar stitchwork is undertaken, but this time used a 3d design. I was extremely pleased with the outcome. However the stitching on the corners wasn’t as accurate as I would like and something to consider when doing other projects. Overall the construction was effective. I do find it difficult to manage my time, and needs to be worked at. As if it were to commission then I would have time limits. Also another area where I am lacking is going to textiles events or places of interest with textiles in mind. This is because I am nervous of driving out of my comfort zone. However the internet serves the purpose of research, the only drawback is that I cant ‘see’, or feel the fabric. This is something to be addressed.

Stitches to try

Hand stitches

Soutache braid (hides seam) metallic bullion stitch detached button hole (creates curl) button hole wheel cap single brussells stitch buttonhole wheel flower Italian insertion stitch machine stitches satin/straight/zigzag


Posted in ASSIGNMENT 5 | Leave a comment

Artist insp

One website visited was by Virginia Koster and shows an embroidered box from a tutorial out of Beginners guide to embroidered boxes by Janet Edmonds.  It is highly décorated and resonates with my own work. I feel this is something that I should try as I enjoy machine embroidery. The choice of colours is something that I have been drawn too and I like the composition of the design.

with acknowledgement to Virginia Koster–cushions.html

Deb Cooper influence comes from the nature world. She uses various forms of embellishment to create floral designs. I like the work she does, but feel it is over complicated with too many different materials. Although many of my drawings are complex, to replicate my designs they need to be simpler in design. Buttons and sequins have a place in textiles, but feel they should be used sparingly.

acknowledgement to deb cooper


Alexander McQueen

I am not sure if these photos are copyright, so I wish to acknowledge the photographer but cant find him or her.


As I am drawn to machine embroidery, the work of Alexander McQueen fits in with my way of thinking. I like the way in which he is so controversial in the designs made. For example, he was quite particular who wore his designs. He was quite annoyed that Victoria Beckham wore something, but was quite happy for her husband to. I like the outlandish designs, and as I am drawn to theatrical costume, having made costumes for my children when they were little feel, this is the path I wish to pursue. The cape above is exquisite in the embroidery is organised. As opposed to my work which is a little more random in application.

Catwalk designs are sometimes unwearable for the majority of people and are adapted for high street fashion. However, it is well suited to people like Lady Gaga, who has modelled the more obscure costumes. His work has been debated, due to being controversial.

He caused controversy over the collection Dante, depicted religion by using crosses and angels, having satanic overtones. Another collection called Golden showers saw models drenched in ‘rain’ making clothing see through. This nudity and sexual depiction were frowned upon.However as a designer, this added to his popularity.

Another controversial fashion designer is Vivienne Westwood. She is quite outrageous in her work with it being described as wacky. However saying that she has created fashion that is sported by princess Kate, who promotes high fashion, copied by the general public. She is known for her passion for recycling, something which I like to do myself.



Critique a photo without looking at the write-up and then look at it again.

Jose Romussi takes embroidery to a new level by altering photos with stitch. The audience is left with a curious combination generating a who different set of qualities in the changed picture.

It almost has a surreal feel. This reminds me of the thread painting technique. However, the the stitches aren’t as dense and only takes certain elements whilst still retains the background image.

I don’t think this is copyright but I would like to acknowledge the artist Jose romussi.


Matthew Cox is quite an innovative artist. he uses embroidery teamed with x-rays. Unfortunately i am unable to use the picture i wanted due to copyright.

One of his collection is called heartthrobs avatars and street paper. I particularly like the ‘medusa’ like head. it is quite a strange image, but mysterious at the same time. I appreciate the work involved in this piece.

My butterflies and spirals collection on pinterest

Witchcraft inspired designs/illustrations

mushroom inspired art on pinterest


Fashion designer Jay Briggs is inspired by witchcraft, which resonates with my own theme.

Similar to myself, designing costumes for Halloween. As a pagan, this has been something that I have always to be drawn to. He mentions that alongside witchcraft he liked the spiritual nature of these theme. The picture that drew me to his work is ‘malleus Maleficurm’. I like the layering of the materials used.

jay 2 jay 3 jay
cknowledgement to the artist Gareth Pugh and the photographer (unable to find)


The work that he does is time-consuming, as there is a lot of attention to detail. It is also all hand stitched. I found when researching the work undertaken is quite diverse in nature having Gothic overtones.

We all have a perception of witchcraft from the film Wizard of Oz.

wicked witch

It was interesting to see how fashion designers like Gareth Pugh put a slant on this.

The collection from 2008 shows lots of texture within his work. The black works well within the theme, and somehow does not detract from the design. It was described as macabre.

