Assignment 2 – Tutor feedback for Part 2 SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

Overall Comments

You have produced an exciting body of work Penni. You have been focused and inquisitive in your approach to problem solving throughout and have creatively built on your discoveries through sound methodology. The work demonstrates a natural understanding and connection with the subject of textiles (in a broad and refreshing context), well done. 

Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Textiles Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, and providing you commit yourself to the course, I suggest that you are likely to be successful in the assessment.

Feedback on assignment

Project – Sustainability

Lifecyle assessment

This was a clear and focused assessment on a company. Your research gave a comprehensive account of their philosophy and business operation for you to conclude their ethical status. A sound body of work; confidently striking a good balance between sourced literature and your own opinions.

Visual notes on Sustainability

A really thorough body of research and intelligently presents a comprehensive range of information. Visually it reads well and your annotation is relevant and supportive of the text. Make sure you continually reference all material.

Research Point

A concise and well written piece of work outlining factual information with considered, viewpoints. You might be interested in the research work by PhD student, Dawn Ellams based at Heriot-Watt University who is working with Tencel.

Ethical textiles

A good piece of research and this has given you a sound basis in which to consider the questions. Can your answers be substantiated? Is this always the case? Best to add ‘in general’ to strong opinions like this.

Project – Reuse and recycling

Research point

You have answered the questions intelligently and have in turn, found new questions for discussion through your evaluation. It is also good to see you making pertinent links with previous research.

Reusing and recycling

Your decision to use ‘sustainable’ sari waste was very appropriate and gave you a breadth of rich qualities to work with. Your response to the lettering is very effective and makes the most of this find in convincing designs. The choice of gold stitching was an appropriate way to construct the samples and does add another quality to the overall piece.

It was interesting to compare the stitching on the reverse of one of your edges on sample two. It has a completely different look than the tidy stitching on the front. In many ways this has more impact and links well with the irregularity of the strips – something to consider maybe? The stitch looks different in certain lights which is appealing. Does the stitch add to the linen in terms of handle or visual impact? How does the sample work from a distance? Testing stitch ideas might have given you different options to consider. I realize you had limited fabric. One option for future reference would be to test out ideas using a colour copy of the fabric or other materials.

It is also best to attach the top of the sample using a simple header or by stitching discreetly, which would be appropriate for how you have presented it. This allows the sample to be handled which is important for textiles. Hence my question – does the stitch add to the linen in terms of handle? By reconfiguring the material you are naturally altering the handle and this is as important as its visual appearance. You might want to consider this for assessment?

Again, it is hard to determine how you have constructed sample 3 because it is stuck down. The contrast between the textured yarn, colour and fabric strips is very effective. I understand your frustration with technique but don’t overlook the essential qualities you have resolved. You refer to sample 4 as not being adventurous. It doesn’t have to be! Simple design is also effective and for the most part, more difficult to get right. Knowing how best to use materials in a design is key.

The felted sections in both final samples work well and are an interesting contrast to the sharper, crisper qualities of the fabric strips. I feel sample 6 is more resolved than 7. (The exercise does ask you to produce a finished piece from your ideas / samples – maybe sample 6?)

You are right that there are many ways to interpret ideas and we will always find new information which might prompt us to take another direction. That’s only natural, especially when you are still researching the theme as you have been. Whichever focus, if the main aspects of the work are fully explored we can easily see how this might work in another context. The ideas will always be there! You have produced a lively body of work and covered many options through very focused and creative sampling and background research. You might find the work of Luisa Cevese, an Italian designer who produces one-off accessories by encasing a range of fabric remnants and recycled materials within plastic. I have also listed the book by Bradley Quinn who features the above designer. If you don’t know this publication, I think you will find it very inspiring.

Project – Crafts and hand textiles

Research point

You have been very focused in your research and have sited a broad range of appropriate traditional craft techniques and have sourced contemporary design practitioners producing innovative work within this context.

