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.






About huggywitch

I have been doing textiles for a number of years and recently started my degree. I have always had an interest in theatre costume design and this is where my passion lie.
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