Photo Marcia Madeira

I felt a connection with this artist as I felt it fit in with the theme chosen and could learn a lot from this artists manipulation of the fabric used.

Another artist that I like found is Vera Wang. The 2011 collection produced a bridal line that is influenced by witchcraft. This differs from the work of the previous artist, as it is softer in design.

vera 2 vera

There are many types of stitch, and by looked through history found that the sampler was one of the first embroidery skills that many women did. Ecclesiastical robes were almost covered in embroidery. My thoughts on stitch work were from my own experience of cross stitch, tapestries and embellishment. However, by researching has allowed me to further my knowledge.

Colour work has not been my strongest, but by looking at colour combinations has enabled me to experiment more. I started by looking at the work of children. Its naivety enables them to experiment without constraint and the colours are always vibrant.

The mark making exercise was a useful thing to do. I was quite surprised what results were produced.

I have found that feelings and emotions were a part of how we draw. This was not considered before. However when looking at my work, I found that when I was doodling marks made were heavier when I wasn’t in a good mood. The marks I have produced, encouraged ideas for further work. Some of my own work have been furthered by looking at artists, such as Van Gogh. Showing the brushstrokes within his work, has enabled me to understand why mark-making is important within any artists design process.

The choice of theme due to  lack of source material, did not enable me to study textural features.

I found the book called mark making in textile art by Helen Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Batsford Ltd (15 Aug. 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1849940673
ISBN-13: 978-1849940672

This was invaluable to the mark making I was doing.

This showed a variety of marks that were inspirational and was amazed at the diversity of this technique.

Stitch density is achieved by how close the stitch is to one another. Satin stitch is a good example of this. Shadows can be created by lighter densities given softness to the design.  Thicker densities can produce a bulkier fabric than the lighter alternatives.

colour choice on pinterest

picture dictionary

An interesting use of using basic stitches and pushing them into new designs. I do find myself drawn to Japanese embroidery as it always seems mysterious, but beautiful in application.


My pinterest page of weaving techniques

The work of Alexi Torres has created an interesting reworking of weaving. This is far from the notion of what we perceive weaving to be. The interlinked strands are intricately constructed, which has produced a beautiful picture. A far cry from the tapestries I used to do. Unfortunately, it is copyrighted so not able to show a picture.

This website has informed me a lot about the process of how weaving can be changed by the direction the weave is made. Although I was a little lost, with all the information. I also realize that the difference in yarns can affect the weight of the fabric.


John Wolfgang von Goethe was thought to be the first person to look at colour theory.


He believed that there was a psychology to colour work. He disputed the work by Isaac Newton on the light aspect of colour.

Having looked at various colour realise that emotion does actually play a part in colour choice, whether clothing or art.

Emotional description of colour


  • Positive – warmth, energy strength
  • Negative – danger, aggression


  • Positive – emotional wellbeing, hopeful, kindness
  • Negative – deceit, being afraid, depressed


  • Positive – tranquil, clarity, reflective
  • Negative – cold, unyielding


  • Positive – Balanced, equal, safe, serene
  • Negative – uninspiring, disquiet


  • Positive – spiritual, evocative, serenity, quality, forethought
  • Negative – low self-esteem, incite


  • Positive – warmth, comfort, luxury
  • Negative – leeching, loss


  • Positive – peace, gentleness, female, serenity
  • Negative – weak, washed out, fear, intimidity


  • Positive – neutral
  • Negative – draining, sad, dull


  • Positive – posh, regal
  • Negative – depressing, sad, disturbance, fear


  • Positive – sterile, clinical,
  • Negative – glare, sharp, sad, bland


  • Positive – warmth, comfort, safe, nature
  • Negative – boring, cumbersome

colour in history
Purple was worn by roman magistrates and in later years was used by royalty. Muter colours such as brown were worn by peasants. These are by no means exhaustive.

light also plays a part in how a colour is seen. It can create shadows, alter colours and brighten. Sunlight is usually warm but can alter surfaces making them yellowish.

The eye needs to be drawn across the picture and this can alter the feel of the picture. Emotion needs to be shown and is essential for success or failure.

Relationships of elements within a picture can change how movement or mood can be conveyed. A composition needs to have areas of interest that make a person look around the image. There is a general rule of 3 divisions, with one area being dominant.

Linear work, especially in portraits should be ‘invisible’. By using shading illusions can be created. Also, the way in which something is aligned can be all important.Focal points are also important.

Clarity in a picture is a better alternative to a muddy one. For example arranging placement of colour. Dominance is achieved by colour choice, and by adding contrast can alter balance within the picture.