Using traditional craft techniques

You have produced a delightful range of samples which creatively explore resist dye methods in a range of fabric types. Stitching is sensitively applied and enhances the overall visual impact. It is good to see such a creative progression. Your decision to incorporate the dyed sticks is an intriguing concept. (How this might behave as a material sample would be interesting to know – is it rigid or does it have movement? This could be a project in the future perhaps to work with diverse material types). Have a look at the work of textile artist, Dorothy Caldwell to see how she incorporates stitch within her printed textiles. She recently had an exhibition showcase at the Knitting and Stitching Show (Harrogate).

You show particular design strengths in fabric dexterity, composition and creative design application. There is much here to suggest potential for future textile exploration. Whilst the stitching does add to the overall design, consider varying the type of yarn or indeed yarn substitute, in response to fabric type, e.g.  hemp as opposed to fine cotton, to emphasize the characteristics of the cloth e.g. material quality and colour (white / off white).

Your final design piece imaginatively combines the best of your sampling as a seamless and striking visual statement and again, highlights particular strengths in creative design application. There are a couple of articles on hand craft textiles in the Nov/Dec issue of Selvage magazine you might be interested in – The Khadi Spirit (Hand spun, hand woven fabric) and The Revival (Silk Ikat Weaving).

Project – Biomimicry

You have produced an exciting range of fabric sampling which creatively builds on print with mixed media techniques, composition, fabric use and image / mark making. Good to be able to handle some of these. My points relating to stitch effects are relevant here also.  Sketchbook work creatively supports this also. You might want to look at the new book on Maria Blaisse, a pioneer within this field. Your question about what might be considered textiles is pertinent. Textiles are no longer restricted to the obvious disciplines as it once was. It is now progressing, in many ways out of all recognition. The multi-faceted nature of textiles is naturally encouraging the exploration of many new materials, performance characteristics, end uses etc., within today’s world and therefore, we are very much part of this change as practitioners. Does that help?

You should definitely push your textile paper developments! I don’t think that because you use layering in your work is too formulaic. This does by its very nature open up many new opportunities and exciting challenges. I think the opportunity to work at a larger scale at some point in the future could give another dimension to the concept of layering in your work.

Research Point / Critical Review

Again, focused and relevant research and clearly articulated.

I saw a fascinating contemporary Shibori exhibition recently in Tokyo and have listed this below. This would be relevant for your Critical Review. I have sent you the exhibition catalogue for reference. Send this back once you have finished making notes. (If you thought this was relevant and were interested in speaking directly with the key person, I could introduce you to Prof Eva Lagnert who was assigned to teach the first Shibori techniques in Sweden?).

With regards to your concerns as to whether this meets the project requirements, ensure that your written work meets the four ability criteria listed on page 45. How you present and justify your points regarding sustainability (which could also be interpreted as sustaining traditional craft techniques within today’s contemporary arena) within the context of personal development is the main focus for drawing conclusions. I think your collection of linin clothing in this context is relevant and sets your personal agenda in this dialogue. Don’t try to make unrealistic links if they are not there, but make relevant links with your particular interests and the new discoveries within theory and practice. If you are still unsure, we can discuss this further Penni.


Exemplary sketchbook work demonstrating a lively and inquisitive response to projects. They are excellent working documents.

Learning Logs or Blogs / Critical essays

Exemplary learning logs which demonstrate a good balance of literature research with personal evaluations; clearly ordered, thorough and relevant. How wonderful to be a part of the recent project by Alice Kettle!

Suggested viewing/reading

Pointers for the next assignment

You have a strong working practice Penni with which to build on for the next assignment. Continue to question your design thinking and practice and in light of the points I have given previously and in particular, sample presentation.

This entry was posted in Assignment 2 Tutor feedback, LEVEL 2 - TEXTILES 2 : Contemporary Practice, TEXTILES 2 - PART 2 - Sustainable textiles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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