Textiles 2: Contemporary Practice
Assigment 5 Personal project – Tutor feedback – Rebecca Fairley
Penni this is a well organised and thought through project. There is evidence of
testing design ideas, working through creative problems and making appropriate
decisions on what works. There is structure and flow to the work – you have started
with a seed of an idea taking it through a number of processes to explore what works
best both visually and intellectually.
Feedback on assignment
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of
Your loose-leaf sketchbook demonstrates how you have approached the design
problem of creating a site-specific piece of textile artwork appropriate for the Bodleian
Library. The work shows you to operate in a methodical and open manner with an
eye for fresh creative possibilities.
The project has been very well researched. Your chosen space has been
considered in relation to current trends in the presentation of textile artwork. By
collecting imagery from leaflets and postcards, and taking photos of interiors in close
proximity to the room you intended your work to be in you got round the problem of
not being able to take photographs. My suggestion when you are unable to take
photos or in fact when you can but need to collect and remember particular details, is
to do some quick pencil drawings. These don’t need to be perfect but are a reminder
or prompt when designing back at home/studio.
You have used drawing and annotation effectively to work through design ideas.
The discussion, along with the drawing and reference material is an important
demonstration of how you approach your creative process as well as assisting you
to take the project through all the stages to completion. There is effective use of
multiple sampling to work out which designs work best, sorting the strongest designs
from the rest. These have been annotated, discussing the appropriateness or not
of each sample. There has been effective use of Computer Aided Design to explore
colour and texture in your sampling. This is a quick and lively way to explore a
number of possibilities. I get the sense you are comfortable playing with ideas and
being creative with the imagery. You have used folding techniques to find interesting
shapes and form. The testing of a number of materials including fabrics and papers
has been investigated for their suitability. These samples along with your analysis
have helped you to make decisions about how to present the final pieces. My only
suggestion with your sampling is that you could have looked at many more colour
palettes. Possibly bringing in some stronger accent colours. You may have still
come to the same decisions as you have here but it would have made it a more
complete set of samples. The final work represents your idea well in relation to scale
and design outcomes. I would suggest you consider the finish of the tessellated
piece; the hand stitch looks a bit too much like tacking.
Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity
For this project you have used the sourced imagery to create the designs and
repeats used in the final textile hangings. In the sketchbook you have shown
yourself to use these in a creative manner by manipulating them in CAD, using
folding techniques, using multiples and by cutting through the images. In this way
you have explored the possible design possibilities for the final pieces. There is
some experimental stitch work worked into the paper samples. Drawing has been
used to work through ideas relating to size, shape and construction of the final
pieces. My advice would be that you could have included a number of observational
drawings. These could have come from your visit to the Bodleian Library, drawn
either during the visit or from the images at home. This way of capturing what
you see assists you in seeing what you find interesting and provides you with the
fundamental building blocks of your own design. Looking at your project I would say
this is an important gap to an otherwise very good body of work. I suggest that in
future projects and courses you spend some time developing your drawing skills and
applying them to your design work. If you do this you will find the work you create is
far more personal and in the end more satisfying.
Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
The learning log shows you to be very articulate and self-aware. You have used
this space to further work through design ideas and discuss the possible outcomes
of your design work. The research you have included is varied and relevant to this
project. It has been presented in a file along with printed pages from your blog. I
would suggest that the research and the learning log work should be presented
together illustrating the order in which your research and analysis of you work
occurred. This will help ‘tell the story’ of your creative process.
Your critical essay reads well, is appropriately structured and researched with some
interesting conclusions. The topic you have chosen is a broad enough subject with
links to current trends in textile design thinking. I have a few pointers you may find
helpful in improving your essay.
The introduction states your chosen subject and the material you are going to cover.
This could have been done more explicitly by introducing some of the artists you
would later be discussing and outlining your final conclusions. When you introduce
Boro to the reader on page one the writing lacks references to where you have
gained this information. Be clear where you have used someone’s opinion and which
are your own opinions. For example write, “It so and so’s belief that Boro is now
recognised and appreciated for its artistic appeal.” Or “Looking at the evidence it is
my opinion that Boro is now recognised and appreciated for its appeal” and go on to
state your evidence. The first two introductory pages feel a little repetitive and that
you are not wholly clear in what you are saying. I would not start a paragraph with
“And so.” Be precise about what background information the reader needs before
you tackle the main body of the essay. It is all there but it needs firming up in your
writing style and with references.
Once you have got onto discussing the artists who use a Boro style the essay
improves in structure. The work is well researched with appropriate use of
referencing. The essay includes good use of imagery. The personal contact you had
with artists adds strength and valuable research to your work. I would suggest that
you could have made more of it. For example what is your opinion the way Jacy Wall
cuts up her own work to construct something new? Does the artwork say something
to you as a designer? Do you see the same eroticism that Fiona Robinson writes
about? Don’t take it for granted that either the artist or writers have the final say on
a piece of artwork. It is possible that each of us can bring some new and relevant
understanding to the art. This critical thinking and analysis is a vital part of working
towards an academic understanding of your chosen subject.
During your conclusion there are a number of elements that need referencing or
could be included. References are needed for
- “The throw away society” – what is your evidence for this?
- Sustainable crops – who is using them and what is their reasoning?
- Who are the designers offering ethical fashion and in what way? What is the
proof they are ethical and sustainable? Tesco’s went ethical a number of
years ago using off cuts from the textile factory to create hand crafted fashion
pieces. All looked great until it was found that the clothes were almost
entirely made by unpaid fashion interns. Always question and look below the
- “Today we recognise and promote hand craft” – where is your evidence for
Some points you could include
- A definition/s of sustainability and ethical fashion
- The difference and links between different textile disciplines. You’ve included
fashion, textile production and textile art without being explicate about their
- The slow textile movement
- Make do and Mend during the Second World War and its reemergence in
The essay has made some interesting points about using the knowledge of the past
to inform contemporary life. And you have included an interesting analysis of your
own work in relation to the artists discussed.
Books you may find useful to continue to develop your drawing skills.
- Draw to Stitch: line, drawing and mark-making in textile art. Gwen Hedley
- Batsford. London
- Henry Moore textiles. Anita Feldmen. 2008. Lund Humphries. Aldershot.
- The encyclopedia of drawing techniques. Hazel Harrison. 2004. Search.
Books you may find useful for exploring folding and material manipulation.
- Folding techniques for designers. From sheet to form. Paul Jackson. 2011.
Laurence King Publishing. London
Supersurfaces. Folding as a method of generating forms for architecture,
products and fashion. Sophia Vyzoviti. 2010. BIS Publishing. Amsterdam.
- Folding Architecture. Spatial, structural and organizational Diagrams. 2010.
BIS Publishing. Amsterdam.
Student blogs you may find helpful
Websites where you can follow trends in design
Pointers for the next assignment
- Continue to be experimental and taking risks in your design work
- Think about using observational drawing as part of your design process.
- Maintain you good working practices.
Well done Penni, I look forward to your next assignment