An example of this is Gerome’s Duel after a masquerade ball



Printing is often seen in textiles from fashion to art.

a number of artists use print within their work. Charlotte linton uses hand drawn images for her digital print techniques. Kristi O’Meara again uses printing methods, which are bold and strangely hypnotic work. I have to research some techniques to further my knowledge.


There are various ways of printing, two examples of this

Block printing – uses wooden blocks with cutaway features. Potatoes could also be used.

Screen printing – this uses a screen that has a mesh. Paint is pushed through the mesh onto a template, leaving the imprint of the template.

Painting on fabric, is different to printing, but similar. Fabric paints were difficult to use and didn’t like the effects.

Silk painting I had never done before and was really impressed with the results. I looked at the work of laura gurton. Its is almost bacteria like.


Fabric can be manipulated in many ways, folding, pleated, pin tucks and many other ways. Lots of which need to be explored.

manipulation 2 manipulation

The vast array of fabric manipulation techniques would make it impossible to show all of them.

Tucks – spaced/pin/blind/shell/wave
Pleats – accordion/box/cartridge/fluted/fortuny
Quilting            ordinary/cord/Italian/wadding/flat/shadow
Applique reverse applique
Hand stitching
Metal thread work
Beading hand/French/tambour
Patchwork       applied patchwork/piece work/long cabin/crazy


twisted cords


Posted in ASSIGNMENT 1 -Drawing, Mark-making and Stitches | Leave a comment


My last assignment was encouraging, clearly showing my improvement. But was told to use the coursework as a guide not literally. Assignment five has allowed me freedom to develop (as there is little course structure) enabling me to produce stronger work from sketches

The initial idea using witchcraft was naive and not a good choice, due to lack of source material. So I thought of associated ideas which produced mushrooms. This led to the discovery of the microscopic world and the butterfly tongue. Having studied Biochemistry and my interest in viruses, this seemed the right path to choose.

Dutch for butterfly is called Flinder, which sounds magical, reminding me of the delicacy of the butterfly. I wanted to convey this in fabric and to use embroidered voile only. But felt that it did not fit in with the waistcoat design as too flimsy.

I thought about what I perceive as a butterfly. A very delicate pretty and almost magical creature. Although under the microscope it changes and becomes almost alien like. So maybe a mysterious feel would be an interesting concept. And maybe a change from the gold to silver would  convey delicacy.

Research on the internet showed varieties of butterflies. My aim was to emulate iridescence of the wings. In doing this my knowledge of colour combinations has expanded.

‘The poem below seems to fit the chosen theme.
It can clearly be visible to the sight of a man.
Not with the eyes but through the act of seeing.
It can be of two kinds; know them if you can.
First the unseen world after death is surely for all being.
Then the unseen world here on earth dwells in our mind.
That world full of glimmering light can make us confused.
Learn to deal with that world if you want to be kind.
And dealings with your own mind mustn’t be abused.
It also is of two kinds- the world in mind I mean.
One comes from heaven and one from the hell.
Learn to see both of them though they’re unseen
Learn to fight the conflict, even not ringing the bell.
Now open your mind by closing your eyes.
See the unseen world within you which lies.
Written on the Evening of the 15th February,2010
Munia Khan’

Referring back to the Butterfly tongue, I carefully thought about the coiled shape.Replicating this accurately wasn’t easy as it lost its uniformity, so adapted the spiral and use the ‘mistakes’ to design. I found sacred spirals from geometry which helped, but was still not correct.

I had more success with manipulating fabric into circles. Butterflies tend to be used extensively from children’s clothing to curtains. I wanted to change the perception of a butterfly. I tried draping material on a tailors dummy to see what the effect was. By manipulating the material I achieved a variety of designs and served as a construction tool to decide whether to use on the end product.

A useful tool was mind mapping as it was useful in organising my thoughts.

The butterfly’s shape produced a number of interesting designs which differ in qualities, whether colour, texture or composition. i feel this has been an effective exercise and by using Photoshop has enabled me to produce images quickly rather than one image on paper that has to be redrawn each time.








Further exploration using the wing of the butterfly showing tonal values, within the work. I was inspired by this and allowed me to be creative and translated well into stitch. i am beginning to see how this experimentation in essential in the design process. Colour balances were altered, although these colours would not be in the final piece.

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By changing the coloured images to black and white, changed the whole ‘feel’ of the image.

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A butterfly wing has been manipulated by Photoshop and shows an almost comic like feel to the images. This is something that i would like to explore further.

DSC_0556  DSC_0557

An image of a butterfly was taken from the internet, and changed from what we all know to a surrealist picture. which i feel i have achieved.

By using the butterfly as a whole i wanted to alter it so that it wasn’t recognised as the preconceived idea everybody recognises. I this I achieved this

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DSC_0555  DSC_0553

Butterfly scales on the wing were not what i expected them to be. But produced some images that reminiscent of children’s illustration. for example Hansel and Gretel and being in the woods. The series of photos aided by decision of how to approach the machine embroidery. it wasn’t exact by how the drawing is perceived. the results of this were better than expected.

   DSC_0547   DSC_0546



Time lapse photos were used to show progression of an image.



By zooming in on the tongue, the image showed a texture not previously seen. by using this textural picture translated well into textiles. Careful consideration was given to the base fabric and enhanced the overall result.

DSC_0530    DSC_0532

various shapes were used and was particularly useful in placement of the design which was determined by the shape used.

The shape within a shape was extremely useful in showing areas that as a whole were lost, also it is useful in placement of a design which is determine by the shape used. Waistcoat drawings showed varying possibilities through pattern, colour or texture.

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My tutor said in the beginning that she was concerned that I hadn’t produced enough drawings in my sketchbook, to be able to choose from. This has been addressed, giving a huge variety of ideas and have evolved quite easily. By using this has allowed me to discover new things and broaden my horizon. However it was found some of that the drawings wouldn’t work with this technique. More work is needed in trying different mediums, however some i don’t like handling, such as charcoal.

Colour is problematic to me, but having looked at a variety of butterflies colour combinations has enabled me to progress in how I see the ‘actual’ colour not what i think it is.

This poem describes colour perfectly.

Color and the Soul: “Color directly influences the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another purposively, to cause vibrations in the soul.”(Anon, 2012)

An experiment with monoprint gave an interesting texture. I found this quite easy to do and also very quick to do. This is something to be explored at a later date. Texture within my drawings has been difficult as some of the drawings appeared flat in design making me look at various textures around the house.



Having laid out all of my work I was aware how useful the exercises undertaken were to the design process. Research on the Internet has shown a diversity previously not considered.

The strongest technique that emerged from my samples was machine embroidery, as it’s a freer way of working and comes easy to me. I like the unpredictability of the fact, no two stitches are the same, so couldn’t be replicated easily and is therefore bespoke. Hand embroidery was considered and a few samples made, but found this to be time consuming. However i do like this.

Using machine embroidery, I did find that it hindered the creative flow and it was difficult to keep to a pattern. By adapting the way I was working, it allowed freedom to create straight from my head.

Having used my sewing machine for over 30 years, I never realised the potential it had creating things, apart from dressmaking. My machine has been used for creating embroidery before, however discovered an array of things to try. I was quite pleased with this outcome, resulting in some interesting work. And found the direction I wish to go.

Previously having looked at the work of Annemieke Mein has encouraged me to pursue machine embroidery. The work I have produced is rudimentary in comparison and want to aspire to this level of expertise. It has also led me to research the designers. Suggested materials from my tutor, although interesting, were not a direction I wish to pursue.

Personal inspiration came from my grandmother and her reworking of clothing. I also made all of my children’s costumes and have always enjoyed this work.
Experimenting in this way was a useful exercise in determining what technique to use for the final project.

Some samples showed interesting ideas, either by design or in some cases by accident. For example, one was missing the backing, ruching the fabric a useful exercise in construction. An interesting discovery, but irritating to have done it wrong.  Some samples were flawed in their design, so were discounted. However it would serve as a reference for future projects.The experiments done were circular small scale samples, allowing numerous ideas to evolve quickly. Whilst some were time consuming, this allowed a decision to be made on the final composition.

The samples needed edging to improve the appearance. Cotton was the best example of this. The voile did not turn out the way expected and ruffled the material, showing fluidity of the fabric, resonating with the gentleness of the butterfly. I did try burning the edges, but found it volatile proving to be dangerous and needs consideration so when making a garment flame resistant fabrics should be considered.

I tried numerous ideas but the technique that emerged from all of the samples was machine embroidery. This was the most successful.

Fabric scraps were over sewn randomly with machine embroidery using contrasting thread producing a ‘new’ piece of fabric.however by using scattered scraps rather than a base fabric which made myself more work.

Doing this shows layer diversity and would not convey delicacy, it is thicker in places than others. Despite this the fabric shows depth.I found this to be very successful, however due to the nature of the pieced fabric, some areas were thicker than others adding to the surfaces texture.

The brief discourages discarding the debris of an work undertaken. As a pagan, I am environmentally aware and feel strongly about waste, so save all scraps and threads from projects leading to a more cost effective way of working.

The pictures below show manipulation of wool oversewn with gold thread and manipulated into a circle. I had an idea of created a ‘piece’ of fabric made up of numerous circles. however felt it was wrong for the final design. This needs further work, as could be quite innovative.

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Sample of drawings

Various mediums (such as crayon, chalk etc.) were used showing tonal values and texture.

DSC_0590 DSC_0589
3D shape allowing me to see dimension within a shape. By drawing these allows us to visual how the end product might look like. In the second picture, i wanted to take the general shape of the coil, but totally alter the end result. I am particularly drawn to these and feel they stand out from the rest of my work. In the third picture, i wanted to play around with composition and loosely chose elements of the coil.

I wasn’t quite sure in which direction i wanted to go. But I had an idea of doing a functional piece, a waistcoat.

However, if it were to be waistcoat, what purpose would it be used for? Would it be for evening or day wear. This would have an impact on the construction and what materials used. But not necessarily surface design.

The drawings show various possibilities, some that were good and others that didnt.

DSC_0579                DSC_0578 DSC_0577                DSC_0576

The next idea was to do a soluble fabric vase. This however was discounted for the product as the fabric taken from the internet, was too flimsy for what i wanted to achieve. However many of the designs were kept as i found it was useful for shape compositions.

DSC_0571    DSC_0570   DSC_0569         DSC_0568     DSC_0567        DSC_0566


A series of drawings using red and blue biro and highlighting with gold. This is something that I enjoy doing. I am constantly doodling, as it declutters my head.

But one thing that emerged, when looking through my work, the doodles are too complicated and need simplifying. Most image involve swirls or circles, which resonates with the theme chosen, as I find square edges, harsh in design and hampers the drawing.

Therefore, elements were chosen from various drawings, and overall this choice fits in with the theme. Scale was a consideration when drawing, and explored various sizes. But feel I need to do more work on this. The drawings generated from my chosen subject were easy to do and translated well into the samples. Many of which were time consuming, but this assisted my final decision.


DSC_0575 DSC_0574  DSC_0573


I was originally going to make a soluble fabric bowl, but decided not to as the fabric was too flimsy. Also it was the easiest option and wanted to push myself.

I made a sculpted collar blouse, but this did not go to plan as I rushed the whole process and was not happy with the design. It was useful in highlighting that the design process should not be rushed. So gave careful thought to what I wanted to achieve. I am generally an impatient person, so have to be more mindful and research further which is invaluable for development.

The first design was based on a waistcoat pattern. However, having cut out everything realized one of the pieces were missing, so settled on the second pattern which proved to be the better choice.

A dress made and not worn was deconstructed for the material. But I hadn’t taken into account there wasn’t enough, which was frustrating and an invaluable lesson learnt. When starting in future, I must make sure all materials are to hand.

Having researched waistcoat design found the basic shape hasn’t altered drastically since the 1600’s, however the length of the waistcoat did shorten. In the 17th and 18th century, they were highly decorated (with spangles, silk and silverwork) and were very bright, worn mainly by women.  Waistcoats worn by the peasants were simpler, practical and coarser than the ones worn by the upper classes.

I decided that the piece should be functional. But I needed to decide whether it is Traditional or modern?

I decided that if it were to be heavily embroidered, it was best suited to the evening. As it was embroidered it would better to have a plain background and need to compliment rather than contrast. However I think there are elements of both in the waistcoat.

I got quite carried away with this, as i really enjoyed this part of the course and feel it reflects in my work.

Consideration firstly was given to the base structure (faux velvet and satin) which would show the luminescence of the wings, adding richness overall and creates special qualities. However the slippery surface of the velvet was difficult to sew, having not tacked first. The embroidery threads chosen also needed to compliment rather than contrast. The source material was limited, and was going to alter the theme, but decided to keep this idea.

The front collar would have to be plain as the embroidery would have been lost.

I had thought to use a two tone opposing pattern as I wanted to balance the design, but decided against this, as the embroidery would not have the effect desired. Machine embroidery had a number of possibilities for development, by trying different stitches, tensions and designs. By altering the images changed the way I wanted to approach the final design and gives me the enthusiasm to master machine embroidery.

The pattern showed buttonholes which I have yet to master, so changed to hooks and eyes. Although they are functional would have preferred buttons.

Although various fabrics were looked at, was drawn back to the original and the more appropriate for the design overall

The moodboard for the box helped with narrowing down choices of material, thread and colour, as I found the choice a little overwhelming. However, my colour perception of what I see in my drawings and how to use them has increased immensely from the first, somewhat naïve project.

Having looked at work done so far it was decided that the colour choice had to be narrowed down.  My preference were turquoise, gold blue and purple and different tones of these. It is felt that this needs more exploration.

Draping fabric over a tailors dummy showed that by manipulating fabric various design could be fashioned.

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firstly the outer part of the garment was stitched and put on tailors dummy. at each stage of the design, this was used often. i wanted to make sure it ‘sat’ well.

The colour of the waistcoat was manipulated to see if this would fit in with the work to be produced. Colour was played around with to see what the effect would be, giving very different results. I was extremely pleased with the effect a colour change would give.



This is the final design using burgundy velour, with three different colours of net embellished with machine embroidery.

I got carried away with the process and made a box. Having asked my daughter for her opinion said i was quite capable of making a waistcoat and to think outside of the box. I did take it as criticism  as i have with some of my tutors feedback, however I gave consideration to how peoples opinions are diverse. So learnt from this advice and literally made a box.

The box ideas was useful in showing a 3D effect. But posed problematic in its construction as i hadn’t considered that by using separate card inserts would prove to be unstable. I addressed this by using one piece of card, which added to the rigidity of the structure.

Once this had been done, I had to consider whether the stitch work would be machine embroidery or hand. The majority of it was machine stitched, but decided to add hand stitch sparingly. However i had to decide when enough was enough, I didn’t want to overwork at this stage.



I was happy with the design process. However, if I were to change anything, I would experiment more with machine stitching. i was told to do a cartoon prototype, but felt this hind

Whilst researching, I discovered Su embroidery. A traditional hand technique that is unique in the way the picture can be seen both sides and is something that could be explored. This is something that i would like to research more and attempt.

The waistcoat produced fulfilled all the criteria of design, materials and pattern, and overall was extremely pleased. Attention to detail was my priority, removing threads and ironing for maximum effect.

Doing the process, I had asked for advice, but made me doubt my abilities.

I feel that I have achieved a high standard within my work, in the waistcoat and the box. The latter being preferred. Initially the box design was not thought out properly and fell apart. I would have saved time if I had thought of this before constructing.

Looking back at the work as a whole made me realise how much I have improved and become more aware of all the elements of designing, colours, texture, composition etc. And is now reflective in clothing choices and in adapting clothing for my personal tastes.

I do find it difficult to manage my time, and needs to be worked at. If it were to be commissioned then I would have time limits. I find myself constantly doodling for further ideas and take a notebook to bed do some before going to sleep. I find it therapeutic.

I have found in this assignment that my drawings have improved from the naive first assignment.



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Can you see a continuous thread of development from your original drawings and samples to the ­final designs?

My last assignment was encouraging and has allowed me to have the confidence to develop and produce a strong body of work, for future reference. I see the progress from the first naive project, in my development of drawings.

Do you feel you made the right decisions at each stage of the design process?

If not, what changes would you make?

The theme chose in the beginning was witchcraft and was a problem due to lack of source material. Having changed theme, the subject still has limited material. In future design work I would consider if the subject has enough source material and how i can use.

Were you able to interpret your ideas well within the techniques and materials you chose to work with?

Techniques used enhanced the images chosen. However some of the samples lacked the qualities that I wished to convey.

How successful is your fi­nal design in terms of being inventive within the medium and coherent as a whole?

I feel the materials were chosen well. But the colour choice was difficult as it had to be narrowed down and would depend for what purpose it was going to be used for. My final design choice is the waistcoat and a box. Both of which are heavily embroidered. i decided to make two items, as i got carried away with the process. I did have a few problems with the design of the box, due to not doing a prototype first.  however, i am extremely pleased with both outcomes that I feel shows my progress has evolved.


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Assignment 4 – Reflective commentary


Hand twisted cords and braided cords was difficult to do, because instructions weren’t read properly.  But having grasped the technique got carried away with construction. Overall, the results were pleasing with many variations of colour and texture.

Having never done weaving, it was daunting. The initial piece of weaving was on child’s wooden loom which was slow to set up and weave.  However, the effect required for the wooden loom sample showed in its quality (tightness and strength). It was the best sample made.

The card loom sped up the process, however, the woven piece lost its rigidity. And by using different materials, although not as tight, gave a softer quality. The looser weave show different textures, as opposed to the flat surface of the first sample.

Changing the base material, whether cord or wool, altered the size of the warp and gave a furrowed surface. The qualities of the piece changed according to lie of the weave, what materials, used or colours. This has inspired me to research this further, and may use this for my end piece.

There was a good choice of yarn and varying from 2 ply, 3ply, textured or coarser yarns.
It was easier to manipulate thinner wools. Coarser textured wools distorted the warp giving depth and interest. The results of all these pieces, showed surprising results of how weaving can alter a picture into something more tactile and colourful, whilst keeping the ideas of the original. It was stimulating to see the various structures, variations in colours, shape and textures and how colour can change the mood of the image.

The mood board was something not attempted before and was useful for composition. The finished sample reflected colours, but the design was changed to fit in with the original picture. Colour combination through my exploration have improved immensely. However when using my sketchbook, different mediums need to be explored. As its noticed that changing the medium can change the outcome.

Changes to be made, would be to do more preparatory work. Also to choose a picture that has simpler lines, colours and shapes. The image chosen is different from the woven piece as the techniques altered the way it should have been. More practice is needed with this technique and ‘stitching’ chosen more carefully.

Working more intuitively generated ideas easily rather than working from a grid. I wanted the freedom to explore the effects of colour change and shapes created. For example shapes within a shape.

After receiving my feedback from my tutor I decided to re-evaluate my work, going back to basics. I have realised the importance of timetables, to ensure work is on time for the next assignment.



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Stage 4 Developing design ideas into weaving

The picture from the moodboard was used to create the colour combination below. It was ‘painted’ with wax, using the technique encaustic art. The colours merge together, but using the iron I was able to create texture.
The woven piece above follows the pattern of the grid very well. Although it was a little constraining with the stitch, but I felt it reflected the design. It also captured the mood.DSC_0259

The word I chose for this was FLUID.
The colours chosen were fairly accurate and the materials used changed the mood of the whole arrangement.

Stage 3 experimenting with different materials
Sample 2

Think about the colours the proportions in which they are used and the energy that is expressed through the colour, is it calm or vibrant?
The picture selected to analyse was made with encaustic art, using an iron to paint with. Constructing the storyboard showed interesting ideas, something not considered before and found that it enabled me to move things around until I found a pleasing composition. Colours within the image, were inviting and calm, but also could be described as vibrant due to colours selected.

Look at the images: are they small and controlled or random, large, flowing? It is felt that the picture evokes movement but is unplanned as a result of the technique used.

What do they say about the atmosphere?
The word that best describes the image is Fluid, because the picture draws the eye to interesting elements within the picture. 

Are there areas, ideas within these pieces that you may want to explore further in relation to your new piece?
The colour combination could be rearranged and joined to form squares. Within each of these have an image that flows into the other, but each of the squares opposing colours.

How it should appear?
vibrant colours/co-ordinate/balance of the composition
A moodboard was made using colours, texture and proportion
Using the grid wasn’t too much of a problem, as have made many tapestries, however this was using embroidery. The concept of this using weaving was totally different as the lie of the ‘stitch’ did not do what it was supposed to do. The colours in this sample were reminiscent of the storyboard
This was not how it was intended. but it has worked extremely well and shows texture and movement. This goes with the word Fluid.
This was an adaptation using the colours on the storyboard, just to see how a colour change would change the ‘feel’ of the piece.

Did you have enough variety in your collections of yarns and other materials? Which kind of yarns did you use most? How do their characteristics affect the look and feel of each sample?
The yarns chosen to work with varied from 2 ply, 3ply, textured or coarser yarns. The Coarser wools did not weave well catching on the warp distorting it. However the effect wasn’t as good as the textured wools, which gave depth and interest to the piece.

How did you find weaving in comparison to the other techniques youve tried? Did you find it slow or too limiting?
Initially the weaving seemed too complicated. The first piece (that I had done ever) was on a wooden loom. It was very time consuming, so changed this to a card loom. Whilst it quickened the process, the woven piece lost its rigidity. However using different materials, although not as tight, gave a softer quality.

How do you feel about your finished sample?

I was surprised at the results of the end piece. There were 3 samples made and all very different in design, but all had the same materials. But the way in which they were woven changed the whole design. One of the pieces distorted, by being too tight. I had noticed earlier on, but felt it was forming into a really nice weave. If I were to do again, the tension would be watched carefully. Overall, very pleasing results.

Are you happy with the relationship of the textures, proportions, colour and pattern to the finished size? Is there any part of it you would want to change? if so try to identify exactly how and why you would change it? Was there any stage in the whole design process that you felt went wrong? How would you tackle this process differently another time?

Which did you enjoy more – working from the source material or putting colours together intuitively? Why?
It was interesting creating different structures, for different reasons. Depending on how it was constructed, showed variations in colour, shape and texture. Some were easier to manipulate such as 2ply wool was easier to work with as opposed to long haired wools. The results of all these pieces, showed a surprising element of how weaving can alter a picture into something more tactile and colourful, whilst keeping the ideas of the original.

The finished sample kept to the colours of the image. But the design had to be adapted to fit in with the original pictures. If they were any changes to be made, it would be to do more preparatory work.

The mood board was something not attempted before so was unsure how to progress. Another consideration would be to choose a picture that has simple lines, colours and shapes. The picture chosen is different from the woven piece. I feel that I need to practice more with this technique and choose stitching a little more carefully. I preferred working more intuitively as the ideas flowed successfully. The source material shows how colours change the mood of a picture and this formed further ideas.

I used different pictures out of my sketchbook for inspiration. I wanted the freedom to explore the effects of colour change and shapes created. For example shapes within a shape.


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Project 9 Stage 2/3 Basic Tapestry Weaving Techniques

The first piece of weaving I have ever done and a source of amazement at the simplicity of how fabric is created. The piece is tight and shows strength. It was made on a child’s loom and was time consuming to setup and weave. However, the quality of this compared to some of the other woven samples is far superior.
The second piece made was of a similar quality to the first. It was a very tight weave. Using a thicker wool changed the texture of the weave leading to it being looser in construction. The other difference was the warp showed through and changed the pattern of it.
Leather was used with voile and cotton. The warp shows through and adds to the pattern. Leather was used on both sides, showing the rough and smooth sides receding into the background.
Calico, velvet and sateen (this is presumed as not totally sure) woven with cotton warp yarn. The warp shows through adding dimension. There is contrast between the sheen of the velvet and the dullness of  the calico, which has been noted for further explorations.
Ribbon was woven with coloured wool, mohair, and a thicker wool.
Various techniques were used, such as basic weave, Rya, Soumak, and Ghiordes. By using different stitch formations, varying textures were formed.
Unfortunately this didn’t photograph well. The basic cotton warp is woven with black textured wool, cotton warp, cotton fabric and a piece of tree creeper was embedded into the weave. Using the tree creeper added organic matter giving the sense of it being ‘natural’. The colours chosen also reflects this theme.

The structure of this is cotton warp cotton for the warp. Silver foil is woven through with white and red 2ply wool. The crushed foil reflects light against the almost muted wool.
This did not give the desired effect. Possibly due to the block of colour in middle. It needed more of a contrast. The colours otherwise work.
2 ply wool was used here. This piece showed a lot of texture and movement. It gave a ribbed effect.
2ply wool against cotton warp. The warp is completely hidden due to the density of the wool.


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Experimenting with Structure Stage 2 Exercise 4

When choosing the materials for the grids below, was a little difficult. I wasnt sure how they would come together.  The first woven structures is made using Loom bands and wooden skewers. Although only a small structure, it has ‘movement’, which i like.

The second grid lost some of its rigidity, through the aquarium pipe. However, it kept its shape to a certain degree.
The next woven piece was from an old christmas tree in the garden and different skrims. The branches were taken apart and using neutral colours, wove the skrim. It felt the most natural of all the weavings undertaken.
The last woven grids used plastic from an old vhs box, cut into strips and woven with wool and wire. The results were quite enlightening as showed variations in depth and colour intensities.


Did you enjoy inventing constructed surfaces? Were you surprised at the results?
when inventing new structures, i found my interest rising, as the results were so very different, in colour combination and most interesting was the surface design produced.

Can you see a connection between your choice of materials and the types of structures you made – regular, regular, small or large scale? Which samples worked best and why?

I found the materials, played a bit part in the design. I chose carefully, as to what colour combination would work. Most of the woven piece have worked well and give scope for further development. However the first pieces of weaving were the best made, due to  how rigid and closeknit. This quality outweighed the process that  took time to do.

How accurate were you in matching all the colours in your postcard
with paints? With yarns/other material?

I think my initial colours reflected the picture and were well matched. I managed to match the colours in my yarn, but not as accurately as the paints. This is probably because the collection i had didnt have certain colours. But this was an interesting part of the process, as the subtle colour variation lent itself to new ideas.


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Experimenting with Structure Stage 2 Exercise 2/3

twisted ropes/cords

Various materials were used for the cording and braiding. The structures formed showed some interesting colours and textures. Patterns emerge from within the structures, and could be adapted for a woven piece.

Generally the results are good, but this was dependent on materials used. As the harder materials distorted the structure.



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